After the Washington Nationals underwent a five game losing streak starting last weekend, people (myself included) wondered if the shoe has finally dropped on their year. Well…maybe we jumped to conclusions a little quickly. Washington smashed the defending champion Cardinals 8-1 on Thursday night, led by a gem from Edwin Jackson, acquired by St Louis last year for the stretch run. The Braves couldn't capitalize on the Nationals struggles, and the lead in the NL East is up to 5.5 games. It looks like you can wave the white flag on this race with 32 games left.
Game of the Day: Cubs 12, Brewers 11. The Cubs scored the first three runs of the game off of Shaun Marcum in the game's first two innings. After those first two innings, Milwaukee threw seven runs on the board in the third and fourth, highlighted by homers by Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun. Marcum would leave after four with cramping in his right calf, and things turned pear-shaped for the Brewers after that. Lucroy singled in a pair in the sixth to make it 9-3, but the Cubs scored six runs in the sixth to tie the game, finishing things off with a two-run double by Brett Jackson. Cody Ransom hit a solo homer in the seventh to give the Brewers the lead once again, and an RBI single by Lucroy increased their lead to two runs. Then in the ninth, with Francisco Rodriguez on the mound…disaster struck. Rodriguez struck out Joe Mather to start the inning, but then allowed a double, a walk, an RBI single, an RBI double, and a walk-off single from Alfonso Soriano. Offering Rodriguez arbitration last offseason may be a move that dooms Doug Melvin's tenure as GM in Milwaukee, even if he did just sign an extension in May.
Pitching Lines of the Night: I mentioned Edwin Jackson in the open, but didn't mention his stat line: eight innings, four hits, one run, two walks, and ten strikeouts. That'll do, Edwin. Zach Britton's performance for the Orioles in their 5-3 win over the White Sox was excellent, allowing one run on seven hits over eight, striking out ten and walking none. That resulted in a demotion to AAA for the weekend. Carlos Villanueva had a good start for Toronto in their 2-0 win over the Rays, throwing six shutout frames and allowing five hits, walking one and striking out seven. Ian Kennedy threw six 2/3 shutout innings in a 2-0 Arizona win over the Dodgers, giving up just two hits and striking out seven while walking just two.
Hitting Lines of the Night, non-Brewers/Cubs edition: The A's pounded the Indians 12-7 in front of 1,500 or so fans, and Josh Reddick went 3/5 with three RBI and a homer. On the other side of the diamond, Jason Kipnis went 2/4 with two runs, two RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer. Jayson Werth provided the Nationals with some offense, going 2/4 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, and his fourth homer of the year. In the Phillies' 3-2 win over the Mets, Kevin Frandsen went 4/5 with a run, an RBI, and a double, endearing himself to fans disgusted with Jimmy Rollins not hustling again. The Giants sent the Astros to their 91st lost with an 8-4 win, and Brandon Belt went 4/5 with two doubles and an RBI. James Loney had a solid game with the Red Sox, despite their 5-2 loss to the Angels, going 3/4 with two runs and his first homer with his new team.
Hitting Lines of the Day, Brewers/Cubs edition: Jonathan Lucroy went 3/5 with seven RBI and his ninth homer of the year. Ryan Braun went 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, a double, a homer, and a stolen base. Rickie Weeks went 5/5 with four runs and two doubles. Cody Ransom went 3/4 with two RBI, a walk, and a homer. David DeJesus went 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, two walks, and two doubles. Brett Jackson went 2/3 with two runs, two RBI, two walks, and two doubles. Starlin Castro went 2/5 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, and a triple. And….exhale.
Other Games: The Mariners edged the Twins 5-4. Jeremy Guthrie had a strong start for the Royals in a 2-1 win over the Tigers.
Today's Games: Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants at Wrigley. Jake Peavy and Doug Fister will duel in a battle between the top two teams in the AL Central, the White Sox and Tigers. Adam Wainwright takes on Gio Gonzalez in DC. RA Dickey will start for the Mets in Miami. Roy Halladay takes on Mike Minor in Atlanta. Jeremy Hellickson takes on Brandon Morrow in Toronto. Brandon McCarthy starts for the A's, hosting the Red Sox. Dan Haren takes on Kevin Millwood in Seattle. Trevor Cahill takes on Aaron Harang in LA.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.