Evan Longoria hasn’t played for the Rays since Monday. He’s their offensive star, and without him, they were expected to struggle. Naturally, since Longoria has played in a game, the Rays are feasting on weaker competition. The Rays are 4-0 in May, with three wins over the Mariners and one over the A’s. They only have a .710 OPS in May, and have a .296 OBP as a team…but dammit, they’re outscoring their opponents 19-10. It’s not the result the team has been hoping for, but the team has used their OK offense and some excellent pitching to hardly miss a beat.
Game of the Night: Braves 9, Rockies 8 (11 innings). When the Rockies put five runs on the board in the first inning, no one expected the Braves to have much of a chance in Friday’s game. But then, things started turning around. Freddie Freeman put a pair of runs on the board in the third after at two run homer. The Braves used an onslaught of offense in the fifth to actually take a 6-5 lead. Naturally, the Rockies tied it in the bottom of the inning by the light-hitting Jonathan Herrera. The Braves got the lead by in the sixth courtesy of a Chipper Jones solo homer, and gave it back AGAIN after a Tyler Colvin RBI groundout. The scoring stayed silent until the 11th, when Eric Hinske hit a two run homer. The Rockies would go down fighting though, as Todd Helton brought in Herrera with a groundout to make it 9-8, but Craig Kimbrel shut the door to end it.
Pitching Line of the Night: David Price was dominant for the Rays in their win over the A’s. He went eight innings, allowed three hits, one run, and one walk, and struck out a whopping 12 hitters. Yeah, I’ll say that’s a good start. Henderson Alvarez threw a complete game shutout against the Angels, allowing just six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts, and only threw 97 pitches in the process. And then, Johnny Cueto of the Reds torched the Pirates, allowing one run while throwing a complete game, giving up seven hits and four strikeouts without a walk.
Hitting Line of the Night: Freddie Freeman and Eric Hinske both had four hit games for the Braves, Each guy had a homer and a double, with Freeman scoring and driving in two, and Hinske scoring one and driving in three. Their ancient teammate Chipper Jones had a great game as well, going 3/5 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, and his fifth homer of the year.
Spotlight Series: The Nationals beat the Phillies 4-3 in a game that led to many Phillies fans crying about the umpiring and a pair of missed calls in the seventh inning. Of course, blaming the umpires is largely a juvenile move that happens when a fanbase is looking for someone to blame aside from themselves. The Phillies led 3-1 after five innings, but Nationals backup catcher Jesus Flores drove in a run in each of the sixth and eighth innings to tie the game at three and send it to extra innings. Of course, the Phillies erred with bullpen management again, letting Michael Schwimmer throw multiple innings in extras with closer Jonathan Papelbon sitting in the pen collecting dust. In the 11th, Schwimmer’s third inning of work, he got the first two outs quickly before loading the bases after a single and a pair of walks (neither of which were intentional). Wilson Ramos singled to bring in Steve Lombardozzi, and that was the game. HARPERWATCH: 0/3 with three walks and two strikeouts. Three walks in a game at age 19. That takes skill.
Other Games: The Indians beat the slumping Rangers 6-3. The Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-4, as new closer Rafael Dolis shut the door in the ninth. Jhonny Peralta walked off for the Tigers against the White Sox. The Orioles stayed hot and beat the Red Sox 6-4. The Reds and Johnny Cueto were aided by three homers to beat the Pirates 6-1. The Rays shut down the A’s 7-2. The Diamondbacks edged the Mets 5-4. CC Sabathia cruised as the Yankees beat the Royals 6-2. Jose Altuve homered and the Astros handed Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals his first loss, 5-4. The Blue Jays shut out the Angels 4-0. The Marlins blew a five run lead, but beat the Padres 9-8 in 12 innings. The Brewers beat the Giants 6-4 in what turned into a battle of the bullpens.
Today’s Games: Jason Hammel goes for the Orioles against Aaron Cook, making his season debut. Vance Worley and Gio Gonzalez is a good matchup in DC. Pat Corbin makes his second career start, against Johan Santana. Hiroki Kuroda goes for the Yankees against Felipe Paulino in his season debut. Madison Bumgarner goes for the Giants against the Brewers. Jaime Garcia starts for the Cardinals against the Astros. Kyle Drabek and CJ Wilson will duel in LA. Mike Minor will start in Colorado. Felix Hernandez will start for the Mariners against the Twins.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.