Despite being on the wrong end of a Felix Hernandez perfect game, the Tampa Bay Rays are having a hellacious month. After a complete game shutout by Alex Cobb yesterday in a 5-0 win over the A's, the Rays are just 2.5 games out of the AL East lead, and have a 2.5 game cushion on the Orioles, Tigers, and A's at the top of the wild card standings. But despite their nice position in the wild card race, the Rays' sights are higher: namely, the division lead currently possessed by the Yankees. With six games between the two teams in September, the battle for the division lead is going to be frantic and exciting…and I don't think the Rays would want it any other way.
Game of the Night: Angels 14, Red Sox 13 (ten innings). This is probably going to end up being the game of the year. It was complete and utter insanity. Boston took a 6-0 lead after two innings against CJ Wilson. The Angels responded with eight in the third off of Franklin Morales and Clayton Mortensen ton make it 8-6. The Red Sox scored three of their own to make it 9-8, and a Mike Trout RBI single in the seventh knotted the game at nine. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia both singled in runs in the eighth to give Boston an 11-9 lead, but the Angels rallied for three runs in the ninth off of Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves to take a 12-11 lead. Cody Ross homered off of once untouchable Halos closer Ernesto Frieri to tie the game at 12, but then their offense picked it up again in the tenth, scoring two more off of Aceves to make it a 14-12 game. The Red Sox didn't quit though, plating one run on a Pedroia single before Adrian Gonzalez struck out to end the game and give the Angels a huge win. As for the Red Sox…well, it's another disappointing moment in a disappointing season.
Pitching Lines of the Night: I mentioned Alex Cobb's complete game shuout in the opening, and he had the star performance of the evening, allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out eight Oakland batters in his shutout win. Mets rookie Collin McHugh, making his first career start, allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings against the Rockies, walking one and striking out nine…but, the Mets gave him no run support, and lost 1-0. Justin Verlander did Justin Verlander things in a 3-2, 11 inning win for the Tigers over the Blue Jays, throwing nine innings and giving up two runs on four hits, walking just two and striking out 12. Yeesh.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In a 13-5 Cardinals shellacking of the Astros, David Freese went 3/4 with a homer and four RBI, while Allen Craig went 3/5 with two runs, three RBI, and a double. The Rangers beat the Twins 10-6, and Adrian Beltre went 3/5 with two runs, a double, and his fourth homer in the last two games.
Hitting Lines of the Night, Fenway Park Edition: :cracks knuckles: Alright, here we go.
Dustin Pedroia: 4/6, three runs, five RBI, double, homer
Pedro Ciriaco: 4/6, four runs, double
Jacoby Ellsbury: 3/6, one run, three RBI, double, stolen base
Vernon Wells: 2/5, two runs, three RBI, walk, double, homer
Kendrys Morales: 2/5, three runs, two RBI, walk, homer
Mike Trout: 3/6, two runs, two RBI, walk, two stolen bases
Other Games: The Phillies beat the Reds 4-3 in 11 innings, sticking Johnny Cueto with a no-decision in an unimpressive outing. The Giants beat the Braves 5-2, and Barry Zito was impressive for eight innings of work.
Today's Games: CC Sabathia returns from the DL for the Yankees in his old stomping grounds by Lake Erie. Zack Greinke and the Angels travel to Detroit for a crucial series with the Tigers. Mike Fiers and the Brewers take on Wandy Rodriguez and the skidding Pirates. Lance Lynn and the Cardinals travel to Cincinnati to take on Mat Latos and the Reds. Jarrod Parker squares off with Matt Moore in a fantastic matchup of young studs. Jake Peavy and the White Sox host the Mariners. Fresh off two shellings, Ben Sheets starts for the Braves against Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.