After watching my beloved NL East get shellacked this weekend (2-13 overall record, including four interleague series), I had a thought about the common talking point of the American League being the dominant league in baseball. Most teams in the league have four of their six interleague series for the season complete, and the results are shocking: all but one AL team (Indians) has at least a .500 record against the National League this year. Five teams (Yankees, Rays, Tigers, Rangers, Angels) have at least eight wins against the senior circuit. Compare that to the National League, where there are just six teams at .500 in interleague play (Nationals, Reds, Pirates, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres), and no teams with eight wins. In fact, of those six teams at the .500 mark or better, only the Nationals, Pirates, and Diamondbacks have played four series against the AL, with the others only playing three. There is a definite imbalance in the leagues right now, and it's nothing new.
Game of the Day: Royals 5, Cardinals 3 (15 innings). When both starters left the game, this was a 2-1 game in favor of the Cardinals, and it stood that way until the ninth inning…until Billy Butler homered off of Jason Motte to tie the game. The teams traded zeroes until hte 14th, when Yuniesky Betancourt drove in Alex Gordon with a double to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. Ned Yost brought in closer Jonathan Broxton, who alternated baseunners with outs during the inning, capped off with a pinch hit, game-tying single from Yadier Molina. That apparently pissed the Royals off, because Betancourt gave them the lead again in the 15th, this time on a two-run homer. Broxton threw a perfect 15th inning to seal the deal, and give the Royals a hard-fought series win over the Cardinals.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Alex Cobb sliced and diced the Marlins in a 3-0 Rays win, allowing just two hits and one walk over seven scoreless innings, and striking out ten Marlins hitters. Max Scherzer did the same in the Tigers' 5-0 win over the Rockies, going eight scoreless while allowing seven hits, and striking out 12 without a walk. Jose Quintana and Chris Capuano both had excellent starts against each other in LA, and walked away without decisions in the Dodgers' 2-1 win in ten innings. Quintana went eight scoreless, giving up five hits and striking out six without a walk. Capuano was nearly as good, allowing just one run over eight innings on six hits, walking one batter and striking out 12. Wow. Colby Lewis was dominant as the Rangers beat the Astros 9-3, going seven innings and allowing one run on three hits, striking out ten and walking one. Madison Bumgarner couldn't be to blame in the Giants' 2-1 loss to the Mariners, allowing one run over eight innings while giving up three hits, one walk, and striking out four Seattle hitters. Garrett Richards was fantastic for the Angels in their 2-0 win over the Diamondbacks, going eight scoreless and giving up four hits, four walks, and striking ou five. Randall Delgado of the Braves took the loss as the Braves couldn't muster any offense in a 2-0 loss, but was quite good. Delgado went eight strong innings, and gave up just two runs on three hits, walking only one and striking out six. Finally, Clayton Richard threw 7 2/3 shutout innings for the Padres in their 2-1 win over the A's, allowing five hits, two walks, and six strikeouts.
Hitting Lines of the Day: After all that great pitching, was there any room for offense? Well, of course. Pedro Alvarez went 3/4 with a double, two homers, and six RBI as the Pirates beat the Indians 9-5. Colby Rasmus remained hot in the Blue Jays' 6-2 win over the Phillies, going 3/4 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a homer. Jason Kipnis provided Cleveland with some offense in that loss to Pittsburgh, going 3/5 with two runs and a homer. I'll also give a hat tip to Tigers rookie Quintin Berry, who went 5/5 with a run and a stolen base.
Spotlight Series: Well, that projection blew up in my face, because the Yankees beat the Nationals 4-1 to complete a three-game sweep. Ivan Nova confounde the Washington hitters, holding them to just one run over 7 2/3 innings, Edwin Jackson allowed only two runs over six for Washington, but walked three Yankees while only striking out one. A Mark Teixeira sac fly gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first, but Washington tied it in the second on an Adam LaRoche solo homer. Curtis Granderson homered in the fifth to make it 2-1 Yankees, and Robinson Cano homered in the seventh to make it 3-1. Teixeira scored on a passed ball in the seventh to make it 4-1, which would be the final. Next up for the Yankees is a return to the Bronx, where they'll host the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals are off tomorrow, but will welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Washington for a series starting on Tuesday.
Other Games: The Reds beat the Mets 3-1 behind a solid start from Johnny Cueto. The Twins beat the Brewers 5-4 in 15 after being down 4-1 in the seventh. The Red Sox beat the Cubs 7-4 as Franklin Morales dominated Chicago in a spot start.
Today's Games: We've got nine games on the slate today, so half a schedule. Mike Minor and CC Sabathia will go in New York, while the Yankees crosstown rival Mets will host the Orioles, and send RA Dickey to the hill to face Jake Arrieta. Mat Latos takes on Derek Lowe in Cleveland. The Chicago teams will collide on the south side, with Matt Garza taking on Jake Peavy. Matt Cain, fresh off of his perfect game, will travel to SoCal with the Giants to take on Jerome Williams and the Angels.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.