Dugout Digest – same ol’ Valverde

It took Jose Valverde six games to blow his first save of the season. The Tigers fell to the Indians 4-3 in ten innings, dropping into a first place tie with Cleveland at the top of the AL Central, and Valverde's performance was a big reason why. Detroit's closer began the ninth by walking Michael Bourn, then allowing him to steal second. After getting two outs, he then walked Jason Giambi to bring up Michael Brantley. Of course, Brantley singled in Bourn to tie the game an hand Valverde the blown save. He threw 29 pitches in the ninth, and just 15 were strikes. Of those 15 strikes, eight (or more than half) came on foul balls. His velocity also continued its steady decline from the past few years, so the roller coaster ride might continue to be ugly this year for Tigers fans.


Felix Hernandez having a good ol' time after the Mariners' win over the A's. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) 

Game of the Day: Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 2 (ten innings). Brandon McCarthy cruised through this game for the Diamondbacks. In eight shutout innings, he didn't break a sweat, throwing just 87 pitches and dominating the Phillies. Then proven closer Heath Bell came in for the save, and everything went to hell for Arizona. Chase Utley led the ninth off with a double, and scored after a Ryan Howard groundout and a Delmon Young double. All of a sudden, it was 2-1 and the Phillies had the tying run in scoring position. Domonic Brown immediately followed up with a single to score pinch runner John Mayberry Jr and tie the game at two. The Diamondbacks didn't do much of anything in the bottom of the inning, and in the tenth, Matt Reynolds took the mound for Arizona. He got Laynce Nix to ground out to start the inning, and then allowed a single to Jimmy Rollins and another double to Utley to put two men in scoring position with one out. Howard followed up with a single to score the pair and put the Phillies in front, and Jonathan Papelbon slammed the door in the ninth to give Philadelphia a great comeback win.

Pitching Lines of the Day: Chris Sale was nearly perfect in the Chicago's 3-1 win over the Angels, allowing just one hit in a complete game shutout, striking out seven without a walk and tallying only 98 pitches.. Gio Gonzalez was awesome for the Nationals, allowing two hits in seven shutout innings against the Cubs, walking one and striking out six. Chicago won 2-1 thanks to some derp from Kurt Suzuki in the ninth. Jorge de la Rosa limited the Cardinals to two hits in seven shutout innings, striking out seven and walking three in Colorado's 8-2 win. Tim Lincecum led the Giants to a 5-1 win over the Braves, allowing two hits in seven scoreless frames, striking out seven and walking three. In other words, Lincecum and de la Rosa had the exact same line. The aforementioned McCarthy allowed seven hits in his eight shutout innings, striking out five without a walk.

Hitting Lines of the Day: Adrian Beltre ran roughshod over the Astros in Texas' 12-7 win, going 4/5 with two runs, four RBI, two doubles, and a homer. Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio led the Blue Jays to a 12-4 win over the Red Sox, with Bautista going 2/4 with three runs, three RBI, a walk, and two homers, and Bonifacio collecting three hits in four at bats, scoring three runs, driving in a pair, hitting a double and a homer, and stealing a base. In a losing effort, Mike Napoli went 3/4 with two runs, a double, and a homer. Vernon Wells had a good game for the Yankees in their 4-2 win over the Royals, going 3/4 with two RBI, a homer, and a stolen base.

Other Games: The Reds beat the Brewers 5-1. The Pirates beat the Mets (who started Matt Harvey) 3-2 to continue their hot start to the season. The Rays beat the Padres 4-2, and are starting to catch fire. The Dodgers beat the Marlins 5-3, but are still six games under .500. The Orioles shut out the Twins 6-0 despite an oblique strain for Wei-Yin Chen. The Mariners beat the A's 6-1, and I still don't know what to make of either team.

Today's Games: Justin Masterson starts game one of a Yankees-Indians doubleheader, and Trevor Bauer starts game two. Lance Lynn gets the nod for the Cardinals against the Mets. Anibal Sanchez starts for the Tigers, hosting Bud Norris and the Astros. AJ Burnett starts for the Pirates against the Brewers. Travis Wood will toe the rubber for the Cubs against the Rockies. Jordan Zimmermann starts for the Nationals against Josh Beckett in LA. Mike Minor and Wade Miley will duel in Arizona.

National TV: Mets-Cardinals (7 PM, ESPN)

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Managing editor of Awful Announcing. News editor of The Comeback. Managing editor of The Outside Corner. You guessed it - not actually Frank Stallone.