Dugout Digest – so close, yet so far

Yu Darvish was the story around the leagye on Tuesday night. Darvish was just one out shy of a perfect game in Houston, but a single up the middle by Marwin Gonzalez ruined Darvish's dream of history. So close, yet so far…I'm sure this won't be the first time Darvish flirts with history this year.

PIC OF THE DAY

Yu Darvish tips his cap to the ground as he exits the field following Gonzalez's ninth inning single.

Game of the Day: Orioles 7, Rays 4. There weren't many great games on Tuesday, so this one gets the nod by default. Batltimore jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead on David Price following a two-run homer by Matt Wieters, but the Rays fought back against Jason Hammel, cutting the deficit to 2-1 after a fourth inning solo homer from Ben Zobrist and taking a 3-2 lead following a pair in the sixth. Evan Longoria's glove did a lot to keep Tampa Bay in the game, but there was nothing he could do in the seventh, when the Orioles plated five runs against Jake McGee thanks to a two-run double from Adam Jones and a three-run homer by Chris Davis. Baltimore's bullpen allowed just one unearned run in three innings in relief of Hammel to preserve the win.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Yu Darvish was obviously spectactular, but just how good was he? He allowed one hit in 8 2/3 innings, struck out a career-high 14, and only allowed one ball to leave the infield prior to Gonzalez's ninth inning single in the Rangers' 7-0 win over the Astros. That's just…not right. It's a shame too, because Madison Bumgarner was pretty damn good for the Giants, throwing eight shutout innings while allowing two hits and striking out six without a walk in San Francisco's 3-0 win over the Dodgers. In Seattle's 7-1 win over Oakland, Hisashi Iwakuma dominated the A's, allowing one run on two hits in six innings (courtesy of a massive Yoenis Cespedes homers), striking out seven without a walk.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Michael Morse paced the Seattle offense, going 2/4 with two homers and four RBI in their win over Oakland, while Kyle Seager went 3/3 with two runs, an RBI, two walks, and two doubles. Matt Wieters had a pretty complete game for the Orioles in their season opening win in Tampa Bay, going 2/3 with two runs, two RBI, two walks, a double, and a homer. Wieters' teammate Adam Jones went 3/5 with two runs, two RBI, and two doubles. Fresh off of his contract extension, Elvis Andrus gave Darvish all the support he neeeded offensively, going 3/4 with a run, an RBI, a walk, and a triple, and Ian Kinsler went 2/4 with two runs, two RBI, a walk, and a homer. 

Other Games: The Rockies beat the Brewers 8-4, and the Tulowitzki/Gonzalez duo homered for the second straight game. Justin Masterson and the Indians stymied RA Dickey and the Blue Jays, winning 4-1. The Cardinals scored five late runs en route to a 6-1 win over the Diamondbacks, but the real story was a fan letting his girlfriend get hit in the face with a home run.

What You Missed: Phillies catcher Erik Kratz is shilling turkey bacon, and their AA team will have live ostrich mascots this year. Robinson Cano has fired Scott Boras, and replaced him with…Jay-Z?! Finally, in Ian Casselberry's TOC debut, he looked at Bryce Harper and his potential as an MVP candidate this year.

Today's Games: For the first time all year, all 30 teams will be playing. Unfortunately, there are only three day games, with the Ervin Santana-JAke Peavy duel in Chicago being the best of the three, though Anibal Sanchez does start for the Tigers in Minnesota. Roy Halladay makes his awaited season debut in Atlanta, and all eyes will be on his velocity. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals against the Marlins. Edwin Jackson takes on Wandy Rodriguez in Pittsburg, which could be a sneaky good matchup. Clay Buchholz and Hiroki Kuroda will go at it in the Bronx, and hopefully the game doesn't take four hours this time. Matt Harvey starts for the Mets against the Padres. Ubaldo Jimenez takes on Brandon Morrow in Toronto. Brandon McCarthy makes his NL debut against the Cardinals. Tim Lincecum starts for the Giants in LA against Josh Beckett.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.

Dugout Digest – so close, yet so far

DugoutDigest

All but two of the nine games on the MLB slate yesterday ended up with a one or two run deficit. The exceptions happened in Detroit, which was a one run game until the Tigers scored four runs in the final two innings, and in Chicago, where the Cubs beat up on the Brewers. Through a week of play, five players have at least three saves, including league leader Javy Guerra with a stunning five. The Dodgers are 6-1, and all but one of their games has been a save situation for Guerra, who’s loocked all of the games up. He’s struck out five batters in five innings, only allowing one hit and one walk. Another closer in the NL West, JJ Putz, has four saves, but unlike Guerra, he’s allowed a run. Meanwhile, last year’s save king Craig Kimbrel has just two so far, as does the highest paid closer in baseball, Jonathan Papelbon. Over in the AL, two of the more maligned closers in the league, Brandon League and Fernando Rodney, each lead the league with three. Ah, April baseball. Isn’t it great?

Game of the Night: Twins 10, Angels 9. The Angels took a 5-0 lead after two, and after four and a half, it was 6-0. Then….the Twins started chipping away. A three run Joe Mauer homer in the fifth made it 6-3. In the seventh, Josh Willingham hit a solo homer and the Twins got a couple more to make it 6-6. The Angels regained the lead in the eighth, but the Twins battled right back, taking the lead on a mammoth homer from Justin Morneau, and adding three more in the inning. Not to be undone, the Angels got two in the ninth off of Twins closer Matt Capps, but fell short in their comeback attempt. The Angels bullpen allowed seven runs on 11 hits in three innings, which was their major undoing at the end of the day. It could have been a lot worse though, as the Twins stranded 13 runners. It’s a shocking series loss for the Angels in Minnesota, as the Twins were just coming off of a sweep at the hands of the Orioles.

Pitching Line of the Night: Two guys dominated the lines last night. Matt Garza fell one out shy of a complete game shutout, but after his departure, the Cubs still finished. Garza went 8 2/3, allowed just three hits and two walks, and struck out nine in the process. The expected pitchers duel with Zack Greinke fell short of expectations after the Cubs shelled Greinke, but at least Garza lived up to his expectations. Meanwhile in Washington, Gio Gonzalez’s home debut went swimmingly for the Nationals. He threw seven shutout innings, allowed only two hits, and struck out seven without a walk. Brad Lidge blew the save in the ninth though, but the Nats won in the tenth on a walkoff wild pitch.

Hitting Line of the Night: Michael Young of the Rangers went 3/4 with a homer and four RBI. In Minnesota, Joe Mauer went 3/5 with three RBI and a homer, while Denard Span went 4/5 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base.

Spotlight Series: The Tigers took the series against the Rays with a hard fought 7-2 victory, but based on the events of Wednesday, they should have had the sweep. At any rate, starters Jeff Niemann and Drew Smyly were done after five (four for Smyly), and it became a battle of the bullpens as the game sat at 3-1 after five. Evan Longoria singled in a run off of Brayan Villarreal to make it 3-2 in the seventh, but the Rays imploded, with Wade Davis allowing a two run single to Brennan Boesch in the seventh, and Joel Peralta allowing an RBI triple to Alex Avila in the eighth, and then bringing Avila to the plate on a wild pitch. Niemann actually pitched a lot better than I thought and held his own until the fifth, when the Tigers got their two runs off of him. This series was a huge boost for the Tigers, but also exposed flaws in their bullpen that were initially discovered last weekend against the Red Sox.

Other Games: Derek Holland had a strong start and powered the Rangers to a 5-2 win over the Mariners. Madison Bumgarner and the Giants beat the Rockies despite Brian Wilson’s best efforts in the ninth inning. Joe Blanton outdueled Mark Buerhle as the Phillies beat the Marlins 3-1. Ian Kennedy struck out nine, and Arizona beat San Diego 3-1. The Dodgers got three in the first, and that was enough to give them a 3-2 win over the Pirates.

Today’s Games: In St Louis’s home opener, they’ll send Adam Wainwright to the hill against Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs.. Ervin Santana and Hiroki Kuroda duel in Yankee Stadium’s opener. Fenway Park opens up with David Price of the Rays taking on Josh Beckett. Nothing else really jumps out as me as a great matchup, but Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Brandon Morrow, Matt Cain, and Jordan Zimmermann are all in action for their respective teams.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.

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