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Dugout Digest – blowing up the champs

By the end of the weekend, we’ll known whether or not it’s time to blow up the World Champion Red Sox to some degree. After losing to the Rays on Friday night, Boston fell three games behind Tampa Bay for fourth place in the AL East. They’re 7.5 games back of the Yankees (yes, the Yankees and not the Mariners) for the second Wild Card spot in the American League. They have a better record and run differential than just three teams in the AL this year – the Twins (by only half a game and three runs), the Astros, and the Rangers. And this isn’t some sort of “league” issue either – the Red Sox would be in fourth in the NL East, and would be eight games back of the second Wild Card leading Braves if they were in the senior circuit. Maybe it’s time to start a new era in Boston right about now.

Game of the Night: Mets 3, Brewers 2. I think you can trace a lot of Milwaukee’s recent struggles to their closer, veteran Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod has been pretty bad as of late, and he simply added to those negative vibes on Friday. The Brewers gave Rodriguez a 2-0 lead in the ninth on Friday, and he promptly started the inning by allowing a double to Daniel Murphy. After David Wright singled Murphy in to make it 2-1, Lucas Duda followed up by smashing a two-run homer, putting the Mets ahead 3-2. K-Rod allowed another single before getting his three outs in succession, but the damage was already done. Jonathan Lucroy walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but wouldn’t move from first base after Jenrry Mejia struck out the next three hitters in order to end the game.

Pitching Lines of the Night: In that Brewers loss to the Mets, Yovani Gallardo gave up four hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings, walking none and punching out eight. For the Mets in their victory, Zack Wheeler allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out nine while walking a pair. Zack Greinke dominated the Giants in the Dodgers’ 8-1 win, giving up four hits in seven scoreless frames, walking one and punching out ten. Brad Hand had a nice start for the Marlins in their 2-0 victory in Houston, allowing three hits over 7 1/3 shutout innings, walking a pair and striking out four. Felix Hernandez was Felix-like in Seattle’s 2-1, ten inning loss to Baltimore, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out ten without a walk. Tanner Roark pitched well for the Nationals in their 4-1 win over the Reds, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings, punching out six and walking one.

Hitting Lines of the Night: The Yankees topped the Blue Jays 6-4, but Jose Bautista went 3/4 with a double, two homers, and four RBI. In that Dodgers win in San Francisco, Yasiel Puig went 4/5 with a double, THREE triples, two runs, and two RBI. Carlos Santana had a nice game for the Indians in their 6-4 loss to the Royals, going 2/3 with two homers, three RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. In the win for the Royals, Sal Perez went 3/4 with a homer and two runs scored. Domonic Brown had a rare nice night in Philadelphia’s 9-5 win over Arizona, going 2/4 with a double, a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Tyler Flowers helped the White Sox beat the Twins 9-5, going 3/5 with a double and a solo homer. Ryan Sweeney started the good vibes for Chicago in the Cubs’ 7-6 win over the Cardinals, going 2/4 with a homer and four RBI.

Other Games: The Rays beat the Red Sox 6-4. The Padres topped the Braves 5-2. The Rangers beat the A’s 4-1. The Rockies used a seven run seventh to beat the Pirates 7-1. The Angels edged the Tigers 2-1.

Today’s Games: Jake Arrieta and the Cubs host the Cardinals and Shelby Miller, already back from his bullpen exodus.  Gio Gonzalez and Johnny Cueto will square off in Cincinnati. Julio Teheran and the Braves host Odrismer Despaigne and the Padres. Cliff Lee starts for the Phillies against the Diamondbacks. Chris Sale gets the nod for the White Sox in Minnesota. Jon Niese and Wily Peralta will duel in Milwaukee. Sonny Gray takes the hill for hte A’s in Texas. Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers in San Francisco. Justin Verlander and the Tigers take on the Angels.

National TV: Blue Jays-Yankees (1 PM, MLB Network), Nationals-Reds (4 PM, Fox Sports 1), Indians-Royals (7 PM, Fox Sports 1), Dodgers-Giants (JIP at 10 PM, MLB Network), Pirates-Rockies (JIP at 10 PM, MLB Network)

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.