The National League is a mess. It’s a complete and utter mess. Tomorrow, we’re going to enter the final month of the 2014 season, and we still don’t know much of anything in the Senior Circuit. Well, I’ll say this with some degree of confidence – the Nationals will win the NL East. But aside from that? It’s a crap shoot. The Brewers only have a one game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central, and are just two games up on the Pirates. The Dodgers have seen their NL West lead whittled to 2.5 games over the Giants. The Giants are currently the top Wild Card in the NL, and they lead the Cardinals by just a game for that position. The Pirates are a game behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot, and the Braves trail St. Louis by 1.5 games. These six teams are going to be battling for four playoff spots down the stretch, and it’s looking more and more like two very good teams are going to get screwed.
Game of the Night: Indians 3, Royals 2 (11 innings). Trevor Bauer and James Shields pitched quite well to begin this affair, and when both pitchers exited (Bauer in the sixth, Shields after seven), the Tribe held a 1-0 lead. Then, a disastrous eighth inning robbed Cleveland of their lead. Scott Atchison walked Alex Gordon to start the inning, and Billy Butler reached on a throwing error by Atchison. Pinch runner Jarrod Dyson stole second to put men on second and third with none out, but Atchison struck out Sal Perez before ceding the mound to Nick Hagadone. Hagadone intentionally walked Erik Kratz to load the bases, and he was immediately replaced on the hill by C.C. Lee. Lee seemingly got a double play grounder from Lorenzo Cain, but Cain safely reached and Gordon scored to tie the game at one. Then, Mark Rzepczynski replaced Lee and got Mike Moustakas to ground out to end the threat. We moved into extras, and Kansas City quickly loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the tenth, but Josh Tomlin got a fielder’s choice and a strikeout to end the frame. In the 11th, Jose Ramirez led off with a triple, and Michael Brantley singled him in to make it 2-1. Brantley then stole second, moved to third on a throwing error by Perez, and scored on a Carlos Santana single to make it 3-1. Tomlin got the first two outs quickly in the bottom of the inning, but Dyson singled, moved to second on fielder’s indifference, and scored on a double by Perez. But Perez would die at second, as Tomlin struck out Kratz to end the game and move the Indians to 3.5 games back of the AL Central lead.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Good pitching Saturday is upon us! Aren’t you excited? We had 22 quality starts on Saturday, and five other pitchers only fell short based on the six inning minimum. I’m not even going to list everyone off – just know that it was damn near impossible for your team to have a bad start today. Hell, Max Scherzer struck out 11, and his game score was one of the worst of the day!
Scott Feldman threw a complete game shutout in Houston’s 2-0 win over the Rangers, allowing three hits, one walk, and striking out five. In Toronto’s 2-0 win over the Yankees, Drew Hutchison gave up just one hit in seven shutout innings, walking a pair and striking out nine. Jake Peavy flirted with a no-hitter in the Giants’ 3-1 win over the Brewers, finishing by allowing one hit in 7 2/3 shutout innings, walking three and punching out eight. Vidal Nuno pitched well for the Diamondbacks in their 2-0 loss to the Rockies, giving up one run on two hits in eight innings, striking out seven without a walk. Tyler Matzek tossed seven shutout innings for Colorado in the win, allowing three hits, three walks, and punching out four.
Jake Odorizzi dominated the Red Sox in Tampa Bay’s 7-0 win, giving up one hit over seven scoreless frames, walking three and striking out seven. In Oakland’s 2-0 loss to the Angels, Jeff Samardzija threw a complete game, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, punching out nine without a walk. Zack Greinke shined in the Dodgers’ 2-1, ten inning loss to the Padres, giving up one run on four hits in eight innings, walking a pair and striking out eight. Ian Kennedy allowed one run on four hits in seven innings in the win for San Diego, walking three and striking out eight. In Washington’s 3-1 win over Seattle, Stephen Strasburg gave up one run on six hits in 7 2/3 innings, punching out eight without a walk.
Hitting Lines of the Night: The Cubs and Cardinals split a doubleheader. In Chicago’s 5-1 game one win, Logan Watkins went 2/3 with a solo homer and two runs scored. In the Cardinals’ 13-2 thrashing, Matt Holliday went 2/3 with a pair of homers, five RBI, and a walk. Donovan Solano helped the Marlins beat the Braves 4-0, going 3/5 with a solo homer and two RBI. Baltimore topped Minnesota 3-2 thanks to Jimmy Paredes going 2/4 with a double, a homer, and two RBI. The Tigers and White Sox also split a doubleheader, with Victor Martinez going 2/4 with a homer and two RBI in Detroit’s 6-3, game one loss. In their 8-4, game two win, Ian Kinsler went 3/5 with a run and three RBI for the Tigers, while Ezequiel Carrera went 3/4 with a double, two runs, and two stolen bases.
Other Games: The Pirates edged the Reds 3-2. The Phillies topped the Mets 7-2.
Today’s Games: Brandon McCarthy starts for the Yankees in Toronto. A.J. Burnett and Dillon Gee square off in Flushing. Francisco Liriano and the Pirates host Johnny Cueto and the Reds. Wei-Yin Chen gets the nod for the Orioles against the Twins. Alex Cobb and the Rays take on Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox. Rick Porcello and Jose Quintana will square off on the South Side. Dallas Keuchel and the Astros take on the Rangers. Scott Kazmir and the A’s look to avoid a four game sweep in Anaheim. Hyun-Jin Ryu returns for the Dodgers to take on the Padres. Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Nationals. Nate Eovaldi and Alex Wood will face off in Atlanta. Danny Duffy and the Royals battle the Indians.
National TV: Tigers-White Sox (2 PM, TBS), Indians-Royals (8 PM, ESPN2)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.