If there were still questions as to whether or not Justin Verlander is still JUSTIN…VERLANDER, I think those questions were answered on Monday night in Detroit. Verlander pitched relatively well through the first three innings of his start against the Royals, allowing one hit, one walk, and plunking one hitter through his first three innings of work. In the fourth, Verlander allowed three hits, but escaped unscathed after a double play. The wheels began to fall off in the fifth. Verlander allowed five straight hits after getting the first out of the inning, and four of those hitters scored. It should have been worse, but a two-out single by Sal Perez resulted in the lead-footed Billy Butler getting thrown out at the plate. In the sixth, the bandwagon caught on fire after a lead off double by Lorenzo Cain, a two-out walk by Nori Aoki, and a two-run homer by Omar Infante. For the evening, Verlander allowed a whopping seven runs on 12 hits in six innings, walking a pair and only striking out two. It’s Verlander’s second straight start of at least seven earned runs, and his sixth of at least five earned this year. That two strikeouts isn’t even a season-low, though – he punched out just one hitter on May 25th against the Rangers. How sad.
Game of the Night: Rays 5, Orioles 4. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the Rays are *hot*, but they have won four out of five, and close out the month with a total of six games with the Orioles, four with the Astros, and three with the Pirates. Anyway, with Tampa Bay clinging to a 3-2 lead in the eighth, things got a little hairy. Grant Balfour allowed a pair of singles to start the inning, and after an Adam Jones fly out, he was replaced on the hill by Jake McGee. McGee walked Chris Davis and then allowed a game-tying infield single to Nelson Cruz of all people. After getting out of the inning, Tampa struck back in the bottom of the inning. Darren O’Day walked Evan Longoria to lead off the inning, and promptly got the next two outs. Brian Matusz replaced O’Day on the hill, and immediately allowed a go-ahead, two-run homer to pinch hitter Jerry Sands. Juan Oviedo came in for the save in the ninth, and made it interesting by allowing a one-out solo homer to Delmon Young, cutting the lead to 5-4. But Oviedo got pop-ups from Nick Markakis and Manny Machado to end the game, giving the Rays a hard-fought win.
Pitching Lines of the Night: The Phillies ended up beating the Braves 6-1 in 13 innings, but for the first chunk of the game, Julio Teheran and Cole Hamels were dominant. Teheran allowed one run on four hits in eight innings, striking out six without a walk, while Hamels tossed seven shutout innings while allowing five hits, two walks, and striking out six. Rubby de la Rosa pitched the Red Sox to a 1-0 win over the Twins, giving up one hit in seven shutout innings, walking three and striking out three. Chris Young and the Mariners beat the Padres 5-1, with Young allowing four hits over six scoreless frames, striking out six and walking one. Hyun-Jin Ryu was excellent for the Dodgers in their 6-1 victory over the Rockies, allowing one run on three hits in six innings, walking one while punching out six.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In Texas’ 14-8 win over Oakland, Donnie Murphy went 2/4 with two homers and three RBI, while Robinson Chirinos went 3/5 with a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Starlin Castro and the Cubs beat the Marlins 5-4 in 13 innings, going 3/6 with a three-run homer. Omar Infante played well for Kansas City in their win in Detroit, going 2/5 with a homer, two runs, and four RBI. Dee Gordon had a great night for the Dodgers in their win over the Rockies, going a perfect 4/4 with a triple, two runs, and a walk.
Other Games: The Indians edged the Angels 4-3. The Cardinals topped the Mets 6-2. The Brewers used six late runs to beat the Diamondbacks 9-3.
Today’s Games: Josh Tomlin and the Indians host the Angels. Dallas Keuchel and Tanner Roark will face off in Washington. Johnny Cueto takes the hill for the Reds in Pittsburgh. Marcus Stroman and Masahiro Tanaka will duel in the Bronx. Yordano Ventura starts fr the Royals in Detroit against Max Scherzer. Ervin Santana and the Braves host the Phillies. Jeff Samardzija starts for the Cubs in Miami against newly called up Anthony DeSclafani. Jon Lester and the Red Sox take on an old rival with a new team – Phil Hughes and the Twins. Jon Niese and Michael Wacha will duel in St. Louis. Matt Cain starts for the Giants in Chicago. Kyle Lohse starts for the Brewers in Arizona. Zack Greinke and the Dodgers host the Rockies. Yu Darvish takes the hill for the Rangers in Oakland, trying to finally crack the puzzle of the Athletics.
National TV: Royals-Tigers (7 PM, MLB Network), Phillies-Braves (7 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.