Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Digest – let’s crown the Orioles

I only have one thing to say about the Baltimore Orioles – they’re an incredibly good baseball team. This isn’t the Orioles team of 2012 that won 93 games and won one of the AL’s Wild Card berths with a measly +7 run differential. This is probably the second best team in all of baseball. They didn’t look that way on June 1st – the club was 27-27 with a -11 run differential, and were 4.5 games back of the first place Blue Jays in the AL East. In the three months since then, Baltimore is an incredible 52-29, better than any team in baseball aside from the Angels. They’ve outscored their opponents by 89 runs in those 81 games, and picked up an unreal 15 games on the Jays over that time period, relegating Toronto to a fight for second with the Yankees. The Orioles have one of the three best offenses in the American League (along with the Tigers and Angels), one of the best bullpens in baseball, and are one of the best fielding teams in all of baseball as well. Camden Yards is going to be rocking in October, and it’s not going to be because of the Ravens games next door – Orioles magic may take over all of baseball.

Game of the Day: Mets 6, Phillies 5. Turn down for what? These two teams battling to stay out of the NL East baseball traded blows like they had a lot more to play for. The Mets took a 2-1 lead, and the Phillies tied it at two in the sixth thanks a Ryan Howard solo homer. New York promptly made it 5-2 following a three-run homer by Anthony Recker, and the Phillies continued to fight back, scoring runs in the seventh and eighth innings to cut the lead to 5-4. In the eighth, the Mets took a two-run lead once again after an RBI single by rookie Dilson Herrera, and Jenrry Mejia came in to close the game out in the ninth. And of course, Mejia struggled. He started by allowing a single to Jimmy Rollins, and then hit Chase Utley to bring the go-ahead run to the dish in the form of Howard. Howard grounded into a double play to take the Mets to the brink of victory, but Grady Sizemore singled in Rollins to make it 6-5 and keep Flushing sweating. But Mejia then got Domonic Brown to ground out and end the game, finishing the game and series in favor of the Mets.

Pitching Lines of the Day: Clay Buchholz threw a complete game shutout in Boston’s 3-0 win over the Rays, allowing three hits while striking out six hitters and walking none. In Atlanta’s 1-0 win over Miami, Alex Wood gave up five hits over eight scoreless frames, punching out a dozen without a walk. Matt Shoemaker pitched the Angels to an 8-1 win and a four game sweep over the A’s, giving up five hits in seven shutout frames, striking out eight and walking none. Hyun-Jin Ryu returned from the DL with a vengeance in the Dodgers’ 7-1 win over the Padres, allowing one run on four hits over seven innings, striking out seven without a walk. T.J. House allowed one run on five hits in seven innings for the Indians, striking out five without a walk, but rain suspended the end of Cleveland’s game with Kansas City with the Tribe leading 4-2 in the bottom of the tenth.

Hitting Lines of the Day: In the Giants’ 15-5 thrashing of the Brewers, Pablo Sandoval went 3/4 with a triple, a homer, three runs, three RBI, and a walk, and Hunter Pence went 4/5 with two doubles, a triple, three runs, and two RBI. Matt Holliday helped the Cardinals beat the Cubs 9-6, going 3/4 with a double, a homer, two runs, and four RBI. In Washington’s 5-3 loss to Seattle, Bryce Harper went 3/4 with a pair of solo homers. Brett Gardner shined for the Yankees in their 4-3 loss in Toronto, going 3/5 with a double, a triple, a solo homer, and two runs scored. Chris Heisey helped the Reds to a 3-2 win over the Pirates, going 2/4 with two homers and three RBI. In the Phillies’ loss to the Mets, Domonic Brown went 4/5 with a double and a solo homer. Ryan Flaherty shined for the Orioles in their 12-8 win over the Twins, going 2/5 with a triple, a homer, two runs, and three RBI.

Other Games: The White Sox beat the Tigers 6-2, thanks in large part to four Detroit errors that led to three unearned runs. The Astros edged the Rangers 3-2. The Diamondbacks prevailed over the Rockies 6-2.

Today’s Games: Cole Hamels and Julio Teheran will duel in Atlanta. Drew Smyly and the Rays host the Red Sox. Zack Wheeler and Henderson Alvarez will battle in Miami. Lance Lynn and the Cardinals host Gerrit Cole and the Pirates. David Price and Corey Kluber will tango in Cleveland. Tyson Ross and the Padres take on the Diamondbacks. Tim Hudson and the Giants battle the Rockies. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals in Los Angeles. Yordano Ventura and the Royals take on the Rangers.

National TV: Phillies-Braves (1 PM, ESPN), Tigers-Indians (4 PM, ESPN), Nationals-Dodgers (8 PM, MLB Network), Rangers-Royals (8 PM, MLB Network)

Enjoy your day of baseball, and happy Labor Day, everyone.

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.