What’s going on in the National League right now is crazy. On the morning of July 21st, all three divisions have a tie at the top of them. The Nationals and Braves are deadlocked in the NL East, the Brewers and Cardinals are tied in the NL Central, and the Dodgers and Giants are knotted up in the NL West. And the crazy part is that Wild Card is also looking like it’ll be a mess, as those six teams are separated by a total of one half game in the league standings. Throw in the Pirates and Reds, who are each above .500 and a sweep away from first place themselves, and you can go ahead and figure that this league isn’t going to be decided any time soon.
Game of the Day: Angels 6, Mariners 5. It didn’t look like the Angels were going to be able to take this series from Seattle. They fell into an early hole before coming back to tie the game up at three. In the seventh, the Mariners scored two more following a Mike Zunino RBI double and an Endy Chavez RBI single, but the Angels cut the deficit again after a single by Howie Kendrick. Lloyd McClendon went to Fernando Rodney in the eighth for a five out save, and the first two outs came quickly. But to lead off the ninth, Rodney walked Mike Trout and allowed a game-tying double to Albert Pujols. Josh Hamilton followed with a single, and Rodney intentionally walked Kendrick to load the bases. David Freese grounded into a double play to nearly push the game to extras, but after another intentional walk to Efren Navarro, Grant Green singled up the middle to score Hamilton and give the Angels the victory.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Jon Lester dominated the Royals in Boston’s 6-0 win, allowing four hits over eight shutout innings, walking two and punching out eight. Padres rookie Odrisamer Despaigne pitched very well in San Diego’s 2-1 win over the Mets, giving up one run on two hits in 7 2/3 innings, walking three while striking out five. Hiroki Kuroda pitched the Yankees past the Reds 3-2, allowing one unearned run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking a pair and punching out six. Sonny Gray crushed in Oakland’s 10-2 win over Baltimore, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight and walking two. Alex Wood and the Braves topped the Phillies 8-2, with Wood allowing one run on three hits in six innings, walking none and striking out eight.
Hitting Lines of the Day: In Houston’s 11-7 win over the White Sox, Matt Dominguez went 3/5 with a double, a homer, two runs, and four RBI. Melky Cabrera played very well in Toronto’s 9-6 win over Texas, going 3/5 with a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Jacoby Ellsbury had a perfect day in the Yankees’ win over the Reds, going 4/4 with a double, a run, an RBI, a walk, and two stolen bases. Neil Walker helped the Pirates to a 5-3 win over the Rockies, going 3/4 with a homer and two runs scored. In the Angels’ win over the Mariners, Kole Calhoun went 3/5 with a homer and wo runs scored, while Mike Trout went 2/4 with a homer, three runs, and a walk.
Other Games: The Marlins edged the Giants 3-2. The Tigers prevented a sweep, beating the Indians 5-1. The Nationals walked off on the Brewers 5-4. The Rays topped the Twins 5-3. The Diamondbacks slipped by the Cubs 3-2. The Dodgers prevailed over the Cardinals 4-3.
Today’s Games: Cliff Lee returns from the DL as the Phillies host the Giants. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers in Pittsburgh. Julio Teheran and the Braves take on the Marlins. Chris Sale gets the nod for the White Sox against the Royals. Mat Latos and Wily Peralta will duel in Milwaukee. Doug Fister starts for the Nationals in Denver. Justin Verlander takes the hill for the Tigers in Phoenix. Jon Niese and the Mets take on the Mariners.
National TV: Rangers-Yankees (7 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.