Earlier this week, I touched upon the “Battle of Texas”between the Astros and Rangers. Houston swept the series, and by virtue of that, moved ahead of the Rangers by a mere percentage point in the AL West standings. The Rangers, determined to show that they really are worse than the Astros, then went out and got thrashed 15-6 by the Angels on Thursday night, solidly giving them baseball’s worst record. Texas has a team record $133 million payroll this year, and their ineptitude is staggering. The club not only has the worst record in baseball, but they also have the worst run differential in baseball at a staggering -99, 26 runs worse than Houston’s -73 mark. You can’t even use the excuse “things are looking up”, because the Rangers are just 1-0 so far in July and a ghastly 3-19 since beat the A’s 14-8 to improve to 35-35 on June 16th, getting outscored by a mind-numbing 65 runs during that stretch. Needless to say, this season has been a disaster for the Rangers.
Game of the Night: Red Sox 4, White Sox 3 (ten innings). Boston put a three-spot on the board in the sixth against a dominant Jose Quintana, and looked to be cruising to a victory in this one. But in the top of the ninth, Koji Uehara made a mistake. After allowing an infield single to Alexei Ramirez and punching out Paul Konerko, Uehara let Conor Gillaspie wrap a homer around Pesky’s Pole in right to tie the game at three. After a 1-2-3 ninth for Chicago’s pitching staff, we went into extras, and the Red Sox pounced in the bottom of the tenth. Ronald Belisario walked Daniel Nava to lead off the inning, and then intentionally walked Stephen Drew following a Mookie Betts sac bunt. Pinch hitter Mike Carp then stepped in and singled home Nava to give the Red Sox the victory.
Pitching Lines of the Day: The Dodgers topped the Padres 2-1, and although Clayton Kershaw lost his scoreless innings streak on a solo homer by Chase Headley, he still threw a complete game and allowed just that one run on three hits, punching out 11 and walking one. Scott Kazmir dominated the Giants in a 6-1 A’s win, tossing seven shutout innings while allowing three hits, walking one and punching out nine. Edinson Volquez and the Pirates topped the Cardinals 9-1, with Volquez tossing a complete game and giving up one run on six hits, walking a pair and striking out five. In Boston’s win over the White Sox, Jon Lester allowed one run on seven hits in seven innings, punching out a dozen without a walk. David Buchanan had a nice starts for the Phillies in their 9-1 win over the Brewers, giving up one run on four hits in seven innings, walking one while striking out five.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In the Angels’ smashing of the Rangers, Mike Trout went 4/5 with a homer, three runs, and four RBI. Teammate Kole Calhoun helped out by also going 4/5 with a double, a triple, four runs, and an RBI. Josh Hamilton also chipped in by going 3/5 with three doubles, two runs, and two RBI. In the loss, Rangers rookie Jake Smolinski went 3/4 with two doubles, two runs, and three RBI. The Cubs beat the Reds 6-4 in 12 innings thanks to rookie Arismandy Alcantara going 4/5 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and a triple. In Detroit’s 16-4 win in Kansas City, Torii Hunter went 3/6 with a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Ryan Howard showed a pulse in Philly’s win over Milwaukee, going 2/5 with a double, a homer, two runs, and three RBI.
Other Games: The Braves beat the Mets 3-1 to evade a four game sweep. The Orioles beat Washington 4-3, sending the Nats into a tie at the top of the NL East with Atlanta. The Indians scored nine late runs to beat the Yankees 9-3. The Twins beat the Mariners 4-2.
Today’s Games: Jake Arrieta and the Cubs host Alex Wood and the Braves. Hiroki Kuroda starts for the Yankees in Baltimore. Corey Kluber and the Indians host the White Sox. Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals take on A.J. Burnett and the Phillies. Mark Buehrle starts for the Blue Jays against Chris Archer and the Rays. Mat Latos and the Reds host Jeff Locke and the Pirates. Henderson Alvarez and Zack Wheeler will duel in Flushing. Garrett Richards starts for the Angels against the Rangers. Joe Kelly makes his return for the Cardinals against Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers. Anibal Sanchez starts for the Tigers in Kansas City against Danny Duffy and the Royals. Dan Haren and the Dodgers host the Padres. Tim Lincecum and the Giants welcome the Diamondbacks to San Francisco. Jeff Samardzija and the A’s take on Felix Hernandez and the Mariners.
National TV: Braves-Cubs (4 PM, MLB Network), Cardinals-Brewers (8 PM, MLB Network), Angels-Rangers (8 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.