Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Digest – the Nationals are waking up

Washington has been in a state of mediocrity since last season. They were barely above .500 on September 1st before a strong final month made their year look respectable. This year, it was more of the same – through the first two months of the season, the Nationals were a sub-.500 team. But in June, the switch has been flicked. Washington is 7-2 this month, and their +30 run differential in June is better than any team in baseball. The club is also 4-1 on their current ten game road trip, with two games left in San Francisco and three remaining in St. Louis. That series with the Braves in two weekends is looking pretty huge at this point – even though Atlanta is 5-1 against their main Eastern division rival this season.

Game of the Night: Marlins 8, Rangers 5. Miami picked up their 13th win in a row against American League teams in wild fashion. After the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead, the Marlins scored the next four runs, with the big blow being a two-run Christian Yelich double in the fourth. But Texas fought back with a four spot of their own in the sixth, and just one ball left the infield that inning. The frame consisted of a hit batter, two walks, an infield single, a sac fly, a wild pitch, and one traditional single, with three pitchers combining to throw in the inning. But the Marlins didn’t take that lying down, and Yelich brought them back in front with a two-run single in the seventh. In the eighth, they put a bow on it after a Casey McGehee single (and a couple errors) and a double by Garrett Jones plated two more. The Marlins bullpen retired ten of the final 12 hitters they faced, and that was that for the game.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Brandon Workman slowly stuck his middle finger high up in the air towards his detractors during Boston’s 1-0 win over Baltimore, allowing one hit over 6 2/3 shutout innings, walking one and striking out four. Josh Beckett pushed the Dodgers to a 6-1 win over the Reds, tossing six shutout frames while giving up two hits, one walk, and punching out seven. In Anaheim’s 2-1, 14 inning win over Oakland, Hector Santiago allowed three hits over six scoreless frames, striking out eight while walking one. Jake Odorizzi pitched well for the Rays in their 1-0 loss to the Cardinals, giving up one run on three hits in 7 1/3 innings while walking one and striking out five.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Anthony Rizzo powered the Cubs to a 7-3 win over the Pirates, going 3/4 with two doubles, a homer, three runs, and three RBI. Evan Gattis helped the Falcons, er, Braves beat the Rockies 13-10, going 3/4 with a homer, four runs, two RBI, and a walk. Josh Rutledge helped out the Rockies by going 3/4 with a triple, three runs, and RBI, and a walk. In that Marlins win in Texas, Yelich went 4/6 with two doubles, a run, and four RBI. Collin Cowgill was the big hero in Anaheim’s win over Oakland, going 3/6 with a double and a walk off homer. Paul Goldschmidt helped the Diamondbacks beat the Astros 4-1, going 2/3 with a double, a homer, two runs scored, and a stolen base.

Other Games: Minnesota shut out Toronto 4-0. The Phillies beat the Padres 5-2 as Jonathan Papelbon picked up career save #300. The Royals stomped Corey Kluber and the Indians 9-5. The Mets beat the Brewers 6-2. The Nationals edged the Giants 2-1. The Yankees defeated the Mariners 3-2. The Tigers and White Sox fell victim to the rain.

Today’s Games: Phil Hughes gets the nod for the Twins in Toronto. Trevor Bauer and Yordano Ventura will duel in Kansas City. Rubby de la Rosa gets the nod for the Red Sox in Baltimore against Wei-Yin Chen. Tyson Ross and Cole Hamels will face off in Philly. Jason Hammel starts for the Cubs in Pittsburgh. Michael Wacha will take the hill for the Cardinals in St. Pete against the Rays. Hyun-Jin Ryu and Johnny Cueto are matched up in Cincinnati. Wily Peralta takes the hill for the Brewers in Flushing against Jacob deGrom and the Mets. Yu Darvish and the Rangers host the Marlins. Justin Verlander starts for the Tigers in Chicago against the White Sox. Dallas Keuchel and the Astros host Brandon McCarthy and the Diamondbacks. Julio Teheran starts for the Braves in Denver against Tyler Matzek in his major league debut. Matt Cain and the Giants will take on Tanner Roark and the Nationals. Jered Weaver and the Angels take on the A’s. Masahiro Tanaka starts for the Yankees in Seattle.

National TV: Twins-Blue Jays (12:30 PM, MLB Network), Red Sox-Orioles (7 PM, ESPN)

Enjoy your day of baseball, 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.