You might be hearing a common theme when talking about the AL East, one that completely sells the Baltimore Orioles short. The narrative surrounding the division is that “it’s just not that good”, which seems to infer that Baltimore is just lucky, or whatever. Quite frankly, that’s a load of crap – the AL East “stinks” because the Orioles are kicking the tar out of the rest of the division. The O’s are 30-19 against their division rivals, which is good for a .612 winning percentage. The only team with a better mark than that against their own division is the Dodgers, who are lucky enough to have two of baseball’s three worst teams occupying the NL West. Talk about the AL East however you want, but please realize that the leaders are quite a good team – they have a winning record against every team in their division, and also haev a winning record for the year against playoff contenders Washington, St. Louis, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Anaheim. There’s no magic with the Orioles this year, this is just a great team that is running away with a division that has traditionally been one of the best in baseball.
Game of the Night: Pirates 3, Braves 2. Oh, did Pittsburgh ever need *this* one. Alex Wood chewed up the Pirates offense and spit it out through the first seven innings, allowing just three baserunners, only one of which made it as far as second base – and he was picked off almost immediately. But in the eighth, things got hairy. Wood walked Gaby Sanchez to lead off the inning, and then allowed a ground rule double to Travis Snider, putting the tying run at second with none out. Jordan Walden replaced Wood, and Sanchez scored on a ground out b Chris Stewart to make it 2-1. Then, Walden allowed Snider to score after a wild pitch, knotting the contest at two runs apiece. Following a perfect ninth from Mark Melancon, Jordy Mercer led off the bottom of the inning with a single. He moved to third after Justin Upton misjudged a fly ball hit to left field by Starling Marte, and then scored after a sac fly by Sanchez. The win moved the Pirates back to a game behind the Braves in the NL Wild Card race and 2.5 back of the Giants, the current second Wild Card in the senior circuit.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Rick Porcello threw a complete game shutout for the Tigers in their 6-0 win over the Rays, allowing three hits and striking out four hitters without a walk. Lance Lynn shut down the Reds in the Cardinals’ 7-3 win, giving up four hits over seven scoreless frames, walking a pair and striking out five. In Washington’s 3-2, walk off win over Arizona, Tanner Roark tossed seven shutout innings, allowing five hits, walking one, and striking out two. And really, that’s about it for the dominant starts on Wednesday.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Victor Martinez went 2/3 with a double, a homer, a walk, and five RBI for the Tigers in their win over the Rays. In the Cubs’ 8-3 loss to the Giants, Luis Valbuena went 3/4 with a triple, a solo homer, and two runs scored. Marcell Ozuna went 2/4 with a double, a homer, two runs, and two RBI for the Marlins in their 5-4 loss to the Rangers. David Ortiz went a perfect 4/4 with a solo homer in Boston’s 8-3 loss to the Angels. Mike Aviles went 3/4 with a homer, two RBI, and a stolen base for the Indians in their 5-0 win over the Twins. Adam Jones helped the Orioles to a 4-3 win over the White Sox, going 3/4 with a solo homer and two runs scored.
Other Games: The Mets prevailed over the A’s 8-5. Toronto beat Milwaukee 9-5. The Phillies topped the Mariners 4-3. The Rockies beat the Royals 5-2. The Astros shut down the Yankees 5-2. The Padres beat the Dodgers 4-1.
Today’s Games: Dallas Keuchel and the Astros take on Brandon McCarthy and the Yankees. Corey Kluber starts for the Indians in Minnesota. David Price makes his first start in Tampa Bay in three weeks as his Tigers take on the Rays. Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals host the Diamondbacks. Julio Teheran and the Braves take on the Reds. Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants in game two of their quasi-doubleheader with the Cubs, which begins with the completion of their formerly rain-shortened game on Tuesday. Tyson Ross and Clayton Kershaw will battle in Los Angeles.
National TV: Tigers-Rays(1 PM, MLB Network), Astros-Yankees (1 PM, MLB Network), Braves-Reds (7 PM, MLB Network), Angels-Red Sox (7 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.