Just one short week ago, the Milwaukee Brewers were cruising along with the largest division lead in baseball. The Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates were 6.5, 7, and 7 games behind the Brewers in the standings, and it looked like Milwaukee would be able to feast on a weak schedule and go into the All-Star Break with a hefty lead. Of course, that didn’t go according to plan. The Brewers are currently stuck in a 1-8 tailspin, and have dropped series to the Blue Jays, Reds, and Phillies, with one more left against Philadelphia today and three against the Cardinals this weekend. Meanwhile, since an embarrassing sweep in San Diego, the Reds have taken two out of three from the Brewers and are one win away from completing a rare five game sweep of the Cubs. Those Cardinals are also getting hot, taking two out of three in San Francisco, losing a series with Miami, and taking three in a row from the Pirates. All of a sudden, Milwaukee is just two games up on St. Louis, 2.5 up on Cincinnati, and 4.5 up on Pittsburgh. There’s even a chance that the Brewers could go into the All-Star Break out of first place, something that seemed inconceivable a week ago. But hey, that’s why baseball is so great.
Game of the Day: Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 3 (ten innings). This game went off the rails at the end. Miami led this one 1-0 going into the bottom of the eighth, and Nate Eovaldi gave up the tying run after a Didi Gregorius triple and a Nick Ahmed single. Mike Dunn nearly gave up the go ahead runs, but got out of the mess with no further damage. After a quiet ninth, we moved into the tenth. Brad Ziegler allowed a lead off single to Adeiny Hechavarria, and after a sac bunt, strikeout, and intentional walk, Donovan Solano hit a two-run double to put Miami back in front 3-1. The typically dependable Steve Cishek came in to close the game out, and was awful. First, he allowed a single to Aaron Hill, and followed that up by walking Ender Inciarte. Cishek then gave up a single to David Peralta, scoring Hill to make it a 3-2 game. Paul Goldschmidt then strode to the plate with men on the corners, and smashed a double to left, scoring Inciarte and Peralta to end the game with Cishek not even retiring a batter during his save opportunity.
Pitching Lines of the Night: The White Sox blew a 4-0 lead in their 5-4 loss to the Red Sox, but Chris Sale allowed one run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings, punching out six without a walk – don’t blame him for this mess. In Philadelphia’s 4-1 win over Milwaukee, Roberto Hernandez gave up one run on three hits in eight innings, walking a pair and striking out three. Max Scherzer dominated the Dodgers in Detroit’s 4-1 win, giving up one run on four hits in seven innings, punching out seven while walking two. Alfredo Simon pushed the Reds to a 4-1 win over the Cubs, allowing one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking a pair and striking out eight. In Miami’s loss to Arizona, Nate Eovaldi gave up one run on four hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out two.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Tampa Bay lost a heartbreaker to Kansas City 5-4, but Kevin Kiermaier stayed hot, going 4/4 with a grand slam. In Houston’s 8-4 win over Texas, Robbie Grossman went 4/5 with a double, a homer, two runs, and two RBI. Mark Teixeira helped the Yankees beat the Indians 5-4 in 14 innings, going 2/6 with two homers and three RBI. Jacoby Ellsbury pitched in by going 3/7 with a double, a homer, and two runs scored. In Colorado’s 6-3 win over San Diego, Troy Tulowitzki went 2/4 with a pair of solo homers. Jayson Werth helped the Nationals beat the Orioles 6-2, going 2/3 with a double, a homer, two runs, two RBI, and a walk.
Other Games: The Mets beat the Braves 4-1. The Angels edged the Blue Jays 8-7. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 5-2. The Twins smashed the Mariners 8-1. The Giants beat the A’s 5-2.
Today’s Games: Homer Bailey and the Reds host the Cubs and rookie Kyle Hendricks in his first career start. Matt Garza and the Brewers host the Phillies. Scott Kazmir and Tim Hudson will duel in San Francisco. Jon Lester and the Red Sox take on Jose Quintana and the Red Sox. Bartolo Colon and the Mets host the Braves. Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers against the Padres. There isn’t much in the way of elite pitching tomorrow.
National TV: Athletics-Giants (3:30 PM, MLB Network), White Sox-Red Sox (4 PM, MLB Network), Angels-Rangers (8 PM, MLB Network), Tigers-Royals (8 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.