One of the most baffling things we’ve seen in the second half of the 2014 season is the San Diego Padres, who looked like a truly wretched team over the season’s first three months, playing competent baseball and actually making some rumbles in the National League playoff picture. Obviously, the Padres won’t be putting themselves into contention, but they can play spoiler down the stretch. Already in the second half, they’ve taken four out of seven from the Braves and two out of three from each of the Cardinals and Pirates. They’ve got four more with the Cardinals, starting today, three with the Brewers, seven with the Giants, and a whopping nine games against the NL West leading Dodgers. San Diego is 16-8 since the All-Star Break, and while I highly doubt they’ll keep up that pace, they can really ruin the lives of some contenders.
Game of the Night: Orioles 5, Yankees 3. Orioles Magic is alive and well in Baltimore, folks. Michael Pineda shut down the Orioles offense, allowing just one run over five innings, and Dellin Betances followed by coasting through the sixth and seventh innings. Then…things got hairy for the Yankees in the eighth. Jonathan Schoop tied the game at two with a solo homer off Betances. Shawn Kelley replaced him, and put both Nick Markakis and Chris Davis on base with two outs. That brought up Adam Jones, who launched a go-ahead three-run homer into the Baltimore evening to set the Charm City into a frenzy. Zach Britton actually struggled in the ninth, and brought the tying run to the plate twice. However, Chase Headley grounded out (bringing a run in to make it 5-3), and Stephen Drew grounded out himself to end the game and move the Orioles to 19 games over .500 and 7.5 games up on the Bronx Bombers in the AL East.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Jason Vargas tossed a complete game shutout in the Royals’ 3-0 win over the A’s, allowing three hits, walking none, and striking out four. Chris Archer dominated the Rangers in Tampa Bay’s 10-1 win, giving up one run on four hits in seven innings, punching out a dozen and walking a pair. Justin Masterson finally pitched well for the Cardinals in their 5-2 win in Miami, giving up three hits over seven scoreless frames, striking out three without a walk. Trevor Bauer laid waste to the Diamondbacks in Cleveland’s 3-2 win in game one of their doubleheader, allowing two runs on four hits in eight innings, walking a pair and striking out nine. Hisashi Iwakuma pitched the Mariners to a 2-0 win over the Blue Jays, giving up five hits over 6 2/3 scoreless frames, walking one and striking out five. Bartolo Colon pitched well for the Mets in their 3-2 loss to Washington, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking one.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Nick Castellanos helped the Tigers beat the Pirates 8-4, going 2/4 with a triple, a homer, and two RBI. Jedd Gyorko went 4/4 with two doubles and a run scored in San Diego’s 5-3 win over Colorado. Skip Schumaker went 3/4 with a solo homer in the Reds’ 5-4 loss to the Red Sox. Omar Infante went 2/3 with a homer, two RBI, and a walk for the Royals in their win over Oakland. Kendrys Morales went 2/3 with a homer, two RBI, and a walk in Seattle’s win over Toronto.
Other Games: The Twins beat the Astros 3-1. The Giants topped the White Sox 7-1 thanks in large part to the maligned collision rule. The Braves held on to beat the Dodgers 3-2. Arizona beat Cleveland 1-0 in 12 innings in game two of their doubleheader. The Cubs doubled up the Brewers 4-3. The Angels topped the Phillies 4-3.
Today’s Games: Max Scherzer and the Tigers host Francisco Liriano and the Pirates. Jeff Samardzija and James Shields will duel in Kansas City. Stephen Strasburg starts for the Nationals in Flushing against Dillon Gee and the Mets. Jake Odorizzi and the Rays take on the Rangers. John Lackey and the Cardinals host the Padres. Alfredo Simon and Jorge de la Rosa will duel in Denver.
National TV: Dodgers-Braves (12 PM, MLB Network), Pirates-Tigers (1 PM, MLB Network), Athletics-Royals (3 PM, MLB Network, local markets only), Nationals-Mets (7 PM, MLB Network), Diamondbacks-Marlins (7 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.