Indians 13, Rangers 9: This game was available in HD at Chez Shyster last night, but I didn't watch it. Sure, I tuned in to the beginning, but seeing how nice a night it was out, I decided to take a walk instead. I went a couple of miles down the country lane out of my little village, cut through a nearby cornfield, and spent some time watching the beautiful Midwestern sunset while throwing rocks in a pond. When I came back, I mixed Mrs. Shyster and I a couple of scotch and sodas, sat down, and watched an hour and a half documentary about Las Vegas. Then I got up, sat down at the computer and returned a couple of emails. I was pretty tired at this point, but for some reason I went back into the living room, flipped some channels, and I'll be damned if the game wasn't still going on. Know what? For as much as I love baseball, I think I made the right choices last night.
Braves 7, Marlins 5: Smoltz comes back and immediately blows his first save opportunity (1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER). It took a wild pitch by Marlins' closer Kevin Gregg in the bottom of the ninth to get him and the Braves off the hook, and a Yunel Escobar homer in the 10th won it for Atlanta. I told you I couldn't watch.
Phillies 5, Reds 4: Jay Bruce was awesome again (2-4, HR, RBI) but Chase Utley was awesomer (3-4, HR, 2 RBI), homering in his fifth straight game. I think Utley is fantastic and everything, but it's worth noting that 16 of his 21 home runs have come at home this year, and he's over .200 points of OPS better there too. Last year, it was 14 of 22 at home. It's not like Citizens Bank is Coors east -- Ryan Howard hits 'em out at a fairly even clip at home and on the road -- but Utley seems to be particularly fond of the joint.
In other news, Ken Griffey, Jr. gets a night off. My buddy Mark -- a raging Reds fan -- sat in my office yesterday afternoon musing that Griffey is the most famous zero-tools player of all time. "He can't throw. He can't get to any balls in right. He has no speed or base running skills at all. He can't catch up to anything, and while he's going to get to 600 homers eventually, he'll never see 610." While I'm not as pessimistic about Griffey as Mark is -- I'm not a Reds fan after all, so I'm not as invested -- I find myself hoping that he'll pull a Mike Schmidt and retire the morning after he hits 600. It'll be a nice round number. He'll be able to claim that he went out on his own terms, even if it's not entirely true. His Hall of Fame case and legacy will be unchanged no matter what he does, and by bowing out midseason it will spare him and everybody else the spectacle of a sympathy trade to Seattle later this year when he'll be talked up as a solution to their DH problems, but in reality will be nothing more than a sideshow freak. C'mon Ken. Do it. Hit 600 and ride off into the sunset!
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: It might have been a good night for one of those two-inning saves from Papelbon. As it was, Okajima coughed up four in the eighth and it was good night Irene.
Twins 6, Yankees 5: Livan Hernandez gives up 13 hits and a walk and the Yankees only score five runs off of him. Meanwhile, the Farnsworth-pitches-the-eighth-inning plan has begun without a hitch (1 IP, 3 H, BB, 1 ER, bacon saved by a caught stealing, but gets the loss anyway). All I know is, Joba had better pitch well tonight or else there will be a lot of second guessing in the New York papers. Wait, what am I saying? Joba could pitch a 27 strikeout perfect game and there would be a lot of second guessing. This is New York we're talking about.
Pirates 5, Cardinals 4: 57 games into the season, and Pittsburgh is sitting at 27-30. That's three games better than they were at this point last year. It's six games better than they were at this point in 2006. Do you know what that means? It means that by 2011 the Pirates stand a decent statistical chance of leading the division 57 games into the season!
Brewers 4, Diamondbacks 3: Dre -- I know they lost, but I don't want to hear you complaining about the Dbacks anymore. I mean, they've lost seven of ten, and in that time have actually gained a game on the Dodgers. For as bad as they've been lately, the West is so terrible this year that I'm having a difficult time imagining Arizona blowing this.
Cubs 7, Padres 6: Chicago begins the portion of their schedule with a BUNCH of road games (12 of their next 15; 22 of their next 31). So far, so good. Bonus: Piniella kept his promise to shorten Zambrano after last Wednesday's 130 pitch outing.
A's 3, Tigers 2: Late inning heroics by Bobby Crosby seal the deal. The A's are kind of a 1960s team, aren't they? Sac flies, RBI singles, and guys who are nowhere near the lead lead in most hitting categories, but aren't so low that they'll kill you. Well, catcher (Kurt Suzuki, 80 OPS+) and first base (Daric Barton, 87) ain't helpin', but you get the idea.
Giants 10, Mets 2: Nothing like giving your team one-third of an inning to start a week-long road trip in style! Perez: 0.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 ER. About as heroic a turn a long man can give you from Claudio Vargas (4.2 IP, 0 ER) is the only thing that saved the bullpen for the next couple of days.