Twins 9, Nationals 3: For complicated reasons that involve a well-worn yet really superficial Scholastic biography of Harmon Killebrew that I owned as a child, I am probably the only person under the age of 65 who still thinks of the Twins as some upstart offshoot of the Senators, and for that reason I viewed this as something of a natural rivalry series.
Rangers 5, Braves 4: I got into a baseball conversation with someone at the office yesterday. This person doesn't know me very well, so a lot of it involved me explaining how I came to be a Braves fan. I've had this conversation a hundred times before, and almost every time it has ended with the other person saying something along the lines of "well, at least it's been a lot of fun to root for Atlanta over the past few years!" Yesterday, for the first time in my adult life the conversation ended with "man, it's gotta be hard to root for those guys, huh?" I obviously could not disagree with him when he said this, but I almost felt like a deep dark family secret had gotten out. Sure, there have been several times over the past three years where people in the know have accurately pointed out the challenges facing the Braves, but this truly is the first time that some casual, almost non-fan has identified the Braves as something other than a class organization and perpetual contender. The brand has been diluted; the public perception changed.
As for this game, Chipper went 0-4, the Braves use seven pitchers -- a couple of which I had never heard of -- to give up five runs and just like that, the quest for .400 seems to be as over as the Braves' season is.
Yankees 2, Padres 1: Joba still needs to work on the efficiency thing -- 100 pitches in 5.2 ain't gonna cut it all season, and at this rate he's never going to get a win as a starter -- but New York will take the nine strikeouts and one earned run. The Yankees have won seven straight to pull within five games of Boston and 2.5 of Tampa Bay. During that run, A-Rod is 12-25 with four homers and nine RBI. Last week I opined that there really isn't a favorite for the MVP in the American League right now. If the Yankees surge continues, how can it be anyone but A-Rod?
Dodgers 7, Reds 4: You know, of all of the things Reds fans thought they had to worry about before the season started, Aaron Harang was not one of them. After yet another flaming stink pickle of a performance (5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER) one has to wonder if he's healthy, because big strikeout throwin' hosses like him don't tend to lose it like he has this year without a medical reason.
Brewers 8, Blue Jays 7: The next time Dave Bush goes out to the bars with his Brewer buddies, he has carte blanche to drunkenly tell the ladies that his teammates all have wives or herpes or something because they almost ruined everything for him last night. Bush had a no hitter into the eighth inning, and still left the game with a 8-1 lead, only to watch his bullpen give up six in the ninth to make it way more interesting than it needed to be. Oh, and to all of you old ladies in Wisconsin picking up broken knickknacks from your parlor floor: that wasn't an earthquake. Prince Fielder just hit another inside the park home run.
Royals 4, Cardinals 1: Five straight wins. Break up the Royals! After a couple of pretty bad starts Zach Greinke has returned to the form he flashed in April, and has now given up a single run in his last 14 innings.
White Sox 13, Pirates 8: How do two teams combine for 21 runs, 25 hits and still complete the game in under three hours? This one was 2:55. And only about 16 minutes of it involved decent pitching.
Rays 8, Cubs 3: Chicago is swept for the first time this year, and they lost Zambrano for at least a start during the sweeping. I'm no Cubs fan, but I have sort of picked them as my favorite to win the pennant, so I have been following them a bit closer than I normally would this year. Last night I even went so far as to wade into the game threads over at the estimable Bleed Cubbie Blue. Just to lurk, mind you. The takeaway: Cubs fans are a little scary. Great fans, mind you. Knowledgeable as all get-out. But scary in the lets-analyze-a-groundout-from-15-directions kind of way. I have had some people ask me why I don't link to more team-specific blogs. Nothing personal or particular to BCB, but I think that live-or-die on every pitch dynamic has something to do with it. I'm pretty obsessed, but I just can't get that passionate or involved in the moment-by-moment like those guys do.
Orioles 7, Astros 5: The Astros have lost 17 of 20. Now that McLaren is gone, is Cooper next?
Diamondbacks 2, A's 1: The A's outscored the Dbacks 17-14 in this series, but dropped two of three. Bow before the great Pythagoras!
Rockies 6, Indians 3: The Rockies sweep Cleveland. Someone must have forgotten to tell Colorado that they were in the National League.