Brewers 7, Giants 4: A week's worth of rust doesn't due Lincecum any good (6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER). His bad outing set the stage, however, for making me look bad. Just last week, I dropped the name of Gino Espinelli as one of my punch lines regarding the irrelevance of the AAA All-Star Game. Yesterday, because Lincecum needed help, he makes his major league debut. According to the game story, the first batter he faced fouled off his second ever big league pitch, bouncing it off the plate and right up into his crotch. The lesson: don't mess with Gino Espinelli.
Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5: Given that they're both 48-50 we can't really call it an epic battle for first place in the NL West, but I'll settle for a battle. Brandon Webb's nice outing was wasted when Brandon Lyon coughed up five runs in 2/3 of an inning throwing this one to Los Angeles. Random stuff: I just found out that the guy who called the balls and strikes in this one -- Tim Timmons -- lives about two miles from me during the offseason. I can't think of anything creative to do with that information except to file it, hope that he becomes the center of a historic play of some sort this postseason, and then confront him about it online at the Kroger come November.
Indians 6, Mariners 2: It was a battle of the two worst teams in the AL, but there really is a lot of space between Cleveland and Seattle. Only five and a half games record-wise, but 73 in terms of run differential. Carlos Silva leaves after giving up four runs in three innings. Mariner fans will be forgiven for not taking comfort in the fact that Silva "only" has three+ years and more than $36 million left on his deal.
Rangers 1, Twins 0: Vicente, Eddie, and C.J. -- who are either Rangers' pitchers or sidekicks from various 1980s TV action series -- combine to shut out the Twins.
Rockies 11, Pirates 3: Aaron Cook gives up three runs in his first inning of action. If he had done that last Tuesday night I wouldn't have struggled for three days last week to make up for my All-Star game sleep deficit.
Cardinals 9, Padres 5: Aaron Miles' walkoff grand slam was only the most dramatic of the Cardinals' three straight come from behind wins against the Padres over the weekend.
Cubs 9, Astros 0: I still like the Cubs to win it all, but more than St. Louis and Milwaukee, they strike me as a team that doesn't need to find itself in a three-way race for the rest of the summer. I can't put my finger on why this is exactly -- maybe I think they'll feel deflated if they're fighting for the wild card rather than staying a comfy couple of games up in the division -- but I just feel that way.
Angels 5, Red Sox 3: LAAofA is up nine games to a team who is only that close due to some good pitching that they have since sold off. Look for lots of Vlad and Torii rest over the next two months as Scioscia, despite saying he ain't, turns his view towards the playoffs way before anyone else in the AL has the luxury of doing.
Nationals 15, Braves 6: There's a long and rich history of former Braves players beating the crap out of Atlanta after they've been shipped out. It's maddening, really, because it's never a revenge thing inasmuch as the Braves almost never send anyone away who ends up being good anywhere else. It's more like getting sucker punched by a guy you always treated more than fairly. Add Willie Harris (2-3, HR, 5 RBI) to that list. Silver lining: the Braves' sole purpose over the next 30 days -- showcasing Mark Teixeira -- was sustained, as the Dead Firstbaseman Walking goes 3-4 with two homers and three RBI.
Blue Jays 9, Rays 4: Cito Gaston said after the game that Scott Rolen was probably the best third baseman he's ever seen. Rolen is about as good as it gets over there, make no mistake about it. But it's worth noting that the starting third basemen for the Jays during Cito's last reign were Kelly Gruber and Ed Sprague, which means that anyone with a pulse and one working leg would be likely to impress Cito at the hot corner.
Tigers 5, Orioles 1: Remember at the beginning of the season when people were wondering whether Verlander was healthy? His monthly ERAs: March: 6.00; April: 6.60; May: 3.92; June: 2.73; July: 2.70.
Yankees 2, A's 1: I watched this one. Weird ninth inning, as the heat apparently got to everyone's head, keeping Abreu from holding on to the ball, keeping Ryan Sweeney from advancing, and keeping Abreu from throwing a strike to second base. Thank goodness for Alex Rodriguez -- the king of cool -- who backed up the play and then threw it to Jeter to make the putout.
Mets 7, Reds 5: A weekend split is good enough to boost New York into a first place tie. After a day off, it's three against the Phillies . . .
. . .Marlins 3, Phillies 2: Who aren't playing their best ball. As many have noted, last year's Mets' collapse was all about dropping games to the Phillies. If they want to
By the way, in case you haven't noticed it, there are six divisions in baseball, and five of them look to be having really exciting races for the rest of the season. God, I love baseball.