But Kendall wasn't just a menace on the basepaths. Reader Chris H. -- who is quickly becoming my Cubs-Brewers correspondent -- has this to say about Jason's defense:
The outfielders don't have to worry because their sub-par play was overshadowed by the utter incompetence that is Jason Kendall. The Cubs have pretty much run with impunity on him, and while Bob Brenly keeps mentioning that Jason's caught-stealing rate was 43% coming into this game, history tells us that Jason can't throw out yesterday's newspaper.Patience, Chris. MLB Genetics is working on the problem, but it's not anticipated that each team will have access to its own Molina until at least 2011.
Then there was the terrific play where Reed Johnson swings and misses a wild pitch, then doesn't realize it for a couple of moments, and then still makes it to first ahead of Kendall's throw...well, you just have to wonder when Kendall's going to retire.
Surely there must be one of the Flying Molina Brothers around somewhere that the Brew Crew can acquire or something.
White Sox 8, Twins 3: Because it would be a terrible thing to be in first place, the Twins brass decides to stick with Livan Hernandez when there's an ace waiting to be sprung in Francisco Liriano. The results are predictable: 4 IP, 9 H, 5 ER. Free Francisco Liriano!
Tigers 14, Indians 12: Remember when these two teams -- and not the Twins and White Sox -- were supposed to battle for the AL Central? 'Twas not to be. Instead, two of the league's worst bullpens face off with predictably ugly results.
Yankees 13, Orioles 3: Abreu after the game: "I don't really like too much the DH. It's one of the ways to get a day off. I had a good day, but I don't like the DH." Well, it certainly likes him (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI).
Royals 4, A's 3: Kansas City sweeps the A's. Not to take anything away from the Royals here, but that pretty much has to be the low point of the season for Oakland, right? From the game notes: "[Frank] Thomas, out since May 29 with right quadriceps tendinitis, faced reliever Keith Foulke in a simulated game Wednesday and afterward declared himself ready." I understand how pitchers simulate a game -- you basically throw off a mound and pretend certain things happen as a result of those pitches. But how does a DH like Thomas simulate a game? You're either hitting or you're not, right? How can anything he did in that "simulation" be anything other than BP or something that, for all practical purposes, is a real game?
Angels 9, Red Sox 2: Mark Teixeira goes 0-4 with a couple of strikeouts in his first action with the Angels. Ya gotta cut the new kid some slack, though. He's still learning his class schedule and who his teachers are and everything. Luckily the older kid who's been around for a long time took up the slack (4-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI).
Marlins 7, Mets 5 -- Phillies 8, Nationals 5: a game and a half separates the three NL East contenders. I've got a feeling this one is gonna come down to the last weekend. None of these teams are so good or so bad to separate themselves in the next two months. Even the addition of Manny Ramirez won't make the Marlins prohibitive favorites the rest of the way. The beauty of this, as Neyer pointed out the other day, is that because the Cubs and Brewers are playing so well, there's a real chance that the East will be winner take all, loser go home, with no wild card to save them.
Rockies 7, Pirates 4: Wow, Aaron Cook has 14 wins? I had no idea.
Cardinals 7, Braves 2: Chris Carpenter returns to action for the first time since April 2007, and pitches four effective innings, which can only be a good sign for the Cardinals' playoff hopes. For the Braves, Casey Kotchman is the new guy too, and he goes 0-5.
Rays 3, Blue Jays 2: The All-Star break certainly came at a good time for Tampa Bay. Entering it on a seven game skid, they have emerged 8-5 after the break.
Rangers 4, Mariners 3: I've always been a little so-so on Michael Young. I think he got more love than he probably deserved because he replaced A-Rod, and I've always had a sneaking suspicion that there was some Great White Hope dynamic going on with him. Don't get me wrong -- I like him, and think he's a really good player -- but I just couldn't get as enthused about him as some people seemed to be a couple of years ago. Maybe I should reconsider, because he's a pretty tough dude: he had his broken finger on ice in the clubhouse, sees it's a close game, puts on his uniform because he may get a chance to pinch hit, goes in, and delivers the go-ahead run. I broke my finger once. I walked with a fake limp for a week for some reason and claimed the inability to do anything except watch X-Files DVDs all day.
Reds 9, Astros 5: Dunn and Griffey combine for three homers and five RBI, giving us a glimpse of just how awesome the attack of the 2003 Reds could have been.
Diamondbacks 7, Padres 3: -- Dodgers 4, Giants 0: I guess if we ignore the records up to this point and just pay attention to the Dbacks-Dodgers horse race, the NL West can be enjoyed.