The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds yesterday, and are currently at the .500 mark with a 24-24 record. It's funny though, because the Pirates pitching staff is actually having a really good year: their team ERA is 3.20, which is led by an outstanding ERA of 2.61 from the bullpen, with nearly a strikeout per inning. Yet, despite being at .500, the Pirates run differential is -23. Why is that? Simple: their offense is awful. Their 144 runs and .624 OPS are worst in the NL. In fact, the only team within 60 points of that awful OPS is the Padres, who play in the cavernous Petco Park. Pittsburgh has a .274 team OBP. Really, .274? The team only has four players with an OPS above .700...and only two are starters (Andrew McCutchen at .943, and Pedro Alvarez at .715).
Game of the Night: Angels 9, Yankees 8. Jered Weaver left in the first inning with a back injury, and the Yankees put three runs on the board. The Angels responded with four of their own. The Yankees tied it up on a Curtis Granderson homer in the second, and the Angels came right back with two more in the fourth. The Yankees made it a one run game on a Mark Teixeira homer, but a two-run double by Kendrys Morales made it an 8-5 game. But then in the seventh, the Yankees plated three to tie it. It remained that way into the bottom of the ninth, and on the third pitch of the inning from Yankees reliever Cory Wade, Mark Trumbo hit a long solo homer to walk-off for the Angels in a fantastic win.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Chris Sale obliterated the Rays, allowing one run over 7 1/3 innings on three hits, two walks, and an eye-popping 15 strikeouts. Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison shut out the Orioles over seven, allowing three hits, three walks, and striking out nine. And James McDonald of the Pirates was masterful against a strong Reds offense, shutting them out over eight innings on five hits and one walk, striking out five in the process.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Over a doubleheader against the Astros, Dexter Fowler did a lot of stat-padding for the Rockies. Fowler went 7/9 with five runs scored, a triple, a homer, three RBI, a walk, and a stolen base. Not too shabby, Dexter. The day raised his batting average 39 points from Sunday. Chase Headley of the Padres went 4/5 with two runs, three RBI, a double, and two homers. Ty Wigginton was a one man wrecking crew against the Mets, going 3/3 with two runs, two walks, six RBI, a double, and a homer.
Spotlight Series: The White Sox beat the Rays 2-1 behind the aforementioned dominant pitching from Sale, but Matt Moore had probably his finest start of the year opposing Sale. Moore went seven and allowed only two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out ten. The one black mark on Moore's day: a monstrous two-run homer by Adam Dunn, providing the only offense that the Sox would need over the game. The teams combined for just eight hits, and the only multi-hit game was from Ben Zobrist of the Rays, who also didn't have an extra base hit all game. Three Rays players also struck out three times each, and more alarmingly for the Rays, those three batters were in the top half of their lineup.
Other Games: The Red Sox beat the Tigers 7-4, but Dustin Pedroia left early with an injury. The Cardinals waxed Tommy Hanson and the Braves 8-2. The Twins edged the A's 5-4. The Phillies used a late rally to beat the Mets 8-4. The Marlins used a late rally to beat the Nationals 5-3. The Indians beat up the Royals 8-5. The Pirates beat the Reds 4-1. The Blue Jays stymied the Orioles in a 6-2 win. The Cubs broke their losing streak with an 11-7 win over the Padres. The Rangers beat the Mariners 4-2. The Rockies swept a doubleheader against the Astros, winning 9-7 and 7-6. Barry Zito shut down the Diamondbacks in a 4-2 Giants win. The Brewers edged the Dodgers 3-2.
Today's Games: Justin Verlander starts in Boston against Daniel Bard. Jeff Samardzija starts for the Cubs against the Padres. Jake Arrieta will take on Ricky Romero in Toronto. Edwin Jackson and Anibal Sanchez will duel in Miami. Andy Pettite takes on Dan Haren in Los Angeles.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.
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