Dugout Digest – a two horse race?

Going into the All-Star Break two weeks ago, the Nationals led the NL East, with the Braves four out and the Mets 4.5 out, and the Marlins and Phillies way back in the division. Just two weeks later, things are a little different. The Braves have picked up a half game, and are 3.5 out. The Marlins have lost even more ground, whiel the Phillies have held steady at the bottom of the division. The Mets, though? Well, they've fallen to a game under .500 and 8.5 out in the division. They are 1-8 since the All-Star Break, and five of those losses have come to fellow Eastern division teams Atlanta and Washington. Yesterday's 8-3 loss to the Dodgers in 12 innings may have just thrown dirt on the casket. The Mets rallied to tie the game in the ninth against Javy Guerra, and then Ramon Ramirez imploded in the 12th after a scoreless 11th inning. Losses like that stick with you for a long time.

Game of the Day: A's 5, Yankees 4 (12 innings). The A's completed a four game sweep of the Yankees, by doing it how they've done it all series: with one run. The Yankees held a 4-0 lead after four, and with CC Sabathia on the mound, it looks to be over. Then…magic. Castoff Brandon Inge homered in the fifth to make it 4-1, and catcher Kurt Suzuki, demoted to a platoon role with Derek Norris, also homered to make it 4-2. Inge brought in another run in the sixth on a fielders choice, and that made it 4-3. Flash forward to the ninth, with Seth Smith facing closer Rafael Soriano. Of course…he homered to dead center, tying the game and sending Oakland into a state of pandemonium. The Yankees threatened in both the tenth and 12th innings, but couldn't get anyone home. Derek Norris led off the Oakland 12th with a single, and Jemile Weeks bunted him to second. That brought up struggling center fielder Coco Crisp, who singled to right to bring in Norris and give the A's another shocking win.

Pitching Lines of the Day: Mariners starter Blake Beavan allowed one run over eight to the Rays in Seattle's 2-1 win, allowing four hits and striking out five without a walk. His opponent Matt Moore was also very good, allowing two runs over eight innings on five hits, walking none while striking out seven. And…that's all for good pitching yesterday.

Hitting Lines of the Day: In the Twins' 7-5 win over the Royals, Ryan Doumit went 3/4 with three runs, four RBI, and a pair of homers for Minnesota. Washington blew out Atlanta 9-2, and Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman went 3/5 with three runs, three RBI, and a pair of homers. Toronto blew out Boston 15-7, and Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis went 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer. Angels backup catcher Bobby Wilson went 3/4 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer in the Angels 7-4 win over the Rangers. Jason Kubel of the Diamondbacks stayed hot in Arizona's 8-2 win over Houston, going 3/4 with two runs, a triple, and his ninth homer of July.

Other Games: The Tigers beat the White Sox 6-4, and Miguel Cabrera hit his 300th career homer. The Reds edged the Brewers 2-1. The Pirates kept pace with Cincinnati by beating the Marlins 3-0. The Phillies beat the Giants 4-3 in 12. The Indians rallied in the ninth, but not enough, as the Orioles held on to win 4-3. The Cardinals continued to beat the hell out of the Cubs, winning 7-0. The Padres slipped by the Rockies 3-2.

Today's Games: Roy Halladay starts for the Phillies as they host the Brewers. Jordan Zimmermann starts for the Nationals against the Mets. Josh Johnson takes on Mike Minor as the Marlins host the Braves. CJ Wilson and the Angels host the Royals. Mat Latos takes on the last remaining paragon of virtue in Houston, Wandy Rodriguez. Jonathan Sanchez makes his first start as a Rockie in Arizona against Ian Kennedy.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.