Dugout Digest – putting a stamp on it

Angels fans were panicking last month about their team's struggles. Well, after a 3-2 win on Sunday finished off a sweep of the Tigers, that panic is gone. The Halos are 11-1 in their last 12 games, including sweeps of playoff contenders Detroit and Oakland. The A's are coming to town for four starting on Monday, and the Angels could potentially get into a wild card slot by the end of this series. They're currently 2.5 back of Oakland for the top wild card spot, and tied with Tampa Bay at just a game back of the Orioles for the second wild card spot. The Orioles and Rays will play three against each other this week, and the questions about this wild card race could get answered by this weekend….or, things could become even more of a mess.

Game of the Day: Twins 8, Indians 7. In a largely meaningless game for draft position between the two AL Central doormats, the Twins got a nice come from behind win. Cleveland took a 4-0 lead after their end of the third. Minnesota scored five straight runs in the third and the fourth to take a 5-4 lead, but Cleveland answered with two more to regain the lead 6-5. A two run single by Chris Parmelee in the seventh make it 7-6 in favor of the Twins, but a Jason Donald triple in the eighth tied it at seven. That gave Twins first baseman Justin Morneau a chance to win it in the ninth against dominant Tribe reliever Vinnie Pestano, and he did, hitting a walk-off homer to right field with two outs.

Pitching Lines of the Day: Both starters for Florida teams threw complete game shutouts. James Shields anchored the Rays in a 6-0 win over the Rangers, allowing just two hits and striking out eight hitters without a walk and throwing only 101 pitches. Ricky Nolasco carved up the Nationals in Miami's 8-0 win, allowing only four hits and striking out six while walking one. Jeremy Guthrie threw eight shutout innings for the Royals in their 2-1, ten inning win over the White Sox, allowing six hits and striking out four with no walks. Barry Zito had a good start for the Giants in their 4-0 shutout win over the Dodgers, throwing 6 1/3 scorelss innings and allowing four hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.

Hitting Lines of the Day: BJ Upton went 3/5 with three solo homers for the Rays to give Shields all the offense he needed. Curtis Granderson powered the Yankees offensive attack in a 13-3 win over the Orioles, going 3/3 with a double, a homer, and five RBI…after coming into the game in the sixth inning. Morneau's walkoff homer was actually his second of the game against the Indians, as he went 2/4 with a walk, three RBI, and two homers. His teammate Joe Mauer went 3/5 with two runs, an RBI, and fell just a homer short of the cycle, while Carlos Santana of the Indians went 3/5 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer. 

Other Games: The Phillies swept a doubleheader with the Rockies, winning 3-2 and 7-4. The Astros beat the Reds 5-1, winning just their second series since the beginning of July. The Braves swept the Mets after a 3-2, ten inning win. The Cubs swept the Pirates 4-2, and Pittsburgh's playoff odds continue to fade. The Cardinals beat the Brewers 5-4 in ten to avoid a sweep at the hands of the reigning NL Central champs. The A's beat the Mariners 4-2 behind the arm of Tom Milone, who struck out ten in six innings. Chase Headly continued to sizzle for the Padres, who beat the Diamondbacks 8-2.

Today's Games: The Tigers and White Sox begin another series, with Rick Porcello taking on Jose Quintana in the opener. Wandy Rodriguez and the Pirates will travel to Cincinnati to take on Mat Latos and the Reds. A's-Angels game one will see Jarrod Parker take on Dan Haren. Gio Gonzalez starts for the Nationals against the Mets. Mike Minor and the Braves travel to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers. The struggling Ryan Vogelsong looks to keep the Giants rolling in Denver against the Rockies. Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals start a week-long road trip in San Diego, taking on the smoking hot Padres.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

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