Dugout Digest – to the brink

Things are looking rather bleak for a couple of teams in Wild Card races. The Brewers will most certainly be eliminated from the NL race this weekend after getting beaten 7-6 by the Astros. Combined with the Cardinals 12-2 win over the Nationals, Milwaukee is now five out with five to play…one Brewers loss or Cardinals win ends their year. The Dodgers can also be eliminated this weekend, but they're in better shape then Milwaukee at three out after handling the Rockies 8-0. Atlanta's hopes of winning the NL East are fading as well, despite Washington's blowout defeat in St Louis. The Braves fell 3-1 to the Mets on the night they honored Chipper Jones, and are still four back with now five to play. Over in the American League, the Rays suffered a huge 3-1 loss in Chicago to the White Sox that, combined with Oakland's 8-2 win over Seattle, moved them to three out in the Wild Card race. Chicago meanwhile, moves to just a game back in the AL Central behind the Tigers, who fell 4-2 to the pathetic Twins. The Orioles remained at the top of the Wild Card race and a game behind the Yankees after a 9-1 win over the Red Sox, and the Yankees 12-6 win in Toronto. Finally, the AL West continues to be crazy. The A's moved to three back of the Rangers in the division after the Angels beat Texas 7-4. The Angels are still two back of Oakland in the Wild Card race, but they can help the A's potentially win the division by taking care of business in Arlington this weekend. Remember: the A's season will conclude with three games in Oakland against the Rangers, and if they're within striking distance, they can still take the division.

Game of the Night: Twins 4, Tigers 2. How am I supposed to pick one game with all of the craziness going on in baseball right now? Anyway, I went with this AL Central tilt. The game was scoreless for the first six innings until Ryan Doumit hit a two-run homer for the Twins in the seventh to put them ahead 2-0. Detroit tied the game in the eighth with a two-run homer of their own, coming off the bat of trade deadline acquisition. But in Minnesota's end of the eighth, Doumit struck again, driving in Denard Span and Joe Mauer on a double to center to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead. Glen Perkins finished with an eight pitch ninth, and the Twins helped play the role of spoiler for at least one night.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter, but you knew that already. Chris Tillman came *close* to doing that for the Orioles, allowing one hit and one unearned runs over eight for the Orioles, striking out four with two walks in their win over the Red Sox. Oddly, the hit Tillman allowed came to the first batter of the game…and nothing would come after that. Clayton Kershaw manned up big-time for the Dodgers, throwing eight shutout, five hit innings, striking out ten and walking two in their blowout victory over Colorado. Kershaw also got TWENTY whiffs on 113 pitches. That's incredible. Mark Buerhle's second to last start of the year went well for Miami in their 2-1 win over the Phillies, as he allowed one run on six hits over eight innings, striking out eight and walking none.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Let's give Astros catcher Jason Castro a hand for his part in Houston's win over Milwaukee. Castro went 2/3 with three runs, a walk, and a pair of solo homers. For the Orioles, Ryan Flaherty went 2/4 with two runs, five RBI, a double, and a homer. In a losing effort for the Rangers, Nelson Cruz went 3/3 with two RBI, a double, and a homer. Alex Rios went 3/4 with two runs, a double, and a homer for the White Sox. In Oakland's win over Seattle, Coco Crisp went 3/5 with three runs, a double, and a homer.

Other Games: The Indians beat the Royals 8-5 in Sandy Alomar Jr's managerial debut after the firing of Manny Acta on Thursday. The Diamondbacks beat the Cubs 8-5, but were eliminated from playoff contention anyway after the Cardinals' win earlier in the evening. Perhaps more importantly about that game: Darwin Barney's errorless streak at second base ended, in the eighth inning nonetheless. The Giants beat the Padres 3-1 as their quest to gain the NL's top seed in the playoffs reaches life support behind the Reds and Nationals.

Today's Games: Matt Moore starts for the Rays against Chris Sale in Chicago…hell of a matchup right there. Andy Pettitte starts for the Yankees in Toronto. Mike Minor will start for the Braves, hosting Chris Young and the Mets. Justin Verlander will start for the Tigers in Minnesota against PJ Walters. Dan Straily will start for the A's against Jason Vargas of the Mariners. Ervin Santana starts for the Angels in Arlington against Derek Holland. Jordan Zimmermann starts for the Nationals in St Louis against Kyle Lohse. Felix Doubront starts for the Red Sox against the undefeated Steve Johnson in Baltimore. Tyler Chatwood and the Rockies will look to derail the Dodgers playoff hopes, while Joe Blanton looks to keep LA alive another day.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

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