Dugout Digest – hooray for mediocrity!

What does it say about your team when a come from behind 6-5 win over the lowly Mets is considered a huge win? What does it say about your team when that win helped you avoid a sweep at  home against the lowly Mets? What does it say about your team when your franchise player comes up down two runs in the eighth inning and two men on, and he bunts those two men into scoring position? What does it say about your team when said win pushes you to two games above .500 on September 1st when something like 80% of writers online (myself included) picked your team to win the division?

Well, it says that your team is the 2013 Washington Nationals, and that mediocrity isn't a choice – it's a way of life.


Stephen Vogt holds up the ball after tangoing with Wil Myers (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Game of the Day: Indians 4, Tigers 0. The Tribe needed this one…oh, did they ever need this one after losing five in a row heading into Sunday's series finale in Detroit. Cleveland got a break as Miguel Cabrera wasn't in Detroit's lineup, but even without Cabrera, the Tigers still pounded out 11 hits. Of course, two doubles were the only extra base hits the team recorded and Cleveland pitching walked just two hitters all game. Justin Verlander matched Danny Salazar's zeroes, and the Indians couldn't put anything on the board…until the ninth inning. Joaquin Benoit came in and turned in a turd of an outing, walking both Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley to start the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera bunted the hitters into scoring position, and Benoit intentionally walked new Indian Jason Kubel to load the bases for Mike Aviles. Benoit then proceeded to throw the eight hitter a meatball that he hammered over the left field wall at Comerica Park to give the Tribe a 4-0 lead. Chris Perez came in to close the game out in the bottom of the inning and ran into trouble, allowing a ground rule double to Omar Infante with one out. But Perez got a break when Infante was called out after getting hit by a batted ball from Alex Avila for out number two. Ramon Santiago singled, and Perez got Andy Dirks to ground out to seal the win for the Indians, thanks to a little bit of good fortune.

Pitching Lines of the Day: Astros rookie Brett Oberholtzer threw a complete game shutout for Houston in their 2-0 win over the Mariners, allowing four hits, walking one, and striking out five. James Shields spun seven scoreless innings for the Royals as they topped the Blue Jays 5-0, giving up three hits, one walk, and punching out nine. Zack Greinke helped the Dodgers top the Padres 2-1, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking two. In that Indians win over the Tigers, Justin Verlander gave up four hits over seven shutout innings, walking two and striking out six. Nate Eovaldi dominated the Braves in a 7-0 Marlins victory, allowing seven hits over eight scoreless frames, walking a pair and punching out six.

Hitting Lines of the Day: Michael Cuddyer carried the Rockies to a 7-4 win over the Reds, going 4/4 with two doubles, a homer, a stolen base, and three RBI. In the loss, Shin-Soo Choo went 3/5 with two RBI, a double, a homer, and a stolen base. Hunter Pence helped the Giants top the Diamondbacks 8-2, going 3/4 with three RBI, two runs, a walk, a double, and a homer. Jeff Mathis provided all the offense that Miami needed in Atlanta, going 2/4 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. JJ Hardy pushed the Orioles to a 7-3 win over the Yankees, going 2/4 with a three-run homer.

Other Games: The Cardinals moved back into first place in the NL Central, topping the Pirates 7-2. The Red Sox edged the White Sox 7-6. The Angels rallied to beat the Brewers 5-3. The Cubs thumped the Phillies 7-1. The Twins doubled up the Rangers 4-2. The A's beat the Rays 5-1.

Today's Games: Doug Fister and John Lackey will face off in Boston. Adam Wainwright duels with Mat Latos in Cincinnati. Felix Hernandez and the Mariners visit the Royals. Charlie Morton and the Pirates travel west to Milwaukee. Travis Wood starts for the Cubs, hosting the Marlins. Bud Norris and Justin Masterson will square off in a crucial wild card series in Cleveland. Derek Holland and the Rangers take on the A's in a critical AL West matchup. Clayton Kershaw gets the nod for the Dodgers in Denver. Chris Archer starts for the Rays in Anaheim. Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels will duel in Philly.

National TV: Cardinals-Reds (1 PM, MLB Network), White Sox-Yankees (1 PM, MLB Network), Rangers-Athletics (4 PM, MLB Network), Orioles-Indians (4 PM, MLB Network), Rays-Angels (9 PM, MLB Network)

MLB.tv Free Game: Giants-Padres (3:40 PM)

Pitching Matchup of the Day: Adam Wainwright vs Mat Latos (Cardinals at Reds, 1 PM)

Enjoy your day of baseball, and Happy Labor Day, everyone.

About Joe Lucia

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