The Rays might be in a bit of trouble. Tampa Bay has lost five in a row and eight out of nine. On August 24th, they were tied at the top of the AL East standings with a five game cushion on the Indians for a playoff spot. Now, they're just two games up on the Orioles, 2.5 up on the Yankees, 3.5 up on the Indians, and 4.5 up on the Royals. The Angels pounded the Rays 11-2 on Monday night, and these are games the Rays need to win, especially with series left against every AL East team, along with the Rangers.
PIC OF THE DAY
Jimmy Rollins: dirty. Kevin Frandsen: dirtier. (Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Day: Phillies 3, Nationals 2. Hey, the Phillies are making things interesting, knocking off the Nationals to send their elimination number down another notch. With the contest tied at one going into the eighth, Justin De Fratus put two of the first three hitters on base after replacing Cole Hamels. Cesar Jimenez replaced De Fratus, walked Bryce Harper, and then allowed a sacrifice fly to Scott Hairston to put the Nationals in front. In the bottom of the eighth, Washington collapsed. Tyler Clippard got the first two outs quite easily, but then walked light-hitting rookie Cesar Hernandez. After the Hernandez walk, Jimmy Rollins brought him home with a double to tie the game. Clippard intentionally walked Chase Utley, and Carlos Ruiz followed up with a single to score Rollins and give the Phillies the lead. In the ninth, Jonathan Papelbon allowed back to back singles with one out before striking out Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon to end the game and preserve another Phillies win.
Pitching Lines of the Day: In that Phillies win over the Nationals, Cole Hamels was dominant, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings, striking out eight without a walk. Stephen Strasburg pitched just as well, giving up one unearned run on two hits in six innings, punching out ten and walking a pair. Esmil Rogers finally had a good start for the Blue Jays, who topped the Diamondbacks 4-1, giving up one measly hit over 6 1/3 shutout innings, walking one and striking out five. Bud Norris pitched well for the Orioles in their 7-2 win over the Indians, allowing one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking one. Mat Latos torched the Cardinals in a 7-2 Reds win, giving up two runs on four hits in a complete game victory, walking one and striking out two.
Hitting Lines of the Day: In the Dodgers' 10-8 win over the Rockies, Andre Ethier went 3/4 with three runs, three RBI, a walk, two doubles, and a homer. Chris Colabello pushed the Twins past the Astros 10-6, going 2/5 with two homers and five RBI, including a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth. Matt Wieters helped the Orioles offense top Cleveland, going 4/5 with two runs, two RBI, and a homer. Erick Aybar fueled the Angels in their romp over the Rays, going 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, a triple, and a homer. Freddie Freeman powered the Braves to an 13-5 win over the Mets, going 2/5 with a double, a homer, and five RBI.
Other Games: The Yankees thrashed the White Sox 9-1. The Tigers shut out the Red Sox 3-0. The Royals topped the Mariners 3-1 as Felix Hernandez recorded his 200th strikeout *and* left early for Seattle. The Pirates beat the Brewers 5-2, winning their 80th game for the first time since 1992. The Marlins edged the Cubs 4-3 thanks to a three-run homer by pitcher Henderson Alvarez. The Padres topped the Giants 4-1, and no one noticed. The A's moved into a tie for first in the AL West, beating the Rangers 4-2.
Today's Games: Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles in Cleveland against Ubaldo Jimenez. Chris Sale and Hiroki Kuroda face off in the Bronx. Gio Gonzalez gets the nod for the Nationals in Philly. Max Scherzer looks for win #20 in Boston against Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Michael Wacha is back in the majors for the Cardinals, taking on Homer Bailey and the Reds. Bruce Chen and the Royals host the Mariners. Jarred Cosart and the Astros host the Twins. Gerrit Cole and the Pirates look to clinch a .500 record, taking on Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers. Jhoulys Chacin and the Rockies host Ricky Nolasco and the Dodgers. Matt Moore starts for the Rays in Anaheim against Jason Vargas and the Angels. Wade Miley and the Diamondbacks host the Blue Jays. Martin Perez and Bartolo Colon face off in Oakland. Madison Bumgarner starts for the Giants in San Diego.
National TV: Tigers-Red Sox (7 PM, MLB Network), Cardinals-Reds (7 PM, MLB Network)
MLB.tv Free Game: Orioles-Indians (7 PM)
Pitching Matchup of the Day: Chris Sale vs Hiroki Kuroda (White Sox vs Yankees, 7 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.