Why do we need an All-Star break? I'm not even tired . . .
Tigers 10, Indians 1: I listened to this game on the radio while painting the railing and trim around my front porch with my old man. My dad is great, if for no other reason than he'll help me paint my porch, but he's never been a big baseball fan. It took a couple of innings before he realized that it was a Tigers game, and when he did, he said "you can pick up WJR here?" I explained to him that it was the Tribe's broadcast and that even if it wasn't, WJR doesn't carry the Tigers anymore. "Ah." We painted on. A few minutes later: "Harwell doesn't do Tigers games anymore." I think it was a statement and not a question, but I wasn't completely sure. "No," I said, "he's been retired for a few years now. He's still sharp -- did an inning or two at the World Series a couple of years ago, I think -- but he's done." We painted on, enjoying the game. "George Kell's dead." This one I know was a statement because he told me about it when he heard it on the news a few months back. I didn't have much of a response beyond "yep." We painted on. Brandon Inge hit his second home run in the 5th and my dad, who I'm certain hasn't paid any attention to baseball since the mid 80s, said "Man, the Indians are terrible." This was definitely a statement, and I quote it here for truth.
Orioles 4, Blue Jays 2: Between this game and the one above, I'm really missing the old AL East right now. Hows about trading the Rays to the NL for the Brewers, realigning back to two divisions and picking two Wild Card teams? It wouldn't actually change the playoff picture too much -- the Tigers and Rangers would be in a mad dash for the second Wild Card slot right now -- but it would restore the aesthetics of it all. As for this game, Brad Bergesen continues his solid ways, leading a team that seems to be trending up past a team that is clearly trending down as the season progresses. Oh, and plate umpire Ron Kulpa suffered a mild concussion after being smacked in the mask by a foul ball. They finished the game with three umps. I wish they would have moved the third base ump to the mound like they did when I played eight year-old minor league or whatever it was.
Cubs 7, Cardinals 3: Zambrano hits a home run and pitches six decent innings to win the game. Phil Rogers demands that he be waived. Kyle Lohse made his first start in over a month, but it didn't go too well. To make room for him, the Cardinals optioned reliever Blake Hawksworth to Memphis. "Blake Hawksworth?" That doesn't sound like a ballplayer. It sounds like a guest character from a four-episode arc of "Dynasty" or the male lead in some bodice-ripping romance novel or something. From the back cover: "Cattle baron Blake Hawksworth is used to getting his way. So he is baffled when Annie Jones, a feisty little hellion who steps between him and a bullet in the back, isn't interested in becoming his latest plaything. If only he knew that Annie is really the Countess of Montevarchi -- in disguise and on the run! -- and that their fledgling relationship is a scandal-in-the-making!" I know what I'm reading during the All-Star break!
Cardinals 4, Cubs 2: Ryan Ludwick: 3-4, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Albert Pujols hits in front of Ludwick and went 0-4 with nary a walk. I think he did it on purpose to show Ludwick how it feels to have absolutely no help around him in the lineup. I may be letting my Pujols man-crush cloud my reasoning on this, however.
Red Sox 6, Royals 0: Josh Beckett ties the Royals up in knots (CG SHO 3 H, 7K, 94 pitches) and wins his 100th game. Jason Bay reached base five times without registering an official at bat, drawing three walks and getting plunked twice.
Mets 9, Reds 7: Francoeur went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the win on Saturday, and then went 2-5 yesterday. Probably worth noting that he started pretty darn hot in Atlanta too. In fact, that hot start is the only reason he stuck around as long as he did. So I guess what I'm saying to my Met-fan friends out there is this: hope and pray that Francoeur cools off quickly, because if he doesn't, Omar won't non-tender him this winter as nature intended, and then he'll be your starting right fielder next year. Making like $5 million.
Athletics 7, Rays 3: Andrew Bailey pitches a two-inning save. Now he may not be available for the All-Star Game on Tuesday! Doesn't Bob Geren know that this time it counts? What will Joe Maddon do without a fresh Andrew Bailey? What if Buehrle, Fuentes, Greinke, Halladay, Hernandez, Jackson, Nathan, Papelbon, Rivera, and Wakefield get into a jam? What then?!!!!
Phillies 5, Pirates 2: Not surprisingly, J.A. Happ (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) is a better fit in the Philly rotation than Chan Ho Park was. Not to take anything away from Happ, but the list of people who would be better fits in the Philly rotation than Chan Ho Park is not limited to Mr. Happ. In fact, even if we limited it to just the H's the list would quite long, and would include just about everyone except for Stephen Hawking and Corey Haim. And I'm not sure about Hawking.
Twins 13, White Sox 7: Nice day for the Twins, but it's a negative like this -- Joe Mauer, 0-5, 4K -- which sticks out the most. In other news, on Saturday night the Twins went throwback with their 1984 jerseys. I think they should go back to those full time when they move into the new park next year. They're simple, clean and classic looking. My only suggestions are: keep blue caps with the "TC" logo at all times (i.e. no red) and don't mess at all with solid blue alternates or anything else. Keep it white at home and gray -- or even be daring and go powder blue -- on the road. The era of the "M" logo and pinstripe should be over the moment the dome is in Minnesota.
Dodgers 7, Brewers 4: Orlando Hudson hit two homers and Clayton Kershaw improved to 4-0 with a 0.76 ERA in his last six starts. Oh, and Manny since his return from suspension: .308/.400/.654. The Dodgers: 6-3.
Angels 5, Yankees 4: New York blew four-run leads on Friday and Saturday. They didn't really blow this one, they just lost, as John Lackey had one of his better starts of the year (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). For those of you keeping score at home, the Yanks are now 2-4 against the Angels to go with their 0-8 against Boston.
Marlins 8, Diamondbacks 1: Josh Johnson gets to go to the All-Star Game, but won't be pitching, as he put up six and two-thirds quality innings yesterday. From the game story: "A woman sitting in the second row near the plate was hit in the face by a Cantu foul ball in the first inning. Her head was wrapped in bandages and she was carried out on a stretcher." And I hereby renew my call for additional netting for the seats down by the field.
Astros 5, Nationals 0: The Nats couldn't figure out the enigma that is Brian Moehler (6.1 IP, 7 H, 0 ER) and end the first half with a crisp 26-61 record. I'm more surprised that the Astros are at .500.
Mariners 5, Rangers 3: A Chris Shelton sighting. Called up to the Mariners on Wednesday, the former Ranger and Tiger hit a pinch hit RBI single to put the Ms ahead for good in the seventh.
Rockies 8, Braves 7: Atlanta led 4-0, 5-1, and 7-3 in this game, but lost because when your starting pitcher only gives you four innings, your bullpen is going to get beat up in a place like Coors Field.
Padres 10, Giants 4: Barry Zito -- after throwing the game of his Giants' career last time out -- pinches off a 4.1 IP, 10 H,9 ER performance against the worst offense in the league. Wait, make that the worst offense that had been struggling mightily entering this game, having only score six runs in the previous four games. Bengie Molina was back in the lineup after taking two days off to be with his wife for the birth of his daughter, Jayda, on Saturday. Little Jayda Molina -- being a Molina -- was signed by the Marlins, who expect her to compete for the starting catcher's job next spring.