There was a full slate of games last night, which meant I put my iPad and crappy DSL through their respective paces. MLB.tv is a wonderful thing, but it is brutal if you have a slow Internet connection. Mine isn’t dial-up slow, but boy howdy it feels like it sometimes. I know, I know, first-world problems. But it wasn’t just streaming games that were sucking down my zeros and ones. I had multiple browser tabs open well into the night, as the rumor mill started churning out actual product.
There have been a few trades here and there this season, but it seems that last night was the break in the dam, if you will. Wandy Rodriguez got shipped to the Pirates for a pretty decent package, and Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate went to the Dodgers in a trade that sent the Marlins a couple of ham sandwiches. I understand it was a salary dump, but the Marlins continue to show that they are just bad at trading, it seems. Also, Cole Hamels got his extension with the Phillies in the second biggest contract for a pitcher ever. Sorry, Dodgers/Yankees fans. You’ll have to make do with your current left-handed aces.
Hitter of the Night:
Josh Willingham, 2/4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SO
Willingham hit two dingers and drove in four runs, which represented all of the Twins’ (who are terrible) runs. He currently, and quietly, ranks 8th in the AL in OPS.
Pitcher of the Evening:
Zack Greinke, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 ER, 5 K
Greinke gave up one run in the first inning, but then shut the Phillies down for six innings while retiring the last 14 batters he faced. He also homered off Cliff Lee, because why not.
Trade Bait of the Nighttime:
See above. The Red Sox reportedly had scouts at the game to see Greinke. So, there’s that.
Defensive Play of the Late Part of the Day:
Angel Pagan. Mercy.
Injury of the Past 20-or-so-Hours:
Lance Berkman left the game in the third after taking a curveball to the kneecap. I’ve smashed my kneecap against desks and stuff, and it hurts like an SOB. These desks and stuff were always stationary, as in not traveling 80 MPH. You can’t see it, but I’m flexing my legs while making a squeamish face right now.
Notable/Noteworthy Performances of Note
Brewers: Bullpen, 1IP, 4H, 4BB, 6ER, 0K
The aforementioned Greinke had a very strong start, but the bullpen really screwed the pooch. Kameron Loe gets the loss, but the always-terrible Manny Parra didn’t help the cause, either. The Brewers’ bullpen has been just atrocious lately.
Indians: Travis Hafner, 1/3, 0 RBI, 0 HR, 1 K
What’s the deal? Well, Mr. Hafner hit a triple, something he hasn’t done since 2007. Why is this? Because he’s enormous and slow, silly.
Cubs: Paul Maholm, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 7 K
Paul Maholm is having a good year, for Paul Maholm at least. His K rate is up, his BB rate is down, and I’m not sure why he hasn’t been mentioned in trade rumors. He’s worth a no-name prospect, right?
Nationals: Andy LaRoche, 2/3, 2 RBI, 1 HR
The Nationals got to R.A. Dickey in the 6th inning, and LaRoche’s home run was a big part of it. LaRoche now has 17 home runs on the year while hitting .258.
Athletics: Travis Blackley, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 8 K
Since being claimed off waivers by the A’s in May, Blackley has a 2.86 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP, which is good enough for a 140 ERA+. Pretty good? Pretty good. Meanwhile, the Athletics of Oakland are 14-2 in July.
Braves: Jason Heyward, 1/2, 2 BB, 2 RBI
Jason Heyward started the scoring for the Braves in the first, and hit the go-ahead RBI in the 7th.
Rays: Brooks Conrad, 1/3, 2 RBI, 1 HR
Brooks Conrad, owner of a .640 OPS and the most-baseball-player-name ever, scored the eventual winning run when he homered in the 5th. Jeremy Hellickson did pretty well, but his name is boring.
Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, 7.1 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 ER, 7 K
Wainwright also went 1/1 with a BB and 2 RBI off Clayton Kershaw, which, when combined with his pitching performance, gives him the slight edge over Rafael Furcal, who knocked in three.
Reds: Aroldis Chapman, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Drew Stubbs put the Reds ahead in the ninth, but Chapman shut the door. I’m going to yell this next stat, which represents Chapman’s season so far, for dramatic effect: 16.9 STRIKEOUTS PER 9 INNINGS WITH A 0.701 WHIP BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
White Sox: Gordon Beckham, 0/4, 0 BB, 0 RBI
Beckham was the only member of the starting lineup to not reach base as the Sox rolled the Twins. But, hey, no errors!
Rangers: Joe Nathan, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 1 SO, L
This game was boring, so I’m just going to point out that Joe Nathan, who’s been good this year, gets the loss. Mike Aviles was the hero with the go-ahead run in the ninth. The previous sentence was difficult to write while yawning.
D-Backs: Chris Young, 2/2, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 2 R
The Diamondbacks scored six runs all together, but Young’s box score line had the most twos.
Royals: Will Smith, 7 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 1 ER, 4 K
“Well, this is a story ‘bout what I done,
I held the Angels to just one run.
Even Mike Trout went oh-for-three,
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called K.C.”
Giants: Madison Bumgarner, 7 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 9 SO
Sure, it was the Padres, but Bumgarner (whose name does NOT have a d in it, no matter how many times I try to shoehorn one in there) continues to have a great season. It’s not 2011 great, but he’s one of the finer young arms in the game today.
Seattle: Mike Carp, 0/3, 2 K
Carp, who is replacing the struggling and recently sent-down Justin Smoak, is batting .151 while slugging .272. He’s only had about 100 PA, so he still has time to turn it around, but first base remains to be a hot mess in Seattle. Of those that played first for the Mariners in the last five years, Russell Branyon ranks as the best, according to fWAR, with 3.3.