Day 2 of scoreboard watching here at Royals Review did not go swimmingly. Kansas City was absolutely mollywhopped by the Detroit Tigers, and received mixed help from the teams in front of them. Let's hope the team doesn't go on a losing streak right when we start to take their playoff chances more seriously, I'm not quite ready to abandon this series.
Indians 8, Mets 1: Scott Kazmir turned back the clock, shutting out the Mets for six innings. The southpaw surrendered four hits, striking out 12 while walking none. Definitely the kind of start everyone expects from "Big Game" Kazmir.
Nick Swisher turned this game into a laugher in the bottom of the eighth inning, blasting a grand slam in. Carlos Santana drove in a pair of runs, while Yan Gomes, Lonnie Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs collected extra-base hits against New York.
Orioles 4, White Sox 0: Scott Feldman turned in his best start since joining the Orioles, throwing a complete game shutout against the White Sox. The right-hander didn't exactly dominate, striking out three while walking one, but throwing strikes against a bad Chicago offense can get the job done more often than not.
Chris Davis launched his major-league leading 48th homer of the season, while Danny Valencia and Matt Wieters also connected on solo blasts. Valencia picked up another RBI on an infield single, plating J.J. Hardy.
Red Sox 12, Yankees 8: Mike Napoli went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, smashing a grand slam in the seventh inning to help led Boston to a comeback victory over the Yankees. The Red Sox trailed 8-3 in the fifth inning after the Yankees shelled Felix Doubront, but a bullpen meltdown led by Phil Hughes let the AL East leaders claw back into the game.
Will Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and David Ross also had multi-hit games, while Stephen Drew drove in a pair of runners. Koji Uehara recorded his 27th consecutive out in the ninth, giving him a "reliever perfect game."
C.J. Wilson labored through 6 2/3 innings, but only gave up four runs to keep the Angels in the game. The Rangers will be lamenting missed opportunities; the team stranded seven runners and hit into a pair of double plays.
Mike Trout went 3-for-4, raising his triple slash to .338/.435/.575. He seems poised to post a second consecutive 10 fWAR campaign. Somehow, the Angels still managed to trot out a below-.500 team this year.
Athletics 7, Astros 4: The Oakland offense beat up on an inferior opponent, as every starter reached base safely during the game. Josh Donaldson led the team with three hits, finishing a triple short of the cycle. Jed Lowrie went 2-for-5 with a double and a pair of RBI, while Yoenis Cespedes and Nate Freiman had multi-hit games as well.
The Rangers loss combined with the Athletics win gives Oakland 1/2 game lead over Texas in the AL West. Also, this picture of Freiman standing next to Jose Altuve should make you laugh:
Mariners 6, Rays 4: Tampa Bay will regret this one, as they made a number of errors that contributed to the loss. Sean Rodriguez had an absolutely brutal TOOTBLAN, getting picked off second base in a 4-3 game; he would have scored later in the inning on a Luke Scott double, which would have given the Rays a 5-4 lead.
The Mariners scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth, but none would have scored if Desmond Jennings would have caught Kyle Seager's flyball. Instead, Justin Smoak hit a two-out RBI-double, and the Rays have now last 10 of their past 13.
Saturday's Probable Pitchers
The White Sox seemingly have a pitcher tree planted somewhere at the Cell, or maybe it's the Don Cooper factor. Even if Santiago appears to be pitching over his head, he's given them quality innings this year. Chen is a solid pitcher, if unspectacular.
Lackey has had a nice bounce-back season for the Red Sox, turning in his best campaign since 2007. The right-hander has numbers similar to Ervin Santana; the strikeouts are not overwhelming but still good, while the low walk rate is impressive. Starting Huff, who has a career 5.18 ERA, is not a good sign for New York.
Oberholtzer is young and has looked good so far, but he's sporting a 15.5% K%. He doesn't look like much more than a warm body who can guide the Astros through the next few seasons. Straily's control issues will keep him from becoming more than a back of the rotation guy, but he's still young and posted some impressive minor-league numbers.
Niese left his last start with a left calf cramp and has battled shoulder issues this season, so I'm sure the Mets will keep a close eye on the lefty. They can't afford another serious injury to a quality starter. Kluber is returning from a finger injury; the Indians really need him to be healthy, as Justin Masterson seems unlikely to pitch for them the rest of the year.
The Rangers look appear to have a large pitching advantage; Holland has recovered nicely from a disappointing 2012 campaign. I really don't know anything about Richards, but he's managed a 58.7% GB% over 115 1/3 innings, which is quite impressive.
Speaking of pitching trees, the Rays are trotting out another young starter who has given them some strong innings this year. I'm so glad the Royals received Wade Davis. Paxton is one of the Mariners top pitching prospects and is making his major-league debut; John Sickels of Minor League Ball wrote a nice post on the lefty.
Updated Wild Card Standings