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The Lineup: Rizzo rising, Rangers reeling

The Lineup: Rizzo rising, Rangers reeling

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Anthony Rizzo

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Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: The Cubs' young slugger had quite a night in Queens. In five trips to the plate, Rizzo tallied four hits, including a three-run shot off Johan Santana. It was the first four-hit game of Rizzo's young career. And so the Man Who Will Save the Cubs is now hitting .375/.390/.750 on the season.

Tyler Colvin, Rockies: While teammate Drew Pomeranz is also deserving of praise for his 6.1 shutout innings against the Nationals, it was Colvin who went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs off Stephen Strasburg. Colvin is now slugging .644 on the season, and he has five bombs in his last five games.

Drew Smyly, Tigers: On Friday, right-hander Drew Smyly became the first Detroit rookie in 20 years to strike out 10 or more batters in a game. What makes his feat even more impressive is that he was able to reach double figures in whiffs against Royals, who have been the toughest team in all of baseball to strike out. In 6.0 innings, Smyly gave up two runs and zero walks.


Antonio Bastardo, Phillies: When Bastardo took the ball to start the eighth, he was walking into a classic pitcher's duel: Philly's Kyle Kendrick and Atlanta's Tim Hudson had each worked 7.0 scoreless frames. Bastardo, though, gave up five runs on three walks and two hits -- including a grand slam to Brian McCann -- in just 0.2 innings of work. As a consequence, the spiraling Phillies lost for the eighth time in nine games.

Travis Hafner, Indians: In just his third game since returning from knee surgery, Hafner endured a tough night against the Rays: 0-for-4 at the plate with two strikeouts, two GIDPs and six runners left on base.

Rangers offense: Texas may lead the majors in runs scored, but you wouldn't know it based on recent performances. For the third time in their last five games, the Rangers were limited to only one run. On Friday night, they allowed Francisco Liriano, who clearly didn't have his best command (six walks in 6.2 innings, just 58 of 109 pitches for strikes), to shut them down. Ranger hitters are now 8-for-59 over the last two games, and as a team they've dropped five straight.

On Deck

Freddy and Franklin: In the second game of a Fenway doubleheader, Freddy Garcia, the Yankees' "break glass in case of emergency" rotation member, will oppose Boston's Franklin Morales, who's thrived since resuming a starting role. Garcia looked solid in his return to a starting role, and he's been pitching quite well since May 1. Still, a powerful Boston lineup playing on a warm night in Fenway will be a challenge. If Garcia can continue holding his own, then the Yanks will be a little less desperate for help as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. 12:35 pm ET

Surprise aces: A match-up pitting the first-place Pirates against the second-place Giants? Sounds good. That same match-up featuring surprise ace Ryan Vogelsong versus surprise ace James McDonald? Sounds even better. Vogelsong has reeled off 12 straight quality starts, while McDonald boasts a 1.73 ERA at home this season. 4:05 pm ET

Wild-card preview?: In terms of general trends, the Angels and Orioles are headed in opposite directions. Can the Orioles reverse course and remain in playoff contention? Can the Angels, after a miserable start to the season, continue making up ground on the Rangers? Cy Young hopeful Jered Weaver will take up the Halo cause. 10:05 pm ET

Saturday probables for all games

What's Hot

For the love of the game (and a great cause): Let Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describe what unfolded in O'Fallon, Illinois: "There were 169 innings played, 451 runs scored, three consecutive afternoons of temperatures in the 100 degrees, less than eight hours of sleep for most players, and a World Record-setting total of 60 hours, 11 minutes, and 32 seconds of baseball played."

Not only did Goold and 51 other St. Louis-area participants set the Guinness World Record for longest baseball marathon, but they also raised more than $150,000 for a charity supporting fallen police officers, firefighters and EMS workers. Well done.

Lawrie's lawless lid: Have a pressing desire to own the helmet that Brett Lawrie hurled at the feet of umpire Bill Miller earlier this season? Please know that it's now for sale in the Blue Jays' team store. [Busted Coverage]

Dressing the part: You might think that seasoned major-leaguers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, during their minor-league rehab assignments, wouldn't deign to wear the uniform according to minor-league traditions. But you'd be wrong, writes Jeff Schuler of the Morning Call.

Good ideas, bad ideas: Good idea? When a coach takes his high-school team to a Dodger game. Bad idea? When said coach smokes pot with said high-school players on the way to and from said Dodger game. [Los Angeles Times]

Behold, the "Tarp-nami": What happens when high winds meet a tarp at a minor-league ballpark? Stand in awe before the "Tarp-nami" [Big League Stew]

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