|The Reds have won a bunch of games in a row. (Getty Image|
Saturday brought plenty of action, including a Reds roll that keeps rolling, a Curtis Granderson gaffe and a Matt Kemp classic. On Sunday, a certain newly acquired co-ace takes the bump for the first time with his new team.
The Cincinnati Reds: In defeating the Rockies by a score of 9-7, the Reds pushed their current win streak to nine games. It's also worth noting that they've won nine straight without the services of perhaps the best player in baseball, Joey Votto. For the first time this season, Cincy is now 20 games over .500, and they're now tied with the Nationals and Yankees for best record in all of baseball.
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: Coming into Saturday's critical game in San Fran, Kemp was on a 1-for-17 cold streak and hitting a mediocre .276/.311/.431 since returning from the disabled list. But those numbers have changed. In the course of a 10-0 thumping of the Giants, Kemp went 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored and wound up just 90 feet shy of hitting for the cycle. Kemp's Dodgers are now just 1.0 game back in the NL West.
Yoenis Cespedes, A's: Oakland's rookie outfielder continues his surge. Against the Orioles on Saturday, Cespedes went 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple and three RBI. He also made slick running catch to end the eighth. Since returning from the disabled list at the beginning of June, Cespedes is hitting 342/.391/.617.
Anibal Sanchez, Tigers: Suffice it to say, Sachez's Tiger debut could've gone better. In Toronto on Saturday, the newly acquired right-hander gave up five runs on eight hits in 6.0 innings pitched. He also had as many walks as strikeouts. Oh, and he also had as many home runs allowed as strikeouts.
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: Not only did Granderson go 0-for-4 with three strikeouts at the plate, but his glove-work also proved costly against Boston on Saturday night. The Yankees tied the game in the home half of the eighth on a Mark Teixeira home run, but in the top of the ninth Granderson badly misplayed a Pedro Ciriaco fly ball into an RBI triple. Ciriaco later scored on a sac fly, and the Red Sox prevailed 8-6.
Justin Masterson, Indians: Should the Indians wind up missing the postseason, their top two starters, Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, will shoulder a good portion of the blame. The remarkably inconsistent Masterson was at it on again on Saturday, as the Twins torched him for 10 runs in 5.2 innings.
Saturday scoreboard with box scores and recaps for all games
Warhorses: How many more chances will we have to see Roy Halladay and Tim Hudson face each other? At least one: On Sunday, these two venerable right-handers will square off in Atlanta. Hudson's Braves are in the thick of the playoff race, while Doc's Phillies are trying to figure out whether they're going to be deadline sellers. These two have combined for 382 career wins. 1:35 pm ET
Zack attack: Needless to say, Zack Greinke's Angel debut will most assuredly be worth your while. On Sunday, the freshly haloed Greinke will oppose Jeremy Hellickson and the Rays in Anaheim. The playoff implications only add to the intrigue. Greinke's coming off a gem in his final start as a Brewer. Can he keep it going in a new environment? 3:35 pm ET
Division-leader hoedown: While the Red Sox and Yankees are doing their thing before a national-television audience, a more important contest will be going down in Arlington. The Central-leading White Sox will trot out the disappointing Gavin Floyd, who's making his second start since returning from the disabled list, to oppose the similarly disappointing Scott Feldman of the West-pacing Rangers. Given the offenses, starting pitchers and ballpark, runs likely won't be at a premium. 7:05 pm ET
Sunday probables for all games
• Palmeiro makes the Hall: While Rafael Palmeiro may never be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he was recently inducted into a hall of fame. That would be the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Palmeiro was a star for the legendary 1985 Mississippi State team that not only made the College World Series but also included future major-league stars Will Clark, Bobby Thigpen and Jeff Brantley. [Clarion-Ledger]
• Irish eyes are smiling: And speaking of halls of fame, the Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame, which is located inside Foley's NY Pub and Restaurant in Manhattan, recently inducted a number of baseball figures who trace their lineage to the Emerald Isle. Among them were former reliever Jeff Nelson and former longtime Twins manager Tom Kelly. [MLB.com]
• Things I did not know about C.J. Wilson: Presumably, there are many things I don't know about C.J. Wilson, and this is one of them: he owns race cars. "C.J. has always been a major motorsports fan and enthusiast," said Marc Miller, one of Wilson's drivers. "He is a very supportive and realistic car owner." [MLive.com]
• Baseball road trip of the day: Four gentlemen named Adam Kremers, Steve Lunn, Rex Roberts and Chase Higgins are in the midst of biking to every major-league park in order to promote youth mentoring. They started in Seattle and recently hit Milwaukee. A typical day includes 100 miles of cycling followed by a night in a sleeping bag. Their goal is to complete their journey at Fenway Park on Sept. 21. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
• The Ichi-throw: Remember back in April 2001 when rookie import Ichiro Suzuki announced himself with a powerful and devastatingly accurate throw from right field to third base? The New York Times looks back on the play that helped cement Ichiro's legend just as it began. Best part? This quote from Ichiro after that game against the A's: "The ball was hit right to me. Why did he run when I was going to throw him out?"
Let's close with the relevant video …