|There's cause for hope in San Diego these days. (US Presswire)|
Full Wednesday scoreboard with recaps and box scores for all games
Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays: The Toronto shortstop may have had the best game of his career on Wednesday. In the 8-5 win over the Yankees, Escobar went 4-for-5 with a homer, three doubles, five RBI and two runs scored. For those counting, that's 10 total bases in a single afternoon of work.
The Padres: With the convincing win over the Braves on Wednesday night, the Pads now boast a .600 winning percentage since the break. While a winning season is unlikely (they're presently 10 games under .500), the progress Bud Black's club has made is impressive. Throw in what's perhaps the top farm system in baseball, and the Padres' future is bright indeed.
Bryce Harper, Nationals: Harper's numbers have famously slipped since the hot start to his major-league career, but on Wednesday night he was at his best in Miami. Against the Marlins, he went 2-for-5 with a pair of homers. It was the first two-homer game of his career. And the second of those homers was, well, rather authoritative …
Mariners' offense: Minnesota starter Sam Deduno came into the game with 30 strikeouts and 37 walks on the season. Somehow, though, Seattle hitters whiffed nine times against him and didn't draw a single walk. How do you "achieve" that against a pitcher with no history of command? That's for the Mariners to ponder. Oh, and the Twins won 10-0.
Zach Stewart, Red Sox: Stewart, who was acquired in the Kevin Youkilis trade, did not fare so well in his Red Sox debut. How bad was it? MLB.com's Ian Browne writes: "Stewart became the first Boston pitcher to allow 10 hits and nine earned runs over three innings since Howard Ehmke did so in 1923. Stewart is the first Boston pitcher to allow nine runs in his first game with the team, and he became the first Sox pitcher since Jack Russell in 1929 to give up nine runs or more without issuing a walk. Stewart was also the first Sox pitcher to give up nine runs in his debut since Norwood Gibson did it April 29, 1903."
Shawn Tolleson, Dodgers: Yes, it was Coors Field, and, yes, the Dodgers wound up winning. But there's no excusing Tolleson's outing. Tolleson took over with a 10-1 lead, allowed two inherited runners to score and then gave up four of his own. He failed to record a single out. In the process, he added more than a run-and-a-half to his 2012 ERA.
NLCS Preview?: Okay, maybe calling this Cardinals-Nationals match-up an NLCS Preview assumes too much on the part of St. Louis, but it's still an important one. Adding to the intrigue is that former Cardinal Edwin Jackson goes for Washington, while the feast-or-famine Jaime Garcia starts for the reigning champs. 7:05 pm ET
Disappointment Bowl: Red Sox! Angels! The Angels still have hope, but they've paid a steep price in payroll for what may be a one-game playoff appearance (provided they even get there, of course). Zack Greinke opposes Jon Lester in what could be a nifty pitching match-up. 10:05 pm ET
Dodgers in Dodger: The high-priced Dodgers return home and begin a four-game set with the Diamondbacks, and the day will begin with the Dodgers 3.5 games behind the Giants in the West. In other words, they need a win. Fortunately for L.A.'s purposes, they'll have Clayton Kershaw on the mound. 10:10 pm ET
Thursday probables for all games
• Jimmy Rollins, FTW: Here's a pretty cool story about Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and his support of a Little League in Uganda. Good egg, that Jimmy Rollins. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
• Farewell, Yakima: The Yakima Bears are ending their 23-season run in, well, Yakima. Next up, suburban Portland. MiLB.com's Ben Hill pays them a visit.
• The new numbers: FanGraphs has introduced a new line of pitching statistics. Dave Cameron explains it all.
• If Bill Veeck owned a team in Japan ... The Yokohama BayStars may not be good at playing baseball, but they're good at promoting it. [New York Times]
• Le Baseball: Yes, the French have a baseball league. On that front, fear the Huskies. [New York Times]
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