|It wasn't always pretty, but Gio Gonzalez got to 19 wins on Monday. (Getty Images)|
Twenty's within reach for NatGio, and Cleveland welcomed back a phenom in a big way. Let's dig in ...
Full Monday scoreboard with box scores and recaps for all games
Brandon Moss, A's: The A's needed a win over the surging Angels, and Moss helped deliver one. Moss went 2-for-4 in the course of the 3-1 victory and hit his 17th homer of the season. Moss has hit those 17 bombs in just 199 at-bats, and he's now slugging .563 on the year.
Gio Gonzalez, Nationals: If you're the kind to care about pitcher wins and losses, then you'll be interested to know that Gonzalez notched his 19th on Monday night. He didn't have his best command (five walks in 6.0 innings of work, just 58 of his 104 pitches went for strikes), but he limited the Mets to a single run on three hits. As we already knew, the D.C. rotation is much more than Stephen Strasburg.
Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians: Making his first start since June 29, when he suffered a broken arm, Chisenhall went 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk in the Tribe's 7-2 loss to Minnesota. He's now hitting .280/.308/.493 on the season. Going forward, the 23-year-old third baseman has loads of potential.
Tigers defense: It was a big game against the White Sox, and Detroit's gloves let them down. Ryan Raburn, Omar Infante and Miguel Cabrera each made an error, and some suspect defense in the sixth opened the door for a big inning. The Tigers have now dropped six of seven and trail the White Sox by three games in the AL Central.
Johnny Venters, Braves: Any kind of September bullpen meltdown by the Braves is going to occasion memories of what happened last season. While one shouldn't overreact to Monday night's events, Venters did melt down in a big way against the Brewers. Venters inherited a 1-0 lead when he took the mound to start the seventh. Here's what happened: single, walk, sac bunt, throwing error by Venters. He was lifted without recording an out, and three runs were eventually charged to him. The Braves lost. No need for panic. Yet.
Cardinals pitchers: Not only did the Cardinals give up 11 runs in Petco, but they also allowed every Padre regular to reach base at least twice. Oh, and each of the five Cardinal pitchers on the night gave up at least one run. For Cards fans, this is a maddeningly inconsistent team.
East showdown: Playoff implications abound when the Rays and Orioles kick off a critical three-game set in Baltimore. Both teams are very much alive for the AL East title and both wild-card spots. For the opener, Matt Moore opposes Miguel Gonzalez in what could be a pitcher's duel. 7:05 pm ET
Central showdown: The White Sox and Tigers will play the second game of their important series on Tuesday. This one provides an intriguing pitching match-up as Detroit's Doug Fister (3.54 ERA) opposes White Sox co-ace Jake Peavy. While it's too much to say this one's a must-win for Detroit, a loss would drop the Tigers to four games back in the AL Central. 8:10 pm ET
West showdown: The A's and Angels don't have much of a shot at overtaking the first-place Rangers, but they're very much in the thick of the wild-card fray. Game 2 of this key series goes down Tuesday night when Dan Straily starts in place of the injured Brandon McCarthy and opposes Jerome Williams. 10:05 pm ET
Tuesday probables for all games
• Now pitching for the Yankees … We usually think of Babe Ruth the pitcher as a Red Sock and Babe Ruth the uber-slugger as a Yankee. However, as the Hardball Times reminds us, Ruth also took the mound on occasion after he was in pinstripes.
• Don't slide into first base: Don't slide into first base, okay? Rinse. Wash. Repeat. [FanGraphs]
• The Kuroda factor: This winter, the Red Sox and Yankees both kicked the tires on veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda. The Sox decided they didn't have room in the budget, so the Yanks wound up signing him to a bargain one-year contract. Advantage, New York. [Boston Herald]
• AL-mageddon: Could there be a seven-way tie in the AL after the regular season is done? Yes, writes SweetSpot's David Schoenfield. It's not likely, but it would be wonderfully chaotic.
• Helmets for hurlers?: The awful injury to Brandon McCarthy has led many to wonder whether baseball should require pitchers to wear some kind of protective headgear. The Score takes an incisive look at the issue.
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