The Lineup: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, again
As interleague play continues, a young phenom from each league had a night to remember on Monday night. As for Tuesday, a couple of surprising match-ups matter more than you might think.
No one had a night like Bryce Harper . Except Mike Trout .
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels - The Los Angeles Dodgers barged to a 2-0 lead early on, but then Trout took over. In the fourth, he cut the lead in half with a solo shot. In the sixth, he plated the tying run with a single to right. And in the ninth, he walked, stole second and scored the eventual winning run on an Albert Pujols base hit. Mike Trout is good at baseball.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals - In Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, Harper went 3-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI, and two runs scored in a 6-3 Nats victory. The 19-year-old star is now hitting .295/.381/.527 on the season.
Ivan Nova , New York Yankees - No Atlanta runner reached third as Nova tamed the Atlanta Braves for 7.0 spotless frames. On the night, he whiffed six against only one walk and five hits. And he did it against the team that ranks third in the NL in runs scored this season.
Russell Martin , Yankees - Yes, Martin's team won, and his battery-mate pitched a gem. But consider that in the course of Martin's 0-for-4 night he hit into a double play and left eight runners on base. Eight.
Kenley Jansen , Dodgers - It was Jansen who walked Trout in the ninth and allowed him to steal second and then gave up the single to Pujols. Although Jansen gave up only one run on the night, it was a critical one. The Dodgers have now lost their last five home games, and base-stealers are now 14-for-14 against Jansen this season.
Josh Beckett , Boston Red Sox - While Beckett didn't exactly blow up in his first-ever start against his former team, the Marlins did touch him for four runs on six hits in 7.0 innings. Besides, with just four games on the docket, the bar for 3 Up/3 Down isn't quite as high as it would be on a night graced with adequate levels of baseball.
1971 and 1979, redux: A Pittsburgh Pirates - Baltimore Orioles interleague series that matters? Yes, indeed. The pitching-rich Pirates are tied for first in the NL Central, while the O's have a tenuous grip on the second AL wild-card spot. Suffice it to say, neither team was expected to matter by this point in the season. The only thing that could make this rematch of the 1971 and 1979 World Series any better are some awesome '79 throwback unis for both teams. 7:05 pm ET.
O. Hi. O: An Cleveland Indians -Reds interleague series that matters? Yes, indeed. The Tribe comes in just a half-game off the pace in the AL Central, and the Reds prepare to host while tied for the lead in the NL Central. Each team, it should be noted, has a record of 32-27. Cleveland will lean on Jeanmar Gomez , while Cincy will counter with ace Johnny Cueto. 7:10 pm ET.
New York Mets on the brink?: A sweep at the hands of the crosstown Yanks dropped the Mets to fourth place in the NL East and two games out of playoff position. Unfortunately for the upstart Queenslanders, it doesn't get any easier: the mighty Tampa Bay Rays loom. In the series opener, Chris Young makes his second start of the season for New York, while Alex Cobb goes for TB. 7:10 pm ET.
• The CWS is set: Your eight College World Series combatants for 2012? Would you believe Stony Brook? Would you believe Kent State? Both are in. So are six other, less interesting teams.
• No-hitter history?: Are we pace for a record number of no-hitters in 2012? Yes, but then it gets complicated, explains FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
• They were there in spirit: The Tampa Bay Rays, the close observer will recall, did not exist in 1979, but that will not stop the Tampa Bay Rays from wearing 1979-style uniforms in an upcoming game. Chris Creamer explores the beautiful possibilities.
• The phallout: Will the once-mighty Phillies, winners of five straight NL East titles, actually be deadline sellers? Eric Seidman of FanGraphs thinks it could happen.
• An open letter to … Derrek Lee?: One must try very hard to make a "told you so" enemy symbol out of Derrek Lee, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has, well, "succeeded."
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