The Lineup: Chris Johnson powers D-Backs; Indians still in free-fall
We know the drill by now. We hit Tuesday night, set up Wednesday and check out some interesting links from around the good ol' webosphere. It's The Lineup for Wednesday morning.
|You might want to get to know Chris Johnson , the baseball player. (Getty Images)|
The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals are hot, the Detroit Tigers are hotter and the Cleveland Indians just can't win. But let's cover everything. Dive on in.
Full Tuesday scoreboard with recaps and box scores for every game
Chris Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks : The unheralded acquisition by the D-Backs in late July continues to pay huge dividends. He hit two homers and drove home five runs in a 10-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday, and is now hitting .344/.387/.897 with five homers and 15 RBI in just eight games for Arizona.
Michael Fiers, Milwaukee Brewers : He took a perfect game into the seventh against the Cincinnati Reds and eventually finished with eight strong innings, only allowing three hits and one run while striking out seven. The rookie sensation now sports a 1.80 ERA and has struck out exactly one batter per inning.
Barry Zito , San Francisco Giants : The St. Louis Cardinals came into the game playing great baseball and sporting one of MLB's best offenses. None of their biggest sticks are left-handed, either, but Zito (a lefty, for those who still don't know) put up a great outing in St. Louis Tuesday. Zito threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing only two earned runs and picking up the victory. As for scorching hot Buster Posey 's due love, he'll get some in Wednesday's power rankings.
Chris Perez /Indians' defense: Trying to finally escape the losing streak that has ruined their season, the Indians jumped out to a 4-1 lead through two innings. It was then 5-1 heading into the seventh. A couple defensive gaffes helped allow the Minnesota Twins back into the game, but it was still 5-4 heading into the ninth. All-Star closer Chris Perez was coming on, so this streak should have ended. But Perez allowed four hits, a walk and three runs. The go-ahead run was a Tsuyoshi Nishioka sacrifice fly. Only one run Perez allowed was earned because a Casey Kotchman error was also pivotal in the awful inning. In the end, the Indians lost 7-5 and have dropped 11 in a row.
The Baby Chicago Cubs : Cubs are baby bears. These new Cubs are even younger and they're getting their teeth kicked in now, after a good July (15-10 record, though a few of the key components are now playing elsewhere). In August, the Cubs are now 0-6.
Michael Saunders , Seattle Mariners : Losing in 14 innings is pretty rough, but imagine going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts while losing in 14? That's what Mariners' three-hole hitter Saunders did Tuesday night, while leaving five men on base. That'll leave a mark.
This one goes to 11: Yep, the Indians have dropped 11 straight. So the focus turns to avoiding a dozen. It'll be Justin Masterson (7-10, 4.78) for the Tribe against Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.39) of the Twins. 12:05 p.m. ET
Reds reel? The Cincinnati Reds have lost three straight, though there's still plenty of comfort in the NL Central for now, with a 3.5 game cushion over the Pirates. Still, they'd surely like to stop the bleeding before it gets too bad, so Wednesday's game is big. The pitching matchup certainly favors the division leader, as it is Mat Latos (10-3, 3.94) against Randy Wolf (3-8, 5.57) of the Brewers. 2:10 p.m. ET
Rubber match in Oakland: With the Tigers having caught fire, the A's and Los Angeles Angels may only get one wild card spot between themselves, so the head-to-head games are paramount. In this current three-game series, they've each taken one game so far. Wednesday brings the rubber game and also an intriguing pitching matchup. It's new Angels acquistion Zack Greinke (0-1, 5.14 with Angels) against rookie phenom Dan Straily (0-0, 1.50). 3:35 p.m. ET
Wednesday's probable pitchers
• Intro to Area Code Games: The Area Code baseball games are taking place this week in Long Beach State's home park. They are a showcase for the best high school baseball players in the entire country. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez offers up a guide of what these games are all about.
• Rod Carew corrects Adam Sandler: Well this is a trip down memory lane. Remember Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song" from 1994? At one point in the song, he's mentioning famous jewish people -- and he says, "O.J. Simpson ... not a jew. But guess who is, Hall of Famer Rod Carew ... he converted." As it turns out, that isn't totally true. "I was about to convert, but I never did. I think Adam found out about that." Carew went on to say he's developed a good relationship with Sandler since the song, so there are obviously no hard feelings. (via USA Today)
• Lobbying clout: Only the NFL spends more money on lobbying the government, among sports leagues, than Major League Baseball, which contributed $3.6 million in political lobbying from 2007-2011. Forbes.com has the whole story.
• Examining the A's: Obviously after that absurdly hot streak the Oakland Oakland Athletics put up last month, a hot topic of conversation has been whether or not they can keep it up. But what if they do make the playoffs, in spite of having a bad offense -- including a lackluster on-base percentage? Beyond the Box Score takes a look at some recent sub-par offensive teams that made the playoffs. One of them won the World Series, too.
• Baseball players can jump out of pools, too: In recent years, it's become a somewhat popular Internet thing for athletes (mostly football players, I'll anecdotally recall) to show off athleticism by jumping out of a pool and landing on their feet. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki provides the video evidence that he can do it: