The Lineup: Justin Verlander and Michael Fiers ... but not the way you think
We're making note of the Tuesday performances of Justin Verlander and Michael Fiers and also looking forward to a big battle of first-place teams.
What's Mike Fiers doing up there? And what's Justin Verlander doing down there? What did Adam Jones do to earn praise despite a losing effort? And which two first-place AL teams are headling Wednesday's action?
Full Tuesday scoreboard with box scores and recaps for all games
Michael Fiers, Milwaukee Brewers : The 26-year-old right-hander made his first major-league start on Tuesday to great effect. In 7.0 innings of five-hit ball against the Matt Kemp -infused Los Angeles Dodgers , he gave up only one run while striking out three and walking none. Fiers confounded the Dodgers will his cutter early on and then leaned on his off-speed stuff just as they seemed to be adjusting.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles : Sure, it was a losing effort for Jones's team, but the O's center fielder went 3-for-3 with two home runs and two walks against Toronto on Tuesday. In the process, he extended his hitting streak to 20 games. Jones is now hitting a robust .317/.362/.624 on the season. He's also on pace for 52 bombs.
Josh Willingham , Minnesota Twins : Willingham was just 1-for-4 on the night, but his lone hit was a big one: a three-run walk-off bomb off Brian Fuentes to give the Twins a 3-2 victory over Oakland. It was Willingham's fifth career walk-off homer. On the season, Willingham boasts an OBP of .399 and a SLG of .547.
Justin Masterson , Cleveland Indians : If it's it Ubaldo Jimenez failing the Tribe, then it's Masterson. On Tuesday against the Royals, Masterson finally showed improved control, but the overall results were dismal: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 8 R. Sure, he struck out eight against zero walks, but it was a drubbing by any standard.
Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams , Texas Rangers : It's a two-for-one "honoring" the relieving duo who put the game out of reach for Texas. Ogando and Adams combined for 1.0 innings and six runs on seven hits. After their work was done, so were the Rangers' hopes.
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers : If you're told an unnamed pitcher surrendered five runs on 10 hits in 6.0 innings of work, then "Justin Verlander" is not likely to be among your early guesses at that pitcher's identity. But that's exactly what Verlander did on Tuesday night in Boston. The velocity was there for the reigning AL MVP, but the location wasn't, particularly on Daniel Nava's bases-loaded double in the fourth.
Surprise studs: It's probably fair to say that, coming into 2012, the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays didn't expect to get much from, respectively, Carlos Quintana and Alex Cobb . However, the former has allowed just five hits in 11.2 innings this season (all against the division-rival Indians), and the latter has a 2.25 ERA after two starts. These two will go at it on Wednesday. 1:10 pm ET
Not-Hotlanta: The cratering Atlanta Braves badly need another win against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. In a collapse that's been alarmingly reminiscent of what befell the team last September, the Braves have dropped eight of nine and now find themselves in fourth place in the tough NL East. If they're to arrest the slide, then notional ace Tim Hudson , who was cuffed around his last time out, must overcome a career 5.59 ERA against the Cardinals, who will counter with Kyle Lohse . 7:10 pm ET
City of aces: In L.A., the Brewers will send out co-ace Yovani Gallardo , who's reeled off five straight quality starts, to oppose the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw , who, you may have heard, won the NL Cy Young last season. In 2012, Kershaw boasts a sub-2.00 ERA, and in Dodger Stadium he's got a career ERA of 2.39. 10:10 pm ET
Wednesday probables for all games
• Booze clues: Does the team bear some responsibility when over-served patrons assault someone in the ballpark? That's what one retired NYC firefighter contends with regard to the New York Yankees . [New York Daily News]
• Lastings barely lasting: Remember all the hype that once surrounded Lasting Milledge. Well, he's still struggling to live up to it, but this time he's struggling to live up to it in Japan. [New York Times]
• How many Altuves?: Now you too can measure things in Altuves.
• Buck's breakthrough: It was 50 years ago Tuesday that the great Buck O'Neill became the first black coach in major-league history. On May 29, 1962, the Chicago Cubs made history by adding O'Neill to its staff as a major-league scout. [MLB.com]
• "My onslaught is Don Slaught": It's a rap song that samples the RBI Baseball theme song. And it is beautiful to the senses:
(HT: Getting Blanked)
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