The Lineup: Max Scherzer's strength, Jim Thome's power
On Saturday, Max Scherzer's performance went far beyond the numbers. On Sunday, a can't-miss pitching duel goes down in Queens.
Saturday had a full menu of baseball, so let's get to it ...
Full Saturday scoreboard with box scores and recaps from all games
Max Scherzer , Detroit Tigers : Scherzer had a solid enough line on Saturday: 6.0 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 7 K, 1 BB in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates . But the numbers don't even hint at the courage and resolve Scherzer showed in Pittsburgh. That's because Scherzer's younger brother, 24-year-old Alex, took his own life two days earlier. It's astounding that Scherzer was able to pitch at all, let alone well. Our prayers and deepest condolences go out to the Scherzer family.
Jim Thome , Philadelphia Phillies : In the bottom of the ninth against the Tampa Bay Rays , Thome stepped in as a pinch-hitter in a 6-6 tie game. He worked the count full against Jake McGee , and then, off a 97-mph fastball, crushed a game-winning homer deep to left field. It was Thome's 13th career walk-off homer, and that was good for a new major-league record. Thome had previously been tied with Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, and Frank Robinson. The blast also moved Thome into a seventh-place tie with Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list.
Johnny Cueto , Cincinnati Reds : Cincy came in to Saturday's contest against the Minnesota Twins having lost four straight and having seen their lead in the NL Central whittled down a single game. Cueto, though, was on the case. Not only did he blank Minnesota for 7.0 innings while giving up three hits, walking none and striking out nine, but he also bunted home a run and notched an RBI groundout.
Miami Marlins ' bullpen: The Miami relief corps squandered a Josh Johnson gem and helped the Marlins drop their sixth straight series (and fall to 4-16 for the month of June). Against the Toronto Blue Jays , relievers Steve Cishek and Edward Mujica combined for 2.0 innings pitched, six hits, six runs, two walks, and two home runs (one of them a Colby Rasmus grand slam). Oh, and there was balk for a good measure.
Bryan LaHair , Chicago Cubs : On a night in the desert when 15 runs were scored and 30 hits were tallied, LaHair managed to go 0-for-5 with a strikeout, a GIDP and eight -- eight! -- runners left on base.
Colby Lewis, Rangers: In some ways, Lewis did his job against the Colorado Rockies : six strikeouts, no walks, no home runs. In other ways, though, he didn't: 4.0 IP, 12 H, 8 R. Most agonizingly of all, Lewis allowed seven of those eight runs with two outs.
Justin and the Buccos: Sounds like a 60's folk-rock band, no? Actually, it's
and the Tigers against the "refuse to go away" Pirates. The Tigers come in just ? games off the pace in the AL Central, while Pittsburgh has a 13-7 record in June. You'll recall that Verlander almost no-hit the Pirates back on May 18.
goes for the hosts. 1:35 pm ET
By the Bay: The San Francisco Giants and A's renew interleague hostilities in Oakland Athletics , and Sunday's tilt features Matt Cain against A.J. Griffin, who'll be making his major-league debut in place on the injured Brandon McCarthy . Cain boasts a 2.34 ERA and a perfect game this season. The 24-year-old Griffin, meanwhile, cobbled together a 2.66 ERA across two levels with 84 strikeouts against just 14 walks. 4:05 pm ET
New York, New York: This is indisputably the game of the day. No, it's not because it's New York Yankees - New York Mets . Rather, it's because it's CC Sabathia vs. R.A. Dickey . As 2012 pitching encounters go, it's hard to dream up one more compelling than this. Will Dickey's amazing run (he hasn't given up an earned run in more than a month) continue against one of the top offenses around? Sabathia, meanwhile, has reeled off five quality starts in his last six outings. 8:00 pm ET
Sunday probables for all games
• Busting the blackout: Looking for a way around MLB.tv's widely despised blackout rules? App Judgement has some sneaky advice. (HT: Jeff Passan)
• Knuckle knowledge: Will the impossible success of R.A. Dickey lead to a knuckleball revolution in baseball? Most insiders, including Dickey himself, say no, mostly because it's such a difficult pitch to master. [New York Times]
• Sleeping Los Angeles Angels : After a headline-grabbing offseason, will the Angels sit out the forthcoming non-waiver deadline? That's how Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reads the tea leaves. That's mostly because the Angels are, a, playing very well right now and, b, not blessed with much remaining room in the budget. As such, they're not likely to be active leading up to July 31.
• The San Diego Los Angeles Dodgers : Are the Dodgers moving to San Diego? Of course not. Rather, the O'Malley family, who owned the Dodgers for many years and infamously moved them from Brooklyn to L.A., looks to be frontrunner in the bid to purchase the San Diego Padres . First Steve Garvey, and now this … [Los Angeles Times]
• Trout time: Could Angels phenom Mike Trout take home the AL MVP this season? Jesse Sakstrup of the Hardball Times explores the possibilities.
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