The Lineup: Wainwright wows, Cubs crater
St. Louis got reacquainted with an old friend, the Cubs reached new depths, and a certain Met and a certain Brave enjoyed career nights. Oh, and get ready for Cole and Bryce, Part II.
C.J. Wilson allowed one hit. Brandon Phillips smacked a pair of bombs. Lyle Overbay flirted with a cycle. So why aren't they part of The Lineup? Well …
R.A. Dickey , New York Mets - It's not often that a game involving a knuckleballer entails 23 strikeouts, but that's what happened in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Dickey recorded 11 of those whiffs (a career high) against zero walks in 7.0 innings of one-run ball. In the process, he notched his sixth-straight quality start.
Michael Bourn , Atlanta Braves - Know what else doesn't happen often? A two-homer night for Bourn. In fact, it had never happened before Tuesday night. In further fact, Bourn's two home runs in a losing effort against the Cincinnati Reds constitute 12.5% of his career total.
Adam Wainwright , St. Louis Cardinals - Is the St. Louis ace rounding into form? Wainwright, who hasn't been his vintage self since returning from Tommy John surgery, dominated the Padres on Tuesday night. In pitching his first shutout since August of 2010, Wainwright gave up four hits, struck out nine and walked only one. The outing lowered Wainwright's ERA by almost a full run.
The Chicago Cubs - Not only did the blighted North Siders lose their eighth straight (seven of those eight have come against losing teams), but it's now 59 innings and counting since they've had a lead. Chew on that for a moment. The loss to Houston Astros on Tuesday night pushed the Cubs past the Twins in the heart-pumping race for the top overall draft pick in 2013.
Starlin Castro , Cubs - We're not done picking on the Cubs just yet. Castro on Tuesday night achieved the "Golden Sombrero," as he struck out four times in four ABs. In keeping with that theme, he also left four runners on base over the course of the one-run defeat.
Arizona Diamondbacks ' bullpen - We'll exempt Craig Breslow from this indictment, since he tossed a scoreless inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night, but the other Arizona relievers who appeared in the game? Ick. Brad Ziegler , Bryan Shaw , David Hernandez , and J.J. Putz combined to allow seven runs in 2.0 innings of work. In doing so, they blew a five-run lead in the seventh and a one-run lead in the ninth. The Snakes have now lost nine of their last 10 at home.
Full Tuesday scoreboard with box scores and recaps for all games
Aces high: The key Jays- Tampa Bay Rays series draws to a close on Wednesday, and two of the team's top starters will be matching skills. For Toronto Blue Jays , Ricky Romero takes the bump. He tamed the Rays earlier this season, but his control issues remain a concern. He'll oppose Tampa Bay's co-ace, James Shields . 1:10 pm ET
Andy again: The un-retired Andy Pettitte again attempts to stabilize the Yankee rotation as he makes his third start of the season. Last time out, Pettitte spun a gem, as he limited the Reds to four singles over 8.0 scoreless frames. This time, he'll face the Kansas City Royals , who have struggled against lefties thus far in 2012. 7:05 pm ET
Cole vs. Bryce II: Cole and Bryce -- no, they're not the young sons of ex-urban preppies. Rather, they're central to this year's Nats- Philadelphia Phillies hostilities. You'll recall that Cole Hamels , sensing that the old-school ethos was imperiled by something or other, plunked Bryce Harper when first they met. They'll meet again on Wednesday night. Oh, and Edwin Jackson will also be on the mound. We shall watch. 7:05 pm ET
Full Wednesday schedule with probables
• Memorial Day reflections: With Memorial Day approaching, Yahoo!'s Eric R. Ivie takes an important and compelling look at the six former major leaguers who died in conflicts ranging from World War I to the Korean War.
• Ryan's hopes: The best defensive shortstop in baseball (that would be Brendan Ryan of the Seattle Mariners ) sits down with David Laurila of FanGraphs and provides fascinating glimpse at what it's like to play defense at a high level. Money quote from Ryan: "It would even be fun to play without a third baseman at times."
• The end is nigh: Will 2K Sports ever make another MLB video game? It's not sounding promising. "Our legacy Major League Baseball agreement will sunset in fiscal 2013," a Take-Two spokesman said, meaning in the coming 12 calendar months. "MLB 2K12 is our last offering under that agreement. At this time, we have no further comment." [Kotaku]
• Scout badge: Ever wanted to speak the secret language of baseball scouts? Bernie Pleskoff of MLB.com gives us a nifty walking tour of how scouts evaluate a player.
• Random Pedro Martinez winnage: Apropos of nothing (actually it's apropos of a recent Twitter conversation I had with David Perez), here's the great Pedro Martinez perhaps at his most sublime in this gem against the New York Yankees back in 1999:
There's not really a proper superlative to describe how filthy Pedro's stuff was on that night. You can make a case that no pitcher has enjoyed a two-year stretch of dominance like Pedro did from 1999-2000. If you saw him pitch, consider yourself blessed.
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