The Lineup: Braun makes Petco Park history; Nats hoping return home helps
Putting a bow on Monday's action, setting up Tuesday's games and taking a look at some quick-hitting links. It is The Lineup.
Big night for the long ball, as there were 26 homers in just 10 games. Matt Kemp hit his major-league leading 12th and someone finally hit three in a game in Petco Park (see below). Oh, and the Rangers won behind a dominant Yu Darvish. His stuff looked filthy, so we might get used to talking about him dominating. We'll see how he reacts to a long season of being on only four-days' rest. Anywho, let's get into it.
Full Monday scoreboard with box scores and recaps for all 10 games
Ryan Braun, Brewers. While he's won the MVP, Rookie of the Year and been an All-Star four straight seasons, Braun had never hit three homers in a major-league game until Monday night. And, in an odd twist of fate, he did so in the spacious pitcher-haven that is Petco Park in San Diego. In fact, it was the first time in Petco Park history that a player connected on three homers in one game. Braun came to bat in the ninth with a shot at a fourth homer and nearly did it -- he tripled to deep right-center. The Brewers would go on to win 8-3 behind Braun's six RBI.
Red Sox offense. Since their "rock bottom" moment against the Yankees on April 21, the Red Sox are now 7-1 and the offense is raking. They've now scored at least 10 runs in four of their last seven games. Monday night, in an 11-6 win, the Red Sox pounded out three doubles and four homers (including two from David Ortiz).
Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks. The D-Backs made a somewhat unpopular decision when they promoted Corbin to take over Josh Collmenter's former rotation spot instead of the heavily-hyped Trevor Bauer or Tyler Skaggs. Corbin went out and battled well in his major-league debut, putting together 5 2/3 innings and allowing three earned runs while striking out six. It wasn't a Cy Young performance, but it was a good start for the 22 year old against a talented -- albeit struggling -- Marlins' offense. Arizona won 9-5.
Mike Minor, Braves. He was roughed up in a 9-3 loss for eight hits and seven earned runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Pirates. The same Pirates who entered Monday night with a .224/.276/.326 line and hadn't scored more than five runs in a game all season -- the longest streak since the 1972 Brewers to open a season.
Brandon League, Mariners. After Jesus Montero hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the 11th inning, League blew a save chance in the bottom of the 11th, allowing the Rays to tie it on a two-out B.J. Upton single (Luke Scott led off the inning with a double). League came back out for the 12th with a tie game, and lost it on an Elliot Johnson RBI single, which followed a walk and single.
The "win" stat. Every once in a while we get a good glimpse at just how stupid the "win" stat is as a primary tool for judging pitchers. Monday night provided one. Vance Worley of the Phillies worked seven innings, allowing only five hits and one run. The Phillies led 4-1 when he departed. In the eighth, the Cubs scored three runs to tie it, including a game-tying, two-run home run by Bryan LaHair off Chad Qualls. So Qualls blew the lead and allowed two runs in his 2/3 of an inning. The Phillies then scored two in the bottom of the eighth and went on to win 6-4. And Qualls got the win. Remember examples like this when someone is arguing one pitcher is better than another based only upon wins. We need more context than that.
Something's Gotta Give? The Angels offense has struggled mightily this season (hey, have you heard Albert Pujols doesn't have a homer yet? I haven't ... ). They mildly broke out Monday night, but if we're talking about four runs on eight hits as a breakout, that pretty well illustrates the problem. Tuesday night, the Angels get Francisco Liriano of the Twins. Liriano (0-3, 11.02) was so bad to open the season that the Twins skipped his last turn in the rotation to let him clear his head. Jerome Williams (1-1, 5.51) starts for the Angels. 9:05 p.m. CT/7:05 p.m. PT.
Home cookin'. The Nationals left for a west-coast road trip with a 12-4 record. They pushed it to 14-4, but are now returning home with a four-game losing streak. Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 1.33) gets the ball for the Nats, while Trevor Cahill (1-2, 3.70) and the Diamondbacks come to town. 7:05 p.m. ET/4:05 p.m. PT.
Ownership. The Orioles would be 14-5 if they hadn't played the Yankees yet this season. But they have, four times. And they've lost four times. They'll try to reverse the trend Tuesday night in the Bronx. The pitching matchup pits Phil Hughes (1-3, 7.88) of the Yankees against Brian Matusz (0-3, 5.66). So, yeah, with these offenses in that ballpark, expect lots of runs. 7:05 p.m. ET
Full Tuesday schedule with pitching matchups for all 15 games
• Baseball isn't dying. Nothing drives me more crazy than when some non-baseball fan pontificates about how the sport is "dying." So, yeah, it's pretty cool to see attendance is up 6.3 percent this season, with 20 clubs having a higher attendance rate than at this point last season (MLB Public Relations).
• No love for Mick's restaurant? Mickey Mantle's restaurant is facing eviction by the end of May if it can't raise $1 million. They've taken to hitting up former and current Yankees for fundraising, but a report indicates no current players have interest. "Their agents just laugh," said co-owner Bill Liederman (NYPost.com).
• Special park tour. Reggie Deal, a blind man, is hitting all 30 major-league parks in just 30 days. He started his voyage Sunday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and he'll conclude the tour May 28 in Wrigley Field (MLB.com). In addition to being blind, he recently beat cancer. Deal has a blog with MLB.com (reggiedeal.mlblogs.com) to recap his experiences. It's a very interesting perspective to hear how much he loves the ballpark atmosphere, despite not being able to see the action. A highly recommended blog to follow.
• Votto's climb to Fergie. Reds first baseman Joey Votto is already one of the greatest Canadian baseball players ever. In a poll conducted by members of the Canadian media, Votto checked in as the fourth-best Canadian baseball player ever. He trails Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, Larry Walker and Justin Morneau. Matt Stairs is fifth, with Jason Bay and Eric Gagne following (MLB.com).
• Seinfeld reference: One of my all-time favorite shows is Seinfeld and I love picking up references to it even when unintended. So I got a chuckle when I looked at baseball-reference.com's list of April 30th baseball birthdays. Evidently Kramer's friend Bob Saccomanno has a relative that played baseball ...
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