The Lineup: In praise of the ... Orioles?
Okay, maybe it won't last for the Orioles, but for a couple of Birds, Tuesday night was a night to remember. And if you like pitching, then Wednesday is here to help.
Baltimore Orioles fans can be forgiven if they expect things to fall apart at any moment, so let them celebrate while they may ...
Buck Showalter, Orioles - Not only has Showalter and his steady, old-school hand guided the upstart O's to a 15-9 start, but Showalter also notched his 1,000th career victory on Tuesday night, when Baltimore topped the loathed Yankees for the first time in 2012. Showalter becomes the 58th manager in major-league history to reach that benchmark. There's a solid chance he'll be in the top 50 on the all-time wins list by the end of the season.
Andre Ethier , Los Angeles Dodgers - While Matt Kemp is understandably hogging the Dodger-related bandwidth these days, Ethier deserves some notice. In Tuesday night's hotly fought 7-6 win over the Rockies, Ethier went 2-for-3 with a homer, two walks and three RBI. He's now hitting .289/.354/.578 on the season. That's not "Kemp-ian," but it's still darn good.
Nick Johnson , Orioles - When does a middling 1-for-4 night earn you a spot within "3 Up"? When, prior to that one hit, you were 0-for-29 on the season. Yes, Johnson, before his eighth-inning double against the Yankees, was 0-for-29 in 2012. But no more! Everything's coming up Orioles ...
Ubaldo Jimenez , Cleveland Indians - The Tribe's reputed ace has now turned in subpar outings in three of his five starts this season. On Tuesday, he gave up seven runs on eight hits in just 4.2 innings of work. He also managed just 54 strikes in 105 pitches, and at one point he issued a bases-loaded walk to Paul Konerko. Jimenez has more walks than strikeouts on the season, which is not advisable for someone charged with preventing runs.
Neftali Feliz , Texas Rangers - Texas hitters staked Feliz to an early 5-0 lead, but the young right-hander couldn't hang on to it. In the third, Feliz walked a pair and gave up a pair homers. In the sixth, he walked his fifth and sixth batters of the night, and then he was done. They'll talk about the errors by Elvis Andrus and Mike Napoli in the seventh, but if Feliz does his job, then those mishaps are of little consequence.
Seattle Mariners hitters - Take it away, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times …
Mariners now in an 0-for-30 stretch with runners in scoring position— Larry Stone (@StoneLarry) May 2, 2012
The M's lost to the Rays, 3-1.
Aces high: Roy Halladay takes on Tommy Hanson in Atlanta Braves , which means two of the NL's best hurlers will be toiling for your entertainment. Halladay has been given only one run of support in each of his last two starts, so there figures to be little margin for error on both sides. 7:10 p.m. ET
Lynn again: Can Lance Lynn keep his improbable success going? Lynn ranks fifth in the NL in ERA, and in his "worst" outing of the season, he gave up one run over 5.1 innings. On Wednesday he'll be opposing the Pittsburgh Pirates , who have, by a comfortable margin, baseball's worst offense. Opposing Lynn will be A.J. Burnett , who's been outstanding since his return from the DL. 8:15 p.m. ET
Pitcher's duel III: Edwin Jackson , a core member of the best rotation in baseball, takes on Joe Saunders , who's barged to an incredible start this season. This Arizona Diamondbacks -Nats tilt also provides the opportunity to feast eyes upon Justin Upton and Bryce Harper , two of the most dynamic young stars in the game today. 7:05 p.m. ET.
• Pujols is having a good year: While things on the field aren't going so swimmingly for the Los Angeles Angels ' Albert Pujols , things off the field are going just fine. Pujols and wife Dee Dee are expecting their fifth child, the couple has announced. [BND.com]
• Cowboy (dress) up: The New York Mets , in commemoration of their trip to Houston Astros , dressed up like cowboys. Amazin' Avenue has done the Lord's work of gathering photos of the carnage. Please enjoy. And Daniel Murphy 's ensemble is not to be missed.
• Introducing Amir Garrett: The New York Times has an interesting profile of Amir Garrett, a power forward for the St. John's University hoops team and a signee of the Cincinnati Cincinnati Reds . Garrett can play basketball next season with the Reds' contractual blessing, and he still harbors hopes of playing in the NBA. The Reds, meanwhile, shelled out $1 million to sign him even though he was a 22nd-round pick with mixed sporting loyalties. Why? Here's why: "The Reds discovered him in May at an arranged tryout in front of 22 scouts at the College of Southern Nevada; he had played his senior basketball season in Henderson, Nev. He had not pitched a game in almost a year and had resumed throwing just three weeks before the tryout. Yet his pitches were clocked in the mid-90s."
• Game theory FTW: As you may have noticed, defensive shifts -- all 31 flavors of defensive shifts -- are sweeping the baseball nation. What's the best defense against this defense? The occasional "keep 'em honest" bunt attempt. As the Kansas City Star reports, Kansas City Royals shift victims Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer are mulling over just such an approach.
• Please enjoy: Maury Brown of BizofBaseball.com runs down a partial listing of what is right about the fair sport that brings us together.
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