The Lineup: It's Jackie Robinson's day
We saw some incredible action on Saturday, and on Sunday baseball will celebrate the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's major-league debut.
Here's what happened, what will happened and what's worth knowing as baseball prepares to honor the great Jackie Robinson ...
Click here for complete Saturday scoreboard with recaps and box scores for all games
David Wright, Mets - Wright was back in the lineup despite earlier fears that he'd need to go on the disabled list. The Mets' third baseman then celebrated his newfound health by homering on the first pitch he saw against the Phillies on Saturday. On the day, he went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. The Mets prevailed, 5-0, and Wright is now hitting a whopping .588 on the season.
Edwin Jackson, Nationals - EJax had his way with the Reds on Saturday, striking out nine, walking one and giving up only one run in a complete-game victory. Jackson needed just 92 pitches (67 of which were for strikes) to go the distance, and at one point he retired 16 straight.
David Ortiz, Red Sox - The day after the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury to injury, Big Papi lifted Boston spirits by going 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBI against the rival Rays. Oh, and he tallied his four hits off four different offerings. In a decidedly related matter, the Sox prevailed, 13-5. Ortiz can't play center or join the tattered rotation, but if he keeps hitting like this, New Englanders will believe otherwise.
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays - Rule of thumb: When one of the best hitters in baseball (Jose Bautista) is at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, you do not attempt a low-percentage move like a steal of home. But that's precisely what young Lawrie did on Saturday. Lawrie was cut down, and a potential big inning was snuffed out. The Jays went on to lose to the Orioles by a score of 6-4. Suffice it to say, the fated decision didn't originate in the dugout.
The Pirates offense - While Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee have down their parts, the grim remainder of the Pittsburgh attack is not, um, attacking. After Saturday's loss to the Giants, the Pirates have now scored 14 runs in eight games, which comes to a rather appalling 1.75 runs per contest. On the upside, the Corsairs have already played six one-run games, so the banjo-hitting does contribute some drama.
Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks - How bad has Collmenter been this season? On Saturday he hemorrhaged five runs in 4.0 innings and somehow still managed to lower his ERA to 12.86. Given his struggles and the high-ceiling young arms the Snakes have in the high minors, Collmenter may not be long for the Arizona rotation.
Return of the Ubaldo. Ubaldo Jimenez returns from suspension (a consequence of plunking Troy Tulowitzki in Cactus League play) to face the Royals. In his first start of the season, Jimenez took a no-hitter into the seventh against the hard-hitting Blue Jays, and he's very much an AL Cy Young darkhorse for 2012. Adding to the intrigue is that during Saturday's Cleveland-KC tilt, the benches cleared not once but twice. 2:10 p.m. ET
An Amazin' sweep? On Sunday, the Mets -- the 6-2 Mets -- will go for their first road sweep of the Phillies since 2006, when they came within an Adam Wainwright knee-buckler of the World Series. Mike Pelfrey will oppose Cole Hamels. The Phillies have managed a total of two runs thus far in the series. Can David Wright continue raking? 1:35 p.m. ET
The Kemp and Kershaw show. Is there a better tandem of hitter-pitcher teammates than Kemp and Kershaw? A certain Detroit duo might have a say, but the almost-NL MVP and reigning NL Cy Young winner are hard to top. Tomorrow, Kemp's and Kershaw's Dodgers (Jackie's team!) go for the sweep against the Padres. Kemp has five bombs in nine games this season, and Kershaw on the young season has been dominant across 10 innings. 4:10 p.m. ET
Full Sunday scoreboard
• Hidden history. In celebration of the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's major-league debut, the priceless John Thorn adds a little-known wrinkle to the story: Robinson was never supposed to go it alone. Said Branch Rickey: "There is more involved in the situation than I had contemplated." Please take five minutes and read this necessary bit of history. [MLB.com]
• Race matters. On the subject of Jackie Robinson and his incalculable legacy, Orlando Hudson of the Padres says young African-Americans have come to believe that "baseball is a white man's game." [CBS News]
• Put a Milo on him. This one may require some low-level algebra to fully grasp, but after a 2013 trip to Comerica Park in Detroit Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton, age 84, will have called games in twice as many major-league parks as there are presently in use. That would be … 60. Saturday night's thriller in Marlins Park marked ball-yard number 59 for Hamilton. [MLB.com]
• Something squirrelly: The Cardinals' new championship rings feature a very evocative flourish. Derrick Goold writes: "On the same side as the player's name, tucked between a home plate motif and the interlocking 'STL' made out of African rubies, is a small, subtle squirrel. The 'rally squirrel' is captured in full stride, same as he entered Cardinals' lore when he scampered across home plate during Skip Schumaker's at-bat in the National League division series against Philadelphia." [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
• Uniformity. Ever wonder how the Marlins choose an ensemble from among their seemingly limitless uniform combinations? A set of guidelines suggests that the starting pitcher has more say in what the team wears than anyone else does. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
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