Check 1-2, Check 1-2
Last night's slate featured the first place team against the second place team in five of the six Major League divisions. All five games were tightly contested with bullpens figuring prominently across the board. Without further ado, here's a brief recap of my takeaways from each matchup.
Presented without comment, Joba Chamberlain's Major League career numbers:
IP SO BB H ERA Joba 10.0 17 3 4 0.00
After Johnny Damon launched a 246 foot home run off of Daisuke Matsuzaka in the bottom of the seventh inning, Joba entered the game and despite giving up a walk and a base hit to Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell, looked as dominant as ever. I honestly cannot remember being more impressed with a pitcher's stuff than I am with Chamberlain's.
The offensive stars for each team were players that have been at the fore of this latest iteration of the Sox-Yanks rivalry. Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek homered for Boston, while Derek Jeter and Damon did the same for New York. Jorge Posada continued his fantastic season, going 2-for-4 with a double.
Boston's lead is down to seven games. With 30 games remaining, that means that if the Sox go 15-15, New York would have to win 22 of their last 30. It's possible, but Boston fans should feel pretty comfortable about where they stand at the moment.
This one pissed Seattle fans off and I can't really blame them. J.J. Putz, inactive since August 24, never saw the light of day in a game that was tied at six after seven innings. Seattle's second best reliever George Sherrill pitched a perfect ninth, which was nice and all but unfortunately by that time the Halos had jumped out to a 10-6 lead.
Brandon Morrow was a defensible choice to start the eighth inning. He's good, though not as good as Putz and Sherrill. Bringing in Rick White to relieve Morrow after he struggled a bit was indefensible. When the eighth was said and done, the Angels had scored four runs on four hits and three walks. They also might have locked up the AL West, and there wasn't a damn thing J.J Putz was allowed to do about it.
The stars were out in Philadelphia. Tom Glavine threw seven shutout innings while Carlos Delgado supplied all of the Mets' offense with his two-run shot in the second. On the Phillies side, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard paced the offense, while Brett Myers threw two perfect innings for the win. Howard ended the game off of Guillermo Mota in the 10th with a two-run homer of his own.
Philadelphia is now four games behind the Mets for the NL East lead and three back of the San Diego Padres for the Wild Card. Chase Utley is back but Cole Hamels is hurt. It will be interesting to see what this Phillies team can muster over the last month of the season. Fortunately for them, seven of their final ten are against the Washington Nationals.
Scott Linebrink came into last night's contest with a 97 ERA+ as a Brewer, entered with a 3-1 lead in the seventh (after all, Jeff Suppan had thrown 82 pitches) with a runner on first and nobody out and proceeded to give up two doubles, a single, made a throwing error and when it was all said and done, had allowed four runs to cross the plate. For this sort of performance, the Brewers gave up not one, not two, but three promising young pitchers on July 26. Here is how the trio has performed at various levels of pro ball in 2007.
Age K/9 K/BB Joe Thatcher 25 11.67 5.58 Will Inman 20 10.00 3.04 Steve Garrison 20 6.33 3.06
The Brewers are now below .500 and in third place. From Doug Melvin on down, this team's performance has been just awful for a good three months now.
Speaking of the Padres, they took their second straight from Arizona last night - against the great Brandon Webb no less - to pull within one game of the NL West lead. Khalil Greene and Mike Cameron were the offensive stars for the Pads, while Justin Germano held his own to outduel Webb.
For the Snakes, Connor Jackson continued to flash the skills D-Backs fans had been waiting to see, going 3-for-3 with a home run, double, two RBI and a walk. He's hitting .321/.361/.538 in August.
Tune back in tonight for some more exciting ball as all of these teams once again take to the field against one another. Weeks like these make the MLB Extra Innings package worth every penny.