Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 7/16/12

OK, so we all know the three division leaders in the AL right now: the Yankees, White Sox, and Rangers. And of course, we all know that the Angels have a commanding lead on the first wild card slot. But when it comes to the second wild card slot....that's when things get interesting. The Orioles currently are in the lead for that playoff berth, but their lead is just a half game...and three teams are a half game out: the Tigers, Rays, and (shockingly) the A's. The Indians are a game out. The Red Sox and Blue Jays are just a game and a half out. So here we are, coming off of the All-Star Break...and just three American League teams aren't within spitting distance of the playoff race. Contrast that to the National League, where the current leader of the second wild card spot (the Pirates) has a two game lead on the second place team, with just three teams within three and a half games. Going up to the trade deadline, it's looking like all the fun is going to be in the American League in the coming weeks.

Game of the Day: Reds 4, Cardinals 2. Not many exciting games on the menu, so I went with this one between bitter NL Central rivals. Yadier Molina doubled in Lance Berkman in the second to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead, but the Reds took a 2-1 lead in the third thanks to a Joey Votto RBI double and a Brandon Phillips RBI single. Molina homered in the sixth to tie the game at two, and it stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth, when aging, broken down veteran Scott Rolen singled to drive in a pair off of Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs to make it 4-2. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth to complete the Reds' sweep and give them sole possession of first place, pushing the Cardinals to four and a half out, and closer to fourth place than first place.

Pitching Lines of the Day: It wasn't the most dominating line of the day, but Ben Sheets returned to baseball with the Braves, throwing six shutout frames in their 6-1 win over the Mets, allowing two hits, one walk, and striking out five. Justin Verlander threw eight shutout innings for the Tigers in their 4-0 win in Baltimore, allowing three hits, two walks, and striking out eight. Rangers starter Matt Harrison threw a complete game shutout in a 4-0 win over Seattle, allowing five hits, four walks, and striking out three hitters. Matt Garza threw seven (valuable) shutout innings for the Cubs in their 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks, allowing five hits, and walking one while striking out seven. Cole Hamels allowed one run over eight innings in the Phillies' 5-1 win over the Rockies, giving up six hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. Yovani Gallardo allowed one run on four hits over seven in Milwaukee's 4-1 win over Pittsburgh, striking out 14 without a walk.

Hitting Lines of the Day: Yoenis Cespedes of the A's went 4/5 with a three-run homer in their 9-4 win in Minnesota. His teammate Jonny Gomes went 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, and a homer. Yadier Molina ended up going 3/4 with a double, a homer, and two RBI. In the Yankees' 10-8 loss to the Angels, Eric Chavez went 3/3 with two runs and a homer. In that same game, Mark Trumbo of the Angels went 3/5 with two runs, and his 24th homer of the year.

Other Games: Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals shut out the Marlins 4-0. The Blue Jays shut out the Indians 3-0. The Red Sox beat the Rays 7-3. The White Sox nipped the Royals 2-1. The Giants edged the Astros 3-2. The Padres smashed the Dodgers 7-2. 

Today's Games: All-Star Wade Miley starts for the Diamondbacks in Cincinnati. Edwin Jackson takes on Carlos Zambrano in game four of the series in Miami. Another All-Star, Lance Lynn, starts in Milwaukee against Michael Fiers. And...that's about it. Not many sexy matchups of the dozen games going today.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Isaiah Thomas rips list that ranks him 88th-best in NBA

Australian television want 49ers to showcase Jarryd Hayne

Urban Meyer: We will announce starting QB first snap of season

Mike Shanahan: Kirk Cousins will be a top-10 NFL QB

Raiders Khalil Mack is going to be a superstar

Buffalo Bills name Tyrod Taylor their starting QB

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson: My goal is to go undefeated

Chip Kelly praises Tim Tebow: ‘He’s had a good camp’

Jay Gruden: RG3 benched for performance, not concussion

Judge: No settlement in Brady against NFL, decision by Friday

Wozniacki: Media should move on from McIlroy relationship

Hogan contemplated suicide after racist rant went public

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release Tim Jennings

U.S. Open men's preview

U.S. Open women's preview

D'Angelo Russell zings Lakers fans

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker