Hello, friends, and welcome to the MLB All-Star Break. We're at the season's unofficially halfway point (even though we're more than 90 games into the season), and it sure has been an interesting season thusfar. Who would have imagined that the Pittsburgh Pirates would have been one of two teams in the league with a winning percentage over .600? Who would have imagined that the Nationals would have been closer to fourth place in the NL East than first place? Who would have imagined that the heavily hyped Blue Jays, Angels, and Dodgers would combine to be nine games under .500? There's no need to imagine anything anymore...it's July 15th, and everything I mentioned is a reality. Get ready for a wild second half, folks.
PIC OF THE DAY
Chris Archer of the Rays celebrates his complete game shutout of the Astros. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Game of the Day: Phillies 4, White Sox 3 (ten innings). Philadelphia fans don't have it easy, do they? The Phillies led this one 3-0 after six, and a win looked like it would be in the cards. But Cole Hamels began to tire, allowing an RBI single to Jeff Keppinger in the seventh and a solo homer to Alejandro de Aza in the eighth. But they still had a one run lead with Jonathan Papelbon coming in for the ninth, and a win still looked certain. Of course, Papelbon allowed a single to Dayan Viciedo, a stolen base to pinch runner Blake Tekotte, and a game-tying single to Josh Phegley. Oh. In the tenth, Antonio Bastardo got a double play to erase a Chase Utley error, and Utley redeemed himself by doubling to lead off the inning. After a pair of intentional walks were sandwiched around a groundout, Ramon Troncoso struck out Delmon Young for out number two before giving up the walkoff single to John Mayberry Jr and send the Phillies into the Break with a .500 record.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Chris Archer dominated the Astros in Tampa Bay's 5-0 win, throwing a complete game shutout while allowing four hits and punching out eight hitters without a walk. Justin Verlander pitched like...well, Justin Verlander in Detroit's 5-0 win over Texas, allowing one hit in seven scoreless innings, walking three and striking out three. Brandon Workman of the Red Sox was awesome in his first career start despite Boston's 3-2, 11 inning defeat at the hands of the A's, allowing two runs on two hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. Cole Hamels was awesome in Philly's win, giving up two runs on eight hits in eight innings, striking out seven without a walk. Wily Peralta carried the Brewers to a 5-1 win in Arizona, giving up one run on seven hits in seven innings, fanning eight and allowing two free passes.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Yadier Molina dragged the Cardinals to a 10-6 win in Chicago, going 4/6 with three runs, four RBI, a double, and a homer. In the loss, light-hitting Darwin Barney of the Cubs went 3/4 with two runs, four RBI, and a homer. Chris Davis did Chris Davis things in Baltimore's 7-4 win over Toronto, going 2/4 with two runs, four RBI, a double, and a homer. His teammate Adam Jones went 2/3 with three runs, two RBI, a walk, and a homer. Carlos Quentin led the Padres to a 10-1 romp over the Giants, going 2/4 with two runs, three RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer. Ichiro played well for the Yankees in their 10-4 loss to the Twins, picking up three hits in five at bats along with two runs, two RBI, and a homer. Jay Bruce led the Reds to an 8-4 win in Atlanta, going 3/5 with a double, a homer, and two RBI.
Other Games: The Indians beat the Royals 6-4 to finish off a sweep in Cleveland. The Nationals rallied to top the Marlins 5-2 in ten innings. The Mets doubled up the Pirates 4-2. The Rockies beat the Dodgers 3-1. The Mariners slipped by the Angels 4-3.
What You Missed: Carly Rae Jepsen's terrible first pitch at Tropicana Field. All of your All-Star Game replacements...so far.
Today's Games: No games, but the Home Run Derby is on at 8 PM on ESPN.
Enjoy your day of homers, everyone.