Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 4/17/12

Justin Verlander picked up his first win of the season on Monday in his third start, despite pitching well enough to win each of those three starts. On Monday, he refused to turn things over to his bullpen, throwing a complete game against the Royals while allowing seven hits and two runs, walking two and striking out nine. He did it all on 131 pitches, and was hitting 100 mph in the ninth inning (125+ pitches into the game). For the season, he's thrown 25 1/3 innings (out of a max of 27), struck out 23, and walked five. The man is clearly the best pitcher in baseball.

Game of the Night: Orioles 10, White Sox 4 (10 innings). The Baltimore Orioles are at the top of the AL East after ten games, and it isn't a sick joke. Baltimore scored nine runs in the final three innings to gain a stunning comeback win over the White Sox, who only had allowed six hits and one run to Balitmore over seven innings. Then, Matt Wieters homered in the eighth. 4-2. In the ninth, Nolan Reimold homered. 4-3. To cap off the rally, Adam Jones homered to tie it at 4. Pedro Strop shut the White Sox down in the ninth, and we went to the tenth. Mark Reynolds got a taste of his own medicine, getting to third safely on a three base error by Alejandro de Aza. Chris Davis doubled him in to give Baltimore a 5-4 lead. Robert Andino reached on an infield single, and Reimold struck again, driving in Davis to make it 6-4. JJ Hardy attempted to bunt the runners over...and reached base safely to load the bases. Nick Markakis and Jones both made outs, and that brought up Wieters, who hit a grand slam to make it a 10-4 game and extinguish the hope of a White Sox win. Strop struck out the side in the tenth, and that was that.

Pitching Line of the Night: I already mentioned Verlander's excellent outing, but I'll give some love to James Shields of the Rays, who went 8 1/3 shutout innings against the Red Sox, walking two and striking out five in a 1-0 Rays win. Jered Weaver of the Angels went 6 2/3 shutout innings, walking one and striking out five.

Hitting Line of the Night: Matt Wieters, finally the best catcher in baseball? It's looking that way this year, and last night's 3/4 game with two homers, five RBI, and two walks did absolutely nothing to hurt his case. He's got a line of .344/.462/.750 this season, and already has four homers. Last season, Wieters had just five homers over his first 163 at bats. This year, he's got four in 32 at bats. The winds are changing, folks. Kendrys Morales of the Angels also had a good game, which LA could use while Albert Pujols struggles. Morales went 3/4 with four RBI and a homer in LA's 6-0 victory.

Spotlight Series: The Phillies beat the Giants 5-2, thanks in part to four runs in the first inning off of Tim Lincecum. Lincecum would settle down after the first, and would allow just one more run in his five other innings, finishing with eight strikeouts and one walk on the game. But on the other side of the field, Roy Halladay was....Roy Halladay. He went eight innings, allowed just two runs, walked three, and struck out six. It wasn't a great game, especially by Halladay standards, but he still shut down the Giants offense. The game wasn't overly offensive though, with the Giants logging just one extra base hit (a double by Brandon Crawford), while the Phillies had three, all doubles, two of which were in the first inning. But the win was huge for Philadelphia, proving that it can still beat contenders.

Other Games: Stephen Strasburg dominated the Astros, as the Nationals won 6-3. The Twins beat the Yankees 7-3, and Carl Pavano got a measure of revenge on his former team. The Mets beat the Braves 6-1 on a rally started by a three run homer by Ike Davis. The Padres beat the Rockies 7-1 behind a solid start from Cory Luebke. Three homers led the Diamondbacks to a 5-1 win over the Pirates. The Angels coasted past an uninspired A's team 6-0.

Today's Games: I believe this is our first day of the season with no day games....interesting. Francisco Liriano and CC Sabathia in New York is an interesting matchup, provided that Liriano doesn't implode. Wandy Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez in Washington can get your blood running. Ryan Dempster and Josh Johnson is a pretty solid matchup in Marlins Park. I like the Chad Billingsley vs Yovani Gallardo matchup as well, with the Dodgers finally facing a competent team. Johnny Cueto and Kyle Lohse is a good-looking game between divisional rivals. 

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.


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