The Full Count: Oh these divisions races are excellent


1. The Lead is Gone: The Diamondbacks’ NL West lead over the Padres, which was 4 games on August 19, has now disappeared. San Diego has won the first three games of their series with Arizona and 7 of their last 8 overall. The Padres won 3-1 on Wednesday thanks to Greg Maddux’s excellent pitching. Maddux issued no walks for his sixth straight start, going seven innings with one run allowed. The Padres won the game in the eighth with two runs off Arizona relievers. Arizona, which has dropped three of its last seven games, will face the Padres four more times within the next week. Ace Chris Young will take the mound for the Padres in the final game of the series as they try to complete the sweep.

2. Statement Series: The Angels showed the Mariners who’s boss in the AL West division by sweeping them in dominant fashion. The Angels outscored the M’s 24-8 on the series, including an 8-2 win on Wednesday. Jered Weaver was excellent, throwing eight innings with one earned run, five strikeouts, and no walks. The offense backed him up well, with 17 hits. Red-hot Garrett Anderson went 4-5, and Vlad Guerrero hit his 22nd homer on the year. The Angels teed off on Felix Hernandez, who allowed a season-high 13 hits and 6 runs. The Angels won their fourth straight while Seattle lost for the fifth time in a row. The gap in the AL West has increased to 5 games, though it was only one at this time last week.

3. Indian Warfare: The Indians are crushing all opponents and widening their lead over the Tigers at the same time. Cleveland has won five straight and extended their division lead to a huge 4.5 games. Meanwhile Detroit continues to struggle, losing two straight to the Royals. The Indians completed a sweep of the Twins with a 4-3 win on Wednesday. In a matchup of Cy Young candidates, CC Sabathia proved to be better than Johan Santana. Both went six innings, with Sabathia allowing two runs and Santana four. Santana had his second straight below-standard start after that 17-strikeout performance a couple weeks ago. He lost his fourth game since the All Star break, when he usually dominates. Sabathia allowed exactly two runs for the sixth straight start, and has a 2.97 ERA since the All Star break. He became the eighth member of the 15-win club with the victory.

Player of the Day: Aaron Harang, Reds: 9 innings, two hits, no runs, 8 strikeouts in an 8-0 win over the Pirates. The underrated Harang has by far the best winning percentage in the league with a 14-3 record.

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