1. Unlucky Liriano: The Twins just put 12-win ace Francisco Liriano on the 15-day DL. Liriano reported forearm stiffness and had his worst start of the season on Tuesday. He will be temporarily replaced in the rotation by another young stud, Matt Garza. In five Triple A starts Garza has reported a 1.89 ERA and .79 WHIP. So the second-place Twins might be one of the only teams in baseball that has the luxury of replacing one rookie ace with another. But the important thing for them is the severity of Liriano’s injury. Will he stay on the DL for more than 15 days? Let’s just hope he’s not another Kerry Wood or Mark Prior.
2. DeRosa sparks a DeRout: The list of former Braves performing well just keeps getting longer. The Rangers’ Mark DeRosa, who played his first seven seasons with Atlanta, has elevated himself to the level of best utility man in the game. Yesterday he led a 14-0 Rangers defeat of Oakland by hitting 2 three-run homeruns. His four hits upped his average to .327, good for 4th in the American League. DeRosa has played almost every position on the field, and he has excelled in all of them. Among the other Rangers to perform well yesterday, Carlos Lee had 4 hits, 4 runs, and his first homer in a Texas uniform. Texas is still 5.5 games back of Oakland for the West lead.
3. Shocked: The Tigers won Game 1 of their three game set against the Twins, but they dropped the second game on Tuesday. Then yesterday, the Tigers put themselves in the best position possible to win. They led the Twins 3-2 going into the eighth inning, with stud reliever Joel Zumaya in. But then Minnesota’s best hitter stepped up. Justin Morneau, who is having is somehow quiet yet monstrous season, hit his 30th homer to win the game for the Twins. Morneau, and all-around machine of a first baseman, is hitting .323 and is second in the AL with 101 RBIs. Even though teammate Joe Mauer has hit .369 and earned himself a Sports Illustrated cover, it is Morneau that is more valuable to the team. With the win the Twins passed Chicago and now lead the Wild Card race.
4. Back in town: In Mike Piazza’s second game back at Shea Stadium since leaving the Mets for San Diego, he showed fans once again why he will be a Hall of Fame catcher. Piazza hit two solo homeruns for the Padres, both off Pedro Martinez. He drew a curtain call after his first homerun, a rarity for a player on the road. But despite Piazza’s efforts, San Diego couldn’t stop the Mets. Jose Reyes stole his 48th base of the season and drove in a run. Reyes, though he has drawn criticism over the years for his somewhat low on-base percentage, has a career-high .350 OBP and contributes greatly in terms of runs scored (92, second in the MLB). Both teams are still in first place in their respective divisions.
5. Roundup: There were many more important happenings in the MLB yesterday. The Cardinals-Reds series had an exciting game that featured 7 homeruns by both teams. The Reds won on a Dan Ross walk-off two run shot. New York led Chicago 7-0 after six innings but barely inched by them 7-6. Bobby Abreu hit his first homerun in two months and is now hitting .412 as a Yankee. Back to the NL: the Astros crushed the Pirates 14-1, with 6 RBIs and two homers by Aubrey Huff. Starter Roy Oswalt also homered and picked up the win. Finally, the Dodgers lost at last, ending their 11-game winning streak.