1. A good ol’ fashioned basebrawl: The Texas Rangers and LA Angels actually played yesterday, but few will remember this game for Texas’ 9-3 victory or 8-run third inning. That’s because in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, Adam Kennedy was hit by a pitch and charged the mound, setting off a benches-clearing brawl. Two Rangers had been hit the inning before, leading to the ejection of Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Rangers manager Buck Showalter was tossed after the fight as well as Kennedy. This type of thing can only be explained by watching, so watch it here.
2. Closing in: Watch out, St. Louis. Your usual huge lead in the NL Central division has all but disappeared this season. Now, after a defeat to the Reds, Cincy is closing in on the defending division champs. Yesterday they mauled the Cardinals at the New Busch by hitting 5 homers in a 7-2 win. Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit two big flys in the first three innings to give the Reds a 4-0 lead. That was followed by Adam Dunn (36), Ken Griffey Jr. (24), and Rich Aurilla (17) homeruns. Bronson Arroyo, who had been winless since June, finally emerged victorious by holding St. Louis to 1 earned run. Now the Reds are just 1.5 games out in the division, and they could possibly lower that to a half-game by tomorrow.
3. Reaching 70: Only one team in the National League, the Mets, has reached 70 wins. The AL East and West combined feature one 70-win team as well, the Yankees. Amazingly, the AL Central has three teams that have reached that plateau after the Twins did it last night. Minnesota beat up on Cleveland 7-2 last night for the win. Joe Mauer had 2 RBIs, Jason Bartlett went 4-4, and Michael Cuddyer drove in three runs to lead the team. Carlos Sliva got the win and is 4-1 with a 4.73 ERA since the All Star break, good considering his horrendous first half. Now Minnesota is just 1 game away from the Wild Card leading White Sox, who lost again last night to the pitiful Royals. The teams will play in a weekend series that will give one of them bragging rights in this tight race.
4. Cabrera’s day: Though Miguel Cabrera doesn’t really get mentioned among some of he elite hitters in the game, his all-around play over his short career has been truly extraordinary. Yesterday he led the Marlins to a surprising 15-4 crushing of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had won 17 of 18 coming into the game. Cabrera hit two homers, his 19th and 20th on the season, while compiling 5 RBIs, 3 hits, and 3 runs. His performance raised his average to an outstanding .337, which ranks second in the NL. He also ranks second in on-base percentage and sixth in OPS. He is having the best of his 3 standout seasons, with career highs in each of the above percentage categories. Cabrera is truly a young stud, and incredibly is only 23. He is the leader of a young, surprising Marlins team that is only 8 games below .500 despite a minute payroll.
5. We’ll play anyone but Oakland: The Seattle Mariners have just slightly struggled against the A’s on the year. Make that mightily struggled. The team lost their 15th consecutive game against Oakland last night as they fell 4-0. That means Seattle is 55-49 against every team but the A’s and 1-15 against them this year. This is the longest streak since 1974 by any team against a divisional opponent, Elias Sports says. Dan Haren won and struck out 8 while the bullpen held their ground. Now Oakland, after sweeping the Mariners, has won 6 games in a row and 10 of 11 overall. Their streak is similar to the Dodgers’ but has received much less acclaim.