1. Statement Win: The Tigers’ win on Monday gave them a series win over the Yankees as well as some confidence. They crushed New York 16-0, scoring runs in each of the first five innings. The Tigers had seven players with multi-hit games and 20 hits overall in the rout. Brandon Inge had four RBIs, while Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco each had two runs and two RBIs. The Tigers’ pitching was excellent too, as Justin Verlander shut down the majors’ highest-scoring team. Verlander went seven innings, giving up three hits and no runs, in what was his best start since June. Despite the win the Tigers are still 2.5 games back of the Indians, who beat the Twins 8-3. However, that could change quickly, as the Tigers have some momentum going into nine straight games against losing teams. The Yankees, who are now 8 games behind Boston, start a three-game set with the Red Sox on Tuesday.
2. Closing the Gap: Jake Peavy helped the Padres narrow the gap with the Diamondbacks as the teams began a four-game set. The Padres drew within two games of Arizona after their 3-1 victory. Peavy threw 7 innings, allowing three hits and one run and striking out 11. He picked up his 15th win of the season, tying Tim Hudson for the NL lead. Peavy also neared 200 strikeouts on the season (197) and lowered his ERA to 2.18. The Padres have an enormously important stretch of games over the next two weeks. They will face the Diamondbacks six more times, in addition to six games with the Dodgers and three with the Rockies.
3. You’re fired: Two years removed from back-to-back NLCS appearances, Astros manager Phil Garner and GM Tim Purpura were fired on Monday. Garner, who posted a 277-252 record in four years with Houston, will be replaced by Cecil Cooper as skipper. The 58-73 Astros are in last place despite playing in the league’s worst division. The team made the World Series in 2005, then sputtered to an 82-80 record last season. Cooper, a former five-time All Star with the Brewers, has managerial experience in AAA but not in the majors. The decision to fire Garner is certainly questionable (is he really responsible for the team not being able to hit?). However, when you’re in last place, any kind of change is good.
Player of the Day: John Lackey, Angels: 9 innings, no runs, five strikeouts in a 6-0 win over Seattle. Lackey has posted back-to-back shutouts his last two starts against the Mariners.