Can I get some run support?
1. Duel of the Day: Pitcher’s duels don’t get much better than the one on Tuesday, when Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka and Cleveland’s CC Sabathia were at their best. Both went seven innings, with Dice-K allowing no runs and Sabathia one. The Red Sox ended up winning 1-0, with the only score coming off a Mike Lowell RBI single. For Sabathia, it was his third loss in his last four starts, dropping him to 13-5. Matsuzaka, meanwhile, is now 12-7 with a 3.79 ERA. Now all the hype surrounding him earlier has all but vanished, even though he’s pitching much better than he did earlier in the year. Sabathia, with a 3.70 ERA himself, may no longer be a Cy Young candidate, but he’s still an ace on one of the league’s best teams.
2. Back on Top: The New York Mets are back where they should be: on top on the National League. They have regained the league’s best record at 56-43, thanks to a 7-4 record since the All Star break despite tough opponents. The Mets held their own last week in a brutal road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles, going .500. Now they face Pittsburgh and Washington at home, the former of which they defeated 8-4 last night. John Maine pitched seven solid innings for his 11th win. The underrated Maine has been the Mets’ ace this year, with a 3.04 ERA and .219 opponents’ average. He is part of a pitching staff that ranks third in the NL in ERA. Their offense, though nowhere as near as good as last year, is at least above-average. If their pitching can remain excellent, which it has been, the Mets will remain the league’s best team.
3. I’ll be there for you: Bud Selig, after way too much controversy for such a minor issue, has announced he will be in attendance when Barry Bonds breaks Aaron’s homerun record. Bonds, whose 43rd birthday yesterday was spoiled by the Braves’ 7-5, 13-inning win, remains at 753 career homeruns. He hit two out last week against the Cubs, but has gone 2-14 since then. Selig could be forced to attend the Giants’ games for two weeks while waiting for Bonds to break the record. It’s still the right decision, and one that shouldn’t have taken so long for Selig to make. While the other sports’ commissioners are dealing with huge issues right now (dogfighting, ref betting), Selig gets to watch a great athlete beat a greater record. What Bonds may have done to get there should remain irrelevant for the commissioner of baseball.
Player of the Day: Craig Biggio, Astros: 2-4, Grand Slam (6) in the Astros’ 7-4 win over the Dodgers. This came on the day he announced he will retire after this season.