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The Nightcap: Wednesday's Games

Bob Uecker suggests that you pick up some Usinger's Sausage on your way home.

Trust him without question.


Andy LaRoche went 1-for-5 with a homer and walk today and is now batting .380 after today's game. His BABIP is totally inflated (.459 coming into today), but his peripherals are strong. He could reliably finish with better numbers than last year.

Kelly Johnson his his eighth homer of the month and added a walk, as well. For reference, he hit eight homers all of last season.

Nate Schierholtz went 5-for-5 with two doubles and a walk versus Philly today and is now batting .378. He's been getting a lot of run lately and is a candidate to hit .300, or at least .290.

Andres Torres has also been productive in Aaron Rowand's absence. He went 2-for-3 today with walk and stolen base. He's batting .275/.356/.375 in limited playing time.

Austin Jackson went 2-for-4 with a walk versus Minnesota – and, more importantly, didn't strike out.

Nick Markakis hit just his first homer – and ninth double – of the season.

Brett Gardner's 2-for-4 performance brought his season line to .310/.394/.362.

Jon Lester pitched seven one-hit innings, striking out 11 against only two walks.

Adam Rosales started at second and went 2-for-4 with a double and walk at Tampa.

James Shields struck out 12 of the 29 batters he faced while walking only one.

Mike Leake got 13 grounders while conceding only four flies and two lines drives in his 7 innings of work.

• Young Jaime Garcia recorded five strikeouts against only a single walk versus Atlanta. The lefty got 15 grounders against only four flies and zero liners.

Caution, Warning

• Even after a 1-for-4 night, Chase Headley's average still stands at .337. He's still young enough to be improving, but be careful: his BABIP was at .400 entering play today. Don't expect him to finish about .300 this season.

Luis Atilano allowed only two earned runs tonight – his second strong start in a row. Once again, though, he only struck out one batter in six innings. That will not get the job done.

• Colorado's Greg Smith allowed three walks, four hits, a homer, and six total runs in just one inning of work. He'd entered with 19 Ks in 22.1 IP, which might've made him attractive to waiver wire warriors. Maybe take a second look before you pick him up.

Rich Harden had another tough start, walking five while only striking out two.

Save Chances

Heath Bell, converted. Bell recorded two strikeouts and a groundball out in protecting a 6-4 lead for the Fathers. In other words, he was Heath Bell.

Trevor Hoffman, blown. Hoffman conceded a home run to Ryan Doumit while attempting to protect a one-run lead for the Brewers. His status as Milwaukee's closer is up in the air at the moment.

Octavio Dotel, blown. Dotel's blown save came just an inning after Hoffman's. Interestingly, Dotel came back to pitch a 1-2-3 11th inning.

David Aardsma, converted. Pitched a perfect inning and recorded a strikeout while protecting a 6-5 lead.

Matt Capps, converted. This represent Capps' 10th save of the season already, coming in the Nats' 3-2 victory at the Cubs. Though the 0.68 ERA is shiny, the walks and low groundball rate lead to an xFIP of 4.00+.

Juan Gutierrez, converted. Gutierrez preserved a 12-11 lead in the bottom of the 10th for Arizona; however, he recorded zero strikeouts and allowed two liners.

Brian Wilson, blown. Badly. After Lincecum allowed only a single run over 8.1 innings, Wilson allowed three runs in the final 0.2 IP, allowing two hits and two walks. Yeesh.

Ryan Madson, blown. Same game as Wilson's. After Philly took a 5-4 lead in the top of the 10th, Madson was unable to hold it, allowing the tying run.

Jon Papelbon, converted. One K. Uneventful otherwise.

Neftali Feliz, converted. Barely. The fireballer allowed three hits and two runs while striking out no one, all en route to almost blowing the Rangers' three-run lead.

Other Closer Outings

Leo Nunez pitched the top of the ninth inning with the Marlins down 4-6 at San Diego. He recorded three outs – without a K, however.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched an inning of scoreless relief, holding a 7-3 against the Dodgers. He struck out three, allowed a double, and walked one.

Brian Fuentes got the win after protecting a tie score for the Angels in the top of the 9th.

Chris Perez got the loss at LA of Anaheim, allowing on a run a bunt single against the only batter he faced.

Jose Valverde pitched an inning in Detroit's 11-6 win, allowing a walk in an otherwise perfect inning.

Francisco Cordero pitched 0.2 innings and allowed two hits and a walk in a non-save situation at Houston.

Non-Closer Outing

• Florida's Clay Hensley, pitching in relief, struck out six of the seven batters he faced.


Xavier Paul started in left field for the injured Manny Ramirez and went 1-for-4.

Rafael Furcal, still dealing with tightness in his hamstring, was replaced by Jamey Carroll in the Dodger lineup.

Randy Ruiz got the start at DH for Toronto against lefty Jon Lester.

The Young and Potentially Restless

Eric Young Jr started in left field for Colorado today. He was called up earlier in the week for the injured Brad Hawpe and  appears poised for pretty regular playing time in the the right fielder's absence.

Luke Hughes started at third base and hit a home run in his first major league at bat in Wednesday's loss to Detroit. He's likely to be sent back down when Nick Punto comes back.

• Toronto's Brett Cecil had another fine performance. He now has 11 Ks against only 2 BBs in 12.1 IP.