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The Nightcap! (Slippery Slope Edition)

The Toronto Blue Jays hit zero homers tonight, despite owning the league's highest team slugging percentage (.461) and facing a distinctly below-average pitcher in Scott Kazmir.

I mean, it doesn't bother me – but how do I explain it to the children?


• Fausto Carmona and David Pauley induced 26 combined ground balls on 38 balls in play tonight. That's like 68|PERCENT|. You willn't be shocked to learn that neither the Mariners nor the Indians hit a home run. (Actually, you probably wouldn't have been shocked about that anyway.)

Marc Rzepczynski pitched awesome tonight, just like I told America he would (and Canada, too, I guess). Blam: 7.0 IP, 25 TBF, 6 K, 0 BB, 13 GB on 17 BIP (76|PERCENT|!). He allowed only 2 H – which, that's probably lucky – but he's quickly becoming the best Polish-American pitcher in the majors.

• Edinson Vólquez had a 24:19 K:BB entering play tonight, but it was 6:2 tonight, to go along with 11 GB on 18 BIP.

• Damn, Michael Stanton, you went 3-for-4 tonight with 2 HR and a 2B. That's four home runs in your last three games. Good job, guy.

Luke Scott spent today making everyone wonder why he hasn't been traded, going 3-for-3 with a HR. Question: what did YOU do today?!?

Mitch Moreland is a little bit of a cause celebre for me these days (at least when Colby Lewis isn't pitching). His line for today: 5 PA, 1B, HR, IBB, 2 K. Actually, now I look at it, that's probably not "notable," per se. Whatever, I already wrote it.

Josh Hamilton's night WAS notable: 6 PA, 2 1B, 2B, HR, BB. No strikeouts. Oh, also a SB.

• After years of putting up super-inflated HR/FB numbers in Philly, Brett Myers is kinda pitching like the man right now. Season: 6.82 K/9, 2.69 BB.9, 50|PERCENT| GB, 3.87 xFIP. Tonight: 7.0 IP, 27 TBF, 7 K, 0 BB. 9 GB on 20 BIP. It'll be nice if he plays for a batter team than Houston someday.

Caution, Warning

Joe Saunders is a true winner – except when he loses, like tonight. I don't care if you're in a 17-team NL West-only league: don't pick up Joe Saunders.

• I don't wanna tell you how to live your life or anything, but probably don't freak out about Josh Johnson's 3.2 IP, 6 ER performance tonight. Why? Because he's been awesome, like, EVERY OTHER START. Also, his fastball averaged right about 94 mph; on the season, it's at like 94.5 mph. He's probably fine.

• The best you could say about Tommy Hunter is that he doesn't walk too many guys (say, 2.5 per 9 IP). But a flyball pitcher with a league-average (at best) K rate? He'll give up 4 HR sometimes – like he did tonight versus Boston.

• I Told You So Alert! Recently, in these very pages, I told you to steer clear of Thomas Diamond despite his 10-K performance. I hope you did, as he pitched poorly tonight: 4.0 IP, 21 TBF, 6 H, 2 K, 4 BB, only 3 GB on 14 BIP.

Stolen Bases

Michael Bourn (39), Rajai Davis (35), Brett Gardner (35) Ichiro Suzuki (29), Angel Pagan (27, 28), Andrew McCutchen (23), Erick Aybar (18), Cliff Pennington (18), Coco Crisp (16), Chase Headley (14), Josh Hamilton (8), Eric Patterson (7), Mike Aviles (5), Gregor Blanco (3, 4, 5), Ramiro Pena (5), Josh Wilson (5), Michael Brantley (4), Jonathan Lucroy (4) Felix Pie (3), A.J. Pierzynski (2).

Caught Stealing

Chone Figgins (9), Jerry Hairston Jr. (6), Chris Denorfia (3), Aaron Rowand (3), Omar Vizquel (2), Lorenzo Cain (1), Scott Podsednik (1).

Weird Save Chances

Sean Burnett, converted (2). I guess he's some sort of relief pitcher for the Nationals.

Brandon Lyon, converted (3). Matt Lindstrom's been dealing with some back issue, is why Lyon got the save opp tonight – his second this month.

Normal Save Chances

David Aardsma, converted (23). Line: 1.0 IP, 2 K, nothing else.

Billy Wagner, converted (29). Line: 1.0 IP, H, K, nothing else.

Ryan Franklin, converted (21). Line: 1.0 IP, K, nothing else.

Matt Capps, converted (3). Allowed a R on 2 H, but it wasn't earned.

Joakim Soria, converted (31). Line: 1.0 IP, 2 H, K, nothing else.

Huston Street, converted (8). Line: 1.0 IP, K, nothing else.

Kevin Gregg, converted (26). Line: 1.0 IP, K, nothing else.

Heath Bell, converted (35). Line: 1.0 IP, K, BB, nothing else.

Closer, Non-Save

Neftali Feliz pitched 2 scoreless IP in an extra-inning affair versus Boston. Line: 1 K, nothing else.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched in that same game as Feliz. Line: 1.0 IP, K, BB, 2 GB.

Other Relievers

Jonathan Broxton came in with the Dodgers down by a run (0-1) in Atlanta, pitched an inning, allowed nothing. I guess he's been displaced as closer temporarily. Curiously, he has PRECISELY the same numbers as in 2008 (11.48 K/9, 3.52 BB/9, 44.5|PERCENT| GB in 2008; 11.65, 3.50, 49.1|PERCENT| this season). He's had some command issues of late, but the only REAL difference is in the BABIP (.326 lifetime, .367 this season).


• In the event that you hadn't heard (I certainly hadn't), Mike Sweeney is a major leaguer once again. He played first base for the Phils today, standing in during Ryan Howard's absence.

Mark Teahen made his first major league appearance since May 30th, starting in right field for the White Sox and doing this: 4 PA, 1B, HR, K. Generally, he'll probably be playing third base, looks like.

• With J.J. Hardy dealing with a wrist thing, Alexi Casilla once again started at shortstop.

The Young and Potentially Restless

Darwin Barney made his first major league start tonight for the Chicago Cubs, playing second base and batting seventh in the lineup. He doesn't strike out much (only a 10.9|PERCENT| K rate at Triple-A this year), but his upside – and bat – are limited.

Brett Wallace Watch! Entering play (11 games): .300/.400/.367. Tonight: 4 PA, 1B, 0 K. He was batting .301/.359/.509 through Triple-A PA – although that was also in Las Vegas, I believe. At a normal place that's probably more like a slash line of .117/.187/.203.

• Young Argenis Diaz started at shortstop for the Astros today. I now invite you to promptly forget his name.

Danny Valencia: more conact tonight (2-for-4, 1B, 2B, 0 K) but still only the one HR in over 150 PA.