Seattle's eight-game winning streak is no more. The Mariners were unable to rally against the Angels' bullpen on Wednesday afternoon despite having multiple chances to score. They even brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but were unable to capitalize.
Most notably, the Mariners blew a bases-loaded opportunity with no outs in the seventh because Denard Span and Dee Gordon struck out, and Jean Segura was robbed of a potential two-run single by David Fletcher. Check out this catch:
Great catch! And a painful inning for the Mariners. Bases loaded with no outs and you don't score? That hurts. Innings like that will get fans claiming their team stinks with runners in scoring position. Seem it a million times.
Anyway, the eight-game winning streak is no more, but there's no shame in that. It was going to end sometime. Even with Wednesday's loss, the Mariners are 55-32 and have the third best record in the AL. They're only one game back in the AL West pending the outcome of the Astros' game with the Rangers on Wednesday night.
Yes, Broxton robbed a solo home run with a 3-1 lead. That homer still counts as the game-saver because Eduardo Escobar, the next batter, took Corey Knebel deep to trim the lead to 3-2. Milwaukee held on to win by the same score. Who knows what happens if Broxton doesn't reel in Dozier's would-be homer?
Wednesday's home run robbery was not the first time Broxton saved a game in the ninth inning. It was his third career game-saver.
Broxton took ninth inning solo homers away from Anthony Rizzo in 2016 and Randal Grichuk in 2017, and both of those home run robberies came in one-run games. They were true game-savers. You have to squint a little to see Wednesday's as a game-saver, but hey, rob a homer at any point in a one-run game and it counts as a game-saver to me.
A's now nine games over .500
For the first time since the end of the 2014 season, the Athletics are nine games over .500. Wednesday's win over the Padres was Oakland's eighth win in their last nine games, and their 14th win in their last 17 games.
The hero on Wednesday was outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who stroked a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning. It was Piscotty's third two-bagger of the game.
At 48-39, the A's are eight games back in the AL West and seven games behind the Mariners for the second wild card spot. Is it too late for them to draw closer in the postseason race? Of course not. There's still half-a-season to play.
Two things to keep in mind about the surging A's:
They still have 10 games remaining with the divisional rival Mariners, including seven at home.
They have 10 games remaining with the powerhouse Astros. The Mariners have 13. The 'Stros could help the A's out.
For now, the A's can't worry about the Mariners (and Astros). They just have to keep winning their games, take care of business head-to-head, and hope to erase one game a week from the seven-game deficit for the second wild card spot going forward.
It's July 4, and the Nationals are under .500
You know the deal by now: The Nationals won 97 games a year ago and in essence ran off Dusty Baker after he led them to a pair of division titles in as many years. The implication is that the standards would be even higher in 2018. Well, after getting blanked by the Red Sox on Wednesday (the eighth time the Nats have been shut out since June 1) and thus getting swept at home, they dipped to 42-43 on the season.
As for the specifics, Bryce Harper went 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts, and he's now batting .215 on the year. Ryan Madson and Kelvin Herrera combined to allow all three runs in relief. Washington got a pair of singles in the ninth off Craig Kimbrel, but they were unable to convert. Here's a sampling of the filth that Kimbrel presented to Harper in the course of his strikeout ...
Compounding matters, Nats starter Erick Fedde was forced from the game with an as yet undisclosed injury. What we do know does not sound especially promising ...
Washington is 0-4 in July and 9-20 since the start of June. The SportsLine Projection Model still pegs the Nats for 87 wins and gives them a 42 percent chance of making the playoffs, but those numbers of late are getting worse on a near-daily basis.
Yankees' power bats carry them in rubber-match win
The Yankees lead the majors in home runs by a notable margin, and in Wednesday's win over the Braves they added three more to their tally. On that front ...
In the second inning of Wednesday's Rays-Marlins tilt, Tampa Bay outfielder Carlos Gomez, with runners on first and second and no outs, fouled off two bunt attempts and then struck out swinging. Upon returning to the visitor's dugout, he found himself in a state of extreme displeasure.
As is so often the case in the course of human events, an inanimate object paid for the sins of others ...
Bad at-bat plus season-long struggles at the plate? That's cause to lay wood on smart-aleck cooler.
Cubs keep rolling
Make it six straight wins for the Cubs. They beat the lowly Tigers in Wrigley on Wednesday, and they did so thanks to Javier Baez's latest steal of home.
Here's the play, and be sure to take note of the nifty slide:
That's the second steal of home of 2018 for Baez -- he's the first Cubs player with multiple steals of home in one season since 1974 -- and the fourth of his career. He's only the fifth player in the last decade to steal home twice in one season. The list:
Thanks to broad offensive potency and what's been a strong bullpen to date, the Cubs can put their deadline resources toward upgrading the rotation. In the meantime, expect that lineup to keep hanging crooked numbers with regularity.