– After nine straight losses on the road, the Blue Jays finally return
home tonight. Unfortunately, they’ll be facing the Red Sox, who started
off Toronto’s losing streak with a three-game sweep at Fenway last
week. The winning pitcher in the first game of that series, Tim
Wakefield, will be back on the mound for this one. He allowed one run
over eight innings in his previous start against the Jays, and he’s 6-2
with a 3.99 ERA for the season, making him Boston’s most effective
pitcher so far. The Blue Jays will give Casey Janssen his second start
of the year. Janssen, making his way back from shoulder surgery,
allowed three runs over six innings in a loss to Atlanta six days ago.
– The surging Yankees will start a series tonight in Cleveland,
where the Indians just pulled off a four-game sweep of the Rays. Andy
Pettitte gets the nod for the Yankees against one of only two AL teams
he’s under .500 against in his career (Seattle being the other). The
Indians will go to Cliff Lee, who beat the Yankees on April 16 for one
of his two victories so far this season. Aside from that game, which
Cleveland won 10-2, the Indians have totaled 19 runs in Lee’s nine
Game of the Night
St. Louis vs. San Francisco – A pair of five-game winners will
square off in San Francisco, with Joel Pineiro going against Matt Cain.
Pineiro is inducing grounders at a league-best rate, but he’s lost four
of his last five starts anyway, partly due to poor run support. He has
a shutout and five other quality starts in nine trips to the mound this
season. Cain has won his last two outings and has seven quality starts
to his credit. However, he is 0-1 with a 9.58 ERA in two career starts
against the Cardinals. Albert Pujols has a homer and a double in five
career at-bats against him.
Update (11:57 PM ET): And it’s over. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a line drive double down the left field line off of Stroman, ending the no-hitter. Manager Jim Leyland immediately removed Stroman from the game.
U.S. starter Marcus Stroman has held Puerto Rico hitless through six innings thus far in the World Baseball Classic final. The Blue Jays’ right-hander has held the opposition to just one base runner — a walk — with three strikeouts on 68 pitches.
WBC rules limit a pitcher to throwing a maximum of 95 pitches in the Championship Round, so Stroman has 27 pitches left with which to play. If he hits the limit during the at-bat, he can continue throwing to the completion of that at-bat. Needless to say, though, Stroman won’t be finishing his potential no-no.
The U.S. has given four runs of support to Stroman. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Then, in the fifth, Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen both provided RBI singles. Update: The U.S. tacked on three more in the top of the seventh when Brandon Crawford drove in two with a bases-loaded single and Giancarlo Stanton followed up with an RBI single.
We’ll keep you updated as Stroman and any pitchers that follow him attempt to complete the no-hitter. Shairon Martis is the only player to throw a no-hitter in WBC history. However, the game ended after seven innings due to the mercy rule, or as it’s known now, the “early termination” rule.
Ian Kinsler found himself in hot water on Wednesday evening when he criticized the way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play baseball. It is his hope that kids watching the World Baseball Classic decide to emulate the emotionless way players from the U.S. play baseball as opposed to the exciting, cheerful way players from other countries tend to play the game.
Needless to say, Kinsler’s comments didn’t sit well with many people, but he has the most recent laugh. Kinsler broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning of Wednesday night’s WBC final against Puerto Rico, slugging a two-run home run to left-center field at Dodger Stadium off of Seth Lugo.
Kinsler, of course, rounded the bases solemnly which is sure to highlight just how cool and exciting the game of baseball is to international viewers.