What we're watching – Wang & Greinke

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– Chien-Ming Wang bids to stay in the Yankee rotation when he and 14.34
ERA take the mound against the Nationals. In two starts since replacing
Phil Hughes, Wang has allowed nine runs over 7 1/3 innings, though
that’s actually lowered his ERA. The league is hitting an impossible
.446 off him this year. The Nats will throw ace John Lannan, who is 3-5
with a 3.51 ERA.

– Ivan Rodriguez is set to overtake Carlton Fisk by catching a major
league-record 2,227th game Wednesday against his former team, the
Rangers. Rodriguez will be breaking the record at age 37. Fisk played
until he was 45.

– Three players are going after career RBI No. 1,000. Paul Konerko
and Lance Berkman are both at 998, while David Ortiz stands at 997
after homering Tuesday.

– If the Dodgers can beat the A’s tonight, Joe Torre will pass
Sparky Anderson for fifth on the managerial victory list at 2,195.
That’s probably as high as he’s going to get, as Tony La Russa has 300
wins on him in third and Bobby Cox has 160 more as the fourth-place
manager all-time.

Game of the Night

Arizona vs. Kansas City – It’s not exactly a banner night for
matchups, so let’s go with the most intriguing pitchers, even if the
teams behind them are less than stellar. Starting for Arizona will be
Max Scherzer, who has pitched 12 2/3 scoreless innings in his last two
starts. He’s 3-4 with a 3.63 ERA for the year. Zack Greinke will try
again for his elusive ninth victory for the Royals. He’s allowed 11
earned runs in his last three starts, taking his ERA from 0.84 to 1.72.
Still, he pitched well enough to win two of those outings. Both
Scherzer and Greinke are among the 12 starters in baseball currently
striking out at least a batter an inning.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.