What we're watching: Can Tigers add to Boston's misery?

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– Finally back home, if only briefly, after losing six in a row at Tampa Bay and New York, the Red Sox will face the Tigers to start a four-game series tonight. The opener, though, looks like the toughest matchup of the series for Boston, as Edwin Jackson and the struggling Brad Penny are due to square off. Jackson is 2-4 with a 5.44 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, but he hasn’t faced them during his breakthrough season. Jackson ranks second in the AL with a 2.62 ERA, and he hasn’t given up more than three earned runs in a start since May 4. Penny has given up 12 runs over 11 innings in back-to-back losses, and the Red Sox have lost six of his last seven starts.
– The Rays didn’t take full advantage of Boston’s losses while dropping two out of three in Seattle over the weekend. Now they’re facing the Angels in Anaheim, but they caught a big break in missing both John Lackey and Jered Weaver in the series. Sean O’Sullivan will start for the Angels tonight, followed by Ervin Santana and Trevor Bell. The Rays will use Matt Garza in this one. He has a 3.21 ERA since the All-Star break and a 3.63 mark overall. His .222 average against ranks second in the AL behind Jackson’s .217.
Game of the Night
L.A. Dodgers vs. San Francisco – The Dodgers have dropped 10 of their last 15 games to shrink their NL West lead to 5 1/2 games over the Giants and Rockies. They’ll be sending Hiroki Kuroda to the mound tonight in a bid to halt their current losing streak. While the Dodgers are struggling overall, they’re 4-0 in the right-hander’s starts since the All-Star break. The Giants will start Jonathan Sanchez, who has won back-to-back starts to improve to 5-9 with a 4.49 ERA for the season. Odds are that something will have to give tonight. Both Kuroda (in four starts) and Sanchez (in five) are winless in Dodger-Giant games in their careers.

The first native Lithuanian in MLB history made his debut last night

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Why yes, it is a slow news day. But let’s not allow that to take away from some MLB history.

Last night a young man named Dovydas Neverauskas pitched in mopup duty for the Pirates, who were getting hammered by the Cubs. Mr. Neverauskas pitched two innings, allowing one run, making him, by default, the most effective pitcher the Pirates sent out there last night.

That’s good, but that’s not what makes it historic. What makes it historic is that Neverauskas is the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Majors. Here’s some back story on him from last year’s Futures Game.

Lithuania is known for producing basketball players. Now it has its first major leaguer. Whether he becomes baseball’s Arvydas Sabonis is an open question.

Bumgarner: dirt bike adventure was “definitely not the most responsible decision”

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Madison Bumgarner talked to the press yesterday about his dirt bike injury and its fallout.

While there is some speculation that the Giants may change their approach to Bumgarner’s contract situation at some point as a result of all of this, yesterday Bumgarner noted that the organization has been supportive as have his teammates. He said he apologized to them as well for an act he characterized as “definitely not the most responsible decision.”

As for the wreck itself, Bumgarner was a bit embarrassed to say that it wasn’t the result of doing anything cool or spectacular on the bike. Sounds like he probably just laid the thing down. Guess it makes no real difference given that he’s injured either way, but you’d hope to at least get a cool story out of it. Alas.

Here’s video of him talking to the press. The best and most accurate takeaway from it: when he says “it sucks.” Yep.