Your pitching star of the night: Jeff Niemann

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Jeff Niemann fist pump.jpgSo enough about Strasburg. Nice and all, but he didn’t have the best pitching performance last night. The Rays’ Jeff Neimann did.  Niemann allowed just two hits in a shutout of the Blue Jays, who sport a slightly better offense than the Pirates.

Indeed, there were a number of fabulous pitching performances last night by fellows not named Stephen Strasburg. Matt Cain shut out the Reds on seven hits.  Mike Pelfrey didn’t get the win because the Mets bats didn’t break through until extra innings, but he went nine and gave up a single
run on five hits.  Chris Carpenter and Hirkoki Kuroda battled in Los Angels, each shutting out the other side for seven innings. Ted Lilly gave up a single earned run to the Brewers over eight while striking out eight, though his Cubbies did end up losing.  Colby Lewis, Kevin Slowey, and even Tim Wakefield all had strong, strong outings.

I guess something was in the water last night.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.