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.

Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base upon return from DL

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.

Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.

In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).

Corey Knebel sets modern record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout

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Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.

Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.

Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.