What we're watching – Phi-TB rematch

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– 46-year-old Jamie Moyer and 23-year-old David Price will be the
starts as the Phillies and Rays play in a rematch of last year’s World
Series. Fortunately, the Phillies are back on the road now after losing
six straight at home to the Blue Jays and Orioles. They’re just 3-9 in
interleague play, but they’re an MLB-best 23-9 record in away games
this year. Moyer has seen his ERA come down of late, but he did
struggle last time out, giving up six runs in six innings against
Toronto. He’s 4-6 with a 6.35 ERA. Price is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in five
starts since his callup. The Phillies are hoping to get Ryan Howard
back in the lineup after he missed two starts over the weekend due to
flu-like symptoms.

– David Ortiz and Lance Berkman both enter the night with 999 career
RBI, though Ortiz may not start in the NL park against Nationals lefty
John Lannan. Berkman has just two hits and one RBI in his last six
games.

– Tim Lincecum and Vin Mazzaro will duel for the second time in 12
days when the Giants and A’s play in Oakland. The Giants won the
previous contest 3-0, with Lincecum going the distance, as part of a
three-game sweep at home. Mazzaro has turned in four straight quality
starts since debuting in June 2 and is 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA.

– Zack Greinke has seen his ERA jump from 0.84 to 1.96 while he’s
gone winless in his last four starts. Tonight’s assignment would seem
to be a pretty easy one, as he’ll be facing an Astros team that’s
hitting just .261/.329/.387 against right-handers this year. Also, Russ
Ortiz is the opposing starter. Still, the Royals have been particularly
hapless of late. They’ve not only lost five straight, but they’ve lost
all of those games by at least five runs.

Game of the Night

Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit – The Tigers will try to extend their
winning streak to five games when Carlos Zambrano and Edwin Jackson
face off. Jackson ranks second in the AL in ERA for a first-place team,
yet the Tigers are just 7-7 in his starts and they’ve lost the last
two. Zambrano, likewise, hasn’t been very fortunate when it comes to
wins and losses. He’s 4-2 despite giving up more than three earned runs
just once in 11 starts. Still to be determined is whether Magglio
Ordonez will play tonight. The Tigers have won all four games since
benching the former All-Star.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.