– Matt Cain and Jason Marquis have both failed twice and Johan Santana and Adam Wainwright once apiece, so now Tim Lincecum will have a shot at becoming the first NL pitcher to reach 13 victories. He’ll be facing the Reds for the first time in 80 career starts. I’m not positive about this, but with nine strikeouts tonight, it looks like he’ll be the earliest to get to 200 in a season since Randy Johnson’s 334-strikeout campaign in 2002. Erik Bedard got their on Aug. 15 in 2007.
– The Braves will attempt to recover from a devastating loss Thursday tonight in the second game of a four-game series in Los Angeles. The Braves led 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth on Friday, only to see Rafael Soriano give up a walkoff homer to Andre Ethier. Tonight’s game will be a rematch of the contest five days ago in Atlanta, which the Dodgers won 9-1. Chad Billingsley threw five scoreless innings in that one before leaving with a hamstring cramp. Jair Jurrjens surrendered four runs in five innings to take his first loss in five starts. He’s 9-8 with a 2.85 ERA, while Billingsley is 11-6 with a 3.82 ERA.
– Carlos Lee will aim again for his 300th homer, this time against the Brewers’ Carlos Villanueva. He has four extra-base hits in his last three games, but all were doubles. He’s 4-for-13 with a homer against Villanueva in his career.
Game of the Night
Boston vs. New York – Having fallen to 8-1 against the Yankees, the Red Sox are terribly desperate for a win, what with there only being 45 games left and them being a mere two games up in the wild card (even if that is the same lead they held 10 games ago). With the season on the line, they’ll send Josh Beckett to the mound. He’s 2-0 in three starts against the Yankees, despite having a 5.82 ERA. Burnett has been roughed up in both of his outings versus Boston, compiling a 12.91 ERA in 7 2/3 innings.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.
Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.
Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.