It would have been easy to mock this weekend’s series between the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies. The two NL West teams are both having poor seasons and are two of the few teams that you could be relatively confident about excluding from the play-off race before we have reached the All-Star Break.
Those watching their game yesterday would have been forgiven for having low expectations of it being a memorable encounter, but it turned into one thanks to Yasmani Grandal. He made his Major League debut for the Padres and created a bit of history in the process, becoming “the first player in MLB history to have his first two career hits as homers from opposite sides of the plate in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau”.
As typical on Sunday, the vast majority of the MLB games today are being played during the day time in North America and therefore during the evening in the U.K. The European Championship Final between Italy and Spain understandably will be the main sporting attraction for many this evening, but there are plenty of good MLB games to enjoy alongside the footy.
All times are in BST.
18.10. Philadelphia at Miami (Blanton – Nolasco) *MLB.com Free Game of the Day
18.35. Cleveland at Baltimore (Masterson – Matusz)
18.35. Washington at Atlanta (Gonzalez – Hudson)
18.40. Detroit at Tampa Bay (Smyly – Cobb)
19.05. Chicago White Sox at NY Yankees (Floyd – Hughes)
19.10. Arizona at Milwaukee (Collmenter – Gallardo)
19.10. Kansas City at Minnesota (Chen – Liriano)
19.15. Pittsburgh at St. Louis (Bedard – Westbrook)
19.20. Houston at Chicago Cubs (Rodriguez – Wood)
20.07. LA Angels at Toronto (Wilson – Laffey)
20.10. San Diego at Colorado (Wells – Pomeranz)
21.05. Cincinnati at San Francisco (Arroyo – Vogelsong)
21.10. Boston at Seattle (Doubront – Vargas)
00.05. Oakland at Texas (Blackley – Darvish)
01.00. NY Mets at LA Dodgers (Gee – Kershaw).
The Baltimore Orioles completed a trade with the Phillies for Jim Thome yesterday and he should be eligible to make his Orioles debut today against his first team, Cleveland. It always looked dubious that the Phillies would be able to give Thome regular at-bats in the non-DH league, so the trade should make sense for all parties. Thome obviously isn’t the hitter he was four or five years ago, but he can still be productive and should be a boost for the Orioles, who have hit a rough patch of late.
Elsewhere, Francisco Liriano could be another player on the trading block over the coming weeks. He has been a revelation since returning to the Twins’ rotation after a temporary move to the bullpen earlier this season. Prospective new teams will be wary that this is just a brief upturn in form, so a couple more good starts leading up to the All-Star Break would help reduce those fears.
The LA Dodgers are trying to complete a trade for Astros slugger Carlos Lee. The Dodgers have lost 11 of their last 12 games, including all of their last 7, and are in desperate need for some offensive help even with Matt Kemp being on course to return after the All-Star Break. Lee is able to veto a trade to the Dodgers as per the terms of his contract with the Astros, so we may learn today whether that deal will go through or not.
As for the best pitching match-up of the day, Turner Field is probably the place to be with Gio Gonzalez and Tim Hudson on the mound. The extreme heat in Atlanta got the better of the Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg yesterday as the Braves prevailed 7-5.
All of these games are available to watch live via the MLB.TV subscription at MLB.com. ESPN America is once again concentrating on other sports this evening, although the Mets v Dodgers game will be broadcast on the main ESPN channel.