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'Duk's Dozen: Jair Jurrjens continues march into our conscious

Big League Stew

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Welcome to 'Duk's Dozen, a streamlined selection of 12 morning-fresh links, items and random thoughts to start your baseball day. It welcomes your email submissions and tips here or via Twitter.

1. We issue so much Timmy Lincecum love around these parts that it's only right we pay homage to the pitchers who rise up from time to time and slay Big League Stew's resident prince.

But make no mistake. Jair Jurrjens'(notes) effort on Wednesday night was no fluke shot. Though he hasn't received the pub that many other of the league's pitchers have, Jurrjens' ERA now stands at 2.67 after a 7 2/3 inning effort that saw him strike out nine Giants while giving up only one run, three hits and one walk. That's one way to make your name a household pronunciation — (Ji-eer Jer-jins) — eh?

Anyway, let's all give a big BLS head nod to JJ. Very well done, even if it took Yunel Escobar(notes) becoming the first right-handed hitter to hit a home run off Lincecum to fully get the job done. (Sorry, couldn't quite resist.) [Chop-N-Change]

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2. Tell you what. With all the young stars Atlanta has been developing and the wild card race Mark Bradley thinks the team has entered, it really makes me wish that the Bravos were still on the Superstation and that Skip Caray were still alive. [AJC]

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3. A sort of related (though not to baseball) rant: What's the deal with the extended way TBS shows movies these days? "Dinner and a Movie" ... "Movie and a Makover" ... "Movie Extra" ... Whatever just happened to "Movie"?

Look, if I'm going to get roped into watching a movie on television because I'm too lazy to find my remote or get up and put the actual DVD I already own into the player, just show the movie, show your commercials and let's both get on with our day. I already have a good recipe for chicken parmesan, I just want to watch Mickey Blue Eyes.

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4. If you haven't checked out Vin Scully's call of Manny Ramirez's pinch-hit grand slam on Wednesday night, well, what are you waiting for? Everything about Scully's description shows why he's the best ever — from the simple narrations of the line drive down the left field line, to the near minute of silence while the Dodger Stadium crowd tells the story to his bemused punctuation — "Bobblehead ... ha! The crowd is still in an uproar!" — of the moment.

To steal from Nike, the best there ever was, the best there will ever be. [MLB.com]

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5. Day Baseball! A decent quartet of work distractions. The Braves and Giants finish out that series in NL wild card theater while the Tigers will try to overcome a case of the Branyans to earn a series win against Seattle. Meanwhile, the White Sox can move into a first-place AL Central tie with another win over the Rays and a Detroit loss. Toronto and Cleveland also play, if you're into that sort of thing. [Y! Sports scoreboard]

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6. Yeah, we're going Brave heavy in the dozen today, but whenever I see Atlanta play San Francisco, it makes me think of when the Braves were in the NL West, which in turn makes me think of the great 1993 NL West pennant chase, which in turn makes me think of the great piece — "The Last Real Race" — that Robert Weintraub wrote about the two 100+ win teams. Here it is. [ESPN.com]

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7. Favorite headline of the day: "Andy LaRoche now has to noogie himself" [Razzball]

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8. I was in attendance for last night's Rays-White Sox game and found myself clicking the turnstile behind Ben Zobrist's(notes) rather large family. My seats ended up near theirs, too, and it was interesting to watch them interact with him before the game and then take proud pictures while he manned second base during it. Though it's a fact that's easy to lose sight of, it was a nice reminder that all those guys we watch — and criticize — day after day are sons, brothers and husbands, too.

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9. "Omar Minaya simply has not put enough talent on the field to make the Mets a championship organization. They can make the playoffs. Every year, there's a good shot. But they don't, and that's because he's wasted too much money and left too many holes in the roster every year. The Phillies never acquired a Johan Santana(notes), they didn't have to. They just sat there and waited for the Mets to get worse on their way to the title." [Amazin' Avenue]

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10. Speaking of the Mets and lack of talent ... Look out, Frenchy! Incoming! [Sports Hernia]

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11. "To see (Manny Ramirez's)(notes) name above Mantle's on the list ... that's a shame," Harmon Killebrew said. [Boston Herald]

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12. Here's a rundown of what Los Angeles could "offer" Toronto in trade for Roy Halladay(notes), though it's obviously missing the one deal-sealer — an In-N-Out franchise. [LA Times]

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