The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.
Hit the bricks: The Los Angeles Angels made batting coach Mickey Hatcher the scapegoat for one of the worst offenses in the major leagues by firing him Tuesday night. The team announced the switch to minor-league coach Jim Eppard about 90 minutes after a 4-0 victory against the Athletics. In a near-irony, Los Angeles produced 12 hits, including three from Albert Pujols for the first time in a month, in Hatcher's final game as coach after 12-plus seasons. Though comments about Pujols being behind the change might sound funny and even plausible given the disagreement he had with Hatcher earlier in the season, the change comes from owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto. Sometimes, the boss said, change is necessary when a team is next-to-last in runs scored in the AL:
"Sometimes in the sports world a point is reached where perhaps a new voice is needed in order to attain the desired goals and objectives," Dipoto said in a statement. "Unfortunately we feel this is one of those times. Offensively we have underachieved and everyone shares in the responsibility of what has transpired thus far."
Hatcher just gets a bigger share than everyone else.
Upstream: Rookie outfielder Mike Trout hit his third homer (see above video) and had his sixth multi-hit game of the season. So he obviously wasn't tainted by Hatcher's influence. Neither was slugger Mark Trumbo, who spoke respectfully of his former instructor on Twitter. In the pitching universe, the Angels got nine strikeouts from Ervin Santana, who must have keeled over at all of that run support.
It was the Mariners, but...: Josh Beckett says "Take that," you fried-chicken-and-beer, golfing-lat-muscle, and blister-obsessed media! No, he didn't really say that. But he pitched with authority against the Mariners, striking out nine and scattering five hits over seven innings in a 5-0 victory for the Boston Red Sox. Much better than the previous outing.
His name is Wei-Yin Chen: Baltimore's rookie left-hander from Taiwan pitched seven innings of of four-hit ball against the New York Yankees, lowering his ERA to 2.45 and leading the Orioles to a 5-2 victory. This was Chen's second outing against the Yankees — and thank goodness for that, he said:
''The first time, the debut I was so nervous,'' Chen said through [a translator]. ''This time, I was just like I've had this experience already so everything was fine to me.''
Somewhere, 1989 Randy Milligan is smiling at the Orioles 23-14 record.
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Quote of the Day: ''There's going to be some loud music playing in the clubhouse, and there's going to be some crazy stuff on the plane, too." — Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, throwing TSA caution to the wind after his team pulled out a 7-6 victory against the Cubs and snapped a four-game losing streak.
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Photo of the Day: Hey, what does this remind you of?
Only this time, the Orioles came out ahead. So the whole Jeffrey Maier thing is even, right?
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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:
• Cleveland's Derek Lowe threw a six-hitter in a 5-0 victory against the Twins, the first time a pitcher shut out an opponent without recording a strikeout since Baltimore's Scott Erickson blanked the Royals 10 seasons ago.
• The Arizona Diamondbacks opened the fifth inning with six consecutive singles, including run-scoring hits by Justin Upton, Miguel Montero and Jason Kubel, and cruised to a 5-1 victory against the Dodgers.
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- Los Angeles Angels
- Albert Pujols