This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together with the most recent and decent major league happenings. Today's NL roll call starts at venerable Dodger Stadium, where the team's brass announced $500 million in ambitious changes for Chavez Ravine. And then L.A. dropped its 5th game out of 7 ...
Game of the Day: D-backs 6, Dodgers 4
Salad bar? Oh, Salazar! Jeff Salazar hit a big homer and Conor Jackson continued his roll with a couple of RBIs. Dodgers pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts and allowed 7 hits. Yet, they also combined for the loss.
Running behind: The Dodgers used to be the NL West's signature franchise, but the D-backs are working on their 5th division title since 1999. The Dodgers have pretty much been bereft of success since the year Kirk Gibson homered against Dennis Eckersley in the World Series.
First, look good: In the land of facelifts, the Dodgers continue theirs with plans to trick out 46-year-old Dodger Stadium. The idea, owner Frank McCourt says, is to create "a new stadium without tearing down the old." Who else is a sucker for models of proposed stadiums?
Sink hole: The Dodgers have been bringing up young talent — Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, James Loney, etc, and they added the dean of major league managers, Joe Torre. They also have Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt, Nomar Garciaparra and Juan Pierre taking money for taking up roster space.
Feelin' Rundown (Thursday's other games)
Astros 5, Reds 3 — Lance Berkman vs. Johnny Cueto. The perfect storm for Morning Juice. First at-bat: After falling behind 2-0, Cueto rebounds to put the count even. On the 5th pitch, Berkman launches an 85-mph slider to deep right, into the steepest grandstand in the majors, for a 2-run homer. Cueto's top speed in the at-bat — 91 mph. Second at-bat: Berkman works an 8-pitch walk. Cueto's final pitch - 94 mph. Third at-bat: After a pickoff play, Berkman rips Cueto's 81-mph slider to right field for a double and a 5-3 lead for the 'Stros.
Phillies 3, Brewers 1 — Ah, the life of a relief pitcher. David Riske gets two quick outs, walks Greg Dobbs, allows a single to Chase Utley and a 2-run double to Pat the Bat, who leads the bigs with 25 RBIs. Poof, Phillies win. "The team played great and I blew it," Riske said. Next!
Rockies 4, Cubs 2 — If baseball had Olympic judges to adjust ERAs, Aaron Cook's career stats would be better because he's so good at Coors, where the degree of difficulty is greater. The East German judge might try to skew things, but we can throw those scores out. Now, if Cook could just stay healthy for Beijing. Cubs 6-game winning streak is ovah!
Cardinals 6, Pirates 2 — Tom Gorzelanny's pitching line: 5 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, 4 K. He threw 49 of 94 pitches for strikes. He's like Ted Striker in the "Airplane" movie. "He's all over the place, 900 feet, up to 1,300 feet... what an a$$&*%#."
Nationals 10, Mets 5 — One moment Felipe Lopez is an All-Star and a Silver Slugger, the next he's slugging .291 (ouch) for the Nats. The next, he hits a grand slam and drives in 6 runs. Lopez hit 23 homers in one season. He stole 44 bases in another. He also hit .245 with a .308 on-base in 2007. He stole 1 base in 2 attempts in 79 games in 2004. We need to call in a Sabrematrician with a Freudian background to sort through Mr. Inconsistency here.
Giants 1, Padres 0 — Deja vu all over again for the Pads, who drop their second 1-0 game to the Giants already this season. Rich Aurilia (yep, still going) goes deep for the only run Tim Lincecum and bullpen needs. Do the Giants play "I Get Around" when Brian Wilson comes in to the 9th?
Photo of the Day: "It's not 490 feet to right field here, is it, by chance?"
Chad Billingsley wonders what it was his girlfriend wanted him to get at the store, shortly after he allows a gopher ball to Arizona's Jeff Salazar.
Big Talker NL
"I usually feel horrible at Wrigley Field. I feel great here. I can't explain it. That's the game of baseball. It's a statistical anomaly." — Lance Berkman on his prowess —he has 18 career homers — at Great American Ball Park.
NL Fantasy Freaks
Lance Berkman (Astros) 3-3, HR, 3 RBI, SB
Jamie Moyer (Phillies) 6 IP, 8 H, ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Jeff Suppan (Brewers) 7 IP, 5 H, ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Scott Podsednik (Rockies) 3-5, R, SB
Jason Marquis (Cubs) 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Aaron Cook (Rockies) 8 IP, 4 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, Win
Brian Fuentes (Rockies) IP, 2 K, SV
Joel Pineiro (Cardinals) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Josh Willingham (Marlins) 3-4, HR, 4 RBI
Chipper Jones (Braves) 3-3, HR, 2 R
Luis Castillo (Mets) 3-5, R, RBI, SB
Felipe Lopez (Nats) 2-4, HR, 6 RBI
Tim Lincecum (Giants) 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 BB, 9 K, Win (4), 1.23 ERA
Chris Young (Padres) 7 IP, 2 H, ER, 3 BB, 10 K, Loss
NL Fantasy Flakes
Burke Badenhop (Braves) 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, BB, Loss
Oliver Perez (Mets) 5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, Loss
David Wright (Mets) 0-4, BB
Carlos Delgado (Mets) 0-4, K, .198 BA