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Morning Juice: Rockies scare Angels into making 6 wild pitches

Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in Anaheim, where the home team's pitchers so feared of the streaking invaders from Denver, they went all Nuke LaLoosh on everybody.

Pity Mike Napoli(notes): Angels hurlers combined to tie a club record with six wild pitches, and Napoli, as the catcher, was the poor soul in charge of retrieving every last one. Two particularly galling wild ones scored runs for the Rockies (like they need help right now) and padded the lead into slaughter rule territory. Even Angels need mercy!

Mike Scioscia, a former catcher and a tough critic, implied Napoli should have handled the fastballs that got away. Meh, Napoli's in the lineup because of his bat, anyhow.

"It was a tough night for Mike," Scioscia said.

Yeah, but the Angels also combined for six walks (most of them by Matt Palmer(notes) — covering his mouth as he coughs it up) and they hit a couple of Rockies, too. All over the place, these guys! No wonder, considering how well Colorado is playing right now.

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Hot Rox: Colorado has won 17 of 18, including nine in a row away from home, and has become a player (playah) again in the National League. All thanks to firing manager Clint Hurdle and replacing him with Jim Tracy, apparently. They're 19-5 since doing so — it must be the reason!

"I don't know if it's a case of what he's told us, or what he hasn't told us that's been the biggest thing," first baseman Todd Helton(notes) said. "But we know that when we show up, in his mind and our minds, today is the most important day and we're going to do everything we can to win that game that day, and worry about the next game tomorrow."

Brad Hawpe(notes) (.335, 11 homers, 53 RBIs) is doing his best Matt Holliday(notes) impression, and Aaron Cook(notes) (four victories in a row) is doing his best Aaron Cook impression. If the NL playoffs started tomorrow, well, the Rockies wouldn't be in them. But if they did start tomorrow (they don't start tomorrow for 3 1/2 months), nobody would want to be playing them.

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Feelin' Rundown (not really, with only three other games on the slate):

Mets 6, Cardinals 4: They lose another player to injury (it's OK, it's only Carlos Beltran) and Jose Reyes was in a car accident (he's OK) with a firetruck on the RFK Bridge, and the Mets still trudge along to victory. How? Tim Redding(notes) kept Albert Pujols(notes) in the ballpark — that's how!

Braves 2, Cubs 0: Javier Vazquez(notes) just waiting for the right moment to disappoint the Braves. Cubs put Jake Fox(notes) in left field and Micah Hoffpauir(notes) in right. Such a defensive alignment must include prayer, or some crossed fingers, anyhow.

Athletics 5, Giants 1: Trevor Cahill(notes). You want one on your staff. Contact your alderman.

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