This and every weekday a.m. let's rise and shine together to salute the team with the best record in Major League Baseball. Today's Roll Call starts in Tampa Bay, which so far has been spared the wrath of Tropical Storm Fay, which has been doing its damage mostly in the eastern part of Florida. Doing all of the damage so far on the Gulf Coast? Our Tampa Bay Rays.
Game of the Day: Rays 4, Angels 2
Looker: Willy Aybar, while not as aesthetically pleasing as Longoria, gets the go-ahead, two-run single in the eighth in Longoria's place to give what was already the Best Team in Baseball the Best Record in Baseball. Winning pitcher: Shields. Losing pitcher: Shields. Save: Sh... Wheeler.
Cutter: Two walks and an error by the Angels practically handed this one to Our Team. Not the way you want a playoff preview to go. The Angels will need some serious editing before the Big Premiere in October.
Believers: The Rays just started a stretch of 31 games in which they'll play playoff contenders 28 times. They'll have to keep showing they belong right down to the wire.
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Feelin' Rundown (Tuesday's other baseballings):
Blue Jays 2, Yankees 1: I thoroughly enjoyed the recent art of the Yankees coffin on the Yahoo! MLB front page, though it also looked like a chocolate Twinkie made to look like a Yankees casket, which got me thinking of dessert, rather than the two fielding mistakes Johnny Damon made to help Toronto win on Monday night. It's not that the Yanks are too far behind the Red Sox or Rays, it's just they've given us no reason to believe they can catch 'em. Johnny can't catch anything, apparently.
Indians 9, Royals 4: Grady's first homer in three weeks awakens his fantasy owners. Anthony Reyes always had the socks and the cap and the pitching coach to succeed in St. Louis. It just never happened.
Red Sox 7, Orioles 2: Josh Beckett's next start is being pushed back three days because of lingering numbness in his right hand. Is it normal for pitchers to have any numbness, for longer than a few moments, in their hands? I'm gonna say no. Maybe it's because of that Uncle Stan's Naked Rodeo Cream, or whatever that stuff was, that he uses for blisters. The nuns always told us not to use our hands too much, or else this might happen.
Marlins 6, Giants 0: So THIS is why Scott Olsen gets so upset about coming out of games: Ricky Nolasco, by virtue of his complete game — the Marlins first in a record 301 games — takes home a pot of money to which Florida's pitchers have been contributing since Sept. 16, 2006. I wonder if it's $301,000 because that'd be more than what everyone on the team makes.
Twins 13, Athletics 2: Pvt. Slowey executed 10 strikeouts in his three previous starts combined, but gets 12 whiffs against the A's all by their lonesome.
White Sox 5, Mariners 0: Clayton Richard. Sounds like a Montreal Canadien from 1967, oui?. It's beginning to look like the AL Wild Card might come out of the Central, instead of the East, as most of us probably assumed. Wouldn't that be something if the Red Sox and Yankees both missed the playoffs? Is it Nelson on the Simpsons who goes, "Ha, ha!"?
Mets 7, Braves 3: New York's bullpen had a good news/bad news kind of night. Good news: Aaron Heilman pitched swell. Bad news: Billy Wagner's elbow has swelled. He's out indefinitely. Hey, aren't we all? Oh, that's "We're all day to day." Sorry. Wagner's still out, though.
Astros 5, Brewers 2: Because of a bad back/pulled ribcage muscle (the Brewers are sending mixed messages) Ryan Braun is about as stiff as Fonzie's Statue right now. They have to get him right (Braun, not the Fonz), because CC can't hit for him. I wonder why Chachi wasn't at the ceremony.
Pirates 4, Cardinals 1: Mach Snell, mach Snell! If they gave an award for Most Discombobulated Right-Hander, Snell would take it hands down for his April-July performance. Maybe this is a sign he can still have a career outside of Triple-A. Oh, well. The world needs ditch diggers, too.
D-backs 7, Padres 6: Padres right-hander Josh Banks = 6 point buck for Adam Dunn, who was making his first home start for his new team, the D-bax. "It's a good feeling to have. Probably Opening Day and the opening day of deer season are about the only [other] times I get butterflies," Dunn said. Duck!
Rockies 8, Dodgers 3: Kept waiting on a miracle Dodgers comeback that never happened. Big day for Ian Stewart, a grad of nearby-ish La Quinta High in Westminster, Orange County. He drove in five. I wonder if La Quinta High is next to a Denny's.
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Photo of the Day: More cowbell, Mrs. C!
Aaaayyyy, it's Henry Winkler and a statue of James Brolin as Christopher Walken doing the Bruce Dickinson of Blue Oyster Cult. (Alternate caption: Fonz and Bronze Fonz.)
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Ronnie Belliard (Nationals) 4-4, RBI
A.J. Burnett (Jays) 8 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 13 K, Win
James Shields (Rays) 8 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K, Win
Joyce (Tigres) 2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Harden (Cubs) 7 IP, 2 H, 10 K, Win
Cueto (Reds) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 6 K,
Brian Buescher (Twins) 3-4, 2 R, HR, 5 RBI
Slowey (Twins) 7 IP, 5 H, ER, 12 K, Win
Richard (White Sox) 6 IP, 5 H, BB, 2 K, Win
Snell (Pirates) 7 IP, 4 H, BB, 8 K, Win
Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI
Matt Holliday (Rockies) 4-5, 2 R, HR
Nolasco (Here, Fishies, Fishies) 9 IP, BB, 11 K
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Daniel Cabrera (Orioles) 4 1/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, Loss
Sean Gallagher (A's) 5 IP, 11 H, 10 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, Loss
Felix (M's) 5 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, Loss
Banks (Padres) 4 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 7 BB, 3 K, Loss
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Words of Mouth
"I would have invited you all in there if I had wanted you to know what it was." — Trey Hillman, on the Royals super-secret coaches meeting.