Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kershaw Tops Lincecum as Dodgers Win, 1-0; Encarnacion, Snider Pace Blue Jay Rout

Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 20, 2011

American League

Snider: 5 RBI
Toronto may or may not be out of either the AL East or the wild card race, but, whatever the case, the offense remains one of the best in the American League. Ranking fourth in batting average (.259), runs (469), home runs (111) and RBI (442), the unfortunate reality is that the three teams ahead of the Blue Jays in those departments are all likely to reach the post season - Boston, Texas and the Yankees.

Encarnacion: 4 Runs
Even on nights in which Jose Bautista isn't banging them over the fences, the Blue Jays have potent bats, as evidence by Wednesday's 11-6 bombing of Seattle.

Travis Snider drove in five runs for the Jays, getting them on the board with a sac fly to start a four-run 2nd, then singling in one more in the 3rd before socking a three-run, 4th inning home run.

While Snider was racking up the ribbies, Edwin Encarnacion was getting around the bases, going 3-for-5 with a double and two singles, a pair of steals and scoring four times. Encarnacion played most of the game at third, but spent the 8th and 9th innings holding down first base.

The Jays got back to .500 (49-49), though they remain in fourth place in the AL East, 11 games behind Boston. They are only three games behind the slumping, third place Rays, however, with some important series against key rivals upcoming.

National League

Kershaw: 11-4
When the Giants play the Dodgers, it's usually a pitched battle, though when the starting pitchers are Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw, the battle is usually engaged around the corners of home plate, as both pitchers are adept at keeping hitters off balance and runs off the scoreboard.

In the matchup of the of the top NL pitchers, it was Kershaw and the Dodgers who came away with the 1-0 road victory, as Lincecum was victimized by a 7th-inning Dioner Navarro home run blasted into McCovey Cove.

Other the one mistake, Lincecum was at his usual best, allowing just five hits while fanning seven over seven innings. Kershaw was better, going eight full innings, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out 12 to up his league-leading total to 167.

Kershaw improved to 11-4, while Lincecum fell to 8-8. The kicker is that Lincecum's team, the Giants, have a 4 1/2 game lead in the NL West while the Dodgers are tied with the Padres in last place, 13 1/2 out.

Notable: The 12-game winning streak by the Texas Rangers was violently snapped as the Angels came back from an 8-3 deficit with a 6-run 6th inning to defeat the Rangers, 9-8. The win trimmed Texas' AL West lead over the Angels to four games.

No comments: