Dustin Pedroia could miss up to a month with a torn abductor muscle in his right thumb. Jered Weaver has hit the DL with a lower back strain. Roy Halladay is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a latissimus dorsi strain. These are All-Star caliber players that are essential to their team's pennant hopes that have been felled by injury.
This week's injury news is the most dramatic of the season so far as so many good players on contending teams will lose substantial playing time. A-Rod's Mirrors will have to find a replacement for Pedroia at second base while not losing ground in the West Division title chase. High Cheese is 13-games out in the South Division and sits in the eighth and final playoff spot and now must replace Weaver. The Bulls have built a 12-game lead in the North Division but now find their ace on the shelf for up to two months.
Three teams now face a crossroad. How they replace these injured stars will define their seasons.
High Cheese 8, Vicious Fishes 3
The bullpen is coming to the rescue for High Cheese in Week 9. John Axford, Tom Wilhelmsen, and Steve Cishek pitched three scoreless innings Tuesday with Cishek earning a hold and Axford a save. The offense also responded with 10 runs, four homers, and eight RBI, led by two home runs, three RBI, and three runs scored for Adam Jones. The Fishes earned a third quality start when Dan Haren struck out seven over seven innings while allowing just one run Tuesday. Offensively, the team had two homers and eight RBI, led by Mike Moustakas' four RBI. It's early in the series but you get the feeling if Jason Hammel tosses a quality start tonight for the Fishes, it could win the category.
Give it a Yankee 5, A-Rod's Mirrors 4
The Mirrors miss Pedroia's bat. The team has just seven runs and three RBI in the first two days of this series. Second catcher Humberto Quintero has two of those RBI. While the Mirrors struggle at the plate, Give it a Yankee isn't building insurmountable leads in the offensive categories. The team had a homer, five runs, and five RBI Tuesday led by Chris Davis' homer and two RBI. The Mirrors missed an opportunity to build a substantial lead in Quality Starts Tuesday as Jake Westbrook and Justin Masterson combined to give up 11 runs in 11 innings. Daniel Bard had an opportunity for a quality start for Give it a Yankee, giving up just two runs, but he failed to complete six innings. Clayton Kershaw and rookie Drew Smyly take the mound tonight for Give it a Yankee in a series that is begging for a star to step up on the mound.
Lower Haighters 6, The Bulls 6
The Bulls have taken advantage of the pitching-challenged Lower Haighters, building leads in five of the six pitching categories in the first two days of this series. On Tuesday, Jason Vargas tossed a quality start and three relievers combined to pitch three scoreless innings while earning two saves and a hold. Ricky Romero struck out seven for the Lower Haighters but gave up four runs. Four relievers pitched 3.1 innings of shutout ball and struck out six batters. At the plate, the Lower Haighters are beginning to flex their muscle. They have built significant leads in five of the six categories. Brandon Morrow and Ivan Nova will start tonight for the Lower Haighters with the team desperate for a quality start.
Twinkle Toes 5, Home Run 101 4
The pitching in this series has been a train wreck and that continued Tuesday. Home Run 101 closer Brian Fuentes gave up a three-run homer to lose the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and his meltdown leaves the team ERA at 21.60 through two days. Ryan Vogelsong earned a quality start for Twinkle Toes and Jon Rauch recorded a hold but normally reliable setup man Mike Adams burped up three hits and two runs without recording an out. Dayan Viciedo supplied the offense Tuesday for Home Run 101, with a homer, two RBI and three runs scored. Today is crucial for Home Run 101 as Josh Johnson, Johnny Cueto, and Ryan Dempster all start. Ian Kennedy and Tim Hudson will start for Twinkle Toes.
The Cys 8, Marin Menehunes 3
Josh Willingham's walk-off, three-run homer was all the offensive generated on Tuesday in this series and it helped keep the Menehunes close in RBI and in front in Home Runs. Edwin Jackson's quality start for the Cys helped the team gain the category lead. The Menehunes received good news from the training room Tuesday, when it was announced that Carlos Ruiz's hamstring injury is not severe and he should return to action in this series. Tim Lincecum will try to figure out his problems tonight when he takes the mound for the Menehunes along with young Anthony Bass.
Jersey Boys 9, HUMA 3
The Jersey Boys have the lead as they look for their first series win of the 2012 season but they could regret the fact that both Justin Verlander and Andy Pettitte failed to earn quality starts Tuesday. The two aces combined to give up 10 runs in 13 innings. Alfredo Aceves and Glen Perkins pitched scoreless relief innings to help the team ERA and WHIP while Aceves also earned a save. The relief pitching wasn't as good for HUMA as Craig Stammen gave up a home run while recording just one out. Brett Lawrie scored three times and drove in three runs for the Jersey Boys while Josh Hamilton hit a home run and drove in three for HUMA. Jon Lester pitches today for HUMA with an opportunity to give the team a second Quality Start.
Scully's Slammers 9, Los Coche Bomba 1
Through the first two days of this series, the Slammers are destroying Bomba at the plate. On Tuesday, it was recently acquired second catcher John Jaso with a homer, two runs, and three RBI for the Slammers. On the mound, James Shields struck out eight for the Slammers but gave up five runs over six innings. Bomba had bullpen problems as Alexi Ogando was tagged for four hits and two runs in an inning. The Slammers will send Yovani Gallardo to the mound today while Bomba has Derek Holland and Bruce Chen pitching.
Bacon at Mile 11 5, The Machine 5
The pitching was perfect for the Machine on Tuesday. Rookie Jarrod Parker didn't give up a run in six innings to earn a quality start while relievers Matt Thornton and Francisco Rodriguez pitched scoreless relief with Rodriguez earning a hold. The pitching was also good for Bacon, as Anibal Sanchez tossed seven scoreless innings to earn a quality start while relievers Bobby Parnell and Jonny Venters each earned a hold. At the plate, David Ortiz homered and scored twice for the Machine while Dan Uggla homered and drove in three runs for Bacon. Cliff Lee and Ervin Santana take the mound for Bacon tonight with an opportunity to put the pressure on the Machine in the Quality Start category.