Entering Wednesday, Felix Hernandez had a string of 10 consecutive quality starts against Cleveland. It was the longest such streak in the Majors. The ace for the Lower Haighters was perfectly positioned to help the defending champions retake the series lead against Home Run 101.
Then something went terribly wrong. Hernandez gave up 10 hits, walked three batters, and allowed six earned runs over 3.2 innings. It was his worst start since 2010 and allowed Home Run 101 to take the lead in ERA and WHIP and maintain a cushion in quality starts.
Home Run 101 8, Lower Haighters 4
There is no truth to the rumor that the CIA will use tapes of the starting pitching in this series to perform enhanced interrogations in Eastern European gulags. Thankfully, neither team has a starter on the mound today. On Wednesday, the Lower Haighters' offense began to resemble the one envisioned on draft day. Jose Reyes stole home, Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer, and Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run bomb. Ian Desmond hit the first home run for Home Run 101 in this series. While the bats are coming alive for both teams, starting pitching will determine the series winner.
The Bulls 6, Jersey Boys 5
The injury plagued Jersey Boys received more bad news as outfielder Austin Jackson left Wednesday's game with an abdominal strain that will require an MRI. Jackson was 5-for-11 with four RBI and three runs scored in the series. The offenses cooled off for both teams Wednesday following a torrid Tuesday evening that featured eight homers between the two teams. The Jersey Boys took the lead in runs scored after Daniel Murphy scored the only run for the Bulls. This series has featured some shaky pitching and that continued Wednesday as Hiroki Kuroda gave up seven earned runs in five innings for the Jersey Boys. Chris Capuano was able to earn a quality start for the Bulls but both teams have ERA's north of 4.40. The Bulls will send ace Roy Halladay and Shaun Marcum to the mound today while the Jersey Boys counter with R.A. Dickey and Aaron Harang.
Los Coche Bomba 7, A-Rod's Mirrors 4
Jimmy Rollins swiped a base, Matt Garza earned a quality start and Jason Motte recorded a save to keep Bomba in the series lead. J.P Arencibia and Adam LaRoche both homered for the Mirrors with LaRoche driving in four runs. LaRoche, who is making a bid to be series MVP, has been one of the best free agent acquisitions of the year. Bomba has built a significant advantage in the pitching categories and can widen it today when Brandon Beachy and Matt Harrison make their starts.
HUMA 6, Marin Menehunes 5
The Menehunes tightened this series up behind the pitching of Jaime Garcia and Johan Santana. They combined to give up just three runs over 14 innings pitched Wednesday, earning two quality starts and striking out 14 batters. Travis Hafner had a home run and three RBI for HUMA, which had its first two long balls of the series. This could be the defining day in the matchup as HUMA sends three starters to the mound. Mat Latos, Doug Fister, and Jordan Zimmerman have an opportunity to close the strikeout gap and break the series deadlock in quality starts.
The Cys 6, Vicious Fishes 3
The Cys grabbed the lead in quality starts behind another brilliant performance by Yu Darvish. Darvish allowed just one run over 7.2 innings while striking out seven. The bullpens are waging a war in this series, with saves and holds tied. On Wednesday, the teams combined for two saves and a hold as five relief pitchers tossed shutout ball. Offensively, Dustin Ackley homered for the Fishes while catcher Carlos Santana swiped a bag for the Cys. Rookie Chris Sale starts for the Fishes today while C.J. Wilson, Edinson Volquez, and rookie Matt Moore pitch for the Cys.
The Machine 6, High Cheese 5
It was bombs away Wednesday as this series saw five homers, 12 RBI and 14 runs scored. Carlos Lee, Chase Headley and Jose Bautista combined for three homers, seven RBI and five runs scored for the Machine. David Freese and Adam Jones both homered for High Cheese. Gio Gonzalez had the first quality start in the series to help High Cheese narrow the overall score. Gonzalez struck out 10 over seven innings. The Machine is poised for a big day on the mound as Matt Cain, Ricky Nolasco, and Brandon McCarthy start Thursday. Adam Wainwright will take the hill for High Cheese.
Bacon at Mile 11 6, Twinkle Toes 5
While other teams have struggled to earn quality starts this week, these two teams have combined for nine in the first three days. On Wednesday, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeremy Hellickson both had quality starts for Twinkle Toes, which took a 5-4 lead over Bacon in the category. Struggles by Madison Bumgarner and a bullpen meltdown by Jon Rauch cost the Toes in ERA and WHIP. Both teams struggled offensively Wednesday, combining for just eight runs and four RBI with no home runs. Trevor Cahill will pitch for Bacon Thursday while Juan Nicasio and Brian Matusz toe the rubber for the Toes.
Scully's Slammers 7, Give it a Yankee 2
Don't be fooled by the overall score, this series is very close. Nine of the 12 categories are up for grabs heading into the final four days. Cory Hart and Vernon Wells hit the first two homers of the series for Give it a Yankee Wednesday while closer Jim Johnson earned another save for the Slammers. Edwin Encarnacion remains red-hot for the Slammers, slugging a three-run bomb Wednesday. Luke Hochevar will start for Give it a Yankee on Thursday while James McDonald pitches for the Slammers.