A pair of underdogs are barking loudly heading into the final three days of Week 12. The Jersey Boys, behind the hitting of Aaron Hill and pitching of R.A. Dickey, have the league's top team, Bomba, in a dogfight. Likewise, HUMA is deadlocked with A-Rod's Mirrors, the North Division leaders, thanks to the heroics of a pair of catchers who have combined for three homers, eight runs, and six RBI in the last four days.
HUMA 6, A-Rod's Mirrors 6
HUMA only had five players in action Thursday but they were productive. Catcher Willin Rosario smacked his second homer of the series and drove in two runs while Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored twice. Relievers Craig Stammen and Octavio Dotel pitched 1.2 shutout innings with Stammen earning a hold. Quintin Berry drove in the only run for the Mirrors while Bryce Harper scored and stole a base. Reliever Josh Lindblom was rocked, allowing a three-run homer without getting anybody out. HUMA trails by four in Quality Starts but will have Jordan Zimmerman, Chad Billingsley, and Doug Fister on the mound tonight.
Los Coche Bomba 5, Jersey Boys 5
Alfredo Aceves earned his second save in the series for the Jersey Boys Thursday but setup man Edward Mujica was touched for two runs while recording just two outs. With the WHIP and ERA categories tight, neither team can afford a pitching disaster. Andrew McCutchen and Jimmy Rollins were the heroes for Bomba Thursday. McCutchen went 3 for 4 with three RBI and two runs scored while Rollins hit a home run. Veteran Andy Pettitte will take the mound for the Jersey Boys tonight with an opportunity to break the Quality Start deadlock.
Scully's Slammers 5, The Bulls 4
Three categories - Runs, Home Runs, and Saves - are tied and will likely decide the winner over the final three days of this series. On Thursday, the Slammers earned just the second quality start for either team. James McDonald threw a complete game, allowing only one run and striking out five. Tyler Clippard also notched his second save with a scoreless inning. At the plate, six players failed to generate a hit for the Slammers though Mike Aviles and Matt Holliday each pushed across runs with sacrifice flies. Marco Scutaro went 2 for 3 to lead the Bulls. Zack Greinke and James Shields will pitch tonight for the Slammers and try to build on the team's Quality Start and Strikeout leads.
The Machine 6, Home Run 101 5
Yoenis Cespedes was the hero Thursday for the Machine with a walk-off, game-winning, three-run homer. It gave the team the RBI category lead and a two point lead in Home Runs. Reliever Joel Peralta, making his final appearance before serving a suspension for having too much pine tar on his glove, allowed two runs in an inning. Reliever Randy Choate earned a hold for Home Run 101 Thursday, earning the category lead. Jonny Gomes scored the team's only run. Rookie Jarrod Parker will pitch for the Machine tonight with a chance to expand the team's Quality Start advantage.
Give it a Yankee 6, Vicious Fishes 4
Prince Fielder hit a home run and Rafael Furcal scored Thursday to give the Fishes the category lead in Runs. They also tied the Saves category when Rafael Betancourt pitched a perfect ninth inning. Carlos Zambrano didn't help the team ERA and WHIP when he walked four, gave up five hits, and allowed three runs over five innings. Adrian Gonzalez scored the only run for Give it a Yankee Thursday. It's do-or-die for the Fishes tonight as Dan Haren, Jason Hammel, and Chris Sale are the team's last hope to close the gap in the pitching categories. Jonathon Niese will pitch for Give it a Yankee.
The Cys 9, Twinkle Toes 3
Where is the offense in this series? The teams have combined for three homers and 13 RBI over four days. The pitching hasn't been much better, with three combined quality starts and an average ERA in the mid-5s. On Thursday, Matt Moore allowed just two runs but couldn't make it past the fifth inning for the Cys. He did strike out six. Cliff Pennington, Matt Adams, and Michael Cuddyer combined to go 1 for 11 with two strikeouts for the Toes. With both teams desperate for a quality start, A.J. Burnett will take the mound tonight for the Cys while Ubaldo Jimenez toes the rubber for the Toes.
Bacon at Mile 11 8, Marin Menehunes 4
Bacon is dominating the offensive categories, leading all six through the first four days of the series. On the mound, this has been an ugly display. The two teams have combined for just one quality start and both ERA's are north of 6. Rod Barajas stepped up for Bacon Thursday, belting a home run and driving in two. Ryan Zimmerman struck out three times but managed to score a run and steal a base. Matt Belisle scored the first hold of the series for the Menehunes Thursday but Carlos Ruiz, Josh Willingham, Shane Victorino and Ben Zobrist combined to go 2 for 13 at the plate. Zobrist did score a run. Both teams seek redemption on the mound tonight. Anibal Sanchez and Cliff Lee will pitch for Bacon while Tim Lincecum starts for the Menehunes.
Lower Haighters 8, High Cheese 3
This series is poised for a Sunday Showdown as five of the six offensive categories are still up for grabs and both teams have been sensational on the mound. With team ERA's hovering near 2 and WHIP's below 1, any disaster on the mound could swing series momentum. On Thursday, it was the bat and legs of Giancarlo Stanton that made the difference for the Lower Haighters. Stanton homered, scored twice, and stole a base. Justin Morneau also stole a base while Trevor Plouffe, Jose Reyes, and Neil Walker each scored a run. Reliever Sean Burnett picked up his second hold of the series but Andrew Miller allowed a run in just .2 of an inning. High Cheese marched toward domination of the Quality Start category as Gio Gonzalez and Vance Worley combined to give up four runs over 13 innings while striking out six. At the plate, Ryan Doumit had an RBI. Homer Bailey and Joe Saunders will start tonight for High Cheese while Clayton Richard pitches for the Haighters.