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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Steven Stamkos

1. Edwin Rodriguez steps down

Marlins fans were shocked when Edwin Rodriguez unexpectedly resigned yesterday (not re-signed). He was frustrated with their current ten game losing streak and 1-18 slump. Rodriguez is the first Puerto-Rican manager in history, and the Marlins had no intention of firing him. He was doing a good job this season, and won the respect of his players. I guess this slump was too much for him, and it's a shame that he quit.

"This was an extremely frustrated, proud man,"president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "This kind of caught us a little off guard. I know there's been a lot of speculation, everything, but this is not something I thought was going to happen today."

2. McKeon to Marlins?

"So we can move ahead with the business of playing baseball and trying to win games," Beinfest said. "When you have a change like this, with a popular person, I think it's tough on a lot of people. You just need to go play baseball, and that's first and foremost."

Jake McKeon is most likely going to be named as the new interim manager. That quote above from Beinfest was about how the Marlins are going to try to name a interim manager as quickly as possible. McKeon was the Marlins' manager in 2003 when he was Manager of the Year and guided the Fish to a World Series title. Cubs fans and Yankees fans (like me), block that year out.
McKeon retired after the 2005 season, and he is now 80.

3. Yankees (Read: Swisher) rally past Cubs

Speaking of the Yanks and Cubbies, here's a mini-recap of the final game in the three game series involving these two storied franchises. The Bronx Bombers came back to win this one 10-4. Chicago won the first game, but the Yankees charged back and won the last two games in this three game set.

Nick Swisher was up with nobody out and two runners on and took a 2-0 pitch for a ride into right field. The 407 foot shot broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Yanks a commanding lead they would never relinquish. The Early Wynn home run by Swisher was yet another hit in a recent hot streak for Swishalicious after two bad slumps earlier this season. The Yanks had a big ninth inning to make it 10-4.

A-Rod went 3-4 with 3 runs, a walk, an RBI, and a double. He's been playing with a strained left shoulder for weeks now. What a beast. Brett Gardner hit his first career homer that led off a game, and he finished with an impressive line. Gardner went 3-5 with two runs, one steak, and a dinger.

James Russell and Sean Marshall got clobbered by the Yanks' hitting, and CC Sabathia wasn't even good on this day when offenses ruled. A-Ram went 4-5 with a run, and Soriano had his own Early Wynn shot.

4. Pujols injured

Every Cardinals' fan will cringe when they read this headline. The best player in baseball sprained his left wrist and also injured his shoulder trying to tag out Wilson Betemit in the sixth inning. Both players collided, but it really wasn't anyone's fault. It was just a baseball play gone bad. Skip Schumaker hit a walk-off homer to beat the Royals 5-4 in a bittersweet game for the Cardinals.

5. Verlander does it again

Man is Justin Verlander a monster. He led the Tigers to a 9-1 trouncing of the Colorado Rockies after pitching his second straight complete game. He wasn't quite as dominating as James Shields was, but Justin Verlander was definitely good enough. The only run he gave up was a long solo shot by Ty Wigginton in the fifth inning. It was the .267 hitter's seventh dinger of the season, and it measured at about 424 feet. That was one of only four hits Verlander gave up. He has thrown at least 100 pitches in all of his starts this season. I wouldn't be worried though because this guy has endurance.

Brennan Boesch's hot streak continues as he hit 3-4 with 3 runs, one RBI, and a monster solo shot of his own that went 422 feet out. Miguel Cabrera was 2-4 with 3 runs, a double, an RBI, and a walk. Alex Avila was 2-4 with a run and two ribbies. Rex Brothers gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on two hits and walked one without getting an out in the seventh inning.
The word "slump


The Indians have unsurprisingly cooled off from their very unexpected hot start to the season, and the Detroit Tigers have now caught up with them for the AL Central lead. This game features an interesting pitching duel between two guys who have been doing well so far this season. Justin Verlander has been terrific, as always, and Justin Masterson is having a good year as well.

Although wins are a stupid stat for pitchers, I have a tidbit involving wins that is more of a fun fact. Verlander has not lost a game since April 27th, while Justin Masterson has not won a game since April 26th.

Asdrubal Cabrera has been beasting this year, and he's going to be the main source of offense for the Indians against Verlander. Cabrera is so good that he has a 2.5 WAR on Fan Graphs. Michael Brantley has also been one of the key cogs this year for the Indians, and the ever-patient Carlos Santana will try and work out some good ABs against one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The Tigers have been lifted by three hitters who have been nothing short of amazing. Miguel Cabrera has been Miguel Cabrera so far (2.6 WAR, .441 OBP), Alex Avila has been a pleasant surprise. The former backup catcher has come out of nowhere to post a 2.3 WAR so far this season. Jhonny Peralta is a former Indian who is finding success with Detroit this season. Peralta also has a WAR over 2, and he leads a fearsome trio.

Masterson is able to get groundball outs, and he isn't a flashy pitcher by any stretch of the imagination. He gets outs, and gives up his fair share of hits, but he doesn't give up anything big. We all know what Verlander can do, so I won't waste my laptop's battery life raving about how crazy his fastball is.

Masterson has a WAR of 2, and I don't expect his production to tail off at all. Verlander has a 2.4 WAR, but I do expect his production to slightly worsen. However, I do expect him to have another great year.

I think that the Tigers will win this game, because they have Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera on their side. Both of them are two of the best players in the game, but this is definitely a game to watch. This is a good pitching matchup that has first place implications in the AL Central.
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