Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lester's 1-Hitter tops Jays; Zimmerman Leads Nats over Braves

Players of the Day from Tuesday, April 29, 2008 American League The Boston Red Sox went into Tuesday's game riding a five-game losing streak and to break out, they knew they'd have to beat Toronto's Roy Halladay, who was seeking his 4th straight complete game. Technically, Halladay got his complete game, but it wasn't the way he wanted it as Boston starter Jon Lester hurled 8 innings of 1-hit ball and Kevin Youkilis knocked home David Ortiz from second with two out in the bottom of the 9th for the game's only run in Boston's 1-0 triumph over the Blue Jays. Lester walked four and stuck out six, surrendering only a 3rd inning double to Toronto's Scott Rolen. Of the remaining out, Lester got 15 on ground balls and just 3 on flies, but didn't get the decision. He remained at 1-2 as Jonathon Papelbon came on to work a perfect ninth for his first win of the season without a loss. Notes: Halladay has pitched four straight complete games but has lost 3 straight. Boston's win kept them tied with the O's for first place in the AL East. Tampa Bay dropped a game off the pace, losing 7-4 to Baltimore. National League Ryan Zimmerman cracked his third homer of the season and broke a 2-2 tie with a 2-run double in the 7th inning as the Nationals topped the Braves, 6-3, in Washington.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reynolds Keeps D-Backs Winning; Barton Homers in A's 14-2 Romp

Players of the Day from Monday, April 28, 2008 American League Looking for Rookie of the Year candidates? Keep an eye on the A's Daric Barton who smacked his first home run of the season (he hit four in 18 games last year with the A's), went 3-for-6, drove in 3 runs and scored twice in the A's 14-2 rout of the Angels, boosting Oakland into sole possession of first place in the AL West one game ahead of the Angels. Usually batting third in the lineup, Barton has Mark Ellis hitting in front of him and the recently-acquired Frank Thomas behind him, so he's likely to be seeing plenty of RBI opportunities. Before his call-up last September, Barton hit .293 with nine home runs and 70 RBI in 136 games with the triple-A Sacramento River Cats. Notes: The A's and Angels will continue their battle for the AL West top spot as the 4-game series continues through Thursday. National League There are plenty of reasons why the Diamondbacks have the best record in the majors, but one of them surely has to be the hot start by third baseman Mark Reynolds. On Monday, Reynolds went 1-for-3 with a 2-run double in the 4th, helping Dan Haren to his 4th win as the Diamondbacks beat Houston 5-3. Reynolds, overshadowed last season by sensational rookies Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki, hit .279 with 17 homers and 62 RBI in 111 games. This year, he's second in the NL with 24 RBI and tied for 5th in the league with 7 home runs. Notes: Dominant D-Backs. Arizona leads the NL West with a 19-7 record and has opened a 6 1/2 game lead. They are one of only two teams with less than 10 losses thus far, the other being the Cubs, at 16-9.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rays Sweep BoSox on Shields Shutout; Phillips Bombs Giants

Players of the Day from Sunday, April 27 2008 American League Over the weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays accomplished what many considered to be unthinkable - they swept a 3-game series from the World Champion Boston Red Sox. After winning 5-4 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday, third-year starter James Shields took the mound for the Rays and essentially took the bats out of the Red Sox's hands, firing a complete-game, 2-hit shutout for a 3-0 win over Boston. Shields (3-1 this season and 21-17 career) walked one and struck out 7, overshadowing Josh Beckett's 13 K effort for the Sox. Tampa scored single runs in the 3rd, 7th and 8th innings, all but one of them earned. The sweep put the Rays - winners of 6 straight - in a three-way tie for first place in the AL East with Baltimore and Boston. Notes: The Red Sox have dropped five straight and are 3-8 against AL East foes, while the Rays are 11-6 and the Yankees 9-6. In the West, the Angels and A's are locked into a first place tie at 16-10. Both teams are determined road warriors, with the A's 8-3 and the Angels 10-5 away from home. Yankees' starter Chien-Ming Wang became the first 5-game winner in the AL, with a 7-inning whitewash of Chicago on Sunday. Wang allowed 4 hits and walked 2 while striking out 9 in the 1-0 win. National League Last season, Brandon Phillips socked 30 home runs for the Reds, and the way he's going, he'll likely surpass that number in 2008. On Saturday, Phillips smoked a pair of homers, singled, scored three times and drove in three as the Reds pummeled San Francisco, 10-1, putting up a 10-spot for the second straight day. The Reds' booming bats were a bit of overkill, as Edinson Volquez, set the Giants down on on 5 hits and one earned run while fanning 10 over 7 innings, winning his 4th game without a loss. Volquez has been a fantasy delight this season with his ERA and WHIP both at 1.23.
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Notes: San Fran's loss was their second straight and 6th straight by starter Barry Zito (0-6). Elsewhere in the West, Arizona kept a 6-game lead over LA, as Brandon Webb outdueled San Diego's Jake Peavy for a 2-1 victory. Webb leads the majors at 6-0.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Norton Leads Mariners over A's; Kemp's Flies Plate Five in First

Players of the Day from Saturday, April 26, 2008 American League Journeyman Greg Norton hasn't seen a lot of playing time since coming over to Seattle from Tampa Bay in the off-season, but he made the most of it on Saturday, with a pair of singles and a double in four at-bats to help Seattle to a 5-3 win over Oakland. Norton knocked in three and also scored a run as the Mariners picked up ground on AL West co-leaders Los Angeles and Oakland. The Mariners are 3 games back. Notes: I'll have my AL East scrambled, please. Tampa Bay has won five straight and was the only winner on Saturday in the AL East, as the Rays took their second straight from the Red Sox, by a 2-1 tally. The Orioles lost, keeping them tied with the Sox, who have dropped four straight. The Yankees have lost 3 in a row and Toronto is in the cellar having lost six straight. National League Matt Kemp didn't have a great game, more a spectacular first inning for himself and his Dodger teammates as Los Angeles knocked out Colorado, 11-3 mostly on the strength of a 10-run first inning. Down 2-0, when LA came up in the bottom of the first, Kemp got the party started with a sac fly to center which plated Juan Pierre. Five runs and eight hitters later, Kemp came up again, this time with the bases loaded, and again lofted a fly ball to center, though this one came down past the wall for a grand slam, giving Kemp five RBI in the inning. Without another hit, he ended his day 1-for-4. The win moved the Dodgers into sole possession of second place in the NL West, 6 games behind Arizona. Notes: The longest steaks in the NL are both in Pennsylvania, where the Phillies have won 3 straight and the Pirates have lost 3 in a row. Cubs' pitcher Carlos Zambrano is on a roll, picking up his 4th win against 1 loss as he blanked the Washington Nationals on 5 hits over seven innings in Chicago's 7-0 win. In his last three starts (all wins), Zambrano has gone 7 innings each time and has allowed just 3 earned runs.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Crawford Scores for Rays; Russell Martin Everywhere

Players of the Day for Friday, April 25, 2008 American League Carl Crawford went 3-6, with two triples, an RBI, stole his 8th base and scored 3 times - including the game-winner - in Tampa Bay's 5-4, 11-inning win over Boston. It was the Rays' 4th straight win and Boston's third straight loss. Crawford, a career .297 hitter who has topped .300 for the season each of the last three years, is currently on a 12-game hitting streak in which he's raised his batting average from .204 to .314 with 5 extra base hits. Crawford, mainly a singles hitter, is doing what he does best, though, scoring runs. During his streak he's crossed the plate 13 times and his 23 runs overall leads the AL. Notes: Law of Averages. The Cleveland Indians won their 4th straight game on Friday, a 6-4 home win over the Yankees, and have reached second place in the AL Central, 2 games back of the White Sox. At 11-12 Cleveland sports an unusual stat. While the team batting average is an unhealthy .250, Grady Sizemore leads the team at a mere .264. That means a lot of guys are going 1-for-4 every night. Kansas City and Texas both won, each ending a 7-game losing streak. National League The LA Dodgers are still under .500 at 10-13 and are chasing the runaway Arizona Diamondbacks, but the season has just begun. On Friday night, Russell Martin put in overtime, as he reached base in all 6 plate appearances in the Dodgers' 8-7, 13-inning win over Colorado. If it seemed like Martin was everywhere, it's because he was, going 4-for-4, walking twice, stealing a base, scoring a run and driving in two, including the walk-off game winner on a bases-loaded sac fly. He also caught for 8 innings before putting in 5 more over at third base. Notes: Florida and Milwaukee dueled through 9 scoreless innings before the Marlins erupted for three runs in the 10th. Florida starter Scott Olsen lasted 7 1/3 before being lifted after giving up 4 hits and 5 walks without a strikeout. Olsen's (3-0) been hot lately, having allowed just one run over his last 21 1/3 innings. Streaks: Houston has won 6 straight while the Padres have been on the losing end five in a row.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Murphy Blasts A's Past Twins; Lee Scoreless Streak at 21; Leadoff Lopez Drives in 6

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 24 2008 American League After being released by Toronto, Frank Thomas has found a new home in Oakland, but it was lightly-used rookie third baseman Donnie Murphy who carried the big stick in Oakland's 11-2 romp over the Minnesota Twins. Murphy, who has spent parts of the last two seasons with the A's but still qualifies as a rookie since he's never had more than 130 at-bats in a season, stroked a single and a pair of solo homers in 5 at-bats, scored three times and drove in four runs. Notes: The Detroit Tigers are picking up steam quickly. After starting horribly (0-7), they've gone 10-6 and won their last four straight. On Thursday, Magglio Ordonez whacked a pair of homers and drove in four runs as the Tigers completed a three-game sweep over Texas with an 8-2 win. The Tigers still trail the White Sox by 3 games in the Central Division. Texas dropped their 7th straight, as did KC, 2-0 losers to Cleveland as Cliff Lee (left) improved to 4-0 with a 3-hit, complete game shutout. Lee struck out 9 and extended his scoreless innings streak to 21 innings. National League Leadoff hitters aren't supposed to be big run-producers, but on Thursday Felipe Lopez singled in two runs in the 5th and knocked a grand slam in the 6th inning, blowing open a 3-3 tie and leading the Nationals to a 10-5 win over the stumbling Mets.
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For Lopez, it was his first home run of the season and the six RBI gave him 8 on the year. Notes: Arizona continues to dominate the NL West, last night topping the Dodgers, 6-4, to improve their record against teams in their own division to 15-4. The D-Backs still hold a 6-game lead in the West. Other clubs doing well against teams in their own division are the Cubs (11-4), the Mets (10-6) and the Marlins (9-5).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tigers Score 19, Guillen Drives in Five; Fielder's Pair Propels Brewers

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 23, 2008 American League This one was out of control early on. The score was 5-5 by the end of the second inning and 7-6 after 4, but when the Tigers put up 11 runs in the sixth, Detroit was on its way to a 19-6 pasting of the Taxes Rangers. In the middle of it all was Carlos Guillen, who stroked two singles and a double in 4 at-bats, stole a base and hit a sac fly to drive in five runs. The Tigers, regarded by many as having the best offensive lineup in the majors, strutted their stuff against 6 Texas pitchers who allowed 14 hits and 10 walks. Each of the starting position players had at least one hit except Ramon Santiago, though he managed to drive in three runs and score twice. Notes: The Rangers now have lost six straight and have the worst record in the American League at 7-15. The Angels snapped Boston's 5-game win streak with a 6-4 win at Boston. It was the Red Sox's 3rd home loss. National League Last year, Prince Fielder smacked 50 home runs and the Milwaukee Brewers just missed making the playoffs.
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Fielder has gotten off to a slow start in 2008, but may be coming around after blasting a pair of homers and driving in four runs in Milwaukee's 5-4 win over Philadelphia. Fielder connected in the first inning with a man aboard and again in the 8th for another 2-run shot that gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead and eventually, the win. Notes: The Cubs have won 6 straight and are two games up on Milwaukee in the Central Division. They defeated the Rockies, 7-6, in ten innings on Wednesday. Atlanta's Chipper Jones leads the league in batting at .422, but the dynamic duo from Philly holds the top spots in homers and RBI. Chase Utley has knocked out 10, followed by teammate Pat Burrell with 8 homers. Burrell leads the league in RBI with 23. Utley has 21.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Grand Slammers: Blake Bombs Royals, Cedeno Crashes Mets

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 22, 2008 American League The Cleveland Indians didn't get off to a very good start this season (8-12), and are probably a little bit irked at looking up at the Royals in the standings. On Tuesday night, Casey Blake decided to do something about it, going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a single and a grand slam home run, good for 6 RBI, as the Indians pounded Kansas City, 15-1. Cleveland rapped out 17 hits against starter Gil Meche and four relievers and are just a game behind the Royals, who have lost five straight. Notes: Boston keeps on winning, beating the Angels last night, 7-6, for their 6th straight. Texas lost their 5th in a row, a 10-2 beating at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. National League Usually light-hitting Ronnie Cedeno broke out the good wood and doubling in a run in the 4th inning and smacking a grand slam in the eighth to lead the Cubs to their second straight over the Mets, 8-1, extending their NL Central lead to 1 1/2 games over St. Louis.
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Cedeno, a career .251 hitter with a total of 11 home runs before Tuesday's blast, took a Jorge Sosa offering out of the park in left field for his first long ball of the season. Notes: The Cubs have won five straight, the longest current win streak in the National League. In the Western division, Arizona continues to run away from the rest, winning their 15th against 5 losses last night with a 5-4 victory at San Francisco. The other teams in the division - Colorado, San Diego and Los Angeles - all lost, leaving the D-Backs with a comfy 6-game bulge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ortiz Getting into Groove; Tejada Roughs up Padres

Players of the Day for Monday, April 21, 2008 American League Big Papi is getting himself into a groove. After a slow start, David Ortiz has begun to put some sting on the ball. On Monday, he doubled twice and drove in three runs as the Red Sox knocked off the Rangers, 8-3. To get an idea of just how poorly Ortiz started the season, consider that he was batting just .070 on April 12. Eight games later, he's upped his average to .177, still poor, but he's hit safely in seven of his last 8 games and has knocked in 11 runs in his last four.
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Notes: The Red Sox have won five straight and opened up a 2 game lead on the Baltimore Orioles, and 3 1/2 over Toronto and the Yankees. On the opposite end of the scale, the Rangers lost four straight (all to Boston) and the Royals are beginning their annual dive in the standings with a four-game losing streak. National League In five at-bats, Miguel Tejada singled twice, doubled, homered, drove in three runs, scored three times and stole a base as he and the Houston Astros drubbed the Padres, 10-3. The homer was the 4th for Tejada, a newcomer to the National League after spending all of his career with Oakland and Baltimore until this season. He doesn't seem to be affected by facing different pitchers as he's batting at a brisk .342 pace and has 16 RBI. Notes: Best in the West. The Arizona Diamondbacks are off to an exceptionally grand start. At 14-5, they're already 5 games in front and are the only team in the NL West with a winning record. That's largely the result of the D-Backs, who have run up 13 wins against just 3 losses in the division. Over in the Central, Pittsburgh is currently on a 6-game losing streak and has dropped into last place at 7-12.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thome's Hits Bash Rays; Utley's Homer Help Phils Past Mets

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 20, 2008 American League Jim Thome singled twice, doubled and homered in 5 at-bats, driving in 3 runs and scoring twice in Chicago's 6-0 win over Tampa Bay. While Thome was doing his thing at the plate, starting pitcher John Danks limited the Rays to 3 hits over 8 innings, striking out 8 without walking a batter. His record improved to 2-1. National League Pedro Feliz homered in the bottom of the seventh to break a 4-4 tie as the Phillies topped the Mets, 5-4, but it was Chase Utley who made it all possible, going 3-for-3 with a pair of homers and 4 RBI. Utley, known to teammates as "the Machine" leads the majors with 8 homers and his 17 RBI is good for 4th place in the NL.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rowand Gets Offensive; Sonnanstine Shines with 3-hit Shutout

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 19, 2008 American League Tampa Bay's Andy Sonnanstine retired 11 of the first twelve batters he faced and finished with an impressive 3-hit complete game shutout as Tampa Bay downed Cleveland, 5-0. Sonnanstine struck out four, walking only one batter and the Rays' infield turned a pair of double plays in support. Notes: Man-Ram on a tear. Unlike last season's somewhat unspectacular regular season, Manny Ramirez is off to a fast start, leading the league with 20 RBI and among the leaders with a .342 batting average. He also clubbed home run #496 on Saturday in a 5-3 win over Texas. National League Aaron Rowand provided all the offense starter Tim Lincecum and a trio of relievers needed in San Francisco's 3-0 triumph over St. Louis. Rowand went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and an RBI single to account for two of SF's three runs. Lincecum, meanwhile, scattered five hits and three walks over seven innings of frustration for the Cardinals. The pitcher improved to 3-0. Notes: Special Ks? The race to be the National League strikeout king is shaping up to be an interesting one with five pitchers bunched between 26 and 29 punchouts at this early date. Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati leads with 29, followed by Johan Santana (28), Jake Peavy and Tim Lincecum (27), and St. Louis' Todd Wellemeyer, with 26.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

D-Backs Blank Padres behind Haren, Jackson; Crosby Leads A's Hit Parade

Players of the Day for Friday, April 18, 2008 American League Oakland's Bobby Crosby broke out the hardwood in the A's 13-2 trouncing of Kansas City with a two-run double in the 6th inning which gave Oakland the lead and a 3-run homer in the 8th which finished the scoring blitz. Crosby also singled, scored three times and tallied five RBI. Notes: Where were they hiding him? Cleveland's Cliff Lee improved to 3-0 with a 2-hit shutout over 8 innings at Minnesota last night as the Indians won 4-0. Lee, who's actually been with Cleveland since 2002, has a career record of 57-36 from 128 starts. He's off to a great start in 2008 with these numbers: 22.2 innings, 8 hits, 1 earned run, 20 Ks, 2 BB, 0.40 ERA, 0.44 WHIP. National League Improving to 3-0, Dan Haren (left) shut down San Diego on 3 hits over seven innings, while Conor Jackson (right) singled, tripled twice and homered, drove in four runs and scored three times in five at-bats as the Arizona Diamondbacks blanked the Padres, 9-0, improving their record against NL West teams to 11-2, while maintaining a 4-game lead over Colorado. Notes: Elsewhere, Chipper Jones continued his hot streak, knocking two more homers and picking up 4 RBI in Atlanta's 6-1 win over the Dodgers. Jones has 7 hits in his last nine at-bats, including 4 homers over his last two games. He is leading the majors with a .455 batting average.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ramirez Powers BoSox into First; Jones, Smoltz Lead Rout of Marlins

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 17, 2008 American League Manny Ramirez blasted a pair of homers, drove in three runs and scored three times in Boston's 7-5 win at New York, boosting the BoSox into sole possession of first place in the AL East, a -half-game ahead the
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Orioles and one in front of the Yankees. Ramirez hit a solo shot in the second inning, his first at-bat, a two run shot in the 3rd the next time he was at the plate and singled and scored in the 5th, finishing 3-for-5. Ramirez, who hit only 20 homers last season, already has 5 this year and is just five short of 500 for his career. Notes: Home cookin'. Baltimore is 7-2 at home, but just 2-4 on the road. Other than the O's, only Boston, the Yankees, Seattle and Chicago have better than .500 home records in the AL. National League Chipper Jones (left) belted a pair of solo home runs, doubled and singled in four at-bats, driving in 3 and scoring 3 runs in Atlanta's 8-0 drubbing of Florida. By the time Jones had done his damage at the plate, John Smoltz (right) and the Braves were up 6-0, so Smoltz, who allowed only 3 hits and struck out 10, was relieved after completing the fifth inning, earning the win. Smoltz is now 3-0, accounting for half of Atlanta's wins, with an ERA of 0.56 and a WHIP of 1.00. Notes: Ken Griffey Jr. slugged his 596th career home run and third of the season in Cincy's 9-2 thrashing of the Cubs. Colorado's 22-inning, 2-1 win at San Diego was the longest game - by innings - since 1993. It lasted 6 hours and 16 minutes, the longest by far in the majors this season.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Renteria, Cabrera Deliver; Webb Spins 4th Win

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 16, 2008 American League The two major off-season additions to the Tigers' lineup, Miguel Cabrera (left) and Edgar Renteria (right) came up huge for Detroit last night as the Tigers crushed Cleveland, 13-2, for their third straight win, actually putting the two supposedly best teams in the division in a deadlock for last place at 5-10. The two newest Tigers, however, were impressive, each garnering 5 RBI. Cabrera was 4-for-6, scored twice and had a two-run homer in the second inning. Renteria went 3-for-5 with a run scored on his grand slam in the fifth and singled in another run in the 8th. Both homers were off losing pitcher C.C. Sabathia, who is 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA.
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Notes: As it should be? Last night's 15-9 win by the Yankees over Boston, set the AL East up like many believe it's supposed to be, with the Bombers and Beaners tied for first place at 9-7. Baltimore and Toronto are only 1/2 back, but the Rays have already fallen to the basement, 2 1/2 games off the pace. National League Arizona's Brandon Webb became the first 4-game winner in the majors as he stymied the San Francisco Giants on 3 hits in the Diamondbacks' 4-1 win. Webb threw 104 pitches, walked 3 and struck out 5 over 8 innings and also provided some offense, driving in the first two runs of the game with a single in the second inning. Webb, Arizona's ace, has gone at least 6 innings in each of his four starts has an ERA of 1.86 and a 0.79 WHIP. Notes: Pittsburgh's Nate McLouth extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in four at-bats in Wednesday's 8-1 loss to the Dodgers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Book of David: Eckstein Scores for Jays; Wright's 5 RBI Leads Mets

Eckstein Scores for Jays; Wright's 5 RBI Leads Mets Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 15, 2008 American League The Toronto Blue Jays took a calculated risk when they plucked David Eckstein from St. Louis, but the diminuative shortstop who proved his worth in 2001 with the California Angels, is already paying benefits as the Jays downed the Orioles, 11-3, Tuesday in Baltimore. Eckstein singled three times in four at-bats, scored in the 1st, 3rd and 6th innings and singled in the final run in the ninth. For good measure, he also stole his first base of the season. Notes: How do you get four RBI with one hit? The obvious answer is with a grand slam, but Javier Lopez devised a different way in Seattle's 11-6 win at Kansas City last night with a single and 3 sac flies in 2 official at-bats. Now, that's efficiency. National League Mets' 3rd baseman David Wright has been getting plenty of press lately as one of baseball's best all-around athletes, but Tuesday night he proved why he's so highly-regarded as he drove in 5 of the 6 Mets' runs in their 6-0 beating of Washington with a home run and two doubles in four at-bats. The complete player, Wright also scored the only other run he didn't drive in, coming plateward in the 7th on a Carlos Betran single. Incidentally, the home run was a 2-run, 1st inning shot, Wright's 4th of the season. Notes: There were zeroes everywhere in the NL last night, as three teams - Washington, Colorado and Atlanta were all blanked. In NY, Mike Pelfrey limited the Nats to just 5 hits over 7 innings in NY's 6-0 win. Scott Olsen set down Atlanta on five hits and no walks over 7 as Florida won, 4-0, but the best performance of the night belonged to Randy Wolf, who blanked Colorado for 7 innings on 1 hit and 4 walks in the Padres' 6-0 win. In each case, relievers finished the whitewash for the starter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pudge Drives Detroit to Victory; McLouth Rallies Bucs Past Dodgers

Players of the Day for Monday, April 14 American League Though the Tigers are off to the worst start of any team in the majors, they still possess a lineup capable of hammering opponents into submission. Such was the case last night as Detroit won for only the third time in 13 games this season, rallying past Minnesota, 11-9, thanks to the late-inning surge by Ivan Rodriguez and his teammates. Down 9-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Rodriguez connected on his first home run of the year, a leadoff solo shot off reliever Matt Guerrier. Though the Twins' reliever retired the next three batters, the 8th inning would be his - and the Twins - undoing. The Tigers unleashed an offensive assault which sent 10 men to the plate in a six-run eighth-inning, highlighted by Pudge's 2-run triple which tied the game. Rodriguez scored the go-ahead run on Jacques Jones' sac fly and the Tigers added one more for good measure. Pudge finished the night 2-for-4 with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. National League The Pittsburgh Pirates may want to reconsider batting Nate McLouth in the leadoff spot, especially after his 3-run, 9th inning home run sent the Pirates to a 6-4 comeback win over the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night. McLouth, a part-time player over the last three seasons with the Pirates, has been their leadoff man all of 2008. His dramatic home run - his only hit of the night - extended his season-long hitting streak to 13 games, and despite batting leadoff, leads the Pirates with 14 RBI. He's tied with teammate Xavier Nady for second in the league RBI standings, both trailing Arizona's Mark Reynolds by one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vazquez, Konerko Lift ChiSox; Kapler Stars for Brewers

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 13, 2008 American League This was such a tough choice, we gave the player of the day for the AL to both Javier Vazquez (left) and Paul Konerko (right), both of whom were instrumental in Chicago's 11-0 drubbing of Detroit on Sunday. Vazquez shut out the punchless Tigers over 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and no walks while striking out 9. Meanwhile, Konerko did his work early on, driving in the first run of the game with a single in the first inning, followed by a grand slam in the 3rd. That was it, but going 2-for-4 with 5 RBI is a pretty good day in anyone's book. Later in the contest, Joe Crede also launched a grand slam, but by then the game's outcome was not in doubt. Notes: Detroit's loss was their second straight and 10th of their first 12 games this season. In the wild AL East, Toronto caught the Orioles with a 5-4, 10-inning win at Texas while the O's were losing to Tampa. Both Baltimore and Toronto are 7-5, but the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays are all within 1 1/2 games. National League
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Here's a comeback, perseverance and feel-good story all rolled into one. Gabe Kapler, a nine-year veteran who spent last season managing Boston's single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive, knocked a single, double and home run, drove in three runs and scored three times on Sunday as the Milwaukee Brewers outlasted the Mets, 9-7, in New York. Kapler, who has played with the Tigers, Rangers, Rockies, and Red Sox, signed a one-year contract with Milwaukee in the off-season and is off to an exceptional start. He's batting a healthy .423, with 4 home runs and 11 RBI. Notes: All things come to an end, including winning, and thankfully, losing streaks. The Washington Nationals broke out of their 9-game funk with a 5-4 win over Atlanta and Colorado ended the D-Backs' win streak at 8 with a 13-5 pounding.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Francoeur Powers Braves with 7 RBI; Ibanez on a Tear for M's

Saturday's Players of the Day, April 12, 2008 American League Seattle's take two straight from the Angels, due in large part to the hitting exploits of Raul Ibanez. The Mariners' rock-solid outfielder tripled and homered in four at-bats, driving in three runs in Seattle's 8-3 win over Los Angeles on Saturday. On Friday, Ibanez smacked two long balls and added a double in 4 at-bats, driving in 3 as the Mariners rolled to an 8-5 win. Some day, Ibanez will hit a single, and maybe then he'll have a shot at the cycle.
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Notes: The amazing Orioles continued to lead the AL East with a 3-2 win at Tampa. Boston topped New York and Toronto beat Texas to keep pace. Over in the Central, the Tigers - whom many picked to win the World Series - have secured the worst record in baseball after two weeks at 2-9. What makes matter worse for the Tigers is that their losses have not even been close, like last night's 7-0 whipping by the White Sox. Detroit could only muster a pair of singles off 3 Chicago pitchers. The Tigers' average loss is a 7-2 score. In their nine losses, they've been outscored 63-21. National League Atlanta took their second straight over the struggling Washington Nationals by a 10-2 score, as Jeff Francoeur drove in seven runs with a pair of homers (2-run and 3-run) and a 2-run single in five at-bats. An iron-man type of player, Francoeur has played in every game this season and all 162 the past two years. He's had 100+ RBI every year since becoming a regular, with 103 in 2006 and 105 in 2007. He should see plenty of good pitches this year, batting regularly behind slugger Mark Teixeira. Notes: The Nationals loss to Atlanta was their 9th in a row. Meanwhile the Arizona Diamondbacks won their 8th straight with a 10-3 romp over Colorado.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pena Blasts Rays Past O's; Hudson is Lights Out for Braves

Players of the Day for Friday, April 11, 2008 American League If you're looking for action, look no further than the AL East. While the Yankees and Red Sox squared off in Beantown, the division-leading Orioles were visiting Tampa Bay, where Carlos Pena was making life difficult for Baltimore pitchers. Pena homered in the first and the seventh innings, a two-run and a three-run shot, respectively, drawing the Rays and O's even at 5-5. But, when the slugger came up with the bases loaded in the 8th, he walked, forcing in the game-winning run. Tampa tacked on four more for a 10-5 win, but clearly Pena was a force with which the O's could not reckon. In five plate appearances, Pena homered twice and walked twice. The two dingers gave him the AL lead, at 5, and his 6 RBI also tied him for AL top honors with Toronto's Vernon Wells, at 12. Notes: Chien-Ming Wang became the first AL pitcher to record 3 wins, hurling the Yankees past Boston, 4-1, with a complete-game, two-hit effort. Wang didn't walk a batter and the only run came on a J.D. Drew 5th inning bomb. National League Known for its versatile and successful pitching staff, Tim Hudson is making Bobby Cox and Leo Mazzoni proud these days. On Friday night, the veteran pitched one of his best games ever, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks over 8 innings in a 3-0 blanking of the Washington Nationals. Hudson stuck out 5 and got 12 more outs on ground balls, needing only 96 pitches (64 for strikes) to get his 2nd win of the season against no losses. Hudson's 2.14 ERA is nice, but the 0.67 WHIP over 21 innings thus far in the season, is eye-catching. Notes: Still streaking. Hudson's shutout over Washington was the Nats' 8th straight loss. Out West, Arizona improved to 8-2 and a 2 1/2-game lead in the division with their 7th straight win, an 8-2 romp over Colorado.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Young Guns: Tampa's Jackson, Giants' Correia Post Zeroes

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 10, 2008 American League It was widely reported in off-season baseball circles that the Tampa Bay Rays were building a contender. Well, they're still a game under .500 at 4-5, but looking better thanks to starter Edwin Jackson, who tossed 8 innings of 2-hit, shutout ball at the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, resulting in a 7-0 win for Tampa and Jackson's second victory against no losses on the season.
Fish , Hunt Ducks and Waterfowl Lake Manitoba Narrows
Golf, Fish Walleye , Fall Duck Hunting at Resort Lake Manitoba Narrows Home Cottage Lot.
Last year, Jackson went 5-15 with an ERA of 5.76 in his first full season as a starter, though he did register a complete game shutout in the process of learning the AL hitters. He's off to a fine start in '08, with an ERA of 0.64 and an 0.93 WHIP. National League All of a sudden the Giants have pitching? That's positive, because they really don't have much else. Last night, reliever-turned-starter Kevin Correia blanked the St. Louis Cardinals for 7 2/3 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 walks while fanning 4. A trio of relievers finished the job in a 5-1 San Francisco win, their third straight. To say that the Giants are offensively-impaired would be kind. Through 10 games they've scored 25 runs (2.5 per game) and have won their three latest by a combined score of 9-3. Correia evened his record at 1-1. Notes: Streaking: The Arizona Diamondbacks are on a 6-game win streak as they prepare tp host Colorado this weekend in a three-game set beginning Friday. The Nationals have headed in the opposite direction with their 7th straight loss. They've been swept by St. Louis and, most recently, Florida. The Nats host a 3-game series with the Braves starting Friday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Greinke Blanks Yanks; Spilborghs, Rockies Bust Braves

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 9, 2008 American League Yankees haters rejoice! The Kansas City Royals have taken two straight from the Bombers, including last night's 4-0 whitewash thanks to the super performance of starter Zack Greinke who scattered six hits and a pair of walks over 8 innings to pick up his second win of the season. Greinke, the Royals true staff ace, is sporting some impressive numbers, including a 0.60 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. In 15 innings, he's allowed just 12 hits and one run, walking 4 and fanning 5. Notes: Jason Kubel went 2-4 with a grand slam a single and a sac fly, amassing 6 RBI in Minnesota's 12-5 win at Chicago. National League The Colorado Rockies got their offense going, maybe because they inserted Ryan Spilborghs into the #5 slot behind Matt Holiday. The three Atlanta pitchers who faced the fill-in outfielder didn't find much success as Spilborghs went 3-for-5, scored three times and drove in five runs, three of which came on an 8th inning blast into the center field seats which sealed the Rockies' 12-6 win over Atlanta. Notes: Jonathan Sanchez, a middle reliever turned starter in 2008, pitched a six-inning gem, allowing just 3 hits while striking out 10 Padres, but failed to pick up his fist win of the season as the Giants waited until the bottom of the ninth to score the game's only run, knocking of the padres for the second straight day, 1-0.