Monday, June 2, 2008

Ramirez Homers Again; Haren Does Homework

Players of the Day from Sunday, June 1, 2008 American League While he may never show it, pressure is probably an issue, even for such a cool customer as Manny Ramirez. With all the pressure off after hitting his 500th home run on Saturday, Manny was more comfortable at the plate on Sunday, leading the Red Sox to a 9-4 victory at Baltimore. Ramirez singled, doubled and homered in five at-bats, driving in three and scoring twice. Notes: Manny has gotten into a groove of late, making him at least part of the HR and RBI leaders' conversation. His 38 RBI place him 5th in the AL, and his 11 homers are good for a three-way tie for 4th in that category. The Rangers' Josh Hamilton leads both categories with 15 homers and 63 RBI. National League If the Diamondbacks reach the playoffs this season, they'll want to make sure that Dan Haren gets his starts at home. Haren (6-4) has not won on the road this season, but pitched another gem on Sunday, blanking the Nationals over 7 innings for a 5-0 Arizona win. All but one of his losses came on the road. Allowing just 4 hits and 3 walks, Haren threw 105 pitches, striking out five before turning the ball over to Chad Qualls in the 8th and Tony Pena for the 9th, both of whom allowed neither a hit nor a walk.
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Arizona has led the NL West nearly from opening day. Currently, they are 4 1/2 to the good over the Dodgers with the Giants, Padres and Giants far back. Notes: Micah Owings, a healthy Randy Johnson and Doug Davis, Haren and Brandon Webb comprise the best starting five in the majors and are beginning to look like the team to beat in the fall. Those five have accounted for 28 of Arizona's 32 wins. The Diamondbacks have also dominated their division, with a 20-8 record thus far.

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