Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shoppach: 5-for-6, 2 HR, 3 doubles; Billingsley Shuts Out Giants on 5 Hits

Players of the Day from Wednesday, July 30, 2008 American League Some days, even your best effort isn't enough. Just ask Kelly Shoppach how he felt after going 5-for-6 with three doubles, two homers - the second of which was a solo shot which tied the game in the ninth inning at 12-12 - driving in 3 runs and scoring 4 times, only see his Indians lose, 14-13, to the Tigers in 13 innings. While it was easily the best performance of Shoppach's career, the Tigers needed the game to remain 5 1/2 behind the White Sox in the AL Central. The Sox were busy beating up on the 2nd place Twins, 8-3, over which they hold a 1 1/2 game advantage. In the East, the Red Sox ended up getting swept by the Angels, 9-2, while the Rays were winning, 3-2, over Toronto and the the Yankees crushed the O's, 13-3. That leaves Boston 3 behind Tampa and the Yankees 4 games out. Notes: After the Angels picked up Mark Teixeira from Atlanta on Tuesday, the scramble began for AL teams seeking more bats in their lineups. On Wednesday, the Yankees snatched up Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez from the Tigers - an important move, considering that regular catcher Jorge Posada is out for the season, needing surgery on his right shoulder. was reporting early Thursday morning that Ken Griffey Jr. had been acquired from the Reds by the White Sox, though Griffey has the right to void the deal. It seems likely that Griffey will accept and move over to the AL, where he can either play outfield or DH. The big question, to be answered by the 4:00 pm deadline today, is where Manny Ramirez is headed. The Red Sox would like to get Jason Bay from Pittsburgh, but Manny certainly would refuse to go there, so a three-team deal, possibly involving Florida or the New York Mets, has been at the top of the rumor heap. If the Mets can get Manny and the Red Sox pick up Bay, look for this deal to make all parties happy, even the Pirates. National League The LA Dodgers remained a game behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West race as Chad Billingsley (11-9, 3.05) twirled a 5-hit shutout at the Giants, for a 4-0 Dodger win. It was the second straight game the Dodgers shut out San Fran, one of the least productive teams in the majors. Easily the worst home run team in the majors, the Giants have hit just 61, and only the Nationals have fewer RBI (373) than the Giants' 396. Still, Billingsley's effort was solid, as he fanned 8, didn't walk a batter and recorded 13 ground ball outs. He did get some help in the field, as the Dodgers infield turned a double play in the 5th inning and Andre Ethier threw out Jose Castillo at the plate in the 9th inning to end the game. Notes: The Phillies took a 1/2 game lead over the Mets, as Florida beat New York, 7-5, and Philly topped Washington, 8-5. The Marlins are 1 1/2 back. In the Central, the Cubs took out the Brewers for the third day in a row, 7-2, establishing a 4-game lead over both Milwaukee and St. Louis. The Brewers take one last shot at the Cubs on Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee.

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