Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pedroia Unstoppable; Ramirez Helps LA End Slide

Players of the Day from Saturday, August 30, 2008 American League Dustin Pedroia has been absolutely on fire. In his last four games, he's had 12 hits in 17 at-bats for a sizzling .706 batting average. In Boston's 8-2 win over the White Sox on Saturday, Pedroia was literally unstoppable, going 4-for-4 for the second day in a row, with a walk in his only other plate appearance, scoring twice. Pedroia took over the AL batting lead at .327. The Red Sox kept the pressure on Tampa Bay, who beat Baltimore, 10-9. The Rays remain 4 1/2 in front. In the Central, the Twins also lost, remaining 1/2 behind the White Sox for the division lead. With the Red Sox knocking off Chicago for the second straight game, Boston is beginning to distance themselves in the wild card race, now 3 1/2 ahead of the Twins, who face a tough September. After Sunday's series finale at Oakland, the Twins play 13 of their next 19 games on the road prior to finishing the season with a pair of 3-game series with the White Sox and the Royals. The four series on the road are 3-game sets at Toronto, Baltimore and Cleveland, ending with a 4-gamer at Tampa Bay, Sept. 18-21. Notes: In the West, everything is going just swimmingly for the Angels. On Saturday, they topped the Rangers 4-3, Francisco Rodriguez earned his 53rd save and the team's magic number dropped to 9. They lead the Rangers by 18 games with just 27 left to play. National League So far, Manny Ramirez has enjoyed the change from the East coast to the West, from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, from the AL to the NL. On Saturday, he knocked around Arizona pitching, with a single, double and a pair of solo homers, driving in 2 runs and scoring 3 times as the Dodgers broke their 8-game losing streak and toppled the Diamondbacks, 6-2. In 28 games as a Dodger, Ramirez is hitting .416 with 9 home runs and 25 RBI. One cannot argue with the production, and, despite the prolonged losing streak, the Dodgers are just 3 1/2 behind Arizona with a chance to draw to within 2 1/2 in Sunday's rubber game of their 3-game set in Arizona. Notes: Both the East and Central division races tightened on Saturday, as the Cubs and Mets both lost, while the Phillies and Brewers won. The Phillies are just one game behind the Mets, but the Brewers still trail the Cubs by 5 1/2.

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