Saturday, August 23, 2008

Span Leads Twins Into First; Harris Has 6 RBI in Nats Win

Players of the Day from Friday, August 22, 2008 American League Here's a name you'll likely be hearing more about as the AL Central and wild card race heats up: Denard Span. Span, who has only played in 58 major league games, played 12 games in April before being sent back down to Triple A Rochester, but since returning June 30, he's raised his batting average from a pedestrian .258 to a sparkling .325. On Friday, the Twins played the second of a four-game series with the Angels and won their second straight, crushing LA, 9-0, as Span went 3-for-5 with a run-scoring single in the 4th inning and a three-run homer in the 6th. With the win, the Twins took over first place in the Central, as the White Sox were losing, 9-4, to Tampa Bay. Notes: Speaking of the Rays, they continue to lead the East by 4 1/2 games over the Red Sox and 10 1/2 over the Yankees, both winners on Friday. What's wrong with the Angels? Despite their magic number dropping to 20 on Friday, they've lost 7 of their last 9, including two each to Minnesota and Tampa Bay. Are they just cruising and not taking these games seriously while their opponents are locked into the heat of pennant races? Could be, but the biggest concern is that they're just being overmatched by better teams. They've already lost playoff home field advantage (that now belongs to the Rays) and further deterioration may raise serious concerns about their post-season potential. With a 15-game lead in the West, the Angels can cruise to the division title, but is that the best way to enter the playoffs? National League The Cubs may win the Central division, but Willie Harris made their path to the post-season a little tougher, hammering a pair of home runs - a grand slam and a two-run shot - in Washington's 13-5 pounding of Chicago. While the Cubs were taking their lumps, the Brewers continued their relentless pursuit with a 10-4 win over Pittsburgh. The Cardinals banged out 26 hits, bombing Atlanta, 18-3. Milwaukee is 4 1/2 behind the Cubs; St. Louis is 7 back. Notes: The Mets won their 4th straight and kept a 2 1/2 game edge over Philly and a 6 game lead over Florida in the East. The Phillies beat the Dodgers, 8-1, while the Marlins topped Arizona, 5-4. Those results kept Arizona's 2 game lead over LA in the West intact.

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