Friday, September 12, 2008

Rodriguez Ties Saves Record; Hot Howard Harms Brewers

Players of the Day from Thursday, September 11, 2008 American League Was there a mound conspiracy in Anaheim which allowed Francisco Rodriguez to tie the major league record with his 57th save? Mere mortals may never know, but the facts are out there. With the Angels safely ahead, 7-0 after six innings and the AL West title having already been clinched the day before, Justin Speier took the mound in the 8th and promptly allowed 3 runs. Scot Shields finished the inning, but allowed a pair of singles in the 9th. On came Rodriguez. It wasn't his prettiest performance, but two hits, a double play and a strikeout later, it was save #57. Bobby Thigpen's 1990 White Sox record was tied as the Angels beat Seattle, 7-4. Notes: With many of the AL teams traveling, the only significant action was in the Central division. The White Sox lost, 6-4, to the red-hot Blue Jays, but Minnesota also fell, 3-2, to the Royals, so the Twins remain 1 game behind Chicago. The Red Sox and Rays were idle. Tampa Bay holds a 2 1/2 game edge in the East. National League Ryan Howard has been on a tear of late, and his hot bat continued to produce as the Phillies took the first game of their critical four game series with the Brewers, 6-3. Howard homered, doubled and drove in 3 runs in 3 at-bats. Over the past five games, Howard has swatted 4 homers and driven in 10 runs. He leads both categories by wide margins with 43 home runs and 129 RBI. His closest pursuers are Adam Dunn and his 36 home runs, and David Wright, who has 109 RBI. MVP, anyone? Notes: Philly's win closed their gap with the Mets to 3 games, but, more importantly, the Phillies now trail the Brewers by the same margin in the wild card race. Milwaukee dropped 5 1/2 games behind the Cubs, who beat St. Louis, 3-2. The leaders n the West were idle. LA leads Arizona by 3 1/2 games.

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