Friday, August 14, 2009

Arroyo, Gomes Power Reds; Matsui Belts Two in Yankee Win

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 13, 2009 American League The Yankees have the look of a team itching to clinch their division title. They've won 3 straight, 10 of their last 11 and are 21-4 since the all star break. One of the reasons the Yankees are playing so well is the steady play of right fielder Hideki Matsui, who has 19 home runs and 58 RBI to go with his .268 batting average. After winning 6 of 7 on their most recent home stand, the Yanks headed to Seattle for a three-game set with the Mariners and started out in usual Yankee fashion with an 11-1 win. C.C. Sabathia improved to 13-7 with 8 innings of 3 hit work, allowing just the one run while fanning 10. Matsui delivered a healthy share of the offense, going 4-for-5 with a pair of two-run home runs, 5 RBI and 4 runs. The Yankees suddenly have opened up the largest divisional lead in the majors, at 6 1/2 games over the second place Red Sox, who are now being mentioned as the leader of the wild card race. Just half way through August and Yankee fans are starting to calculate magic numbers. (Incidentally, it's 41.) National League The Cincinnati Reds fell out of contention for any post-season play form July 20 to August 4, when they lost 14 out of 15 games to the Dodgers, Cubs, Rockies and Padres (the Cubs beat them 5 straight times in two separate series), but they can certainly play the spoiler role down the stretch with players like Bronson Arroyo (left) and Jonny Gomes (right). In Cincy's 7-0 win over the Nationals, Arroyo didn't need very much offense as he stymied the Nats on 2 hits, a walk and a hit batsmen. Arroyo struck out just 3, but didn't allow a single runner to reach second base and finished strong, getting the last nine batters in order for the complete game shutout, his second shutout and third complete game this season. Arroyo is 11-11 with a 4.74 ERA. With Arroyo in complete control of the Nationals' hitters, Gomes made the most of his 4 trips to the dish, whacking three home runs, one each in the 2nd, 4th and 6th innings, the first two, two run shots and the third a solo blast. Gomes' 5 RBI gave him 33 with 14 home runs in just 166 at-bats.

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