Friday, August 28, 2009
Kinsler drops a Pair on Yankees; Fielder Having Career Year
Players of the Day for Thursday, August 27, 2009 American League Locked into the quest for the post-season, both the Yankees and Rangers had much on the line when they wrapped up their three-game series in New York on Thursday afternoon. With the series tied 1-1, Texas came away with a much-needed 7-2 victory, primarily off the bat of second baseman Ian Kinsler, who recently returned from a stint on the DL and is once again proving to be one of the game's most dangerous hitters. Down 1-0 in the top of the 4th, Kinsler stepped to the plate with two aboard - Josh Hamilton and Nick Cruz - and deposited his 27th home run into the left field stands, giving the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish. After Texas had upped the lead to 6-2 on Chris Davis' 3-run shot in the 6th inning, Kinsler completed the Texas scoring with his 28th homer, a solo shot, again to left. Kinsler is having the best year of his 4-year career with the Rangers, already having topped his season-high totals for home runs (28) and RBI (73). Since returning from the DL on August 15, he's smacked 5 homers and driven in 10 runs. The win by Texas moved them to within 4 games of AL West leader, Los Angeles, and trimmed their deficit in the wild card race to 1 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, who took it on the chin in a 9-5 loss to the White Sox. That leaves the Yankees with a 6-game lead in the East, with just 35 games remaining. National League Despite losing their third straight - 8-5 to Cincinnati - and dropping out of contention for any post-season fun, the Milwaukee Brewers still have some solid hitters in their lineup, but none more feared than mighty Prince Fielder. Even though the Brew crew has floundered to a 61-66 record and 4th place in the weak NL Central, all Fielder has done is lead the world in RBI with 115, smack 35 homers and put up a very respectable - for a power hitter - .305 batting average this season. Fielder cracked his second homer in as many games - a 3-run job - and his 10th in the month of August. He's already hit the second-most homers (50 in 2007) in a season in his brief, 4-year career with the Brewers and four more RBI will tie his best for a season, set last year. Besides all that, his current batting average is 21 points better than his career average. NOTES: Don't look for pennant races to develop in the National League, except maybe in the West, though the Dodgers took two of three in Colorado to put them 4 games ahead of the rocketing Rockies. In the East, the Phillies are 7 in front of the Marlins and Braves, with both of those teams eyeing the wild card instead of a division title, though they trail the Rockies by 4 1/2 games. St. Louis has all but wrapped up the Central division with a 9 game lead and just 33 games left on their schedule. If they play just above .500 ball the rest of the way, they'd finish at 91-71 and the second-place Cubs would have to go 28-9 just to tie them, an unlikely scenario. In the AL, the Yanks continue to roll toward the AL East crown with a 6 game lead over Boston, with the Rays 9 1/2 back. The Central and west are still too close for comfort for front-running Detroit and LA. They lead the white Sox and Rangers by identical 4-game edges, respectively.