Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Posada's Pair Knocks Down O's; Hamels 2-Hits Giants

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 1, 2009 American League Jorge Posada cranked a pair of homers out of Camden Yards, drove in three runs and scored three times, to lead the Yankees to their 5th straight win and second in a row over Baltimore with a 9-6 conquest. Posada needs just one more homer to become the 7th Yankee to hit 20 or more this season, which would tie a record held by three teams: the 1996 Orioles, the 2000 Blue Jays and the 2005 Rangers. How many homers have the Yankees hit? 207. They have 30 games left. In order to break the AL and major league record of 264 held by the 1997 Seattle Mariners - a team which included A-Rod, Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez - they'll have to smack roughly two every game, but they have proven capable of doing that. The only Yankee starters who do not have 20 homers are leadoff man, Derek Jeter, who has 17, and #9 hitter Melky Cabrera (11). Jeter is capable of hitting three more in September, which, in addition to Posada, would be 8 players with 20 or more homers, a record that may not ever be broken. In terms of Jeter hitting 20, he's done it three times - in 1999, 2001 and 2004. The 17 he has thus far in 2009 are the most he's hit since 2005, when he had 19. With the Yankees now counting down magic numbers (currently 24) to the AL crown, Jeter may get some time off or be green-lighted to go yard. Extrapolated statistics are inconclusive. At his current pace - 17 homers in 126 games - if he plays all 30 remaining games (he won't), he'd hit 21. While Posada's a lock for 20, Jeter chances are very iffy. National League The Giants managed to sweep the Rockies over the weekend, earning them a tie for first in the wild card standings and a day off Monday as they traveled to Philadelphia. On Tuesday, they fell back to earth (and a game behind the Rockies, who won) as Cole Hamels suddenly regained his 2008 form and hurled a complete game, 2-hit shutout. Ryan Howard drove in Shane Victorino with the game's only run in the 4th inning for the 1-0 Philly win. Hamels (8-8), face two over the minimum, threw 80 of his 118 pitches for strikes, fanned 9 and issued only one walk. Both of the hits came leading off innings - in the second and ninth. In between, Hamels put down 21 straight batters, including 4 straight strikeouts in the 5th and 6th. The Giants' hitters were no match for the 6'3" lefty who seems to have found his game at precisely the right time of year. The Phillies have a 7 1/2 game lead over Atlanta in the NL East, a seemingly insurmountable bulge. The magic number for Philly fans is 25.

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