Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bautista Hammers a Pair for Jays; Nats Over .500 Thanks to Capps

Players of the Day for Monday, April 19, 2010 American League In Toronto, hopes are usually high at the beginning of the season but fade as the long race heads into summer. This season appears to be no different. The Jays opened their 2010 campaign with a hot, 5-1 start, but since split a 4-game series with the White Sox and then were swept by the Angels before taking an 8-1 decision over Kansas City Monday. Keying the offense was sometimes super-slugger Jose Bautista, a player that usually makes a one-time appearance as Player of the Day each season. Bautista did so on Monday with a pair of bombs - a 5th inning 3-run shot and a 7th inning 2-run homer. His 5 RBI gave him 10 on the year, a good start. His best season was probably 2007, when he smacked 15 homers and drove in 63 runs for the Pirates. He became a Blue Jay late in 2008, and is steady at 3rd base, though he has issues at the plate. Striking out more often than he walks, Bautista is only a .238 lifetime hitter, but he'll turn 30 this year, so there may be better days ahead. If so, the Blue Jays might not be singing their usual swan song in September. National League Washington closer Matt Capps hasn't been exactly electric, but he's been positively steadfast in seven appearances this season for the Nationals. Capps notched his 6th straight save on Monday, tops in the NL, as the Nationals moved to 7-6 with a 5-2 win over the Rockies. He allowed just one hit in a scoreless 9th inning to get the Nationals above the .500 mark. It marked the latest point in a season they've had a winning record since Oct. 1, 2005, when they were 81-80. Capps has been an effective closer over the past four seasons, picking up 66 saves with the Pirates before joining the Nationals to begin his 2010 campaign. He hasn't blown an opportunity this season, a big reason the Nationals are where they are, just 1 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Philadelphia.

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