Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ethier Spanks Pair, Toppling Giants; Sabathia Tough on Texas

Players of the Day for Friday, April 16, 2010 American League Vladimir Guerrero lifted a 1st inning fly ball to center fielder Curtis Granderson. Michael Young tagged up from thrid and scooted home with the Rangers' first run of the game. Unfortunately for them, it was also their last, as Yankee starter C.C. Sabathia allowed just one more hit over the next 5 1/3 innings to lead the Yankees to a rain-shortened 6-1 win over Texas. Following Guerrero's sacrifice fly, Sabathia struck out the next six batters he faced, totaling 9 Ks for the night. He also set down 11 in a row, before giving up the Rangers' last hit of the game, a harmless single with one out in the 5th. Sabathia improved to 2-0 and did not issue any bases on balls.
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Rain had been steadily falling from the beginning of the game, though it was just a drizzle through the first 3 innings. When the Yankees batted in the bottom of the 4th, it intensified, eventually becoming a torrential downpour by the end of the 6th, when the umpires called the game. With Toronto losing and Tampa Bay in a suspended (9th inning) 1-1 tie with Boston, the Yankees - at least temporarily - have a 1/2 game lead in the division. Should the Rays pull out a win when they resume play - likely on Saturday - they would be tied with New York at 7-3. National League After losing to the Dodgers, 10-8, Friday night, the San Francisco Giants are still two games ahead in the NL West, but they may be feeling a little pressure. Not only do they have to play at LA the next two days, but the Diamondbacks and Rockies are, like LA, just 2 games back. The NL West may be shaping into the four-way battle many expected. In Friday's game, the Dodgers proved that their amazing start at the plate was no fluke, as they banged out 12 hits against Giants' starter Todd Wellemeyer and two relievers. At the heart of LA's offense was Andre Ethier, who cracked a pair of homers - a solo shot in the 1st and a grand slam in the 2nd - to set the tone for the Dodgers.
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Ethier's 5 RBI gave him 12 on the season, to go with 3 RBI, both of those numbers behind teammate Matt Kemp, who leads the Dodgers with 5 homers and 15 RBI. Kemp's 2-run homer in the first preceded the first Either bomb. Either is sporting a .371 batting average on a team with 8 players hitting at better than a .300 clip. As a team, the Dodgers are batting an incredible .320. So why are the Dodgers just 5-5? Their pitching staff is struggling along with a 5.56 ERA, 12th of 16 NL teams.

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