Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rodriguez Goes Long; Pelfrey Is Mets Savior

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 20, 2010 American League It's been a quiet Spring for Alex Rodriguez, but he's still putting up pretty good numbers, despite opposing hurlers pitching around him. In Tuesday's 7-3 Yankee win at Oakland, A-Rod probably only saw two or three hittable pitches, as A's throwers issued him three free passes to first. Reliever Craig Breslow could not work around Rodriguez when he came in with one out and two aboard in the 5th and A-Rod at the plate.
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Rodriguez delivered his only hit of the game, but it was a three-run homer, his second of the season, increasing the Yankee lead from 3-0 to 6-0 with one mighty swing. The three RBI gave Rodriguez 10 on the year, so, despite not hearing the usual oohs and aahs, he's actually on pace for his usual dose of 100+ RBI. That's pretty much assured, as A-Rod has topped the 100 mark in ribbies 12 straight years and 13 of the last 14. The Yankee slugger may also receive more walks than in any of his previous seasons. He's on pace for about 150 bases on balls, far beyond his average and many more than his highest total, in 2000, when he walked 100 times. National League The Mets are still in last place in the AL East, but it's surely not the fault of Mike Pelfrey, who improved to 3-0 (he owns half of the Mets' wins) with 7-innings of shutout ball over the struggling Cubs in a 4-0 New York win. Pelfrey threw 102 pitches, allowed only 3 hits, struck out 6 and walked three, lowering his already impressive ERA down to a microscopic 0.86. One can only guess what the media would be saying about the 6-8 Mets without Pelfrey in the rotation. Thanks to some degree of balance in the division, the Mets are just 2 games behind Atlanta and Philly, though they are the only team in the NL East with a losing record. The Cubs may be in worse shape at 5-9 in the Central, 4 games back of the Cardinals and just 1/2 game out of last place, currently occupied by the Astros. The lovable losers have dropped their last four straight, scoring a whopping 6 runs overall.
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NOTES: All by himself, Carl Crawford ruined John Danks' no-hitter and his shutout bid. Danks and the White Sox beat the Rays, 4-1, but they didn't exactly stop Crawford, who hit a solo homer in the 2nd and singled in the sixth, both hits coming off Danks, and the only ones he gave up in his 8-inning, 9 K outing, earning him his second win of the season. Crawford, however, was not done after Danks gave way in the 9th to Bobby Jenks. He singled again, just to make sure the Sox remember him. Maybe you thought the Orioles were going to be better this season, like many had hoped, but the birds are officially the worst team in the majors, and it's not even a close call. The 2-13 O's have lost 2 straight and 11 of the last 12. No other team in either league has more than 9 losses, and even the Astros, who started out 0-9, have 4 wins. Traditional cellar-dwellers KC and Washington are 5-9 and 7-7, respectively. The O's are just plain bad. Their .223 team batting average is better than only two teams - Houston and Cleveland - and playing in the rugged AL East surely won't help their prospects. They've scored just 11 runs in the last six losses.

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