Saturday, May 15, 2010

A-Rod Passes Frank Robinson with Grand Slam; Uggla Gets Marlins to .500

Players of the Day for Friday, May 14, 2010 American League Here's an idea for American League managers. You should avoid pitching to Alex Rodriguez with either the game on the line or the bases loaded. If faced with a situation in which both conditions exist, walking him might be your best course of action. Praying for a sudden thunderstorm might also apply. A-Rod sent his own form of instant message to all managers last night as the Yankees downed the Twins, 8-4, extending New York's dominance over the Central division leaders. The Twins scored a pair of runs in the top of the 7th inning to forge a 4-3 lead, but in the bottom frame, the Yankees mounted a rally on a single by Francisco Cervelli and a Derek Jeter double. After getting Brett Gardner to fly out, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made a manager's decision, to intentionally walk Mark Teixeira and pitch to A-Rod with the bases chucked. Bad move. Gardenhire must not have checked his stats, because he brought in righty Matt Guerrier to pitch to Rodriguez, who had lifetime stats of 4-for-6 with 3 homers against him. Rodriguez launched his 4th home run of the season and 587th of his career - moving him past Frank Robinson and into 7th place, all time - over the left field wall, putting the Yanks up, 7-4, and eventually extending their home win streak against the Twinkies to 9 straight and 24 of the last 27. Ouch! The slam was the 19th of Rodriguez' career, tying him with Eddie Murray and trailing only Manny Ramirez (21) and Lou Gehrig (23). Checking A-Rod's numbers, he's averaged 41 homers and 1.36 grand slams over 14 full seasons. Turning 35 this August, he's probably got at least 4 more good years left in that magnificent body, so he'll probably pass the 600 mark and catch Sammy Sosa (609) this year, slide past Ken Griffery Jr. (630) in 2011 and then launch an assault on 700 and the rarified air of Ruth, Aaron and the steroid-induced 762 of the delusional Barry Bonds, who, fittingly, eventually will end up in second place, many hope. He'll pass Gehrig for carrer slams somewhere along the line, especially if managers keep walking people to get to him. National League There hasn't been a lot of noise coming from South Florida this season, but everybody knows that it's just a matter of time before the Florida Marlins make their presence known in the NL East race. On Friday, the Marlins took a big step forward, tying the Mets at 18-18 for third place in the division, four games behind the Phillies, with the surprising Nationals holding second, 1 1/2 back. The Marlins took their second straight home game from the Mets, 7-2, having already won the 4-game series opener by a 2-1 score on Thursday. Florida did their damage early, scoring four runs in the 2nd inning and 3 more in the 3rd. Dan Uggla keyed both rallies, starting the scoring with a 3-run homer in the 3rd, and finishing it with a solo shot in the 4th. Uggla's homers were his 7th and 8th of the season. The 4 RBI gave him 23 on the year. Uggla's averaged 30 homers and 90 RBI in his 4 seasons in the majors, all with the Marlins. He's on pace for nearly 40 and 100 this time around and if the Marlins make their usual mid-season surge, he's sure to be right in the middle of the action.

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