Monday, June 21, 2010

Alex Rios, a Stats Star; Chipper Jones Certain to Reach Cooperstown

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 20, 2010 American League Two teams heading in opposite directions finished up their three-game interleague series on Sunday, as the White Sox invaded the nation's capital and swept the Nationals, finishing them off with a decisive 6-3 victory. Earning his 8th win against three losses was Freddie Garcia, looking every bit the part for comeback player of the year. Garcia went 3-4 in just nine starts for the Sox last season, but has regained much of the form that made him an All-Star in 2001 and 2002. While Garcia allowed three earned over six innings, Alex Rios was doing his best to earn some notice in the MVP conversation. Rios doubled and singled twice in five at-bats, scoring a pair of runs, driving in two and swiping his 20th base of the season. Rios' numbers from an all-around basis are phenomenal. He's batting a crisp .317, with 13 homers, 37 RBI, 42 runs and 20 steals. If he can get the RBI totals up a little, he may reach the rarified air at the .300-30-30-100-100 plateau, with a .300 batting average, 30 homers, 30 steals, 100 runs and 100 RBI. He is just about on pace to accomplish what could be one of the rarest statistical feats in baseball. The win for the Sox was their sixth straight, and it was Washington's sixth consecutive loss. Chicago is 5 1/2 behind Minnesota in the AL Central. The Tigers, who trumped the Nats three times earlier in the week, are just 1 1/2 behind the Twins. National League Rumors swirling around Chipper Jones' retirement won't go away, but the guy is a no-doubt first vote Hall of Famer no matter what he does, especially since he's contributing steadily to the resurgence of the Braves in 2010. On Sunday, the Braves increased their lead in the NL East to 2 1/2 games over the Mets with an 8-5 win at Kansas City, for a series sweep and their fifth consecutive win overall. Jones belted a pair of doubles, walked twice, scored twice, drove in three runs and stole a base. The man can still play, so retirement may or may not be in the cards at the end of this season. Besides, he's only 38, so there may be another year or two left in his body. Jones is close to a milestone, that being 1500 RBI. Jones is currently #53 on the list and has 1474, so he'll likely make that number by August, if not sooner. He would then be #51, and have dead aim at #50, the spot held by another familiar Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle, who ended his career with 1509.

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