Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Aviles Keeps Hope Alive in KC; Manny Breaks Out
Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 15, 2010 American League Long-suffering fans in Kansas City actually have some things about which to cheer this season, as the Royals - serial cellar-dwellers - have managed to stay out of last place most of the season. At 28-37, there are actually three AL teams with worse records: Cleveland, Baltimore and Seattle. Of course, just not being in last place isn't the goal for the Royals. Maybe making it to .500 would be appropriate. They seem to be headed in the right direction, at least offensively, demonstrating their prowess at the plate Tuesday night with a 15-7 romp over Houston in front of a home crowd. The Royals banged out 20 hits, with every starter getting at least one base knock. Going 4-for-5 was second baseman/shortstop Mike Aviles, who's been on something of a tear lately, hitting safely in six of his last seven, raising his batting average to a lofty .321 on the year. Aviles didn't do anything resembling heroic, as all of his hits were singles, but he did get them at the right time, driving in four runs and coming around to score three times. The four ribbies upped his season total to ten, though that's really not the focus for the 5'10" Aviles. So long as he keeps swinging a hot bat, he may move up in the order, maybe even into the two-hole, to help keep hopes alive in Kansas City. National League In the only non-interleague game of the evening, the LA Dodgers - second in the NL West, 1/2 game behind the Padres - treated the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds with an overabundance of disrespect, knocking them off by a lopsided 12-0 score. While Hiroki Kuroda (6-4) and three relievers blanked the Reds, Dodger batters were knocking the ball all around the yard, racking up 19 hits against five different Reds' hurlers. Leadoff man, Rafael Furcal went 5-for-6; James Loney, 4-for-5, but Manny Ramirez singled twice and hit a two-run homer in four at-bats, drove in four runs and scored three times. Manny hasn't been making many headlines this season, as his homer was just his 6th of the year and he's only driven in 32 runs, but the batting average is up to .298, and the win kept the Dodgers 1/2 game back of the Padres, so maybe better things are in store for the second half of the season. The loss put the Reds back into a tie for first in the Central, as St. Louis simply will not go away. The two teams are deadlocked at 36-29, looking down on the rest of the division. The third-place Cubs are 7 1/2 games back.