Thursday, June 17, 2010
Brennan Boesch, Roaring Rookie for Tigers; Huff Helps Giants Stay in NL West Race
Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 16, 2010 American League Minnesota still sits atop the AL Central division, but their lead has been dwindling as the Detroit Tigers have won five straight, including Wednesday's 8-3 win over Washington. Detroit will remain a serious contender in the division if their pitching can remain just better than average (4.12 ERA, 6th in the AL), because they have plenty of big bats in the lineup, especially since rookie Brennan Boesch has already exceeded all expectations and has become a mainstay in right field. Boesch added to his already-impressive resume with his 9th homer of the season, an 8th-inning, three-run moon shot which some people believe landed in Canada. Boesch also singled and scored in the second and drove in a run with a single in the third inning. The Tigers only had seven hits total, but Boesch had three himself. A leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year, Boesch is hitting an impressive .343, with 9 homers and 34 RBI in just 160 at-bats. His OPS is a stunning 1.019, fifth among AL players with at least 160 at-bats. Ahead of his are some pretty good hitters: Justin Morneau, Miguel Cabrera, Kevin Youkilis and Robinson Cano. With the win, Detroit remains 2 1/2 behind the Twins, who also won, 2-1, on the strength of Scott Baker's solid 7 innings (2 hits, no earned runs, 12 Ks). The Twins' lead may be even smaller once interleague play ends and the Tigers head to Minnesota for a three-game set the 28th, 29th and 30th of June for a critical showdown. National League The NL West continues to be one of the strongest and most interesting divisions in baseball, with four teams having legitimate chances of winning the title. Currently led by the Dodgers, the Padres are just 1/2 game behind, the Giants, 1 game back and the Rockies, 5 out. San Francisco kept things interesting with a 6-3 win over Baltimore, while the Dodgers took first place by beating the Reds for the second straight game while the Padres were being beaten by Toronto. The Giants continue to stealthily stay in he race with one of the best pitching staffs in the league (3rd in ERA at 3.30, behind San Diego and St. Louis), and timely situational hitting by regulars such as Aubrey Huff. Huff accounted himself well in the win, getting a single, double and his 11th home run of the season, scoring three times and driving in a pair of runs in four at-bats. A veteran with plenty of soil beneath his cleats, Huff played six years with Tampa Bay, then wound his way through Houston, Baltimore and Detroit before ending up with the Giants, where he has proved versatile - playing left or right field and first base - and valuable, hitting .305 with 11 homers and 36 RBI.