Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jimenez Blanks Giants, Goes to 10-1; Alex Rodriguez Slams, Sparks Yanks

Players of the Day for Monday, May 31, 2010 American League There are good baseball players; there are great baseball players; then there's Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod continues his assault on the record books with every at-bat. In Monday's 11-2 win over the Indians, Rodriguez took another chuck of history with him, blasting his second grand slam in a little more than two weeks after Indians manager Manny Acta made the cardinal blunder of intentionally walking Mark Teixeira to load the bases and put A=Rod at the plate. Minnesota manager Rod Gardenhire made the same bone-headed mistake on May 14 with the same result: a Rodriguez slam and a Yankee win. Message to managers: Don't walk Big Tex to get to A-Rod. Rodriguez also singled in a run in the first inning and doubled home another in the 8th, going 3-for-4 at the plate with his 7th home run of the season (590th of his career) and 6 RBI, upping his RBI total to 41, good for a tie for 4th among league leaders with Jose Bautista. The Yankees win, coupled with Tampa Bay's loss to Toronto, tightened the AL East race to 2 1/2 games, with the Blue Jays a close third, just a game behind the Bombers. National League Giants' fans heading to the stadium Monday were anticipating quite a pitcher's duel, as Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez was slated to go to the mound against San Fran's two-time Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum. The duel lasted just about one inning. The Rockies jumped on Linceum in the second inning, striking for a pair of runs. Jimenez, relaxed and in control, kept throwing peas at the Giant hitters, fanning six in the first three innings. Colorado scored another run in the 5th, and with Ian Stewart on third base with two outs in the 6th, Lincecum was lifted. Pitcher's duel officially over. Jimenez continued to dominate, completing what he started, for a 4-0 Colorado win, his 10th win of the season, and second complete game shutout of the season. Colorado's win got them to within 1/2 game of the Giants, who are in third place in the NL West, 3 1/2 behind the Padres and 1 1/2 behind the second place Dodgers. As for Jimenez, not only is his 10-1 record the best in the majors, but his other key stats border on the absurd. In 80 1/3 innings, he's allowed just seven earned runs, resulting in an ERA of 0.78 and a WHIP of 0.91. He has 70 Ks and batters are getting to him at just a .172 clip. What Giants' fans may have seen was the NL Cy Young winner from the past two seasons being beaten by this year's vintage.

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