Monday, July 12, 2010

Quentin Leads White Sox into First Place; Padilla Solidifies Dodger Staff

Players of the Day for Sunday, July 11, 2010 American League Less than a month ago - June 20, to be exact - Carlos Quentin was batting .216. He had only hit 9 home runs and driven in just 37 runs. Nearly three months into the season, the White Sox were staring up at the Twins and Tigers in the AL Central, even though they'd won six straight. But the Sox kept on winning and Quentin started hitting. Eventually, Chicago's streak would end at 11 straight, but they regrouped quickly. From June 15 to Sunday's 15-5 blasting of the Royals, the Sox have gone 21-4, finishing up at the break with an 8-game win streak and 1st place in the division, by 1/2 game over Detroit. Instrumental to their success was Quentin, who latched onto the new winning ways and soon was leading them. Since the 20th of June, Quentin's belted 11 homers and driven in 24 runs. His batting average has climbed 28 points, to .244, going 18-for-49 (.367) over that span. On Sunday, Quentin's bat did more damage, as he hot two homers - a solo shot in the 3rd inning and a grand slam in the 6th which put the game out of reach. Quentin didn't make the AL All Star roster as he did in 2008, though his numbers suggest he would have been a good fit. His slow start probably hurt his chances more than anything else. With the White Sox in first place, though, watching the game instead of participating in it, won't feel so bad. National League Another player who won't be on the field in this year's version of the Mid-Summer Classic is Vicente Padilla, who turned in his best performance of the season, hurling eight innings of shutout ball at the Chicago Cubs, as the Dodgers grabbed a share of second place in the NL West with a 7-0 win. LA head to the All Star break tied with Colorado, two games behind the Padres. Padilla, who had the benefit of an early lead as his teammates put up 6 runs in the first two innings, cruised through the Chicago lineup, allowing just two hits and a walk, striking out 6 in his longest outing of the season. Hong-Chih Kuo, who did make the NL All Star roster, allowed two hits in the mop-up 9th. After a 1-1 start, Padilla (4-2), missed nearly two months due to injury, but has come back well, posting wins in his last three starts. With him in the rotation, the Dodgers are poised to make a run at their third straight NL West flag.

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