Thursday, August 5, 2010

Alex Rodriguez Hits 600th Career Homer; Padilla Shuts out Padres

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 4, 2010 American League Alex Rodriguez had only one hit in the Yankees' 5-1 victory over Toronto, but it was a momentous one. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Rodriguez lifted a Shawn Marcum fast ball high to dead center field, over the wall and into Monument Park, his 17th home run of the season and 600th of his career, making him the youngest player to ever hit 600 homers, joining six others who have reached the milestone. A-Rod had struggled after hitting number 599. He went two weeks and 46 at-bats before belting another big one, but it came three years to the day that he hit #500, also in the first inning, and also in Yankee Stadium, but in the old stadium, which was replaced following the 2008 season. Rodriguez joins the illustrious group of Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffy Jr. and Sammy Sosa as the only players in major league history to have hit 600 home runs. Next up for A-Rod will be passing Sosa (609) and Griffey (630) on his way to Mays (660) and the 700-club, of Ruth (714), Aaron (755) and Bonds (762). Leading all active players, Rodriguez need not worry about being passed along the way. Jim Thome is next with 577, but he is 39 years old and may have only another year left to play. Manny Ramirez, 38, follows him with 554, but then the list becomes very slim. Chipper Jones has 435 and may retire after this season. Vladimir Guerrero should continue to be productive for the next three to four years, as he is just 35, and has 428. The most feared hitter in the group has got to be 30-year-old Albert Pujols, In his 10th major league season, Pujols has 27 on the year and 393 lifetime, producing at a rate of roughly 40 per year, a pace that would put him at 600 at the age of 35, some time around 2015. By then, Rodriguez would be 40 and likely over the 700 mark. National League The LA Dodgers are clinging to 4th place in the NL West, 7 games behind the division leading-padres, but they've been getting exceptional pitching over the past two weeks. Their staff has held the opposition to two runs or less in 9 of their last 14 games, winning 7 of those contests. The most recent stellar performance was recorded by Vicente Padilla, who carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning and eventually finished with a complete game, 9-0, whitewash of San Diego. Padilla allowed back-to-back singles with one out in the 7th frame, to Ryan Ludwick and Chase Headley, but got out of the inning by inducing a ground ball double play from catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Padilla walked two but fanned nine, throwing 77 of 105 pitches for strikes, improving his record to 5-3 on the year. The LA win was the second straight over San Diego after losing the opener of their four-game set. San Francisco remained within one game of the Padres, losing 6-1 at Colorado.

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