Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Carpenter Tough in Debut; Markakis Energizes O's with 2 Dingers, 4 RBI

Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

American League

The Baltimore Orioles raked Tampa Bay starter Andy Sonnanstine for 6 hits and 6 runs over two innings en route to a 12-6 rout of the reconstituted Rays.

Making matters worse, five of those six hits were homers, as Nick Markakis went yard twice off Sonnanstine, ending up with a super stat line: 3-for-3, two homers, 4 RBI and 2 runs.

The O's may do some damage this season to opposing pitchers, especially if Vladimir Guerrero - acquired from Texas via free agency - retains his form, and players such as catcher Matt Weiters and outfielder Adam Jones play up to their potential.

That Markakis will perform is a given. The five year pro has had enough hits in each of the last four seasons to land him in the top ten of the AL each of those years. He's a .298 career hitter and was fifth in the AL with 187 hits in 2010.

National League

The St. Louis Cardinals will be looking to rebound from a sub-par season and get back into the playoffs in 2011, and, judging by their performance in a 7-1 beat-down of the Marlins on Tuesday, they have the bats and the arms to make them a contender. St. Louis banged out 14 hits in the win and starter Chris Carpenter worked 2 2/3 solid innings, allowing just one hit and a walk, while fanning a pair.

Carpenter was 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA for the Cards last season and will be vital to their interests this time around, with fellow starter Adam Wainwright sidelined the entire season after elbow surgery. Carpenter is nursing a strained hamstring and is expected to miss a start during the Spring, though the injury doesn't seem to be one which will land him on the DL.

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