Friday, May 6, 2011

Lance Berkman Powers Cardinals Past Marlins; Erick Aybar Strokes 4 Hits as Angels Win

Players of the Day for Thursday, May 5, 2011

American League

Erick Aybar
OK, it's only May, but on has to be impressed with the action in the AL West, which has turned into a four-way horse race (never mind that the Kentucky Derby runs Saturday) with all of the teams within three games of each other.

At the top sit the LA Angels, with a one-game lead over the Texas Rangers, courtesy of an 11-0 spanking of the Boston Red Sox, at Fenway Park, and a 3-1 win by Seattle, over the Rangers. The A's are two games back and the Mariners - who have been the hottest team in the division over the past two weeks - are three games out.

Leading the way for the Angels was, appropriately, leadoff hitter Erick Aybar, who's off to a sensational start, batting .342 after singling four times in six at-bats in the win. Aybar played just three games before going down with an injury on April 2, but has returned in fine form, hitting safely in 12 of his last 14 games.

In Thursday's win, he scored twice, drove in a run and also swiped a pair of bases.

National League

Lance Berkman
Lance Berkman is tearing it up and the Philadelphia Phillies are happy about it because the cards just split a four-game series with the Marlins, allowing Philly to establish a little breathing room in the NL East, though a mere two-game lead on Florida.

Meanwhile, Berkman, picked up from the Yankees in the off-season, is simply killing the ball, leading the Cardinals to a similar, 1 1/2 game lead in the Central division. Berkman picked up four more RBI in St. Louis' 6-3 victory over the Marlins, with a three-run homer - his 10th - and a sac fly.

Though Berkman's batting average gained a little with the 1-for-2 effort, he still trails teammate Matt Holliday at the top of the NL leader board. Berkman is hitting .392, while Holliday is steaming along at .417. Berkman is also second - tied with Milwaukee's Ryan Braun - with 10 homers (Chicago's Alfonso Soriano leads with 11), but he took over the lead in RBI. His 32 is three better than Ryan Howard's 29.

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