Friday, April 27, 2012

Jerrod Saltalamacchia, Kevin Youkilis Humble Humber, White Sox; Kirk Nieuwenhuis Rallies Mets for Sweep of Marlins

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 26, 2012

American League

Jerrod Saltalamacchia
The baseball gods can be a fickle bunch. One day you're throwing a perfect game in Seattle and the next time you're on the mound, you get roughed up by Red Sox on your home field.

Kevin Youkilis
Such was the fate of Philip Humber, who returned to a hero's welcome in Chicago after twirling el perfecto this past Saturday.

It didn't take long for exhortations of adulation to turn into jeers of derision, however, as Boston humbled Humber with eight hits and nine runs over five innings of work. Most of the carnage was supplied by Kevin Youkilis, who went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and Jerrod Saltalamacchia, who belted a solo homer in the third inning and a two-run blast in the fifth.

Boston rolled to their fourth straight win, the 10-3 victory opening a four-game series in the Windy City.

National League

This current Mets team may turn out to be more amazing than the originals from the halcyon 1969 season.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Starting a squad consisting entirely of farm-team-produced players, the 2012 version of the Amazins' completed a three game series sweep of the Marlins, much to the dismay of one Jose Reyes, who skipped town during the off-season to hook up with the newly-minted Miami team, fresh, new stadium, flamingos and all.

Reyes had a miserable time at Citi Field, going 1-for-12, dropping his batting average to a ridiculous .205, as the Marlins lost their fifth straight, the Mets rallying for a 3-2, walk-off win.

The bulk of the thrills were produced by rookie center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who led off the Mets' first with a triple and scored to give the New Yorkers a quick, 1-0, lead, only to come back with the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth to deliver a rope into the right field corner, driving in the winning run.

In between, Nieuwenhuis singled, going 3-for-5 for the game, upping his average to .333. His heroic moment was set up by Miami closer Heath Bell, who threw 46 pitches in the 2/3rd of an inning he worked, walking four of the first five batters he faced, including walking in the tying run when he could not get Justin Turner out with 13 pitches. Nieuwenhuis stroked a 1-0 high fastball down the line and over the head of Giancarlo Stanton for the game-winner. Bell (0-3) blew his third save opportunity in five chances.

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