For the past few months, Mike Trout of the LA Angels looked like a shoo-in for AL rookie of the year, but during July, Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland A's has begun to turn some heads and change opinions as he and the A's have surged into second place in the West division, 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers and now lead the wild card race.
Completely off the charts for the month of July, the A's won their 18th game in the month, against just three losses. Texas dropped its second straight and sixth of their last nine games, falling to the AL Central leading White Sox, 5-2.
With the Angels four games out, the West is beginning to shape up as a three-team race as the season closes in on its final two months.
As for Cespedes vs. Trout, a case can be made for either player, though Trout still appears to be the choice. Cespedes has raised his average to .302, having hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games. He has 14 homers, 53 RBI and eight steals.
Trout, despite going 0-for-4 against the Rays Saturday, continues to lead the league with a .350 batting average. He has 16 homers, 49 RBI and 31 stolen bases and has been the Angels' spark plug, batting from the leadoff spot. He also leads the league in steals and runs, with 75.
The A's will be looking for the sweep of their three-game series in Baltimore Sunday afternoon at 1:35 pm EDT.
|Kemp: 4-5 HR 4RBI|
Matt Kemp went 4-for-5 with a single, a pair of doubles and his 15th home run, a first inning, two-run belt off Barry Zito that staked LA starter, Chad Billingsley, to a quick lead. Kemp drove in two more with his 7th and 9th inning doubles as the Dodgers poured on the offense, scoring three runs in each of those innings.
Billingsley (6-9) worked 7 1/3 scoreless, giving up just four hits without walking a batter and struck out two.
Kemp, who started the season red hot but was shelved by injury and missed more than 50 games, is batting .342 with 15 homers and 38 RBI in 50 games. Surrounded in the Dodger lineup by Andre Ethier and the newly-acquired Hanley Ramirez, Kemp should be seeing a truckload of good pitches the remainder of the season.
Game time for the series finale in San Francisco is 1:05 pm PST.
NOTABLE: Ike Davis went 4-for-4 and belted three solo homers, but it was all the offense the Mets could produce, falling to the Diamondbacks, 6-3. The Mets have lost 13 of 15 since the all star break and have fallen to 12 1/2 back of the Nationals in the East.
Houston's losing streak reached a club record 12 straight with their 4-3 loss to the visiting Pirates, suffering the defeat against Wandy Rodriguez, who was traded from the Astros to the Pirates this past Tuesday. Houston has lost 25 of their last 27 and will look to break out of their slide Sunday afternoon against Pittsburgh.