Monday, September 24, 2012

Two HR, 5 RBI by Carlos Santana Lifts Cleveland; Allen Craig leads Cardinals over Cubs

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 23, 2012

American League

Back in June, the Cleveland Indians were leading the AL Central ad looking like one of the surprise teams of 2012.

Guess again. The Indians went into a tailspin just prior to and after the all star break that sent them plummeting to the bottom of the division, where they currently reside, 18 1/2 games behind the White Sox.

Santana: 2HR, 5RBI
Pitching was the big problem for the Indians, with the second-worst ERA in the majors (4.81, worst in the AL and, in all of MLB, better than only Colorado's 5.30), but they cannot complain about their catcher, Carlos Santana, who, in his second full year in the majors, is having a solid season, batting .257 (19 points above 2011's .239), with 18 homers (tied for fifth in the AL among catchers) and 75 RBI (third among AL catchers) after going 3-for-6 with a pair of long balls and five RBI in Cleveland's 15-4 rout of Kansas City.

Santana scored three times, totaling 69 runs for the season, second most of AL catchers, behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer (78).

In the pennant and wild card races, little changed on Sunday. The Yankees and Orioles both lost, leaving the Yanks with a one game lead. The White Sox lost their fifth straight, but still lead the Tigers in the Central by one, as Detroit dumped both ends of a double header to Minnesota.

Texas continues to lead Oakland in the West by four games, both teams losing on Sunday.

In the wild card, the Orioles are a game up on Oakland for the two spots available. The A's lead the Angels by 2 1/2 and the Rays by 3 1/2.

National League

In the National League, all that remains of the season is determining the winners of the East division, where the Nationals lead Atlanta by 4 1/2 games, and the wild cards, currently Atlanta and St. Louis, with the Braves six up on St. Louis and the Cardinals three ahead of LA and 3 1/2 up on Milwaukee.

Allen Craig
While the Dodgers and Brewers both won on Sunday, so did the Cardinals, knocking off the Cubs, 6-2, taking two of three in their series in Chicago.

First baseman Allen Craig, whose been on a tear of late, went 3-for-4 with a pair of ribbies in the win. Over his last ten games, Craig is batting .372 (16-for-43) with two homers, sixteen runs and 13 RBI.

Just like last season, the Cardinals are heating up at the right time, winning six of their last seven with just nine games left. St. Louis has three series remaining: three at Houston, followed by three games at home with Washington and three home games with the Reds, the final two series providing possible previews to the post-season, as the Reds have already clinched the Central and Washington's magic number is down to just six.

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