Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Justin Upton Crunches 13th Homer as Braves Win; Billy Butler Leads Royals with 5-for-5 Effort

Players of the Day for Monday, May 13, 2013

American League

Butler: 5-for-5
With six full seasons already under his belt, Kansas City's Billy Butler may finally be reaching the potential everybody associated with him always knew existed.

In Monday's 11-4 win over the slumping Angels, Butler went to the plate five times, and five times he arrived on base. With three singles, two doubles and five RBI, Butler was a one-man wrecking crew of the Angels' pitching staff. His fellow Royals added 14 more hits, helping KC keep pace in the contentious AL Central, where they trail the Tigers by 1 1/2 games (Cleveland is in second place, 1/2 game out).

Butler hasn't been exactly tearing the leather off the ball this season, but his 5-for-5 effort improved his batting average to a respectable .261 and he's tallied 25 RBI, 12th-best in the league and on pace for another 100+ RBI season, something Butler accomplished for the first time last season.

A .299 career hitter, Butler is becoming a force which should help keep the Royals in the pennant and wild card hurt deep into the season.

The Angels will try to even up the three-game series in game two, at 10:05 EDT, Tuesday in LA.

National League

Upton's 13 HRs
lead MLB
Atlanta continues to cling to a slim lead in the NL East, with Monday's 10-1 win over Arizona keeping them a game clear of the Washington Nationals in the division race.

The Braves got 6 2/3 innings out of Mike Minor, who held the Diamondbacks to a single run, but it took Atlanta until the fifth inning to break through and take the lead, but, after scoring three times in the frame, they poured it on, turning the game into a rout.

Justin Upton provided his fair share of fireworks, going 4-for-5 with two singles, a double and his 13th home run of the season (which leads the majors) - a two-run shot in the Braves' four-run sixth.

While Upton's home run numbers are impressive, what is troubling the Braves is the RBI total, just 23, suggesting that the top of the Atlanta order is not getting on base in sufficient numbers with Upton having a big season at the plate. Andrelton Simmons, who usually leads off, is batting just .243, while brother B.J. Upton - who was in the two-hole Monday - is staggering along with a .151 mark.

Game two of the three-game set in Arizona goes off at 9:40 pm EDT, Tuesday.

Today's Trivia: Two of the top four career lifetime strikeout leaders are left-handers. Who are they? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Phil Neikro is one of 19 pitchers with more Ks than Cy Young (2803). Neikro fanned 3342 in his 24-year career, while Bob Feller had 2581, Warren Spahn, 2583, and David Cone struck out 2668.

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