The tenth report in Pete Khazen's regular season weekly trip around Major League Baseball's senior circuit in 2007. June is bugging some clubs more than others. Could swoons be far behind?
and more injuries are popping up around the league, which means there are more
and more opportunities for new stars to step to our attention. It also means
that teams need to find more ways, more individuals, to lean on to win ball
games. Nothing comes easy in this 162-game marathon, but even a bad week or
month won't completely do you in with this parity-driven National League. That
being said, here's the latest and greatest from around
- It's hard to say what kind of an impact Pedro Martinez would have for the Mets if indeed he did make his way
back to the big show after undergoing rotator cuff surgery. But he took the
first major step Tuesday, throwing off the mound for the first time since
surgery and reportedly feeling good through 31 pitches. The Mets outfield is
banged up. Seasoned veterans Moises Alou and Shawn Green were having great seasons hitting .318 and .314
respectively, but both find themselves on the DL. Alou has been there for a
while with a strained quadriceps, hopefully rejoining his team in the coming
days, but Green figures to be on the DL for at least a 15-day stint with a
broken foot. To add to the Mets injury woes,
Carlos Beltran has been out since Thursday with a bruised knee,
but he returned to the lineup Tuesday with an uneventful 0-for-5
- Chipper Jones has been out of the Braves lineup with injured wrists, and
it looks like he's going to stay on the sidelines for at least a couple more
weeks. Starting pitcher Chuck James put together back-to-back solid starts on the road against
James led the Braves to two wins, though he only earned the W against the
Brewers. In those two starts, he pitched 6.0 innings apiece, striking out a
combined 12 batters, and only giving up three total earned
- Jimmy Rollins hit nine home runs in April, and hasn't connected for a
round-tripper since. Chase Utley continues to show some power. The second baseman homered
for his club-leading eleventh bomb of the season and drove in three Tuesday en
route to victory. Utley also leads the team in RBI with 47, and his .311 batting
average is second only to Aaron Rowand's .322.
- Miguel Cabrera left the second game of a double-header Tuesday with a
sore hamstring. Second baseman Dan Uggla had been on a tear of late with an eight-game hitting
streak, including three home runs and eight RBI. But Uggla was skunked, 0-for-7,
in the club's double-header, ending his streak. And don't look now, but infamous
pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim is having a little resurgence in South Florida.
Kim is 1-0 in his last two starts and has giving up just six hits and one earned
run in 12.0 innings of work.
- Starting pitcher Shawn Hill, who is 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA and has been on the DL since
May 12, got a second opinion on his injured arm and got no bad news. But the
pitcher has plenty of history in that arm, so the Nationals will continue to be
cautious with him. Dmitri Young had a pair of back-to-back 4-for-4 days at the plate and
has boosted his average to .319. Christian
Guzman has also been smacking that baseball around lately. In
the past week, he's raised his average from .256 to .324.
- Prince Fielder finished the month of May homering in four straight
games and earning NL Player of the Month honors. With another jack Monday, he
stands atop the NL with 20 home runs this season. Closer Francisco
Cordero continues to dominate the opposing batters. Cordero
racked four more saves this week, bringing his jaw-dropping total to 22 this
season. Oh, and that 0.36 ERA isn't too shabby either.
- Just like that the Redbirds are in second place. Granted this is the
jam-packed Central Division. Still they're finding ways to win, in a fashion
similar to last October. Seldom-feared So
Taguchi drove in two game-winning RBI this week, the most recent
Tuesday night while pinch-hitting in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Cards
did lose Yadier Molina to a fractured wrist this past week, and backup catcher
Gary Bennett had to leave the game Tuesday night after getting hit
with a pitch in the back of the head.
- In a division without much muster, this Pirates team is hanging around and
keeping in the fight. The club just recalled outfielder Rajai Davis from the minor leagues with hopes of giving the club a
little spark. Davis
has some wheels and could be a fun player to watch. Starting
Ian Snell continues to be a player to watch as well. Snell
tossed 8.0 great innings against the Dodgers giving up just one run and striking
out six on his way to earning win number five this
- Oh my! On his 26th birthday, Carlos Zambrano got into it with his own catcher Michael Barrett on Friday in the dugout. The fight was broken up without
any major damage, but it escalated later during the game in the clubhouse, and
Barrett ended up with six stitches in his lip. Both players were fined by the
team, and they have reportedly made up and are trying to move forward. This all
happened in the middle of a six-game skid. The final loss, which occurred
Saturday, apexed with Manager Lou Piniella getting ejected. Did he let some frustrations run over?
Or perhaps he tried to take on some attention from his feuding players? Piniella
was suspended for four games, and the Cubs won two of three without him. Most
notably in the lineup Alfonso
Soriano is heating up. He homered in three straight games and
went 5-for-5 at the plate Monday night.
Hunter Pence, who hit .343 during the month of May, earned NL Rookie of
the Month honors. For the season, since getting the call-up in late April, Pence
is batting .364 with 23 RBI. And to compete for time in the outfield, the Astros
recalled Chris Burke and sent down to the minors
With a rotation that has struggled this season, the Astros welcomed
Jason Jennings back from the DL with open arms.
pitched 6.0 solid innings against the Cardinals in a no-decision giving up four
- Rookie comeback kid Josh
Hamilton was activated from the DL Tuesday. One thing that is
clear for the Reds is that starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo has been figured out by the rest of the league. Arroyo
had a solid first year in the NL last season going 14-11 with a very respectable
3.29 ERA. This season is quite different. Arroyo is 2-6 in 12 starts and has a
- When another team has great pitching, it just doesn't seem fair. There are
seven pitchers on the Padres roster with 10 or more starts/appearances and an
ERA under 3.00. Of those seven, four, including starting pitcher Jake Peavy, have an ERA under 2.00. Thing is, the Padres are starting
to hit the ball this season more. They're in the middle of the MLB pack with 51
team home runs, but that's good for number one in the NL
- Jason Schmidt returned from the DL to pitch 6.0 shutout innings of
one-hit ball against the now division-leading Padres, but it wasn't good enough
for the win as the Padres took the W Tuesday 1-0. Teammate Derek Lowe had a nice two-win week. Lowe pitched well against both
inducing ground ball after ground ball improving his record to 6-5.
Tony Abreu could be the answer the Dodgers have been looking for at
third base. Abreu is hitting .342 in 12 games this season.
Randy Johnson leapt over Roger Clemens in the all-time strikeout list,moving into second place
with 4,605 Ks. Now he's only got 1,110 left to surpass Nolan
Ryan. Outfielder Eric Byrnes has hit safely in all but three games since May 1. He's
got his batting average up to .314 and currently holds a 12-game hitting
- Barry Bonds didn't start on Tuesday as he is dealing with some pain
from shin splints and aching knees. And for those who were worried about
Barry Zito, at least for now, there's nothing to worry about. Zito has
crushed the competition in his last three starts. And it's not like he faced
He did it against Houston,
and Philly. Zito is 3-0 in his last three starts and has given up just one run
during that time thanks to that brutal 12-to-6 curveball.
Colorado Rockies (27-31)
- Outfielder Steve Finley was designated for assignment, and
Brad Hawpe was named NL Player of the Week after hitting .455
with three home runs and eight RBI. Teammate Jeff Francis was also in the running. The Rockies starting pitcher
has pitched at least 7.0 innings in each of his past seven starts and is 3-0 in
his last three outings having only given up three earned
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