The lucky 13th report in Pete Khazen's regular season weekly trip around Major League Baseball's senior circuit in 2007. During June, the pack continues to pull more tightly together.
heard a statistic the other day that put some things into perspective. The
season at the plate Chicago Cub Hack
Wilson had in 1930 was unreal. He batted .356, set an NL record
with 56 home runs, which stood until the 1998 race, and drove home an utterly
ridiculous 191 runs - a record which still stands today. I've always known about
that amazing season, but I learned something new about those stats that floored
me even more. Wilson
also set the record for most RBI in a month that August, when he hit a whopping
we are almost three months into the season, close to the halfway point, and
there are just five players in the NL with 55 or more RBI, and just 13 players
in all of baseball. To add to the perspective, if you didn't know,
stood just 5-foot-6 tall with a size six shoe, but he reportedly had an 18" neck
and a muscle-filled 195-pound frame. One thing I can guarantee is that in the
played, there was no "clear" and there certainly was no "cream".
now for the latest and greatest from around the league:
New York Mets (42-33)
- The Mets have maintained their position atop the NL East, but they continue to
sputter winning only seven games thus far in June, and that includes a
three-game streak this past week. Carlos Delgado has been struggling as much as anyone at the plate
hitting just .225 this season. In his last 16 games he has just one home run and
four RBI, which brings a chorus of boos every time he steps to the plate in
these days. With the team's recent difficulties winning games, Billy Wagner hasn't seen all that much action. He got three innings of
work in against the Cardinals the past two games in extra-inning battles, but
he's had just three save opportunities in June, of which he converted
- Carlos Ruiz stole home Tuesday night and drove in four runs en route to
leading the Phils past the Reds. Ryan Howard also homered in the game. He currently has a modest
seven-game hit streak, during which he has driven in 10 runs. But as the Phils
continue to improve their record and climb the standings, they suffered another
blow to their starting rotation. Jon Lieber had to leave his last start prematurely after rupturing a
tendon in his ankle. The injury appears severe, and Lieber is out indefinitely
as the medical team weighs options, which include surgery.
- There's nothing like playing the Nationals to bring you out of a slump. The
Braves had lost five straight, scoring just one measly run in those games
but have bounced back with two wins against the Nationals by the scores of 4-1
and 6-2. Rookie Jarrod Saltalamacchia, gaining popularity for his long name, which
crowds the entire back of his jersey, led the charge on Tuesday belting two solo
home runs and boosting his batting average to .329. Tim Hudson also benefited from a game against the Nats. After going
winless in his past four starts, Hudson
earned win number seven pitching 7.0 innings Monday, scattering seven hits, and
giving up just one run.
Florida Marlins (36-41)
- Aaron Boone was mounting a nice little comeback in South Florida, but
suffered a setback this week after injuring his left knee and landing on the
disabled list. And a trade to acquire Chicago Cubs outfielder Jacque Jones reportedly fell through after the two clubs couldn't come
to an agreement on the cash involved in paying Jones' contract. Kevin Gregg has definitely emerged as the club's closer. Gregg has
tallied up 14 saves in 14 chances this season and carries a nifty 2.74 ERA.
- Dmitri Young continues to be the story in
Given up on by most teams in the league and considered overweight and out of
shape by many, Young continues to smack that baseball around like his job
depends on it. Wait, his job does depend on it. Young has a 10-game hitting
streak going and has been held hitless just twice in June, boosting that batting
average to .342. Shortstop Christian
Guzman, who was also hitting the ball well with a .329 average,
saw his season come to a close this week after undergoing surgery to repair a
torn ligament in his thumb.
- They faltered for a little while, but the Brewers are back on their game. The
crew has the best record in the NL over the last 10 games at 8-2, and increased
their lead on all NL Central competitors during that timeframe by at least two
games. Impressively, they've managed to win five of their last six games with
Prince Fielder cashing in just one home run and three RBI bringing his
NL-leading totals to 27 and 62 respectively. The Brewers did lost Chris Capuano for a little while. The starting pitcher strained his
groin and landed on the 15-day
- The Cubs had another crazy week. They traded away catcher Michael Barrett to the Padres, swept their cross-town rivals over the
weekend, and managed to blow an 8-3 lead against Colorado in the ninth inning of
Monday's game only to come back and win 10-9 in the bottom half of the inning.
It was a collapse only capable by the Cubs, but somehow, with the help of a
two-out error on a routine grounder, the Cubs pulled out the W. Alfonso Soriano has been on a tear and was named NL Player of the Week.
He drove in the tying and game-winning runs in that rally Monday night and has
four homers and seven RBI on the week. Rookie Mike Fontenot is getting in on the action too. The kid has been calm
and collected at the plate going 26-for-67, good for a .388 batting average
since getting the call-up. But the Cubs did lose their closer, Ryan Dempster, to the DL with a strained oblique muscle, so it'll be
closer-by-committee for a while.
Despite having a starting lineup and rotation that is a shell of the World
Championship team from just a handful of months ago, this Cardinals team
continues to linger and stay in the hunt. Albert Pujols has walked 14 times in his last 10 games as he refines
his eye. It's helped increase his average back around .300, and is a good sign
that he'll be feasting on opposing pitching come July. To help their pitching
staff, the Cards picked up lefty Mike Maroth from Detroit.
He made his St.
debut against the Mets Monday tossing 7.1 solid innings and holding
to just two hits and one run in a no-decision.
Paul Maholm may already have 10 losses this season, but you'd never
have guessed that Tuesday. He pitched 7.2 great innings against
limiting the Marlins to just two runs on three hits. It was Maholm's second win
in three starts and the third consecutive outing he has pitched at least seven
innings. Adam LaRoche continues to falter at the plate, though. Perceived as a
big boost to the Pittsburgh
lineup, LaRoche has been a bust thus far. The first baseman is hitting just .211
with eight home runs and 39 RBI. Compare that to the .285 batting average, 32
home runs, and 90 RBI he posted last year and you can understand the
disappointment in Pittsburgh.
- Craig Biggio is just three hits away from that magical number of
3,000. After hitting just .246 last year, Biggio is carrying a .238 average this
season, which is a sign that the end might be near. Nonetheless, 3,000 hits is a
feat definitely worth celebrating, and the fact that all 3K came with the same
team is a rarity in itself. Roy Oswalt is suffering on a team that is struggling. Usually as
dependable as they come, Oswalt is just 1-3 in his last eight starts. His 3.55
ERA isn't too high, so perhaps there is hope for a second-half
- Ken Griffey Jr. visited his old stomping ground in
this past weekend and cracked two home runs in the series finale to pass
McGwire in the all-time list with 584. Griffey has 21 long balls
this season and has been the subject of plenty of trade rumors in recent weeks.
The pitching combination of Kyle Lohse and Bronson Arroyo has been far from stellar this season. The twosome have
combined for a 5-19 record in 32 starts and both have ERAs over
- With back-to-back wins visiting Arizona
to open a four-game set this week, the Dodgers leapt into a half-game lead in
the division. Russell Martin has hit safely in his last six games and has six RBI in
that span bringing his average to .295 and his team-leading RBI total to 49.
Brad Penny continues to lead the starting staff. He tossed another
gem Monday against the D'Backs, going 8.0 innings and giving up just one run on
four hits. It's the fourth consecutive start he's given up just one run, which
has shrunk his season ERA to 2.04.
- With arguably the best starting rotation in the NL, the Padres added veteran
Barrett via trade this past week. Barrett is a bit better known
for his bat than his fielding skills, so it's worth watching his impact on the
likes of Jake Peavy and Chris Young. The Padres could use some offensive help. Adrian Gonzalez is leading the team in most offensive categories, but
his team-best .282 batting average is definitely an indication that they need
more hit-production in the lineup.
- Eric Byrnes is definitely emerging as a star in the NL. All that time
behind the camera during the playoffs last October didn't get to his head as he
continues to pour it on this season. Byrnes rocked three home runs and drove in
seven runs this past week. He's hitting a crisp .312 at the plate. The D'Backs
continue to compete for the NL West division title. Randy Johnson, who landed on the DL with a herniated disk in his back,
is scheduled to return to the rotation Thursday and looks to give the club a
little boost in the four-game series cap against the
- Matt Holliday had a down week striking out 12 times. He was limited
to just one home run and six RBI, and his batting average fell from .366 to
.349. Some down week, eh? Starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez ran into a surging Cubs team Tuesday and lost his first
game of the season, dropping his record to 4-1. Prior to giving up eight runs to
he carried a solid 2.93 ERA through eight starts.
- The Giants are ten games under .500 and double-digit games behind the
three-team scrum atop the NL West. Yes, San
married Barry Bonds and they're sticking together until home run records do
them part. It's clear that the sacrifices this club has made to keep Bonds
around to ensure he breaks Hank Aaron's record have been costly. Matt Morris, who has been having a great comeback season, got roughed
up by the Yankees Saturday. Morris only gave up four runs, but was tagged for 13
hits in 5.2 innings in a no-decision.
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