This Great Game Comebacker

The Week That Was in Baseball: May 13-19, 2013
Ten Players Who’d Like to Start 2013 Over Bryce Harper: The Next Pete Reiser?
Kansas City Loses a Popular Voice David Price's Dirt on Detergent

Best and Worst of the Week

BEST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
28 8 12 3 0 4 7 2 1 0 0

As yet another affirmation that no one else on this planet hits a baseball more effectively, the reigning triple crown winner makes it twice in the last three weeks on the junior circuit podium of slugging greatness. Cabrera clinched his latest honor with a three-homer attack at Arlington on Sunday evening, the second hat trick of his career; after all, having led the AL much of the year in batting average and RBIs, he needs some power to reach the top of the home run charts as well. With Sunday’s outburst, he’s now a single jack shy of the lead.


BEST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
24 8 9 2 0 3 8 8 0 0 3

We know what you’re thinking: CarGo gets the honor, so he must have spent the week racking it up at Coors Field. Well, yes and no. Gonzalez set his latest hot tone with a five-hit performance at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, then came home to Denver where he put on his usual, impressive show of statistical force in front of the hometown fans. It should be noted: A career .260 hitter away from Coors, Gonzalez this year is actually is stroking the ball better on the road (.325) than at home (.288).


WORST HITTER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
25 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

After showing promise in his first full season in 2012, the 24-year-old Los Angeles native has dipped from the word go this year—but it’s really gotten bad of late, with this week’s DOA set of numbers expanding a slump in which he’s collecting just one hit over his last 34 at-bats. Amid rumors that he might be benched, Royals manager Ned Yost showed he has Moustakas’ back by engaging reporters in a long, sarcastic weekend rant about getting home, finding the “third base tree” and “pick another third baseman…they must grow on trees.”


WORST HITTER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Danny Espinosa, Washington Nationals

AB
R
H
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
IB
HB
SB
24 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Like Moustakas, the young infielder (also from the L.A. Basin) is threatening an early career fadeout if things don’t improve soon—and he, too, has only seen it get worse of late, with just three hits over his last 40 ABs. And there’s a lot of strikeouts in those empty bullets, 12 in the last week alone. Not only is his batting average below the .200 barrier, so is his on-base mark, thanks to just three walks thus far in 135 at-bats.


BEST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
2-0 16 7 0 0 5 0 1 1 0 20

After a rough stretch a few weeks back that suggested that a terrific start to the year was more mirage than the new normal, the 28-year-old Jamaican came charging back to top form this past week with 16 innings of shutout ball—including his second blanking of the year when he four-hit the Yankees on Monday. Masterson then struck out 11 Mariners on Sunday, only the second time in 131 major league starts that he’s reached double figures.


BEST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Brandon McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
1-0 9 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 5

A three-hit shutout of the Marlins this past Saturday sure felt good for the 29-year old righty; not only was it his first win of the year in nine tries, it was his first victory since he was beaned out of commission late last year when a searing comebacker ricocheted off his head. McCarthy will need to be more on target to get firmly back on track; pitching better at home (where his ERA stands at 5.68 thus far) would help.


WORST PITCHER, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-2 1.1 7 7 7 2 0 1 0 0 0

The Oriole closer had become so invincible that people were starting to believe that his hometown (Johnson City, New York) was renamed after him. They probably also thought the town’s mayor might change it back after Johnson came completely apart this past week, blowing consecutive save opps (and badly) after converting 35 straight for an Oriole record. Johnson has been the glue that has kept the O’s winning of late, so this is a troubling development.


WORST PITCHER, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants

W-L
IP
H
R
ER
BB
IB
HB
WP
BK
SO
0-2 11.1 19 13 10 4 0 0 1 1 6

We could have picked just about anyone on the vaunted Giant rotation this past week—they were all surprisingly awful—and while the veteran lefty has been terrific at home, he’s been a train wreck on the road—and unfortunately for the Giants, that’s where they were this week, with Zito taking the hill for two bumbling efforts. Sure, he can blame his errant defense or Buster Posey’s pitch selection behind the plate, but when opponents are hitting .426 against you on the road for the year, the mirror is where you’ll best find the culprit.


BEST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Boston Red Sox (5-1)

After scuffling about to start May, the Red Sox regrouped and rediscovered their better April selves with two road series wins, including a weekend sweep of the Twins in Minnesota to close the gap on the first-place Yankees to a mere half-game. The Boston pitching was especially solid, highlighted by John Lackey’s six innings of one-hit ball on Sunday. This week, the Sox get a chance to stifle two recently hot AL Central foes in the White Sox and Indians.


BEST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
St. Louis Cardinals (5-2)

They’re without three of their top starting pitchers (Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia and Chris Carpenter) and their main closer (Jason Motte), but the Cardinals just keep on rolling. Some guy named John Gast won two games and Edward Mujica (four saves) continued his replacement ninth-inning magic for the Redbirds, just part of a successful week at home against the Mets and Brewers. St. Louis ends the week with the NL’s best record at 28-15.


WORST TEAM, AMERICAN LEAGUE
Baltimore Orioles (0-5)

For the first time in quite awhile, nothing week right for one of the majors’ most overachieving and feisty nines. They failed to win any of five home games (including a pair of interleague battles against lowly San Diego), blew a seventh-inning lead, blew ninth-inning leads (see Jim Johnson, above) and couldn’t win even when they put ten runs on the board. They better shape up quickly, because their next four opponents are Yankees, Blue Jays, Nationals and Tigers. Gulp.


WORST TEAM, NATIONAL LEAGUE
Miami Marlins (1-5)

We could have picked the Giants, who suddenly can’t pitch, but we thought we’d pick on the little guys because they were at home all week (the Giants toiled in Toronto and Denver) and because Jeffrey Loria so deserves this. The Dead Fishes managed just nine runs in six games and avoided a winless week with a Sunday squeaker against Arizona, surviving a bases-loaded scare in the ninth to hang on. It’s only the Marlins’ fourth win in 17 tries this month.


 

 

 

Best and Worst of the Week

Monday, May 13
In his first game back in Phoenix since being traded to Atlanta, Justin Upton lets the Diamondbacks know what they’re missing by knocking out four hits including his 13th home run—which, by the way, leads the majors—to aid the Braves in a 10-1 rout.

After a quiet start to the year, Kansas City’s Billy Butler explodes with five hits (including two doubles) and five RBIs, raising his season average from .228 to .261 as the Royals easily take care of the Angels at Anaheim, 11-4. Three other Royals have three hits; Joe Blanton drops to 0-7 with the loss for Los Angeles of Anaheim.

Travis Wood pitches seven shutout innings for the Chicago Cubs in their 9-1 win over Colorado and reportedly becomes the first Cub pitcher since Hippo Vaughn in 1919 to begin a year with eight “quality” starts (that is, outings with at least six innings and no more than three runs allowed).

It’s a doubleheader, the Indians are hot, the Yankees are in town…and 23,000 show up at Progressive Field. Where are the old days when the “Jake” was packed for six straight years? (Okay, so it’s a chilly make-up Monday in Ohio.) The Tribe and Yankees trade shutout wins for a split on the double-dip, with Justin Masterson throwing his second shutout of the year in the first game before New York’s Vidal Nuno gets his first career win in the nightcap with five scoreless frames.

Now this is the Aaron Hicks the Minnesota Twins had been hoping to see all year. The rookie outfielder, hitting .137, strokes two home runs and steals another from Adam Dunn with his glove in center as the Twins take care of the White Sox at Target Field, 10-3.


Tuesday, May 14
Melky Cabrera, the 2012 All-Star Game MVP disgraced when he tested positive for PEDs, faces off against the San Francisco Giants—his former mates—for the first time and wraps out a season-high four hits to lift the Blue Jays to a 10-6 win. Also on target, for a change, is Toronto starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, who strikes out a season-high ten Giants in earning the win. Giants starter Barry Zito, on the other hand, gives some blame for his loss to “pitch selection” as called by catcher Buster Posey; it’s not the first time he’s indirectly thrown the reigning MVP under the bus.

The 60,000th hit in San Diego Padres history is a winner: Everth Cabrera’s ninth-inning single caps a two-run, ninth-inning rally at Baltimore and gives the Padres a 3-2 win over the Orioles and closer Jim Johnson, who blows a save for the first time after successfully converting 35 straight—a franchise record.

Clayton Kershaw is one out shy of a complete-game shutout against Washington but is removed after the Nationals’ Adam LaRoche wins a ten-pitch duel by singling to center, raising Kershaw’s pitch count on the night to 132—the most by any pitcher this year. Kenley Jansen finishes off the 2-0 win for the Dodgers; Kershaw lowers his season ERA to a major league-best 1.40.


Wednesday, May 15
Seattle’s Raul Ibanez, who endeared himself to New Yorkers during an otherwise disappointing Yankee postseason last year, cranks out two homers—including a first-inning grand slam—with six RBIs as the Mariners demolish the Yankees, 12-2. Ibanez, who had also homered against the Yankees the night before, now has six on the year.

After missing a month to a fractured collarbone suffered in a brawl, Zack Greinke returns to the mound and allows just a run in 5.1 innings and helps his own cause with a RBI single to lift the Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the Nationals.

After losing their first five games of the season to the Tigers by a combined score of 50-12, the Houston Astros finally get the better of the defending AL champions with two ninth-inning runs to unlock a 5-5 tie and hold on, barely—Miguel Cabrera’s bid for a game-winning, three-run homer dies on the warning track for the final out—to win, 7-5. The Astros are now 11-29 on the season.


Thursday, May 16
A highly anticipated pitching duel between Detroit’s Justin Verlander and Texas’ Yu Darvish turns into a dud, especially for Tiger fans who watch Verlander implode and depart after allowing eight runs—including a career-high six runs in the third—to the Rangers. Darvish, after a somewhat shaky start of his own, settles in and throws eight frames with six strikeouts to up his season total to a major league-best 86, and the Rangers roll over the Tigers, 10-4.

For the third straight night, the Giants spot their opponent (Colorado, in this case) an early big lead, but unlike the previous two games overcome the early deficit and win, once more proving that no lead is safe at lively Coors Field in Denver. The Giants score eight unanswered runs and Matt Cain and company keep the Rockies scoreless after they had pounded the ace for six early runs (with three home runs) to give San Francisco an 8-6 win. It’s the first time that the Giants have come back from six runs down to win since 2005, when they did it at—altogether now—Coors Field against the Rockies.

For the first time in his career, Washington ace Stephen Strasburg takes a start into the eighth inning—and finishes it, ending his night in stellar fashion as he allows two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks to earn just his second win of the year, a 6-2 defeat of the Padres at San Diego.


Friday, May 17
Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson dubiously matches a career high by yielding eight runs to the Baltimore Orioles…and gets the win, as the Rays pile on Jason Hammel and four relievers for a 12-10 win. According to Elias, Hellickson is the first American Leaguer to allow eight or more runs and get credit for a victory since the Chicago White Sox’ Britt Burns in 1985. The game is also the first in the majors this season in which both teams reach double digits, the latest into the year that’s happened since 1990.

The Astros, who have been miserable enough this season, hit a new low at Pittsburgh. Tied at 4-4 in the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded, the Bucs’ Russell Martin hits an innocuous pop fly to short right-center that the Astros appear ready to grip to send the game into extra innings—but right fielder Jimmy Parades bumps into the back of second baseman Jake Elmore (subbing for Jose Altuve), and the force of the collision jars the ball lose to the ground, scoring the game-winner for Pittsburgh.


Saturday, May 18
For the first time since August 8, 2011, the Orioles lose a game in which they held a lead after seven innings. Ahead 6-4 in the ninth, closer Jim Johnson disintegrates for the second time this week, and the Rays say thank you very much—plating six runs to wallop Baltimore at Camden Yards, 10-6. The Orioles had won a franchise-record 109 straight games when leading after seven.

Gerardo Parra goes deep for Arizona in the game’s first at-bat at Miami—and that’s all the Diamondbacks need to shut down the lowly Marlins, 1-0. It’s the first time a team hit a leadoff jack and held it up through nine innings since September 2, 1963, when Pete Rose gave the Reds an early lead on the equally-futile Mets at the Polo Grounds. Brandon McCarthy throws a three-hit shutout for his first win in nine tries this season.

Minnesota’s Target Field continues to be David Ortiz’s idea of Coors Field. The Red Sox boomer belts two homers and knocks in six runs in a 12-5 romp over the Twins, the team that traded Ortiz to Boston in 2002. In ten lifetime games at the Twins’ current park, Ortiz is hitting .500 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 38 at-bats.


Sunday, May 19
The Ray sweep the Orioles at Baltimore with a 3-1 win behind Matt Moore, who becomes the season’s first eight-game winner, sets a Tampa Bay record with his ninth straight victory (breaking the mark set last year by David Price) and, at age 23, becomes the youngest AL southpaw to start a season at 8-0 since a pre-slugger Babe Ruth did it in 1917.

Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman suffers his second blown save of the year—and his second in as many appearances—by conceding back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth to the Phillies’ Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis to give Philadelphia a walk-off, 3-2 win over the Reds. Chapman had recorded just one out in the inning—retiring Cliff Lee at second after the ace pitcher, asked to pitch-run for Delmon Young (who drew a walk to start the ninth) was gunned down trying to steal second.

The Rangers outlast the Tigers, 11-8, despite three home runs from Miguel Cabrera, the second time he’s gone deep thrice in a game. Cabrera also singles and drives in five runs on the night; Detroit’s three other runs are knocked in by Prince Fielder, who clears the bases on a two-out double after the Rangers intentionally walk Cabrera with runners on first and second. The win gives Texas the majors’ best record at 29-15.

 


Restart!
Like one of those NASA test rockets that explodes barely ten feet off the launching pad, or a crash-and-burn Ian Kinsler slide, the following ten players have experienced rotten starts to a year they’d already rather forget. Where’s a time machine when you need one?

Joe Blanton. The upside on the veteran right-hander is that he eats up innings, but what good is that when he’s getting pummeled to the tune of a 0-7 record and opposing .369 batting average? No Angel has started this badly since Joe Grahe went 0-7 out of the gate in 1991.

Ike Davis. It’s déjà vu all over again for the left-handed slugger, who also got off to a miserable start last year. The good news then was that he recovered and gave the Mets decent numbers (32 homers, 90 RBIs) when all was said and done, but unless he improves on a .156 mark to start 2013 and turn up the power, Look for Mets fans to soon be holding up signs reading “We Like Ike—Not!”

Roy Halladay. Last year (4.49 ERA) was bad enough for one of baseball’s premier aces; this year, it’s worse. Much worse, in fact. He did put together three straight quality starts, but they’re sandwiched in between four grisly outings that has ballooned his ERA to 8.65, landed him on the disabled list with major shoulder problems and led him to apologize to Phillies fans.

Josh Hamilton. There’s always seems to be something that the star slugger needs to kick. We won’t joke about the more serious substance abuse issues (for which Hamilton looks to have overcome), but last year he was blaming a cold turkey effort on caffeine for his last-season woes and, with a terrible start (.210 average, five homers) under the weight of a sparkling new contract with the Angels, he’s tracing the source of his current troubles to allergies and a “lack of equilibrium.” Next thing we’ll know, he’ll be evoking Bull Durham and complaining about jammed eyelids.

Phil Humber. The once-perfect pitcher (April 21, 2012, Chicago White Sox) has been perfectly bad for the rotten Astros, becoming baseball’s first eight-game loser on the year without a single win while posting a wretched 9.59 ERA. It’s been all too much even for the sadsack Astros, who designated the 30-year-old right-hander for assignment.

Josh Reddick. The shaggy Oakland slugger who parked 32 deep flies over the fence last year has replaced the out-of-work Brian Wilson as the game’s most outrageously bearded player—and right now, he’s hitting about as well as Wilson. A sprained right wrist could likely be the culprit for an awful .152, one-homer start.

Fernando Rodney. So great last year with the Rays, so great in March with the Dominican WBC team—and so terrible so far this regular season. Rodney has already blown more saves, given up more earned runs and walked as many batters as he did for all of 2012, when he was absolutely stellar as the Tampa Bay closer.

Giancarlo Stanton. He was “pissed” before the year even began after he lost most of his protection in the lineup courtesy of Jeffrey Loria’s talent giveaway to the Blue Jays. But the lone Marlin star simply looked disinterested in his first month of post-Marlin nuclear holocaust play, going homerless through the team’s first 17 games before waking up with three blasts in the next two; but as bad timing would have it, he strained his hamstring and won’t be back for awhile.

B.J. Upton. One Upton (Justin) is off to a terrific start in Atlanta; the other (B.J.) is not—and that’s an understatement. B.J. has never been confused for a batting champion (his career average is .251), but a .145 start that’s the worst among all everyday major leaguers is, needless to say, pretty rotten; worse, his abilities to power the ball (three homers so far this year after 28 in 2012) and to run (3-of-6 stealing) have also diminished.

Ryan Vogelsong. One of the game’s more reliable (if not glamorous) pitchers of the last two years is in the midst of an early el foldo for the Giants. Opponents are hitting 100 points higher against him than from 2011-12, and his 8.06 ERA might be worse—or better—if the normally sharp San Francisco defense didn’t keep screwing up behind him (seven of his 44 runs allowed are unearned).

Pain and (Short-Term) Gain
Pete Reiser was a one-of-a-kind talent. He was so coveted, when the legendary Branch Rickey (then running the St. Louis Cardinals) was forced to give him up to Brooklyn because baseball had told him he was hoarding too many prospects in his voluminous farm system, a clandestine deal with Dodger general manager Larry MacPhail was agreed to in which Brooklyn would hide Reiser in its own farm system and trade him back to the Cardinals when no one was looking.

But Reiser was so good, so fast, so agile and so powerful, he got the attention of Dodger manager Leo Durocher, who publicly and wildly praised the young kid’s skills. MacPhail told Durocher to shush it, but the combative Durocher wouldn’t have it. The jig was up between MacPhail and Rickey, and the Dodgers were stuck with a star.

But Reiser was so reckless, he never fulfilled that stardom. The over-aggressive outfielder constantly ran into walls—unpadded and made of concrete—and his performance eventually declined from the myriad of injuries, which included a fractured skull; soon after, reduced to a benchwarmer, he was gone from the game at the age of 33.

Reiser’s tale is prologue to the rise of Bryce Harper, who got the attention of the baseball world as a young teenager in Las Vegas, doing almost anything a major leaguer could do: Hit a baseball 500 feet, run like a deer, and pitch 90-MPH fastballs. A pure prodigy and can’t-miss prospect, he was a no-brainer selection by the Washington Nationals as the top pick in the 2010 amateur draft.

Harper impressed in his short time in the minors and, debuting for the Nationals at age 19 last year, copped the NL Rookie of the Year award with a .270 average, 98 runs, 22 homers and 18 steals. His sophomore effort, so far, has clearly elevated him into All-Star status and made him an early candidate for the MVP award. But like Reiser before him, Harper has shown a play-at-all-costs attitude befitting of Evel Knievel.

The downside of Harper’s reckless style was exhibited this past week in Los Angeles. Chasing a deep fly by the Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis, Harper tore after the ball, running full-speed and face-first into the electronic scoreboard in right field—almost as if he never knew one existed. Dazed and in pain, Harper was able to lift himself off the warning track after a few minutes with blood running down his neck from the impact on his chin; he missed the next few games, complaining of “post-crash nausea.”

If people think that Harper is learning that his daring defensive demeanor may not be the best thing for him, forget it. A day after his injury, Harper tweeted: “I’ll keep playing this game hard for the rest of my life even if it kills me.”

Yes, the walls and the players are more protected these days than they were in Reiser’s time. But Harper playing the non-stop locomotive will not keep him 100% healthy against even the padded wall, or the burly catcher he’s going to run over, or the hard turf he’s going to fly, stretch and land hard upon to catch a dying fly ball. The ghost of Pete Reiser will praise Harper’s all-out energy, at the same time pausing to recall what led Reiser to be reduced to just another major leaguer by his mid-20s.

Bryce Harper will need to heed Reiser’s story to avoid the same fate.

Fieldin’ Trouble
This has not been a good couple of weeks for umpire Fieldin Culbreth. He was first punished for two games by MLB after allowing Houston manager Bo Porter to make an illegal pitching change (inserting in two pitchers without facing a batter in between), and then in Tuesday’s 12-inning game at Pittsburgh between the Brewers and Pirates, he took a foul ball from Milwaukee’s Yuniesky Betancourt in the collarbone, knocking him out of the game in the 11th inning. These things tend to happen in threes, so our advice for anyone is to stay away from Culbreth until after his next dubious event takes place.

The Price is Not Right
Tampa Bay ace and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price has finally found what has ailed him and caused a lackluster start to his 2013 campaign: Laundry detergent. Price, who’s 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA in eight starts so far this year, says that the chemicals used by the Rays to wash the team’s uniforms have brought on allergies and affected his vision. (The detergent had nothing to do, however, with the triceps strain that landed Price on the disabled list this past week.)

Farewell, Mr. White
Fred White did 26 years’ worth of play-by-play for the Kansas City Royals, and he picked the right 26. He began in 1973, just as the young franchise was beginning to emerge into an American League power. Under his witness, the Royals were one of baseball’s most entertaining teams to watch in recent times, with an aggressive offense headlined by George Brett and fortified with the likes of Amos Otis, Hal McRae and later Bo Jackson. White voiced the Royals for all six of their postseason appearances and their lone world title, in 1985; after his forced departure from the booth in 1998—a move that infuriated Royals fans—he remained with the club doing media relations and alumni work. He died this past week of cancer at the age of 76; in a nice tribute, the Royals’ broadcasters went silent for the first half-inning of Wednesday’s telecast at Anaheim.

Next Time, Try it in April
After a first month of the season in which the majority of their home games were played in winter-like conditions, the Minnesota Twins had a promotional giveaway with fleece blankets handed to fans before Tuesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Game time temperature: 92 degrees.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm
The New York Yankees became the first American League team to go 17-0 when scoring first to start a season. The record had previously been held by the 1904 Boston Americans and the 1912 Chicago White Sox.

May Showers Bring Many June Hours of Community Service
A fan was ejected from the third deck of St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field during Thursday’s game between the Rays and Boston Red Sox for urinating from his seat. We don’t know what’s more amazing: The dare of this guy, or the fact that the Rays were actually able to sell third-deck seats.

A Fashionable Reference
Have you always wanted to know what uniform variation the 1979 world champion Pittsburgh Pirates wore from game to game? You’re in luck.

Learning to Walk All Over Again
It took the Chicago White Sox’ Jeff Keppinger 138 at-bats to draw his first walk of the year, and it paid off; the eighth-inning pass forced in the eventual game-winning run in the White Sox’ 5-4 victory at Anaheim on Thursday.

Goin' Solo
A streak of 16 straight solo home runs hit by the Philadelphia Phillies came to an end this past Friday when Jimmy Rollins went deep with a man on base during the Phillies' 5-3 win over the Reds.

League vs. League
The American League upheld its slim advantage over the National League this past week, although the senior circuit moved within a game after a 5-4 week. For the year, the AL leads interleague play by a 29-26 count; they’ve out-won the NL every year since 2004.

This Week’s Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
For the second straight week, San Francisco’s
Marco Scutaro reigns as the major leaguer with the longest active hitting streak, extending his current run to 17 games—three shy of his career long. Scutaro continues to be every bit as hot as his run implies; he’s had multiple hits in 13 of the 17 games, and is batting a sizzling .486 since it all began back on April 29.

Wounded of the Week
wounded of the weekDespite what most people think, Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler hit the disabled list because of bruised ribs suffered from a few recent plunkings, not from his crash-and-burn slide into third base against Detroit on Thursday. The injury allows the Rangers to bring up Jurickson Profar, currently tabbed as baseball’s number one minor league prospect.

Elsewhere, it was a week to be reminded that life as a major league pitcher is nowhere as easy as it appears—for the few out there who actually still believe that. Pain (and DL stays) inflicted hurlers far and wide, including Tampa Bay ace David Price, Los Angeles’ Josh Beckett, the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte, St. Louis’ Jaime Garcia, Texas’ Alexi Ogando, Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen, Colorado’s Jeff Francis and Atlanta reliever Eric O’Flaherty—who’s widely rumored to be next to undergo season-ending surgery, joining fellow Braves reliever Jonny Venters.


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