Three Up, Three Down
But 28 games into the ninth season of the Aughts, the Cubs lead the majors in not only runs (174), but also total bases (456), on-base percentage (.375), average (.288) and many more offensive statistics. Making matters even stranger, Chicago has compiled these gaudy numbers while getting next to nothing from $136 million leadoff man
There are many cumulative reasons for Chicago's offensive outburst:
• A surprisingly effective,
But one factor truly stands out above all the rest:
Back in 2005 Lee finished third in NL MVP voting and made a run at the Triple Crown, leading the Senior Circuit in batting average (.335) and placing second in home runs (46). Lee broke his wrist the following April, causing him to miss all but 50 games in the '06 campaign. He bounced back to play 150 games last season, but didn't regain his power stroke until after the All-Star break (when he hit 16 of his 22 homers).
Lee dismisses the notion that the wrist tempered his production during the first half of '07, but Cubs hitting coach
The 32-year-old Lee certainly looks like he's back to full strength in '08. He owns a .360 batting average and leads the Cubs in home runs (8), RBIs (23), runs (26) and OPS (1.098). Lee is often overlooked when it comes to discussing the game's finest hitters, but make no mistake about it: A healthy Derrek Lee is one of the most devastating forces in baseball.
By beating the A's on back-to-back nights this week,
Saunders, who compiled a 15-8 record as a part-time starter over the last two years, is definitely a surprise. But Santana's 5-0 start is more astonishing, especially considering three of those wins came on the road. The 25-year-old has always struggled outside of Angel Stadium, but he was absolutely dreadful on the road last season, finishing at 1-10 with an 8.38 ERA.
"We've never worried about that internally," manager
Well, the mechanics must be right -- Ervin owns a respectable 3.72 ERA away from home.
At a perfect 10-0, Saunders and Santana still have a ways to go to equal the '07 record of Lackey and Escobar (37-16). But remember, Lackey is close to returning. And once this happens, Saunders and Santana become Los Angeles' No. 4 and 5 starters, respectively. It's a pretty nice luxury for Scioscia to have this kind of production at the back end of the rotation.
McLouth arrived at spring training as a fourth outfielder, but he left with the starting center field job. He immediately exploded onto the national scene with a 19-game hitting streak to start the year. This was no
Through 28 games, the 27-year-old spark plug leads the Pirates in home runs (7), doubles (12) and runs (24), while ranking second in batting average (.330), RBIs (25) and walks (15). Pittsburgh has been searching for a long-term answer in center since
As for that "Nasty Nate" moniker I haphazardly attached to the slugger ... Yeah, it's wholly unoriginal. But it just feels so right.
Hafner is only 30 years old, but Indians fans are starting to wonder if his best seasons are already in the rearview mirror.
With Hafner mired in a 7-for-51 slump,
So what exactly happened to Hafner following that spectacular '06 season? The cynical fan could blame domestication, as
There are whispers that Hafner mysteriously lost a ton of bat speed. Could this have something to do with the sore shoulder that bothered him in March and parts of April? Not according to Hafner, who told MLB.com, "Physically, I feel great." Hafner's not seeing the ball very well; the normally patient hitter has definitely expanded the strike zone (as evidenced by his 28-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio).
The Indians survived one down season from Hafner, but a second consecutive power outage would be difficult to overcome, since cleanup man
Who can blame him, though?
The 1-0 defeat in Fenway Park marked Halladay's fourth straight complete game ... and his third straight loss. Over Halladay's four-start stretch, the Blue Jays have provided their ace with a grand total of eight runs.
Halladay has said all the right things to the media, but he has to be fuming inside. For the season, Halladay has received an average of 3.08 runs of support per start. And that, folks, is how you turn a 3.26 ERA and 1.07 WHIP into a 2-4 record.
Last year in Class AA Montgomery, Longoria hit .333 against lefties and .286 against right-handers. But during a short promotion to Class AAA Durham, he hit just .190 against lefties as opposed to .308 against right-handers.
"The guys that are in the big leagues that are left-handers, they're pretty good -- they're not just normal, everyday lefties," Longoria told the
Sounds like some southpaws have a pretty good scouting report on the rookie phenom. Major League baseball is a game of adjustments -- time for Longoria to make his first tweak.
• Just noticed that every single MLB.com schedule (example:
• We discussed
• After spending a good portion of last year in the minors, how is
• Tampa Bay recorded its first winning April in franchise history, 14-12.
• Which is a more absurd fashion statement: