The weather wasn't the only thing blistering hot this week as nobody could get a certain Yankee out and a Brave had 400 on the mind -- two ways -- in this sweltering edition of Diamond Digits.
Players in the last 38 years to have a six-hit games that includes a walk-off hit, Johnny Damon and Chone Figgins. Last Saturday against the Royals, Damon racked up a double and five singles, the last of which scored the winning run in New York's wild 12-11 victory, becoming the 17th player in the last 17 years to go six for six in a game. Coincidentally, Figgins, was also the last AL player to go six-for-six in a game. Last June 18, Figgins was five for five against the Astros when he came to the plate with Reggie Willits on first with two outs in the ninth and the score 9-9. Figgins laced a ball down the right field line for a rare walkoff triple. Prior to Figgins, the last player with his sixth hit being a game winner was Detroit's Jim Northrup who beat Oakland with a 13th inning two-run homer on Aug. 28, 1969.
Switch-hitters who have reached the 400 home run plateau after Chipper Jones did so last Thursday, joining Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray. Jones is the first National Leaguer to reach that milestone. In fact Jones is the only NL switch-hitter with at least 300 home runs while only five (Lance Berkman, Bobby Bonilla, Ken Caminiti, Howard Johnson and Todd Hundley) reached even 200 homers in the Senior Circuit. To put this disparity in better perspective, Jones has hit 44 percent more home runs than Berkman, second alltime on the NL list. For good measure, Chipper jacked his average to a big league-best .420 through Tuesday, giving him a shot at a joining an even more exclusive .400 Club.
Teams in the majors this season that have yet to experience a three-game losing streak. By pulling out a win on Sunday in L.A., the Cubs snapped a two-game skid to maintain their status as the only team in the majors yet to drop three in a row. Even more amazingly, Lou Piniella's team had the best record in baseball on June 1, marking the first time in 100 years that they were the majors' best team on June 1. Perhaps not-so coincidentally, that year, 1908, marked the last Cubs World Series title.
Joe Crede, 3B, White Sox
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams looked pretty smart this week for not unloading third baseman Joe Crede in the offseason, despite the presence of top prospect Josh Fields. In just five games Crede had a week that most players can only dream about with back-to-back two home run games, five homers total for the week, 12 runs batted in, a .611 average and 1.556 slugging percentage. How locked in was he? Crede came to the dish 21 times, yet struck out just once.
Matt Lindstrom, RP, Marlins
The Marlins expect big things from Lindstrom, a 28-year old right handed reliever acquired from the Mets in 2006, but last week's gigantic ERA of 32.40 in three appearances couldn't have been one of them. In two games against the Braves and one versus the Reds, Lindstrom allowed six earned runs, eight hits, walked five while pitching a total of an inning and two-thirds while his Marlins fell from first place in the NL East.
In a macro sense it was a big week for the Big Unit; in a micro sense, not so much. Last Monday night Randy Johnson, struck out Milwaukee's Mike Cameron for the 4,673rd strikeout of his career, moving him past Roger Clemens and leaving Nolan Ryan as the only man in the history of the game to fan more batters than him. However for the week, Johnson's fortunes weren't so bright as he lost his that start while giving up four runs (three earned), in six and a third innings in the Brewers 7-1 win. In a lesser personal milestone but nonetheless good for the Diamondbacks, that was Johnson's 10th start of the season, matching his total for all of 2007.
Jose Arredondo, RP, Angels
Rookie right handed reliever Jose Arredondo of the Angels is making quite an impression in his first taste of big league action, After being called up in May as bullpen filler, he's been so impressive that even in a very experienced and accomplished pen, he's been getting many of the eighth inning setup calls from manager Mike Scioscia. On May 14, Arredondo allowed a home run to the first big league batter he faced, Chicago's Nick Swisher, but since has been lights out, tossing 13 consecutive shutout innings while allowing just seven more hits and walking nobody. What's the secret to his success? Despite a slight frame (6 feet, 175 pounds) he has abnormally large hands, which allows him to throw a mean split, along with his 94 mph fastball. With Francisco Rodriguez's impending free agency looming, he certainly looks like the leading candidate to take over as closer next season should K-Rod bolt.