Rockies, Marlins, White Sox Narrow Gap
Yesterday’s major league action ended with three contenders gaining on the leaders in their divisions.
The Rockies continued to gain ground on the Dodgers in the NL West with a 5-1 win over the Reds. They are now only two games behind the Dodgers after winning their seventh consecutive game. They are 9-1 in their last ten games while the Dodgers are 5-5.
The Dodgers were seven games ahead of the second place Giants before the All Star break and nine games ahead of the Rockies.
Now two months later the Rockies have the luxury of leading the wild card race by four and-a-half games even if they can’t catch the Dodgers.
The Rockies should be the favorite to defeat the Padres tonight with Jorge De La Rosa (14-9) facing Edward Mujica (3-4) of the Padres.
The Dodgers may have a tougher time of it with Hiroki Kuroda (5-6) taking the mound for the Dodgers against Matt Cain (13-4).
It may have been 45 years since the Phillies blew a six and-a-half game lead with twelve games left in the 1964 season but the 2009 Phillies seem to be in danger of blowing their NL East lead.
In their last ten games the second place Marlins currently five games behind the Phillies have a 7-3 record while the Phillies have a 4-6 record in that stretch.
Josh Johnson (14-4) will start tonight against J.D. Martin (3-4) of the Nationals. The Marlins end their season in Philadelphia with a three game series against the Phillies.
Cole Hamels (8-9) who has had a disappointing year will have Nelson Figueroa (2-4) of the Mets as his mound opponent.
In the AL Central the White Sox gained a half game on the first place Tigers and the second place Twins by defeating the A’s in a 4-3 walkoff win that lasted 13 innings. A.J. Pierzynski ended the game with a walkoff double.
The White Sox are now six games behind the Tigers while they are only a half game behind the Twins.
The White Sox will travel to Anaheim to play the Angels tonight while the Tigers and Twins play losing teams in the Blue Jays and Athletics.
Gavin Floyd (11-9) and Joe Saunders (12-7) will be the mound opponents in the White Sox-Angels game. Nate Robertson (1-1) and Brian Tallet (6-9) face each other in the Tigers-Blue Jays game tonight.
Nick Blackburn (8-9) will be facing Clay Mortensen (0-2) in the Twins-Athletics game.
The best scenario for the Rangers is to win the AL wild card race since they are only two games behind the Red Sox. It would be a real surprise if they were to win the AL West. The Rangers and Angels are both 7-3 in their last ten games and have three game winning streaks.
The Rangers host the Mariners tonight with Kevin Millwood (11-9) favored to defeat Brandon Morrow (0-4) who has lost three of his four losses to the Rangers and has a 14.39 ERA against the Rangers in 2009.
Only 10 teams are within six and-a-half games or less of the division leader in their divisions. By this time next week some of these teams will have fallen out of the race. Teams in third place have a particularly rough road ahead since they need to pass two teams.
Ichiro Suzuki needs only four hits to have hit safely 200 times for the ninth season. However it is taking longer than expected since he is in a 2-18 slump currently….Adam Lind needs four doubles and Billy Butler needs five to join Brian Roberts in the 50 doubles club this season.
Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino are the only major leaguers with at least 10 triples this season with each having 11….Adam Dunn needs four home runs to have 40 home runs exactly for five straight seasons.
Kendry Morales needs two runs batted in to be the ninth player this season to have 100 runs batted in….Other players close to having 100 RBI’s for the first time in their career are Adam Lind and Hanley Ramirez with 96, Andre Ethier, Mark Reynolds and Aaron Hill with 94.
Ryan Zimmerman with 93 and Nick Markakis with 91 also have a chance of having 100 RBI’s. Matt Kemp with 89 runs batted in has an outside chance of reaching 100 RBI’s this season.
Albert Pujols with 342 total bases leads the AL leading Mark Teixeira by 50 total bases with Teixeira having 292. The 342 by Pujols matches the 342 he had last season.
Sammy Sosa was the last major leaguer to have 400 total bases when he had 425 in 2001. The last American Leaguer to have 400 total bases is Jim Rice when he had 406 in 1978. The last previous AL player to 400 total bases was Joe DiMaggio when he had 418 in 1937.
Babe Ruth holds the major league record with 457 total bases in 1921 in a 154 game season which makes it even more remarkable.
Matt Holliday has been a huge part of the reason the Cardinals have the largest lead in the majors in their division. Holliday hit .286 for the Athletics and .379 for the Cardinals.
He batted 346 times for the Athletics and 161 times for the Cardinals. Despite the 185 fewer at bats with the Cardinals the numbers are much closer than expected. The following list shows both the Athletics numbers and Cardinals numbers with the Athletics numbers on the left.
Doubles – 23-12
Triples – 1-2
Home Runs – 11-12
Runs Batted In – 54-42
Total Bases – 113-157
Extra Base Hits – 35-26
His percentage numbers which don’t take into account his at bats are an even truer indication of how his numbers improved after leaving the Athletics.
Batting Average – .286-.379
On Base Percentage – .378-.432
Slugging Percentage – .454-.702
OPS – .831 – 1.134
Oakland Athletics fans can’t help but wonder why Holliday put up below average numbers for Holliday when he was in Oakland. Then after the trade he goes on a tear and helps the Cardinals extend their lead in the NL Central race.