The Full Count: Barry inching closer


The crawl to Aaron continues: Barry Bonds hit no. 751 on Tuesday against the Reds, a first inning blast off Aaron Harang into the right-centerfield seats. The Giants lost the game 7-3, and Bonds made sure to backhand his teammates by saying, “I’m playing pretty good for an old guy. I just wish we were playing better as a team.” That’s our Barry, always making nice. What made this game interesting was that it was the first time in over 30 years in which two players with that many homeruns played in the same game. Bonds (751) and Ken Griffey Jr’s (585) 1,336 homers are the third-most all-time between two players in the same game.

The players might have liked you, but I think you suck. We believe those were the words Rockies’ manager Clint Hurdle used when taking the closer’s job away from Brian Fuentes. Fuentes had already sewn up his third straight selection to the NL All-Star team before blowing four consecutive save opportunities, the first time anyone has done that in almost 20 years. Fuentes was one of the best closers in the league before melting in games against the Blue Jays, Cubs and Astros, with his ERA jumping from 1.89 to 4.17. He probably won’t lose the job permanantely, but Hurdle now plans on using the dreaded “bullpen by committee” approach.

Rookie what we have here Although his name may sound more like a NASCAR driver than a baseball player, Houston rookie Hunter Pence has been tearing it up for the Astros. Pence has been doing it all for Houston, including hitting a walk-off homerun for a 5-4 victory over the Phillies last night. It was the third time during their homestand that an Astro has sent ’em home happy with a game-winning homer. Since being called up on April 28th, the Fort Worth, TX product has hit 10 homeruns with 39 RBI while leading the Astros with a .345 batting average. He’s even outslugging Carlos Lee .590 to .517. He’s also playing a remarkable centerfield, as evidenced by his ridiculous catch off a Ryan Howard shot in the eigth inning. Pence climbed that stupid Tal’s Hill and caught the ball right next to the waiting-to-kill-somebody flagpole, 436 feet from home.

Player of the day: Brad Wilkerson, Rangers. 3-4, 3 HR, 6 RBI in an 8-3 win over the Angels.

Honorable Mention Player(s) of the day: The Kansas City Royals entire starting lineup. The Royals are a team that has never gotten a lot of respect offensively, but when they beat a team, they beat them like they stole something. For the third time in a month, the Royals put a 17 spot on the board –all in home games– by pounding the Mariners 17-3. 21-year-old Billy Butler led the way, driving in six runs by the second inning. The Royals beat the Phillies 17-5 on June 10th and the Cardinals 17-8 on June 14th. They also lost a 17-3 game to Oakland at home on May 10th.

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