1. Yet Another Milestone: In what has been more than anything a season of milestones, Jim Thome supplied the latest with his 500th career homer. Becoming the third player this year and 23rd overall to join the once-exclusive club, Thome has understandably received less attention than most to reach the mark. The home run, which dramatically was a walk-off shot in a win over the Angels, was Thome’s 28th this year. He is two homers shy of his 11th career 30-homerun season. Thome, contrary to fellow 500-homer sluggers Frank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez, is not a sure-fire Hall of Famer. His career average is .281, just .229 in the postseason. He never finished in the top 3 of the MVP voting either. Though Thome may not make the Hall, it is undeniable that he is among the league’s all time greatest sluggers. He is top 20 all time in career slugging percentage and OPS. Regardless of whether he is enshrined in Cooperstown, Thome deserves more recognition for what he has accomplished.
2. Right in the Race: The Philadelphia Phillies continue to make a push for the playoffs. With a weekend sweep of the Mets, they moved within 3.5 games of the previously dominant division leaders. They are also only 1.5 games back of the wild card-leading Padres. Whether Philly can pass one of these teams is still unknown. They continue to have the league’s best offense, with 49 more runs than the second-place Rockies. But their pitching staff, as always, has been a weakness, with only the Nats and Reds allowing more runs on the year. On Sunday, Philly outscored the Mets 10-6, with the Mets virtually beating themselves. New York had 6 errors, their most in five years, and 11 walks. Jose Reyes made two errors on one play in the second inning, which led to two Phillies runs. The Mets should still roll to the division title, as they have the easiest schedule they could have asked for down the stretch. Their four remaining series are split between the Nationals and Marlins, two of the worst teams in the National League.
3. Peavy for MVP?: In a season that lacks a standout contender for the NL MVP, Padres starter Jake Peavy certainly deserves at least some consideration. He is virtually an automatic win every time he takes the mound, with an 18-6 record and a 9-2 mark since the All Star break. Without him, the Padres would be nowhere near the Wild Card lead. On Sunday, Peavy shut down the Giants, with one run allowed in seven innings and 10 strikeouts. He leads the league in strikeouts (225), ERA (2.39), WHIP (1.04), and wins. There has certainly not been any offensive player in the National League that has done as much for his team as Peavy has done for the Padres.
Player of the Day: Michael Young, Rangers: 3-4, HR, 7 RBIs in an 11-9 win over the A’s.