Property of Boston Red Sox
1. It’s not that bad: The Braves’ situation isn’t as bad as it was a few weeks ago. After defeating the Marlins last night, they improved to 18-20 on the season. They are 6-2 in May, and are only 5.5 games out of the division lead. Last night, they put on an offensive showcase in a 11-8 win over the Marlins. Brian McCann, the Braves’ vastly underrated catcher, drove in five runs and hit his 5th homer. McCann is leading the NL in batting average with .352 on the season. Andruw Jones also was excellent, going 4-4 with 4 RBIs. The Braves are taking advantage of a 10 game stretch against lowly Washington and Florida.
2. It is that bad: The Orioles, expected by many to finish last in the AL East, have surprised many this season by going 18-21 so far. Actually, their record would be a lot better had they not played the Red Sox so many times. They have lost all of their 7 games against the Sox this year, and dating back to last year the streak is 12 games. Nothing changed last night, as Boston soared to a 11-1 romp. Josh Beckett pitched excellently, with a 2-hitter through 7 innings on his 26th birthday. Jason Varitek scored a career-high 4 runs, and Willy Mo Pena homered and drove in 3. The Sox, at 22-14, have a one-game lead in the East.
3. Stuck on you: We haven’t written about Barry Bonds in a while here at Full Count, and that’s because he hasn’t done anything. Last night, he continued his homerless streak in the Giants’ 10-1 blowout over the Astros. Bonds did hit an RBI double, but he failed to go yard for his seventh straight game. The pressure of getting the next one (and another) homers is weighing on Barry. Before, Bonds spoke of the “ghost of Babe Ruth” hovering around.
4. Inner City Rivalries: Interleague play starts this week for some teams, and there are definitely some interesting matchups to look forward to. The Yankees and Mets play at Shea, which could prove to be one of the more intense series of the regular season. The White Sox host the Cubs, which might look intriguing on paper but will likely be a blowout. On Sunday, Carlos Zambrano and Jose Contreras face off in a guaranteed pitcher’s duel. And, in what is inferably considered an inter-town rivalry based on the name change, the Dodgers and Angels play. There are also multiple interstate rivalries which are less interesting. St. Louis travels to Kansas City, San Francisco to Oakland, Texas to Houston, Baltimore to Washington, and Florida vs. Tampa Bay (which will easily be the least-attended series of all time). Atlanta and Arizona are the teams left out of interleague play this time around, though the Hudson vs. Webb matchup on Sunday could be worth watching.
5. This is where the pot goes: Freddie Garcia’s tokin’ in the offseason hasn’t affected his game. Last night, he won his sixth game in a row, allowing 3 runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. That’s good enough to lead the league in wins. Let’s hope little leaguers don’t take notice of his training habits.