Boo me now, bitches!
1. Who’s Booing Now?: Alex Rodriguez getting booed at home was not a newsworthy event last year. But this season, he’s been the only reason the Yankees aren’t in last place. A-Rod has been absolutely sensational to say the least, and he continued on Thursday with a walk-off three-run homer. The blast was his 10th of the year; he has 26 RBIs and leads the majors in almost every major category. Rodriguez’s game-winner simply put an exclamation point on an already impressive comeback by New York. The Yanks were down 6-2 to start the ninth, but Josh Phelps hit a solo homer, then Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu each hit RBI singles. A-Rod’s shot won the game, sent the Yanks to second place, and ruined Joe Borowski’s ERA.
2. MVP vs. LVP: Another player who has proved invaluable to his team this year is Cubs starter Rich Hill. While Chicago stands at a mediocre 6-9, they would be even worse if it wasn’t for Hill, who has won half their games. He pitched 8 innings against the Braves, allowing no runs to bring his ERA down to 0.41. The Braves’ starter, Mark Redman, gave a much better effort than his first two starts of the year, but was not supported at all by the offense. Redman is now 0-3 on the year, accountable for the majority of the Braves’ 5 losses. Hill seems like he’s an All Star selection right now, while Redman could be demoted from the rotation unless he improves.
3. Manny’s Back: Many stars have struggled this year, and Manny Ramirez was one of them. The slugger had no homeruns in the team’s first 13 games, and was hitting under .200. But last night his first homer was huge for the Red Sox. The Blue Jays were up 3-1 entering the eighth inning, when Manny launched a two-run shot to tie the game. Then the Sox scored two more runs in the ninth, and Jonathan Papelbon sealed the deal for his fourth save. Boston is now 9-5, good for the division lead. But that all could change when they face the Yankees at Fenway for a three-game set this weekend.
Player of the Day: Rich Hill, Cubs: 8 innings, 9 runs, 7 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over Atlanta.
Walk Off: Here are the division leaders right now: Boston, Minnesota, Oakland, New York, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles. Of those, five have been perennial contenders the last few years. But how is Milwaukee so good? They were a sleeper pick to start the year, but do they have any potential to continue their success? The answer lies in their pitching. In six of their nine wins, the Brewers have allowed 3 runs or less. Francisco Cordero hasn’t given up a run in 5 saves, but beyond that, their pitchers have simply been lucky and/or inconsistent. Chris Capuano hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning but is 2-0. Jeff Suppan has been good but not dominant, while Ben Sheets and Doug Davis have only been good one out of their three starts. Of course Sheets has ace potential, but the rest of the rotation seems mediocre. I don’t think this team will last–their above average hitting will regress as well. I still think St. Louis is the team to beat in the division, even though they’re in last right now. If they can’t do it, Houston will take advantage and win the division.