1. He’s (almost) baaaacck: Roger Clemens is back with the team he won two World Series titles with. The Yankees, who have been desperate for starting pitching since the beginning of the season, signed the Rocket in a $28 million deal pro-rated over four months (so he’ll make $18.5 million). While this deal comes as unsurprising, it could have a huge effect on the league this season. When Clemens returns to the mound within the next month or so, the Yankees with have a solid rotation: Clemens, Mussina, Ming-Wang, Pettitte, and Hughes. But since an already old team is adding a 45-year-old pitcher, it also shows the Yankees need a World Series title this year. As Clemens moves from the National League back to the American, he’ll see a rise in ERA from the past two seasons. But with increased run support, he will have a better record than he did with the Astros, and he will help make the Yankees at least competitive with the Red Sox for the division title. I still favor Boston to win it, but Clemens certainly makes the race more interesting.
2. Phenom meets phenom: Barry Bonds didn’t play on Sunday Night Baseball against the Phillies, but the game was still interesting due to a lot of offense and a matchup of young pitchers. The Phillies sent their ace-to-be Cole Hamels to the mound to face the Giants’ Tim Lincecum in his major league debut. Lincecum had lit up the minor leagues for a 0.29 ERA in five starts this year, but he allowed two homers (including a shot to Ryan Howard) and struggled with his control. After four innings and 100 pitches, Lincecum left with 5 runs and 5 walks allowed. Hamels allowed 5 runs as well, but only 3 of them were earned and he had 9 strikeouts. He was credited with the win and improved to 4-1 on the year. Another thing worth noting for the Phillies was the emergence of a new weapon on the basepaths. Pinch-runner Michael Bourn came in on first, stole two bases on two consecutive pitches, then scored on a routine grounder to short that usually would have been an out. The Phillies may only be 14-17, but they certainly have a lot of offensive weapons.
3. Detroit Dominance: The Tigers may have just faced the pitiful Royals over the weekend, but they took advantage of them and extended their winning streak to 7 games. A three-game sweep of Kansas City gave Detroit a share of the division lead with Cleveland. On Sunday they dominated 13-4 and had four different players with a homerun. Gary Sheffield hit his third homer of the past five games and has suddenly heated up after a cold April. Also, rookie pitcher Chad Durbin had one of his better starts with 7.2 innings and just 2 runs allowed. The 19-11 Tigers will be tested with back-to-back road series against the Red Sox and Twins over the next week.
Player of the Day: Trot Nixon, Indians: 5-5, 4 RBIs in a 9-6 win over Baltimore.
Stat of the Day: Padres starter Jake Peavy has struck out at least 10 batters in three consecutive games, while throwing for only seven innings in each game.
Walk Off: An ESPN poll about Barry Bonds shows only 58% of people think he should be in the Hall of Fame. This goes to show the complete unintelligence of baseball fans. Even if you think Bonds cheated in every way possible, he was a Hall of Famer before his alleged steroid use. His is the best hitter in a generation, and should be a unanimous Hall of Fame selection in addition to being considered one of the greatest hitters ever. He has broken more records than anybody since Babe Ruth. Don’t let the crappy person Bonds is diminish his unbelievable numbers.