MLB General

The Full Count: Boston back on top

1. Back to Being the Best: The Red Sox, once again, have the best record in baseball. They are 62-40 after beating the Indians in a series 3-1. They won 14-9 on Thursday, in a high-scoring contest that followed two 1-0 games between the teams. Manny Ramirez was the star in this one, with two homers, four RBIs, and four runs. Wily Mo Pena also contributed four hits and four RBIs, even after coming into the game with a .080 average in July. The Indians were excellent too on offense, as eight of their starters scored a run, but it wasn’’t even as Boston blew through them. The Red Sox extended their division lead over the Yankees back to 7.5 with the win and the Yanks’ loss to the Royals.

2. Hot and Cold: The Arizona Diamondbacks have been probably the streakiest team in baseball this season, with four winning streaks of 6 or more games and three losing streaks of 5 or more games. Right now they are hot, with their sixth win in a row coming against the Marlins. Arizona won 7-4 due to a three-run walk-off homer by Eric Byrnes. Their bullpen pitched six shutout innings after starter Micah Owings was knocked out of the game. The Diamondbacks are now ahead of the Padres for the first time in while, and they’re only 1.5 games back of Los Angeles. Next week, they will play against the Padres and Dodgers in series that could shake up the order in the NL West.

3. Double Trouble: The Phillies had a terrible day on Thursday, as they lost 7-6 to the Nationals and one of their superstars players was hurt. MVP candidate Chase Utley broke his hand as he was hit by a pitch. He may only be out 3-4 weeks, but it still will affect the team for the worse. Utley is a major reason the Phillies lead the league in runs, with a .336 average, 82 RBIs, and 79 runs. The sooner he comes back, the better for Philadelphia, which is 2.5 games out in the Wild Card race.

Player of the Day: Nick Swisher, A’s: 3-5, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs in a 6-2 win over Seattle.

MLB General

The Full Count: A night of nice round numbers

1. Milestone Number 1: After the 2004 and 2005 seasons, in which he only played 108 combined games, it seemed like Frank Thomas would never stay healthy enough to reach 500 homers. But after a 39 homer season last year, and 13 more blasts this season, Thomas has joined the legendary 500 homer club. He is its 21st member, though he will be joined soon by Alex Rodriguez, who needs eight more. Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Gary Sheffield are not far off as well. Many people think the 500 homer mark is diminished because of the large amount of members joining in recent years and steroid suspicions of these players. However, Thomas is one of those players that has always seemed clean, and the large majority of his homers were hit before the steroid era. This achievement just puts Thomas over the edge when it comes to making the Hall of Fame. Now, he’s likely a first-ballot type candidate. Oh by the way, Thomas’ Blue Jays lost to the Twins, 8-5.

2. Milestone Number 2: Amazingly, only hours after Thomas’ 500th homer, Craig Biggio reached the 3000-hit mark. He is the 27th player to reach that mark, though it is arguably more special than 500 homeruns the longevity and consistency it takes to reach. Biggio’s hit was his third of five hits on Wednesday in Houston’s extra-inning win over Colorado. It’s unfortunate that Biggio’s biggest career achievement comes in what is likely his worst season. Even after going 5-6, he still is hitting just .250 on the year with an awful .293 on-base percentage. This is Biggio’s 20th season, and it will probably become his 19th straight with more than 100 hits. He has also had all 3,002 of his hits with the Astros, making him the ninth player in history with 3,000 hits with one team. Whether he makes the Hall of Fame or not, Biggio’s career has been quite distinguished, especially for a second baseman.

3. Rogers Rules: A loaded team like Detroit doesn’t need any extra help, but that’s exactly what they’ve received thanks to the return of Kenny Rogers. After six shutout innings against the Braves in his season debut, Rogers improved to 2-0 with one run allowed in six more innings against the Rangers. The run allowed did bring an end to his under-publicized scoreless innings streak, however. Last year Rogers didn’t allow a run in 23 postseason innings, and he started this year with 11 straight shutout innings. With a 5-2 victory, the Tigers managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of the last-place Rangers. Gary Sheffield hit his 18th homer of the year as well for Detroit.

Player of the Day: Chase Utley, Phillies: 3-5, 2 HRs (15), 4 RBIs in an 8-7 win over the Reds.