1. Still Undefeated: It appears a trip to the DL didn’t affect Josh Beckett. The ace came back as good as ever in a 4-2 win over Cleveland. Beckett threw seven innings, allowing three hits and two runs. He improved to 8-0 on the year, and is one of only three remaining undefeated starters (Jeremy Bonderman and James Shields are the other two). As the Red Sox won their fifth straight game, the Yankees lost their fifth in a row. Boston’s 14.5 game division lead appears now to be insurmountable.
2. Home Sweet Home: Ervin Santana of the Angels has been one of the most puzzling pitchers in the majors this season. At home, he is the ace many expect him to be, with a 4-1 record and 2.12 ERA. But on the road, he has been horrendous: 0-5 with a 9.30 ERA. Thankfully for the Angels, Santana was pitching at home on Tuesday, and he dominated as expected. With seven innings and one run allowed, he allowed the Angels to win easily 4-1. The division-leading Angels might want to consider something unusual to address their problem with Santana: bench him on the road. They have enough starters to make this work.
3. Dominant Delgado: Carlos Delgado was awful in April, with a .188 average and just one homer. But recently, he’s showed signs that he will return to his power-hitting form. After two homers and five RBIs on Saturday, Delgado was even better on Monday. He almost single-handedly beat the Giants, with a two-run shot in the fourth inning and a walk-off solo homer in the 12th. In his last seven games, Delgado has raised his average forty points in addition to the power surge. This game was a pitcher’s duel for a while, with Tim Lincecum and Oliver Perez each throwing seven innings, striking out eight, and allowing three runs. Closer Armando Benitez allowed the winning runs, giving him a loss in two straight appearances. The Mets have won four in a row to extend their lead to a season-high five games over Atlanta.
Player of the Day: Gary Sheffield, Tigers: 3-6, 2 homers (12), 5 RBIs in a 14-2 win over the Devil Rays. The Tigers out-hit the D-Rays 22-4 as all eleven players with a plate appearance got a hit. Sheffield has 5 homers in his last 10 games.
Walk Off: Justin Morneau received much criticism and appeared on many worst-ever MVP lists after winning the award last year. This year, he’s proved he was worthy and is one of a few majors candidates for the MVP right now. Morneau has played in all the Twins’ games and has 16 homers and 43 RBIs. He’s on pace for numbers that would surpass his 2006 season in nearly every category. In games that Morneau has homered in, the Twins are 9-3, which shows how valuable he is to their lineup. As of now, my AL MVP leaders look like this:
1) Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
2) Vladimir Guerrero, Angels
3) Morneau, Twins
4) David Ortiz, Red Sox
5) Alex Rodriguez, Yankees