Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The MLB on TSC: May Quickies

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The month of May is in the books as the MLB season moves into June. Here are some eye-catching FUN STATS that caught my attention in the closing days of May.

1. KUDOS to the Arizona Diamondbacks for turning their season around with a monster month of May. On April 30 the D'backs were 11-15, 6.5 games behind the then-first place Colorado Rockies, who were 17-8. With a 19-10 month of May the D'backs are now 30-25 and in first place in the NL West. Arizona became the first team in major league history to be out of first place with a deficit as large as 6.5 games by the end of April and make up all that ground and take sole possession of first place by the end of May. The D'backs are getting great pitching from Ian Kennedy (yes Yankee fans, Ian Kennedy-- remember him?) who is 6-1 with a 3.01 ERA. They also activated Zach Duke (yes Pirates fans, Zach Duke-- remember him?) who in his first-ever start for the D'backs pitched 7 shutout innings and hit a home run to win his debut with the team. For the record, that is only the second time in MLB history that a pitcher throws at least 7 shutout innings and hits a homer in his debut for a team. The only other pitcher to do it was Jason Jennings of the Rockies, who on Aug. 23, 2001 became the only major-league player ever to throw a shutout and hit a home run in his major-league debut.

There's still a long way to go but for now things are looking pretty good out in the desert.

2. How about the 43-year-old Omar Vizquel who is still productive after all these years. Vizquel is the ONLY player left in the major leagues who made his major league debut in the decade of the 80's (1989 to be exact) and quietly has a .282 BA with 20 hits in 71 AB for Ozzie Guillen and the Chicago White Sox. In a recent 14-inning, 9-8 loss, to the Toronto Blue Jays, Vizquel took over first base in the 11th inning, marking the first time in his career he had played 1B after 2,784 games played in 23 seasons. With 11 Gold Gloves at shortstop and 2,819 career hits (and counting), it'll be interesting to see what will happen when he becomes Hall of Fame eligible someday.
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Personally, I say Vizquel is a Hall of Famer, HANDS DOWN! Oh and by the way, is there a Jamie Moyer sighting in a major league ballpark near you? If Moyer is still planning a comeback at 49, then there will be 2 players who made their debuts in the 80's still playing.

3. How about the Kansas City Royals who beat the Texas Rangers 12-7 in a 14-inning game the other night. Now you may ask, what's so special about this game? Well, the Royals Melky Cabrera, Eric Hosmer and Brayan Pena all homered in the 14th inning making the Royals the first team in history to have a 3-homer inning in the 14th inning or later.

Well, I had to throw in something positive about the KC Royals (23-30) who for the umpteenth year in a row have teased their fans by having a good month of April only to dash their hopes with a crappy May, and June, and July, and August........

4. And then there's the Brew Crew. The Milwaukee Brewers finished the month of May with a very good 30-25 record. The main reason for their winning ways is their bullpen. The bullpen is coming through for them in a big way. Over the last couple of years the Brewers have had a very solid team but they just couldn't finish games. Their offense, with Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart leading the way, know how to get the job done. Their starting pitching, with Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf, know how to put their team in a position to win. Their Achilles heel has been their bullpen but it has been much improved as of late. Closer John Axford has 13 SAVES to only 2 BLOWN SAVES, set-up men Kameron Loe, Marco Estrada and Co. are doing a great job in the HOLDS department. So for the Brewers it's pretty simple-- where their bullpen goes, they go..... and right now it seems they're headed in the right direction.

Play ball!

Stats courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau and ESPN

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