Three Up, Three Down: MLB Week Two

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IApril 12, 2008

Another week is coming to a close, and some of the first-week wonders are starting to show their true colors.

While others are shaking off that rust and getting into mid-season form.

Just as a refresher, you get three players, coaches or teams that are having a good week, and three of the same that are having a bad one.

At the end you also get a wacky hitting tidbit called Safe on Error and more of the same for the pitchers called Intentional Walk.

Here is week two of Three up, Three down.

First Up: Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton, Brandon Webb, and the Arizona Diamondbacks

The baby ‘Backs are on a roll as of late and they owe most of it to a trio of players.

First, it’s their most promising young star, Justin Upton.

In his past eight games, Upton has basically collected his entire 2007 season’s worth of numbers. Upton has gone deep five times and knocked in 11 runs, which matches last year’s total.

Also in 2007, Upton hit two home runs, so he’s more than doubled his total in just 41 at bats.

Mark Reynolds has also had himself quite the week.

He started off Monday with a three RBI game against the Rockies, then went back home to do it twice more to the Dodgers. Now he’s gone three more straight games with one RBI, and has placed himself atop the major league leader board.

On the pitching side for Arizona, it has been their one and only, Brandon Webb.

Webb made two starts against the Rockies this week and won them both. Going 15 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out 11 batters.

The Diamondbacks as a team have won eight straight games. They are certainly picking up from where they left off in the 2007 regular season.

Second Up: Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson is a kid who didn’t win his first game last year until the month of June.

Now, in one week of April, he has two.

The much-maligned Tampa Bay starter has gotten off to a hot start to the new season, proving that 2007 is behind him.

Jackson’s first two starts came this week and the first was against New York.

He went six innings, giving up only one run and striking out four. Jackson was just getting warmed up, because later in the week he took on Seattle and threw a gem of a game. He went eight innings, two hits and six punch-outs.

It’s a great story for Tampa Bay this early. Jackson was the butt of a lot of jokes, and to now have 40 percent of his 2007 win total, in only one week has to feel real good for Edwin Jackson and Rays fans.

Third Up: Oakland Athletics

Here is a team that got picked to finish dead last and not compete at all.

Whoops, guess again American League West. Oakland is on top of its division, winning seven of its last eight, including a sweep of Toronto.

Two of those wins have been complete domination of Cleveland ace, C.C. Sabathia.

So much for an already injured lineup with mediocre pieces.

Oakland’s offense has done just enough to get the job done with timely hitting and key contributions from players like Mark Ellis. What stands out the most is the Athletics’ pitching, despite losing Rich Harden to the disabled list once again.

The cast of relative unknowns include Dana Eveland, Justin Duchscherer, and now Lenny DiNardo.

Not to mention the outstanding bullpen, led by closer Huston Street.

First Down: David Ortiz

Big Papi is off to a very bad start in 2008.

He’s collected just three this in 12 games this year, while also knocking in only three runs with one homer. Ortiz’s strikeout total has reached 10 and his average continues to die at the .070 mark. He is also zero for his last 17.

No doubt Ortiz will bust out of it sometime, but it’s strange to look at someone as good as him slump like this.

Second Down: Roy Oswalt

The Houston Astros have only won two games since last Saturday.

Roy Oswalt has lost two games since last Saturday.

Oswalt’s struggles might be a big reason for Houston’s early woes. With the rotation pretty bare, the Astros need Oswalt to bring his best work out every night. Unfortunately, these past two outings have been far from his best, adding to his 0-3 record, the last two have gotten progressively worse.

Last Saturday, Oswalt surrendered 10 hits and a walk in six-plus innings. He gave up five earned runs and failed to record a strikeout.

Friday, he recorded six, but surrendered more runs. In only four innings of work, Oswalt gave up less hits than before, but they were all more damage. To go along with his eight earned runs, Oswalt served up four home runs to the Marlins.

His ERA is swelling up to around nine and Oswalt already has four less losses than he did last year.

Third Down: Washington, Ryan Zimmerman

After starting the year off in grand fashion with a walk-off homer to christen the new Nationals’ park, Ryan Zimmerman has fizzled.

With that, so have the Nats.

Counting tonight, Zimmerman has managed to get six hits this week, and tonight was the first run batted in since April the first against the Phillies. Zimmerman’s lack of offensive production could be a reason the Nationals have lost nine straight after starting the year off at 3-0.

Four of those nine losses have come by one run, while three have been lost by no more than three runs.

The Nationals got off to a great start, but have since cooled off and are now struggling to stay out of the NL East basement.

Safe on Error

Chone Figgins is the only player in the top 25 in AL batting average to not have more then one RBI or one home run. He is second with a .395 average.

Intentional Walk

Oliver Perez has put more people on base than he has innings pitched, yet his ERA remains at a perfect 0.00.


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