Three Up, Three Down: MLB Week Six

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IMay 12, 2008

It was certainly an interesting week of baseball that saw a lot of games wiped out due to rain. Monday will see two more double headers, but for now we should focus on what was and now what will.

For those of you interested, Lance Berkman has been up and will continue to be up. I don't think there is any reason to waste more space by talking about just how awesome he has been.


First Up: the State of Florida

Did the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks filter their genes into the water down there or something? The state of Florida and their baseball is just on fire.

Let's start in Tampa Bay, where the Rays have won their last four games and are 13-7 at home.

James Shields, who was highlighted in week three, has continued to pitch well. Shields had another complete game on Friday against the Angels where he was one hit away from a perfect game. He also struck out eight.

Two other pitchers in Tampa have done well. One is expected, and that is Scott Kazmir. Kazmir shut out the Angels on Saturday for six innings and struck out six. 

The other is reliever J.P Howell. He was big in relief this past week, appearing in two games, pitching three innings in each, and giving up a combined three hits for no runs. He earned the win in both cases and struck out five.

The offense is also getting the job done. Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton stole seven bases, and knocked in nine runs.

On the other side of the state is the Florida Marlins.

The fish won every game last week, and have won eight of their last ten. Not only that—they are getting contributions from everyone.

Their star, Hanley Ramirez, got a new contract extension and hit .471 last week. He knocked in a pair of runs, scored eight times, and stole three bases.

His double play partner, Dan Uggla, has also caught fire. He hit .350 with four long balls and eight runs batted in this past week.

I also forgot to mention Jorge Cantu and Jeremy Hermida. Combined they've hit three home runs and knocked in 11 runs.

Pitching wise, the Marlins are getting it done. Logan Kensing has been scoreless in relief and Andrew Miller shut out the Washington Nationals for seven innings. Scott Olsen started twice, and was one out away from a complete game against the Milwaukee Brewers.


Second Up: Red Sox Hitters

Why don't we start with the guy Cleveland Indians' fans like to call, Kevin "You Kill Us."

Kevin Youkilis has been a man on a mission this past week. He went deep five times and knocked in 10 runs with a .375 average. Those five home runs were more than anyone had this past week.

Youkilis is back at first base, which can only mean Mike Lowell is back at third. Lowell hit three home runs, knocked in and scored nine runs and hit .407 since last Monday.

The other slugger is David Ortiz, who was struggling early on in the season. This past week he hit .345 with two home runs and four runs batted in.


Third Up: Blake DeWitt, 3B Dodgers

I love this kid, I have never seen him play, but when Yahoo says "Blake DeWitt continues to defy logic" and guys on FOX sports radio are cracking jokes in favor of him, I can't help but like him.

DeWitt will probably hold onto that third base job a little longer. Nomar Garciaparra is hurt again, and DeWitt had another fantastic week.

He hit .429 with two home runs, and knocked in and scored five runs. That first home run was the first of his major league career.


First Down: Toronto's Outfield

What a mess it is up in Toronto. This is the team that let Reed Johnson go before the season started, and he could come in real handy right now.

First, Vernon Wells injures his wrist on a great diving play and has to go on the DL. Kevin Mench and Brad Wilkerson were added as players other teams just didn't want.

Now, the star of that outfield just isn't hitting or doing anything at all.

Alex Rios is four for his last 27 at-bats, with a big goose egg in every important stat. No runs, no runs batted in, no stolen bases, and no home runs.

Things better shape up for that Toronto outfield, or they might not even be able to keep pace with Tampa Bay.


Second Down: Immortal Closers

They are human! Three of the most shutdown closers the past few years, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks, and Joe Nathan, didn't have those perfect weeks they are used to.

The worst was Papelbon who blew two saves in a row, one against the Detroit Tigers and the other against the Minnesota Twins. Against the Tigers, he didn't give up any earned runs, which was probably why he was so ticked off. 

Papelbon did bounce back, as he earned the save a day after his blown save against the Twins.

The other two didn't blow saves, but I'd just like to point out how awesome they've been. Jenks and Nathan saved their games this week, but they gave up runs. Something you aren't used to from the pair. Is the immortal-ness wearing off?

Probably not.


Third Down: AL Central Additions

The three additions we are looking at are Nick Swisher of the Chicago White Sox, and Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria of the Tigers.

Swisher had four hits last week, for an average of .167, but the important part for a guy atop the lineup is that he didn't score any runs. Not only is he not getting on base, but when he does he doesn't get knocked in.

On the other side in Detroit, Edgar Renteria didn't collect a single hit this past week in 18 at bats.

The other Tiger addition is Miguel Cabrera who did get four hits, but didn't do a single thing other than score a run.

It’s a perfect time for the Indians to step up and take advantage, if I do say so myself.


Safe on Error

Albert Pujols might be hurt, but he is still feared. He leads the Majors in walks with 38. Compare that to his 13 strikeouts, and no one comes close in terms of a strikeout to walk ratio. He also has an on base percentage of an even .500.


Intentional Walk

Among the top 50 AL strikeout leaders, Jeremy Bonderman is the only one to have more walks issued than strikeouts. He has walked 29 batters opposed to striking out 25.


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