Streaking in the Park: Week 5


The 2010 MLB season has proven to be full of incredible feats to this point. In about 6 weeks of games, we have seen dozens of incredible individual performances, including a no-hitter and a perfect game from 2 different rising stars. This week, the Tampa Bay Rays still sit atop baseball with a 22-10 record (13 games ahead of the last place Baltimore Orioles), while the National League is still just as bunched up as the first week of the season with the Houston Astros being the only team more than 6.5 games behind their division leader. There are 130 games left in the 2010 season, with everything still up for grabs. If the first part of this season is any indication, we could be in for a season of historic proportions. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: All stats used are prior to games on Tuesday, May 11th.

Hot

C Carlos Ruiz, PHI

Part of the reason the Philadephia Phillies are on fire right now is catcher Carlos Ruiz. This past week, Ruiz hit a ridiculous .632 with 2 home runs and 5 RBIs. Ruiz had an on-base percentage of .652 and a slugging percentage of 1.025 this past week, while walking 3 times and striking out just twice in 19 at-bats. Ruiz has been an invaluable member of the 20-12 Phillies this season, hitting .354 for the year, which is best on the team (of regular starters). If the Phillies hope to make a push for the playoffs, Ruiz must continue to run the team behind the plate and swing the bat well like he has so far.

CF Andrew McCutchen, PIT

Andrew McCutchen doesn’t get a lot of attention because he plays in Pittsburgh, but he is the new generation of impressive outfielders coming out of the Pirates organization. Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth once all played together with the Pirates, but were traded to make room for McCutchen and Co. and to free up salary. This past week, McCutchen hit .526 with 10 hits, 5 of which were doubles. After a slower start, this past week has risen McCutchen’s average to .317 on the season with 10 of his 40 hits being doubles.

1B Miguel Cabrera, DET

Miguel Cabrera has come out this season and swung the bat well, especially this past week. Cabrera hit .563 with a 1.000 slugging percentage while adding 2 long balls and 6 RBIs. Cabrera is now hitting a whopping .377 on the season with 7 home runs and 33 RBIs, leading the Detroit Tigers by a significant margin in both of those categories. With a career .313 average with 216 accumulated home runs, Cabrera has proven his impressive ability to hit for power and average nearly every single season.

SP Dallas Braden, OAK

No one deserves the spotlight this week more than 26 year-old lefty Dallas Braden. On May 9th, against the best team in baseball thus far, the Tampa Bay Rays, Braden completed a feat that only 18 other players in the history of baseball had accomplished. The perfect game caught all of baseball by surprise and was an unbelievable Mother’s Day gift to his grandmother and deceased mother. Braden threw 109 pitches (77 strikes) and struck out 6 Rays batters on his way to making history and became the second Oakland Athletics pitcher to throw a perfect game in franchise history.

Honorable Mention

DH Vladmir Guerrero , TEX

CF Andre Ethier, LAD

Team

Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers have been hotter than any team in baseball these past 7 days. On top of impressive individual performances from DH Vladmir Guerrero and CP Neftali Feliz, the team has put up a .289 team average (5th in the league) and hit 11 home runs (1st in the league). Rangers’ pitchers were not great this week, putting up a 5.19 era as a team, but were well supported by their powerful offense. The 18-14 Rangers have surprised some teams in the AL West, as they sit atop the division ahead of the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners.

Honorable Mention

Philadelphia Phillies

Cold

1B Carlos Pena, TB

In a week in which Tampa Bay had a perfect game thrown against them, Carlos Pena struggled to make contact in the batter’s box. In 7 games this past week, Pena hit a measly .037 in 27 at-bats. The one hit Pena had this week was a double, and he accumulated just 2 RBIs on his way to a .074 slugging percentage. Throughout his career, Pena has had a tendency to strike out, but this week he brought it to a new height with 10, boosting his season total to 36 in just 31 total games. If Tampa Bay is going to continue their hot start, they need Pena to hit better than his season mark of .179.

CF Jim Edmonds, MIL

One of the elder statesmen in baseball, Jim Edmonds roamed the outfield for many teams, including his long stints with the Angels (California, then Anaheim) and his 8 years in St. Louis. Edmonds has always been an incredible outfielder who knew how to make the hard play look easy. As he ages, his bat and injured body have taken their toll on his performances and this past week with Milwaukee is a great example of that. Edmonds hit a poor .130 with 12 Ks this past week, bringing his season average down to .250 and his strikeout total up to 27 on this young season.

2B Akinori Iwamura, PIT

In contrast to teammate Andrew McCutchen, second baseman Akinori Iwamura struggled this past week, continuing a season long slump in his 1st year with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Iwamura’s .048 average this week brought his season mark down to .175 and made him wish he had never left the friendly confines of Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. Iwamura added 3 Ks and 3 BBs to his stat line this week, while somehow scoring 3 runs. His .130 on-base percentage this week was one of the worst in the league.

SP Brandon Morrow, TOR

Control was not Brandon Morrow’s strength this past week, as he walked 10 batters in 7 innings, including 7 against the Boston Red Sox in just 1.2 innings. Morrow did accumulate 13 Ks, but his 11.57 ERA didn’t help him win either of his starts, as he finished the week at 0-1. On the season, Morrow has a much better BB:K ratio (26:46), but has a 6.69 ERA and a 2-3 record. Morrow’s control this year has also been suspect, as he has hit 3 batters in just 36 innings and has allowed 4 home runs. If Morrow is going to break .500 on the season, he will need to not allow 9 earned runs in 7 innings like this past week.

Honorable Mention

CP Joakim Soria, KC

3B Brandon Wood, LAA

Team

Seattle Mariners

In Spring Training, there was a lot of chatter around baseball about the Seattle Mariners starting rotation and their strength. Many believed that the Mariners would be strong contenders for a playoff spot, but they have struggled mightily. With a 2-8 record in the last 10 games and an overall record of 13-19, good for last place in the AL West. This past week, the Mariners have the 3rd worst average in the league at .202 and their team era was 4.91, the 6th worst in baseball. Mariners’ fans should be worried about this team being out of contention at the All-Star break, forget being in the race in September.

Honorable Mention

Kansas City Royals

Brian Phair – BoSox Injection – Streaking in the Park

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Tags: Akinori Iwamura Andre Ethier Andrew McCutchen Baltimore Orioles Brandon Morrow Brandon Wood Carlos Pena Carlos Ruiz Dallas Braden Detroit Tigers Jim Edmonds Joakim Soria Kansas City Royals LA Angels LA Dodgers Miguel Cabrera Milwaukee Brewers Oakland A's Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates Seattle Mariners Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Toronto Blue Jays Vladmir Guerrero