Although it is still early by baseball standards some interesting things happened this weekend on the diamonds.
Albert Pujols - As I previously mentioned, Albert was on his way to the best baseball season of all time for a hitter, a projected 79 homeruns and 202 rbi's, this would have broken both single season records. However, today Albert is undergoing an MRI on his right oblique for an injury sustained this weekend. It seems that Albert will miss 6 weeks or more with the injury based on the talking heads of ESPN. As a baseball fan I was looking forward to Albert chasing down both the RBI and Homerun records. It is a bit of let down, injuries happen but it is a shame.
Detroit Tigers - A comment to my post last week indicated that the Tigers hadn't played anyone and I should hold up a bit. They were a good story with the best record in baseball but I was premature in my elation for their play. They were knocked around in their own house by the Yankees and Redsox over their last two series. The Beast in the East still lives in the American League East. As a Red Sox fan I like to see them do well but I did want the Tigers to be legitimate just to mix things up a bit. I remember when the Angels won the World Series, they were a great team, lots of energy and just the feeling that they were never out of it even though they did not have the murderer's row of the Yankees. Just an all around great team. I though the Tigers could be a similar team - they have some good energy guys like Pudge Rodriguez. However, like origami they folded under pressure. Sad really.
Arizona Diamondbacks - The number one team in the National League West, currently the best division in baseball based on combined records of the teams, was remarkable this weekend. The D' backs went into Atlanta and swept the Braves in their own building. Atlanta is a good team, a top 10 team according to ESPN, and I respect them, pulling of division wins for the past 14 years running is good evidence of their quality. However, the Diamondbacks beat them every way possible this weekend. They won a 2-1 pitchers duel on Thursday, won a doubleheader on a 4-2 early game and a ball smashing 13-9 affair in game 2. Finally on Sunday, the Braves were embarrassed with a 9-3 loss. Besides having the best pitcher in the National League in Brandon Webb, it is hard a first glance to tell why they win. But they score runs and lots of them, they are the second highest scoring team in the National League and are third in runs allowed. I suppose this is simple, they score and they don't allow others to score. In the National League the D'backs are in the top 4 in batting average, runs scored, slugging, ERA, K's per 9 innings, and walks to strikeout ratio all in a tough division. All in all a pretty tough team, the only question being is if they are peaking or performing. The Rockies supersonic plummet gives pause for caution, but right now they are are fun team to watch play. Go, D'backs.
Top Performers over the Last Week
Jose Castillo (Pittsburgh, 2B) 8 runs, 4 homeruns, 15 rbis and a .478 batting average
Corey Patterson (Baltimore, OF) 7 runs, 2 home runs and 8 stolen bases
Jacque Jones (Chicago Cubs, OF) 6 runs, 3 homeruns, 8 rbis and a .458 batting average
Damion Easley (D'Backs, INF) 4 runs, 4 homeruns, 10 rbis and a .538 batting average
Chris Young (San Diego, SP) 2 wins, 12 k's, no earned runs and 3 hits and 3 walks over two games
Trevor Hoffman (San Diego, RP) 3 innings pitched, 3 saves, no runs, a 0.33 whip and 2 k's
John Rheinecker (Texas, SP) 2 wins, 1.10 era over two games, 1 walk and 10 strikeouts
Those are my baseball thoughts for the week ending June 4, 2006.