Joba Chamberlain (1-2) will face Roy Halladay (6-5) in his debut as a starter for the New York Yankees tonight in Yankee Stadium. Chamberlain has never pitched more than 2 innings in a Major League game, so it will be interesting to see how long he stays in this game.
If Chamberlain moving to the starting rotation works, then the Yankees have significantly improved their rotation. Kyle Farnsworth, who will become the new setup man for the Yankees, pitched in the eighth inning last night and lost the game to the Minnesota Twins. He must pitch better than that for the move to work.
After starting the season with a 2-3 record, Mike Mussina has won 6 of his last 7 decisions, and now has an 8-4 record. He is in a five way tie for the lead in wins in the AL now. Chien-Ming Wang (6-2) has not won a game since May 2nd, and after giving up 5 runs in 20 innings in three starts, he has given up 17 runs in his last 19 innings.
Andy Pettitte (5-5) started the season with 3 wins in his first four starts, but has won only twice in his last 8 starts. 4 of his 5 wins have come against teams with losing records, as he defeated the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles (twice), and Seattle Mariners. On a side note, all of those teams are currently in last place in their divisions. The Tampa Bay Rays have defeated Pettitte twice this season. Darrell Rasner (3-2) has pitched well in 4 of his 5 starts, but in his last start gave up 4 runs in 5 innings to the Twins, taking the loss in that game. When Ian Kennedy and Philip Hughes return from the disabled list with their combined 0-7 record, Joe Girardi will have to decide what to do with them if Rasner is still pitching well.
Red Sox Lose David Ortiz For At Least Two Weeks
David Ortiz will probably be placed on the 15 day disabled list today. The slumping Red Sox with a 4-6 record in their last ten games will have to stay close while Ortiz is out, which means Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, and Mike Lowell need to carry the team until Ortiz returns. Ortiz is leading the team in homers (13) and RBI's (43), so his offensive contributions will be missed greatly. The Red Sox will face the red hot Rays tonight. Tonight is not the night they should face them if they want to start winning ballgames, as the Rays are 8-2 in their last ten games.
Around the Bases
Josh Hamilton is still leading the AL in all the Triple Crown categories, as he hit his 16th homer last night and drove in two, which gives him 65 RBI's for the season. He also passed Hideki Matsui in the batting race and is currently hitting .331.
John Smoltz didn't fare well in his first relief appearance since 2004. The Atlanta Braves were leading against the Florida Marlins 4-3 when Smoltz entered the game in the top of the ninth hoping to nail down the win. By the time the inning had ended, Smoltz had allowed the Marlins to take a 5-4 lead, allowing 2 runs and 3 hits. The Braves tied the game in the bottom of the ninth when Jeff Francoeur scored on a wild pitch by Kevin Gregg tying the score at 5-5. Yunel Escobar hit a two run homer in the bottom of the tenth inning to give the Braves a 23-7 record at home. Chipper Jones wen 2-for-4, raising his batting average two points to .407.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 8th homer of the season. Last season, he hit a homer every 10 at-bats, and during this season, it is taking 17 at-bats. Rodriguez has an amazing total of RBI's for a player who is 32 years old. He has 1526 RBI's, which is 45th on the career RBI list. He needs 3 to tie Tris Speaker and Jeff Bagwell (1529), and needs 11 to tie Joe DiMaggio (1537). He only needs 206 to tie Honus Wagner (1732), and would place him in the No. 18 spot in career RBI's. He has an excellent chance barring a serious injury of joining Cap Anson, Babe Ruth, and Hank Aaron in the very exclusive 2000 RBI club in about 5 or 6 years.
Rich Harden and Kenny Rogers both pitched well, but neither one of them received a decision in the Oakland Athletics' 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers that ended with Bobby Crosby hitting a walkoff single to win the game. Greg Smith leads A's starters in strikeouts with 53, and has allowed 58 hits in 68 innings for a +10 in innings over hits allowed, which also leads the starters.
Los Angeles Angels' Ervin Santana (8-2) bettered his total wins of last season when he had a 7-14 record by defeating the Seattle Mariners 4-2. Only 5 pitchers have 8 wins in the AL, and the Angels have two of them in Santana and Joe Saunders, who also has an 8-2 record this season. Vladimir Guerrero is hitting only .205 in his last ten games, and has a .249 average for the season. The last time Guerrero hit under .300 was 1996 when he hit .185 in nine games in his Major League debut season. He is hitting 73 points below his lifetime average of .322.
Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley hit his Major League leading 21st homer of the 2008 season. ESPN.com is projecting Utley to hit 58 homers this season. 32 homers is his current high for a season. Utley homered in his fifth straight game and has 7 homers in his last 8 games. Kyle Kendrick (5-2) won the game for the Phillies and has not lost a game since April 16th.
Prince Fielder hit his 9th homer of the season in the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fielder is hitting .280 after hitting .351 in his last ten games. The win was the fourth in a row for the Brewers, and moved them into a third place tie with the Houston Astros.
Jason Michaels hit a pinch hit grand slam for the Pittsburgh Pirates, as they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4. The grand slam erased a 4-0 deficit and moved them to within a half game of the Cincinnati Reds, who lost to the Phillies.
The Los Angeles Dodgers handed the Colorado Rockies their eighth loss in a row defeating them 8-2 behind home runs by Andre Ethier, Jeff Kent, and Matt Kemp. Juan Pierre has only 48 hits this season, and according to ESPN.com, he will have 151 hits at the end of the season after falling 4 hits short of 200 hits last season.
Adrian Gonzalez hit his 17th homer of the 2008 season in the San Diego Padres 7-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Carlos Zambrano (8-1) pitched and hit the Cubs to the win, despite allowing the Padres to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Zambrano was 3-for-3, hitting a triple and two singles. He is now hitting .366. His only loss so far this season came on April 11th, and has won 7 straight games since that loss. Zambrano has 13 lifetime homers, and is hitting .232 lifetime, which is very respectable average for a pitcher. Jim Edmonds continued to make me look bad after I had predicted his demise last week. Edmonds has hit .308 in his last ten games and in his last 4 games he has hit a homer, 4 doubles and a triple and driven in 7 runs. In all of April and May, he had a total of 2 homers and 9 RBI's. The Cubs have won 9 of their last 11 games with the two losses surprisingly coming from the Pirates.