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Article:Baseball Notebook: Griffey Hits 600th Homer

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Ken Griffey Jr. hit the 600th home run of his career last night in Florida, and became the sixth member of the 600 homer run club. In the last week, I was fortunate to see Chipper Jones hit his 400th homer live and see Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th homer live on television, since both Reds and Braves games were shown here in Knoxville.

It has not been an easy road to 600 for Griffey, since he played only 206 games out of a possible 486 from 2002-2004 (70 games in 2002, 53 games in 2003 and 83 games in 2004). With at least 4 at-bats a game, that is 280 games missed, which would have given him 1120 more at-bats, and since he would have batted five times in some of those games, he may have missed 1200 at-bats. Considering he was hitting about a homer every 16.5 at-bats would have given him approximately 72 more homers in those three years.

That is not taking into consideration that he missed 51 games in 1994 and 90 games in 1995. In 2001, he missed another 51 games, 34 missed games in 2005, and 53 games missed in 2006. That is 279 more missed games, which could have added another 72 homers. So he could have had 744 homers today if he had remained healthy all those years and had maintained a home run every 16.5 at-bats pace; in some years, he may have hit a homer in about every 10 or 11 at bats, making that number close to the total of Barry "Balco" Bonds.

Babe Ruth is the only 600 homers club member that I wasn't around when he hit his historic homer, but I was four years old when Babe Ruth died in 1948, so I have been alive when all of the club members were alive. Willie Mays is now 77, and I was 7 years old when he played his first game in 1951. Hank Aaron is 74, and I was 10 years old when he played his first game in 1954. Bonds made his Major Debut in 1986, and Griffey and Sammy Sosa debuted in 1989.

Randy Johnson Loses in Bid for 289th Win

Randy Johnson (4-3) won his first three starts in May, but since then has had two no decisions and two losses while bidding to win his 289th game. 22 days have passed since he won his last game, and it will be another five days before he gets another start. He can't continue to go almost a month between wins and have a realistic chance to win his 300th game this season.

Zach Duke (4-4) outpitched Johnson, as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3. The Pirates scored their five runs without the aid of an extra base hit. Mark Reynolds hit his 14th home run of the season and would have had 15 homers if the umpires hadn't reversed a home run call after John Russell, the Pirates manager, argued that it was not a home run.

There was a brouhaha when Doug Alphabet asked for a timeout in mid windup by Johnson, and Johnson had some words with Alphabet and the teams poured out onto the field, but it was a typical baseball fight with nobody in danger of being suspended as far as I could tell from the highlights.

Jose Guillen Homers In 3-2 Win By Royals

Jose Guillen, who hit four homers and drove in ten runs in the last three games of the four game series with the New York Yankees, hit a homer in the ninth inning off of Mariano Rivera to give the Kansas City Royals a split in their series with the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez hit his 10th homer of the season in the contest. Both starters, Mike Mussina and Luke Hochevar, pitched effectively, but weren't around for the decision. The Yankees are now in a three way tie for last place with the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees now play away from home, as they play the Oakland Athletics tonight at 10:05 EDT.

White Sox Overcome 5-2 Deficit To Post 7-5 Win Over Twins

Nick Swisher had 4 homers and 14 RBI's entering June, but so far in June, he has 4 homers and 10 RBI's. It took him 184 at-bats to hit his first four homers, but he has hit his last 4 homers in only 31 at-bats. If Swisher continues to hit like this, the Chicago White Sox will have an even stronger offense than they have showed lately. Swisher seems to have been awakened by Ozzie Guillen's wakeup call since he hit the first of his four homers this month the first game after Ozzie had went on his productive tirade. The White Sox are playing with confidence, which was evidenced by their erasing a 5-2 deficit to record their 7-5 win.

The win yesterday gave the White Sox 63 runs in 7 games for an average of nine runs a game since Ozzie's tirade. Fans can't help but wonder if the White Sox would be scoring runs like this if Ozzie had remained silent. Paul Konerko also has shown signs of life, as he is hitting .273 in June after hitting .191 in May. The White Sox welcome the Detroit Tigers to town and Jose Contreras will be trying for his 7th win today.

Cliff Lee Wins 10th Game In Indians 8-2 Win: Dontrelle Willis Takes Giant Step Backward

Cliff Lee (10-1) became the first AL pitcher to post 10 wins this season after the Cleveland Indians defeated Dontrelle Willis (0-1) and the Detroit Tigers by an 8-2 score. Willis only pitched 1 1/3 innings before leaving the game allowing 8 runs, 3 hits and 5 walks and has a 10.32 ERA. There is no way the Tigers can start Willis again with him pitching like this. He is going to have to accept a demotion to the Minors until he can get his confidence and stuff back.

In 11 innings this year, Willis has given up 13 runs, 7 hits, 21 walks and has struck out 5 batters. Three years ago, Willis was 22-10 with the Marlins, but since then, he has been 22-28. I was wondering why the Tigers would want Willis included in the Miguel Cabrera trade considering he had come off of two bad seasons and they are probably wishing they had asked for a better pitcher in the trade.

Mariners Win In Ten Innings With Suicide Squeeze Bunt by Cairo

Miguel Cairo bunted with the bases loaded in the tenth inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The suicide squeeze bunt worked to perfection, as Willie Bloomquist scored the winning run.

Fifteen of the eighteen hits in the game were singles. Ichiro Suzuki was 1 for 3, and is currently hitting .291. Ichiro has not hit above .300 since the 9th of April when he was hitting .308, but he is hitting .333 so far in June, so he may still have another 200 hit season, but needs 23 hits in the last 17 games of the first half to have 100 hits at the halfway mark.

Rays Rout Angels 13-4 Behind 18 Hit Attack

Edwin Jackson (4-5) helped hold the Los Angeles Angels at bay while the Tampa Bay Rays mounted an 18 hit attack on Joe Saunders (9-3), as the Rays easily defeated the Angels 13-4. Six Rays had at least two hits, and Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar, and Dioner Navarro combined to have a 9-for-13 game and driving in nine runs, with Longoria homering twice and Aybar and Navarro each hitting a home run.

Longoria, with 10 homers, is only one homer behind club leaders Eric Hinske and Carlos Pena. Longoria is tied with Carl Crawford with 32 RBI's, which is good for third on the club, with B.J. Upton having 38 and Carlos Pena with 35.

Navarro has been very consistent, hitting .355 in April and hitting .333 in both May and June. The club has proved they can hit with Carlos Pena on the disabled list and his replacement, Willy Aybar, outslugging Pena .551 to .430 and Aybar is leading the Rays in slugging percentage this season.

Griffey Jr., Volquez Lead Reds In 9-4 Victory Over Marlins

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th homer and 7th of the season which sparked the Reds to a 9-4 defeat of the Florida Marlins. Edinson Volquez (9-2, 1.56 ERA) gave up three runs in a game for the first time in 14 starts. Volquez has been beating the best teams, including the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Marlins twice this season.

Volquez leads the Majors in strikeouts with 96, and in ERA with a 1.56 mark. He is second in wins in the NL with 9 wins and two behind Major League leader Brandon Webb, who has posted 11 wins this season. Tim Lincecum is second in the NL behind Volquez in both strikeouts and ERA.

Matt Cain Pitches Giants To 3-2 Win Over Nationals

Matt Cain (3-4) won his first game since May 13th, as he pitched the San Francisco Giants to a 3-2 win over the slumping Washington Nationals. The win was the fourth in a row for the Giants, and the fourth loss in a row for the Nationals. Tyler Clippard (0-1) took the loss for the Nationals. Clippard was up briefly with the Yankees last season.

The Giants only had five hits in the contest, but that was all they needed to take the win. Benjie Molina doubled and drove in his 41st run of the season. Molina has struck out only 14 times in 210 at-bats, while Aaron Rowand has struck out 46 times in 212 at-bats.

Looking at the Standings

AL East

The Boston Red Sox lead the Tampa Bay Rays by one game and lead the rest of the division by seven games; the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Baltimore Orioles tied for last place. The Red Sox have won 8 of their last 10 games. On this date of last season, the Red Sox were 9 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees, who were in second place.

AL Central

The Chicago White Sox have a 6 1/2 game lead over the second place Minnesota Twins. The White Sox have won 7 games in a row for the longest current winning streak in the Majors. The White Sox lead the AL Central in runs scored with 305 and least runs allowed with 235. On this date last season, the White Sox were 27-32 and 9 1/2 games behind the first place Cleveland Indians.

AL West

The Los Angeles Angels are the only team in AL West with a winning record in their last ten games with a 7-3 record. The Oakland Athletics are 4 games behind the Angels. The Texas Rangers have scored the most runs of AL West teams (361), which also leads the Majors, but they have allowed the most runs (380), which is the worst in the Majors. On this date last season, the Angels were 4 1/2 games ahead of the second place Seattle Mariners, but this season they are 15 1/2 games ahead of the last place Mariners.

NL East

The Philadelphia Phillies have won 8 of their last 10 games and are the only team in NL East with a winning record in their last 10 games. The Phillies are 4 games ahead of the second place Florida Marlins. The Atlanta Braves are 6 1/2 back and can't be taken seriously until they improve on their Major League worst road record of 7-21. Only the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies have worse records this season than the last place Washington Nationals. On this date last season, the Phillies were in third place and 5 games back of the New York Mets. So instead of being 5 games back, they are 4 games ahead this season, which is an improvement of 9 games.

NL Central

The Chicago Cubs have the best record in baseball with a 40-24 record, and a .625 winning percentage. The Red Sox are the only other team this year with 40 wins. The Cubs lead the NL Central in runs scored (352) and have the least runs allowed (261). The Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are both 7-3 in their last 10 games. On this date last season, the Brewers were 5 1/2 games ahead of the second place St. Louis Cardinals, but this year, they are in third place and 6 1/2 games behind the Cubs. So they are 12 games worse in the standings.

NL West

The Arizona Diamondbacks are the only team in NL West with a winning record. The Los Angeles Dodgers are 3 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks are 6-14 in their last 20 games. On this date last season the San Diego Padres and Diamondbacks were tied for first place, but this year the Padres are in fourth place and 6 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks.

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