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Article:Baseball Notebook: Red Sox Best Team in Baseball

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The Boston Red Sox showed last night why they have the best winning percentage in baseball; they have a .620 winning percentage. On a day when Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz don't drive in one run, J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell drive in four each with both players hitting grand slams. Ortiz had the lowest batting average of any Boston player in the game (.247), but all the other hitters on the team ended the game hitting .283 or higher. Overall, the team is hitting .295, which is the highest average in the Majors so far.

It was a surprise to me that their ERA is 14th in the Majors at 4.11, but with the offense that the Red Sox have, they have scored more than 5 or more runs in 6 of the 7 games of their current winning streak. Yesterday, the Red Sox pounded Brian Bannister (4-6) by an 11-8 score. Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-0) didn't pitch his best game, but still won despite walking 6 batters in 5 innings. Last season, Matsuzaka walked 80 batters in 204 innings, but this year he has already walked 38 in 60 innings. Matsuzaka has the most wins in the Majors without a loss this season.

Around the Bases

The Detroit Tigers defeated the Seattle Mariners 9-2 to finish a sweep of the Mariners. It was the first time this season that Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, and Jeremy Bonderman won consecutive games as a group. The Tigers hitters scored 30 runs in the series, but it may have been more a case of facing a mediocre Mariners pitching staff. Prior to this series, the Tigers had lost 2 of 3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks and had been swept by the Royals in a three game series.

The schedule looks good for them this weekend when they host the Minnesota Twins. The Twins will be sending Kevin Slowey (0-4), Boof Bonser (2-5) and Glen Perkins (1-1) to the mound. With the Tigers only three games behind the second place Twins, the Tigers are going to have to make a decision about Gary Sheffield soon. With the second month of the season coming to a close soon, they can't keep carrying a hitter who is 14th on the team in hitting with a .202 average. He is also 14th in slugging with a .311 percentage.

Matt Joyce has only batted 36 times and already has 5 homers, while Sheffield has batted 119 times and has only 2 homers. He has the same number of RBI's as Joyce while hitting 83 more times. I can't see Sheffield hitting 500 homers in his career now, since he needs 18 more and he is on a pace to hit 6 or 7 this year. He may be joining Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig who finished their careers with 493, as one of the members of the "Close to 500 Homers List".

It is still early, but Josh Hamilton, who hit a game winning 10th inning homer for the Texas Rangers in their 8-7 win over the Twins yesterday, is currently leading the AL in all three Triple Crown categories. He has 53 RBI's (which also leads the Majors), is tied with Carlos Quentin for the home run lead (12), and is hitting an AL leading .335. His five homers, 14 RBI's, and .452 batting average in his last ten games is impressive, but what is even more impressive is that he has struck out only 3 times in his last 42 at bats.

When you combine this season's stats with those of last season, he has 495 at-bats close to what a regular player would have in a season and has 31 homers and 100 RBI's and is projected by to have 221 hits by the end of the season. More importantly his hitting has helped the Rangers who were 9-18 on April 29th improve their record to 24-25 for a 15-7 record in that span.

Ian Kennedy pitched his best game of the season for the New York Yankees, as he allowed only one run in six innings. It was only the second time in six starts that Kennedy had pitched into the sixth inning. He didn't get the decision, but he kept the game close enough so that Robinson Cano could give the Yanks a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles by hitting a two out single in the bottom of the ninth inning. The O's were shutout by the Yankees, 8-0, in their previous game.

Sean Burnett (5-4) pitched the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels and Ervin Santana (6-2), who lost his second consecutive start after starting the season with a 6-0 record.

The Chicago White Sox extended their lead in the AL Central to three and a half games with their 3-1 defeat over the Cleveland Indians yesterday. It was the eighth consecutive win by the White Sox, which is the longest current winning streak in the Majors. They are also 8-2 in their last ten games, which is also the best in the Majors. Mark Buehrle didn't get the decision, but pitched seven innings of two hit baseball, while allowing only one run. In his last two starts, Buehrle has given up 2 runs in 13 2/3 innings and in the two previous starts, he had allowed 13 runs in 11 innings. So this may be a sign Buehrle is returning to form. Carlos Quentin had two RBI's, giving him 40 for the season.

The Atlanta Braves completed a four game sweep of the New York Mets by winning yesterday 4-2 behind the pitching of Tim Hudson (7-3), who defeated Johan Santana 5-3 who allowed 3 runs and 12 hits in 7 innings. Kelly Johnson, who hit eighth for the Braves, was 3-for-4 and raised his average to .299. Chipper Jones was 2-for-4 and raised his Major League leading average to .412. The Braves were 5-9 on April 16th, which has been the low point of the 2008 season, and are now 26-21 for a 21-12 record during the time since that date. The Braves outscored the Mets 27-9 in the four game series.

Dave Bush (1-5) may be on the brink of being taken out of the Brewers starting rotation after losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-4. Bush allowed 6 runs and 9 hits in 5 innings while giving up 2 homers. This is why losing Yovani Gallardo hurt the Brewers so much since they have to trot a pitcher like Bush out to the mound, who has won only one game in eight starts. Tom Gorzelanny (4-4) won his third game out of his last four starts. Nate McLouth was 4-for-4 for the Pirates and raised his average to .314.

Andrew Miller (4-3) pitched seven shutout innings to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0. Dan Haren (5-3) took the loss, as he gave up all four runs and struck out eight. The Diamondbacks scored only 3 runs in the three game series.

The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Houston Astros 7-5, and Ryan Howard had three hits for the second straight night. Howard has hit 3 homers and drove in 6 runs in the last two games while raising his batting average from .183 to .207. He is slugging .625 for the month of May. Kyle Kendrick who allowed 5 runs and 8 hits in 5 innings, and Roy Oswalt, who gave up 5 runs and 11 hits in 6 innings, did not receive a decision in the contest. Lance Berkman doubled twice and drove in his 45th run of the season.

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 5th homer of the season, which was the 598th of his career, but it wasn't enough to defeat the San Diego Padres, who handed the Cincinnati Reds an 8-2 loss. Randy Wolf (3-4) took the win, while striking out 9 in seven innings for his first win since April 20th. Khalil Greene, who came into the game with 3 homers, hit two more last night. Adrian Gonzalez hit his 13th homer of the season, moving him into a third place tie in the NL. Gonzalez's 39 RBI's are second to Lance Berkman's 45.

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