MLB Week in Review: 6/19-6/25
By Jordan Adams - www.docsports.com
Despite the 2006 World Cup reaching its peak and the NBA and NHL finals just wrapping up, the MLB season still continues to draw interest. July is less than a week away and just three months will remain until fall ball. Here is a look at some of the best storylines that will effect how the postseason could begin to shape up:
Will the Detroit Tigers continue this magical season?
The Tigers have continued their wonderful play in '06 and have yet to drop off like most expected them to. They still hold baseball's best record and have done it with exceptional starting pitching. Barely holding off the White Sox in the division, the playoffs still seem like a strong possibility with Detroit holding a better record then both the Yankees and Red Sox.
Can Roger Clemens carry the Astros back to the playoffs all by himself?
With his first start for Houston under his belt, Roger Clemens now has the pressure of filling it as the missing piece for the Astros. At 37-38, mediocrity has been the best word to describe Houston's season thus far. Without much help from the rest of the staff, Clemens will be hard-pressed to get his team to be playing in October.
Is Atlanta's run of division titles finally over?
A record of 32-44 is not something Atlanta is used to. The Braves are not just on pace to finally lose out as NL East winners, but they currently occupy the cellar, behind such teams as the Florida Marlins and the Washington Nationals. With only one regular starter batting above .300 and a pitching staff that holds a 4.78 team ERA, Atlanta is in for a long and miserable season.
NL Team of the Week
Only 2-3 on the week, it has been the past month in which the Miami Fish have turned around their season and began their rise towards. 500. After a 14-6 push, the Marlins have now gotten to 31-39, good for third place in the NL East and only two games behind the second-place Phillies. Despite an overwhelming number of rookies and inexperienced players, manager Joe Girardi has been terrific as the team leader, getting the most of these players coming onto the MLB scene.
AL Team of the Week
Chicago White Sox
The defending champions have still not caught Detroit for first place but remain close to doing so. After this week's games the White Sox sit at 49-25 and are only one game back. Winners of nine straight, Chicago continues to get great daily efforts from its starting rotation, along with a lineup that is leading the league in runs scored with 5.79 per game. Whether they catch up with Detroit and fight to win the division is unknown, but if wins keep piling up at this rate, they are bound to at least clinch the league's wild card spot.
NL Player of the Week
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
The Mets' young third baseman continues his climb towards superstar status. The 23-year-old had another impressive week, turning in three home runs and nine RBIs. He also hit at a 9-for-27 clip with a triple and double. Wright's season has him ranked in the top ten in NL offensive categories including homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, and batting average.
AL Player of the Week
Manny Ramirez, LF, Boston Red Sox
Boston's clumsy corner outfielder has led the offensive assault during his team's current eight-game winning streak. Ramirez's week did well to get his team back on top of the division. Hitting three long balls and driving in nine, Man-Ram also went 8-for-17 during this stretch along with three doubles while scoring five runs.
Upcoming Weekend Series to Watch
New York Mets @ New York Yankees | June 30-July 2
Probable Pitching Match-ups
Friday - Orlando Hernandez vs. Shawn Chacon Saturday - Steve Trachsel vs. Mike Mussina Sunday - Alay Soler vs. Randy Johnson
The second go-round of the Subway Series continues this weekend in the Bronx. The Mets remain the top team in the NL while maintaining their dominance in the NL East. The Yankees have been passed by a red-hot Boston club in the division, as well as only being two games above the Blue Jays.
Back in late May the Mets took two of three when the Yankees came to Queens. Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina both earned no decisions in that series and will have a second chance to win their starts this upcoming weekend.
Surprisingly the Yankees have done well to stay in the division race despite serious injuries to sluggers Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui. The Mets have been one of the best and most consistent teams since the season began and should be well on their way to clinching the division early. The Yankees host this series, but a better Mets team will get the best of them again.
Mets win 2-1