The Weekend That Was
Major League Baseball took a backseat on the sporting scene this past weekend. The World Cup. The French Open. The Belmont Stakes. (Did Jazil win the French Open and Nadal the Belmont Stakes or was it the other way around?) The LPGA championship. The NBA Finals. The Stanley Cup. Heck, baseball fans could even enjoy the Super Regionals on The Road to Omaha.
Oh, and let's not forget the Arena Football League's championship. You know, the ArenaBowl (yes, it is one word). There's nothing like football in June. Indoors. Aargh!
In between all these other events, I noticed that Reggie Sanders joined baseball's 300-300 club. Congratulations to a class act. He is only the fifth player in the history of baseball to reach both milestones. The other four could play a little bit.
Barry Bonds 716 506
Willie Mays 660 338
Andre Dawson 438 314
Bobby Bonds 332 461
Reggie Sanders 300 302
Steve Finley is in the on-deck circle. After hitting only 47 HR in his first seven seasons, Finley has managed to go yard 299 times and steal 316 bases in a career that has now spanned 18 years.
Rickey Henderson fell three homers short of admission before retiring. That reminds me, has he called it quits yet? The man Rickey calls Rickey cleared the other requirement by 1106. Think he was any good? That's 168 more stolen bases than anyone else in the history of the game.
Eric Davis and Ryne Sandberg ended their careers with 282 dingers and over 340 thefts. Close but no cigar.
Among active players, Craig Biggio (266 HR and 408 SB) could be the next player to follow in Finley's footsteps. He's going to need to play at least two more years after this one though. How likely is that? Otherwise, Bobby Abreu (197 HR/251 SB), Carlos Beltran (179/220), Alex Rodriguez (442/232), and Alfonso Soriano (185/183) have a reasonable chance of reaching the 300-300 club over time. Derek Jeter (174/225) is a longshot unless he picks up the power. Let's assume he gets to 180 or so by the end of this year. He would have to average 15 per season over each of the next eight years if he exited the game when he turned 40. Possible but not probable.
And let's not rule out Julio Franco (171/274) just quite yet. At the 47-year-old's current pace of two HR per season, he should get there in about three score and four years from now.
I need to look this one up but Bobby Bonds, Sanders, and Finley may also be a part of the 300-300-300 club. Home runs. Stolen bases. Number of MLB teams.
Francisco Liriano held the Baltimore Orioles scoreless for seven innings on Sunday while allowing only one hit and two walks. He is now 4-1 with a 1.24 ERA as a starter. The southpaw has not allowed a home run during this stretch. Opponents have hit just .155/.248/.186 against him. However, his batting average on balls in play of .205 is unlikely to be sustained.
DATE OPP IP H R ER HR BB SO GB FB TBF #Pit
6/11 Bal 7.0 1 0 0 0 2 6 9 6 23 98
6/06 @Sea 6.0 7 3 3 0 2 3 15 5 28 91
5/31 @LAA 6.0 1 0 0 0 4 4 12 1 22 105
5/26 Sea 5.0 4 0 0 0 1 6 6 4 19 83
5/19 @Mil 5.0 2 1 1 0 3 5 5 1 17 68
Totals 29.0 15 4 4 0 12 24 47 17 109 445
The Twins are 28-34 with the fourth-worst record in the A.L., yet could find themselves at the end of the year with the Rookie of the Year (Liriano), Cy Young Award winner (Johan Santana), and the batting champion (Joe Mauer). I don't think this combo bodes well for Ron Gardenhire in his quest to become the Manager of the Year.
Jonathan Papelbon might have something to say about Liriano winning the AL ROY. Pap has 20 saves with a miniscule ERA of 0.30. In fact, Papelbon was 20-for-20 in save situations before blowing his first of the season against the Texas Rangers on Friday night. He allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth inning to tie the game at 3-3, then struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his first win of the year.
G IP H R ER HR BB SO W-L Sv ERA WHIP AVG OBP SLG
29 30.1 15 1 1 0 4 31 1-1 20 0.30 0.63 .144 .183 .163
OK, after highlighting two rookies, I'm going to close with an update on Roger Clemens. The 43-year-old pitcher made the second of three minor league starts against the San Antonio Missions (AA) at Corpus Christi on Sunday and did just fine. He struck out 11 batters over six innings and didn't allow a hit until the fifth. The Rocket has given up five hits, no walks, and one run while whiffing 17 in nine innings over two starts.
Clemens will make his final MiL tune-up on Friday at Round Rock against the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA). The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to face major-league hitters (maybe that should be singular for Mauer only) for the first time this season when he meets the Minnesota Twins in Houston on Thursday, June 22.
There's lots to look forward to this weekend. Besides Finley and his pursuit of the 300-300 club, Liriano and Papelbon doing their rookie schtick, Roger getting back in shape for when it all counts, and the College World Series, we've got the U.S. Open. Men's Professional Golf. At Winged Foot.
Now that sounds like a soccer team to me. Winged Foot. Well, at least here in the States. You know, our soccer. Everyone else's football. I agree with Scott Van Pelt of ESPN here. Wouldn't it be a lot easier if the rest of the world would call our football their soccer? That way, they'd have our football, their soccer. Our soccer, their football. So instead of having football and football, they'd have football and soccer just like us. But the reverse, you know, to avoid confusion.