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Players of the Week, Nuggets and Notes from Opening Day
Around the Horn
Like Father, Like Son
On Saturday, rookie Kyle Drabek picked up his first major league win with a sterling 1-hit performance over seven innings to defeat the Minnesota Twins. It was almost 25 years ago when his father, Doug, earned the first win of his career. On July 11, 1986, with Yankees manager Lou Piniella calling the shots, the elder Drabek, making the sixth start of his career, pitched six strong innings for the Yankees at Minnesota.
Wieters Calling Games
To casual fans, starters Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and rookie Zach Britton, making his major league debut, dominated the Rays and were the keys to the sweep of the defending AL East champs. But pitching coach Mark Connor is quick to give partial credit to catcher Matt Wieters. While the rising star has been underwhelming at the plate, he is developing into a premier backstop calling games.
Tough Weekend for Edgar
Seattle Mariners legend Edgar Martinez lost two records over the weekend. Ichiro Suzuki passed Martinez as the Mariners’ all-time leader in hits with 2,248. David Ortiz of Boston broke Martinez’s record for RBIs as a DH by driving in No. 1,004 at Texas.
AL Player of the Week:
Carlos Quentin, White sox
The young White Sox slugger was 5-for-11 (.545) for the weekend with a homer and seven RBIs. He led the Sox to two wins over the Indians at Cleveland.
AL Pitcher of the Week:
Chris Tillman, Orioles
Tillman spun a no-hitter through six innings before giving way to the bullpen at Tampa Bay on Saturday. After 101 pitches, manager Buck Showalter removed Tillman, who walked three and struck out five.
NL Player of the Week
Ryan Howard, Phillies
The big first baseman was the leading man in the Phillies’ sweep of Houston. Sure, the Phillies have stingy starting pitching, but the bats accounted for 21 runs. Howard had three multi-hit games hitting .538 with a homer and six RBIs.
NL Pitcher of the Week
Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
Garcia struggled most of the spring, but came up huge when the Cardinals needed a win on Sunday. After losing two to the Padres, and without All-Star Adam Wainwright in the rotation, Garcia tossed the first shutout of the season. He gave up four hits and just two walks in the 2-0 win.
Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays
The one player who could ease the loss of Carl Crawford to free agency was Jennings. Rays fans have been waiting for the youngster to take over left field in Tampa. In a 17-game audition last season that included five starts, he hit just .190 and was caught stealing in two of his four attempts. After a disappointing spring, he’ll start the season at Triple-A Durham.
Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners
The second overall pick in 2009 is poised to be called up to Seattle this season. Last season in stops at Double-A and Triple-A, he improved his average at the higher level and totaled 33 doubles in 501 at-bats. Seattle brass was ecstatic after his stellar performance in the Arizona Fall League last year. In 20 games he hit .424 with a .581 OBP.
Kyle Gibson, SP, Twins
The first-round pick in 2009 progressed quickly through the minors last season. Pitching at A, AA and AAA last season, Gibson was 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA and 1.151 WHIP. His ERA at the Triple-A level was 1.72 in three starts.
Opening Day Notes
Todd Helton made his 14th consecutive Opening Day start at first base for the Rockies. The Rockies have had just two Opening Day first basemen in franchise history — Helton and Andres Galarraga...The Oakland A’s have started six different Opening Day pitchers the last six seasons. Only the Dodgers and Twins have had as many as five different starting pitchers the last six years. But changing opening starters is nothing new for the A’s. They went from 1993-2002 with 10 different starting pitchers on Opening Day...Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell made 15 Opening Day starts together. Bagwell played all 15 at first base, while Biggio made starts at catcher, second and center field...Roy Oswalt had a string of eight straight Opening Day starts broken. He made all eight with the Astros, but Roy Halladay was the starter for the Phillies. It was Halladay’s ninth straight Opening Day start, the longest current streak for a pitcher...The Braves have had a revolving door at first base for six seasons, employing a different player there each season...The Mets have started eight different outfielders in the last three seasons, but the Washington Nationals have taken that a step further. The Nats have started nine different outfielders over the last three Opening Days, and seven different left fielders in the seven seasons in Washington...There must be something about left field in the National League East. The Phillies had 14 different left fielders from 1983-96, a span that included two World Series appearances.
1 Strikeouts that Rockies’ ace Ubaldo Jimenez had Opening Day vs. the Diamondbacks. In 33 starts last season, he never had fewer than three Ks.
10-4 The Texas Rangers’ record in their last 14 games against the American League — all against AL East bullies Tampa Bay, New York and Boston.
0-3 Records of Boston and Tampa Bay. Of the last 40 teams to make the playoffs, only one — the 2007 Phillies — started 0-3.
7 Home runs by the Texas Rangers in their three-game sweep of the Red Sox while scoring 21 runs.
20 Consecutive Opening Day starts at catcher by Ivan Rodriguez. He made 11 with Texas, one with Florida, five with Detroit, one with Houston and the last two with Washington.