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Just like that…

April 29, 2010
I think you can figure out the theme of today’s Short Hops. I am also going to go with a bulleting format for Short Hops from here on out, which I tried once before, because it’s easier to follow.
Short hops:
  • Just like that, the Red Sox are back in their rightful-ish place in the AL East. To be more specific, they’re ahead of the Blue Jays in the standings after sweeping a three-game set in Toronto. Jon Lester dominated with eleven strikeouts over seven scoreless, and Darnell McDonald doubled and scored in the sixth on a Dustin Pedroia sac fly before singling in the final run with two outs in the seventh. The Sox used a lineup that may, and probably should, become prevalent this season, with Jason Varitek behind the plate and Victor Martinez starting at DH. Varitek’s production in limited action this year has been far better than expected and his .323 average with 4 homers and 8 RBI are far more impressive than the .217/3/14 that Ortiz, Martinez and Lowell have combined to produce so far this year.
  • Just like that, the Pirates are back on even ground with the team that just two days ago reinforced that the Bucs are an embarrassment. Ryan Doumit, who hit a game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning on Tuesday off Brewers potential ex-closer Trevor Hoffman, homered off Hoffman again in the ninth on Wednesday. This time, Doumit’s liner over the right field wall tied the game, eventually leading to a Pirates victory in 14 innings. Hoffman, who gave up only two taters in 54 innings last year (an average of 0.33 HR/9), has given up six home runs so far this year in only nine innings, or 1800% of last year’s average. The Bucs are now tied with the Brewers for fourth in the division at 9-12, 0.5 ahead of 8-12 Houston and 0.5 behind 10-12 Chicago. Cincinnati is barely holding water with its 10-11 second-place standing, but the Cardinals have pulled it together to stand in first at 14-7, the best record in the NL.
  • Just like that, the Rays are the best team in baseball and the A’s are only 0.5 ahead of the Angels for first place in the AL West after Oakland got swept in a two-game series in Tampa Bay. James Shields tied a career high with twelve strikeouts en route to an easy 10-3 Rays victory. The Rays are now a Major League-best 16-5, the best start in team history, and sit comfortably atop the AL East thanks largely in part to a 12-4 intradivisional record.
  • Small ball is making a comeback, and Oakland’s division-rival Angels used just that to walk off with a win over the Indians on Wednesday. With the game tied at 3, Torii Hunter led off the bottom of the ninth with a line drive to right off of Indians reliever Joe Smith. As Hunter tried to stretch a single into a double, Cleveland right fielder Shin Soo Choo made a strong throw into second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who applied a sweep tag on Hunter before he finished sliding into the bag. So, logically, umpire Paul Schrieber called Hunter safe. A walk and a should-have-been-game-ending double play pushed Hunter to third with two outs, and after a walk to Juan Rivera, Howie Kendrick landed a bunt in between the pitcher and the second baseman and just like that, the game was over.
  • Just like that, the Orioles are now on a worse pace than the 1962 Mets. CC Sabathia and the Yankees cruised to am 8-3 victory over Baltimore, sending the O’s to a 4-17 record, one game worse than the 5-16 record the Mets had through their inaugural 21 games.

As always, if you like what you read, please keep coming back and follow the blog daily (there’s a link in the sidebar), and please pass the JOB on to friends to help me get one!

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