SEATTLE MARINERS (37-18)
The Mariners ran the table this week, going 6-0... 4 of the wins were against AL Central leading Minnesota in which they outscored the Twins 30-13... For the week, they blew out the opposition 50-22... 7 starters hit over .300, led by 1B John Olerud’s .435... DH Edgar Martinez and 2B Bret Boone provided the power with 4 homeruns and 10 RBI’s apiece... The way everyone is pulling their own weight both offensively and defensively has stirred up talk of the magical 2001 season in the Emerald City
Zeroing In: On top of the team's offensive numbers, RHP Joel Pineiro pitched a masterful game in Minnesota on Friday. The former 12th round pick out of Edison CC tossed a complete game shutout while scattering just 4 hits. Even more encouraging for M’s fans was the fact that he racked up 12 K’s while walking just 2. To this point of the season, Pineiro’s biggest problems had been control (31 BB’s) and starting strong. He did both against the Twins, less than a week after they had lit him up for 6 runs in just 5 innings. The victory pushed Pineiro to 5-4 in 2003 and dropped his ERA to 3.86.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS (32-23)
The A’s continue to lead the AL in runs allowed, giving up just 200 on the year... They did, however, give up 32 this week in just 6 games on their way to a 3-3 record... The .500 record for the week is a microcosm of Oakland's play of late - they are now 10-10 in their last 20... RHP Tim Hudson had his worst outing of the year on Friday, giving up 9 runs (6 earned) in just 3 2/3 innings in an 11-6 loss to the Royals... The loss dropped Hudson to 4-2 on the year
Chavez Ravine: The 2003 season has been one big valley for 3B Eric Chavez. As bad as things have been, they actually got worse this week as he hit a meager .115 to lower his season average even lower to .241. He has totaled 10 homeruns but just 24 RBI’s - far from his pace over the last 2 years in which he has averaged 33 homeruns per year to go with 111.5 RBI’s. The team has found other avenues of offensive production (i.e. OF Eric Byrnes), but they clearly need better numbers from Chavez if they are to contend for the AL crown as many expected they would at the season’s outset.
ANAHEIM ANGELS (27-27)
For the second consecutive week, the Angels were 3-3 against the Orioles and Devil Rays... On the year, they are exactly .500 at 27-27, far from where one would expect a defending World Series Champion to be at this point... OF Garret Anderson is in a rare slump: he’s currently 7 for his last 47 - a .149 average... Despite this, he’s still hitting .303 with 19 doubles overall in 2003... Closer Troy Percival is looking to continue strengthening his hip in an attempt to avoid surgery... If all goes well, he could be back in the Anaheim bullpen later this week... RP Brendan Donnelly has been the closer in his absence
Couldn’t Be Appier:RHP Kevin Appier has been one of the few bright spots for the Angels pitching staff of late. The 15 year vet took full advantage of facing the Devil Rays in his last 2 starts, allowing just 2 runs and scattering 12 hits over 14 2/3 innings en route to a 2-0 record. He also struck out 8 while allowing just 3 walks. Appier has now won his last 3 decisions to move to 4-2 on the year.
TEXAS RANGERS (25-30)
The Rangers were 2-4 on the week and have now lost 6 of their last 8 after winning 7 in a row... The key is pitching (obviously - they are the Rangers): they allowed another 32 runs over the 6 games this week, bringing their season total to a league worst 347... OF Juan Gonzalez led the team in hitting, going 7 for 24 with 2 homeruns... 1B Mark Teixeira tallied 10 RBI’s to lead the team for the week
Blalocked In: 3B Hank Blalock is almost a lock to go to his first ever all-star game. With Shea Hillenbrand on his way to the NL, only Baltimore’s Tony Batista has more RBI’s among AL third basemen (36). Blalock leads the AL in average (.352) and hits (64). He is also second among AL third basemen in runs (32) and third in homeruns (9). He hit .292 this week to go with 7 walks.