SEATTLE MARINERS (42-19)
Seattle continued on their torrid pace, going 5-1 on the week... They closed out their 12-game road trip with a resounding 11-1 record and padded their Major League best road record to an unthinkable 25-8... Perhaps most impressive was the way they responded to the lone loss: after being held to just 2 runs by Mets rookie pitcher Jae Weong Seo, they rattled off 20 runs and gave up just 1 to sweep a doubleheader Sunday... On top of all this, Edgar Martinez saw very limited playing time for the week, as the team played in National League parks... It is just one more example of how well the M’s are playing as a cohesive unit right now.
All Meched Up: No one in baseball seems able to beat RHP Gil Meche at this point. He continued his amazing 2003 campaign this week, rolling to another victory in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Meche went 6 innings while giving up just 2 runs and lowering his ERA to 3.10 - best among M‘s starters. The win pushed him to 8-2 on the year, including 4 wins in his last 4 starts. With 100 games left in the season, he has already matched his career high in wins, set in 1999 when he went 8-4.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS (34-27)
The A’s gave up a mammoth 39 runs on the week... The total dropped them behind Seattle to second in the AL in runs allowed (239)... They also went a sub par 2-4 to fall to 8 full games behind the AL West leading Mariners... The main catalyst for the downfall in wins has been a pronounced lack of offense... Oakland’s runs scored total is better than just 4 AL teams - the Devil Rays, Indians, White Sox, and Tigers... If the A’s are to make their trademark summer surge, they are going to need to find their bats soon. You reading this Mr. Chavez? How about you Mr. Tejada?
Lillified: One pitcher who really felt the sting of the missing offense was LHP Ted Lilly this week. Lilly went 7 strong innings and gave up just 1 earned run in Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Florida. He even racked up 8 K’s while walking just 1. It was just the second time this year that he struck out more than 7 batters. Lilly is now 3-4 in 2003 with a respectable 3.93 ERA.
ANAHEIM ANGELS (31-29)
Anaheim finally pushed their record a couple of games above .500, going 4-2 on the week... They won both series they played, including a trip to Puerto Rico to take on the Expos - one of the best teams in baseball right now... With the Red Sox slumping and the Blue Jays coming back to reality a bit, they still have a chance to get back into the hunt if they continue to pick it up... OF Garret Anderson broke out of his recent slump in a big way, hitting .382 this week and blasting 6 homeruns... The team as a whole went yard an amazing 19 times... Closer Troy Percival returned Saturday, going 1 inning and walking 1 against Florida.
Puerto Rico Suave: OF Jeff DaVanon absolutely blew up in the series against Montreal. The switch hitter homered 4 times over the first 2 games, these on the heels of a 2 homerun game against Tampa Bay to close out last week. In all, he ran off 3 consecutive multi-homerun games. In the two in Puerto Rico, he drilled them from both sides of the plate, making him the first big leaguer to do so in consecutive games since Ken Caminiti did it in 1995 with the Padres. DaVanon is making things interesting for Manager Mike Scossia, who may have to do some juggling in the outfield if Darrin Erstad returns as expected this week.
TEXAS RANGERS (25-36)
The Rangers continued their rapid downfall this week, going 0-6... It may seem pointless to even discuss at this point, but they gave up another 40 runs this week (an average of 6.67 a game), raising their season total to a Major League worst 387... With their offensive talent, they are probably the single best example of a desperate need for quality pitching in recent memory... They have now lost 9 in a row and 12 of their last 14 since winning 7 in a row in mid-May.
So Long Juan?: After starting the season somewhat slowly, OF Juan Gonzalez has been on a tear. He’s done it with the long ball, cranking out 18 homeruns thus far. This week was no exception as he deposited two into the stands, fueling a 10-RBI week. Fans of Gonzalez will tell you that this is what he can do when he remains healthy. However, critics will tell you that this is simply a product of Juan being in a contract year.
Luke Lapinski lives in Tempe, AZ and attends the Arizona State University, where he hosts the radio show, "The Mad UnderGrads." He once ate a hot dog from the Kingdome and survived to tell about it. Luke enjoys reading feedback, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.