SEATTLE MARINERS (56-34)
The Mariners were below .500 for the second consecutive week, going just 2-4... Both of this week’s opponents (Texas: 38-52 and Baltimore: 41-47) had losing records yet still managed to win each series from the M’s... Seattle has now lost 8 of their last 12 and have not won a series since the June 24-26 matchup with Anaheim... RHP Joel Pineiro has grabbed 3 of the team’s last 5 wins... Former Mariners skipper Lou Piniella brings the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to town for the final series before the All-Star Break.
On an Ichi-roll: OF Ichiro Suzuki has been on fire of late. For the week, he hit .423 and lead the team in hits (11), runs (4), stolen bases (3), and total bases (14). He also cracked one of just two homeruns that the team as a whole hit and struck out just once. For the year, he is hitting .350 while leading the team with 66 runs scored, 132 hits, 24 stolen bases, and a .388 on-base percentage. Though not known for his power, he is also fourth on the team in homeruns with 8.
2003 All-Stars: OF Ichiro Suzuki*, DH Edgar Martinez*, 2B Bret Boone, P Jamie Moyer, RP Shigetoshi Hasegawa
OAKLAND ATHLETICS (51-39)
Oakland managed to pick up a game on first place Seattle as they broke even at 3-3 for the week... They are now just 7-9 in their last 16 however... LHP Barry Zito was roughed up by the Devil Rays in Tuesday’s 9-3 loss... He gave up 7 earned runs in just 5 1/3 innings to fall to 8-6 on the year... Perhaps more concerning is the fact that he has now given up 10 or more hits in each of his last 3 starts (15 in the loss to Tampa Bay)... Up next for the A’s are the Baltimore Orioles.
Finishing the Job: LHP Mark Mulder pitched 2 more complete games this week to bring his league leading total to 7 on the year. In all of 2002, he completed just 2 of his starts. Surprisingly, he went just 1-1 this week, despite tossing the 2 complete games in which he surrendered a total of just 3 runs. The fact that he suffered a 1-0 loss to Anaheim on Friday before managing to squeak by with a 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday speaks to the team’s poor hitting of late. For the week, they hit just .241 and popped 5 homeruns - Juan Gonzalez hit that many on his own this week.
2003 All-Stars: C Ramon Hernandez, P Barry Zito, P Mark Mulder, RP Keith Foulke
ANAHEIM ANGELS (46-43)
The Angels went 4-2 on the week and have slowly but surely managed to cut the distance between themselves and the first place Mariners to single digits at 9 1/2 games... The team earned series victories over both Oakland and Kansas City this week - both of which are teams with winning records... Anaheim welcomes the struggling Twins to town this weekend for their final series before the All-Star Break.
Sele the Deal: RHP Aaron Sele nabbed 2 victories this week to raise his record up to 6-6 on the year. Both outings were relatively short (5 innings apiece). However, they were also both very effective performances. In Friday’s 1-0 win at Oakland, he gave up just 1 hit and allowed 0 runs. Thursday, he yielded 1 run on just 4 hits in a 7-1 romp over the Royals at home. His longest outing of the year came June 7 at Florida when he went 7 innings to beat the Marlins. His ERA is still somewhat high at 5.37, but he has now won 3 in a row and given up just 1 earned run in that span.
2003 All-Stars: 3B Troy Glaus*, OF Garret Anderson, P Brendan Donnelly
TEXAS RANGERS (38-52)
The Rangers seem to have put the month of June - in which they went 7-20 - behind them for the time being... The team went 5-1 this week and has now won 6 of their last 7... Included in this week’s run was a series win at home over first place Seattle... The Rangers lost the second game of the set by 1, while winning both other games by 4... The wins have been coming as a result of power, not speed - for the week, the team hit 12 homeruns while stealing a grand total of 0 bases... OF Kevin Mench was placed on the 15-day DL Wednesday with a broken wrist... In yet another move to unload salary, the Rangers traded veteran closer Ugueth Urbina to Florida Friday. In return, they received three prospects, including Adrian Gonzalez, the No. 1 pick of the 2000 draft... The final series before the All-Star Break has the AL Central leading Royals coming to town.
Juan and Only: OF Juan Gonzalez is making sure fans in Texas do not forget him if the team does deal him before the trading deadline. This week, he lit up opposing pitching for 5 homeruns and 11 RBI’s. He also tallied 23 total bases - good for third in the AL. In 2003, Juan Gone is hitting .289 with the team lead in homeruns (23) and RBI’s (65) - all this despite missing 14 games due to injury. Many rumors have Gonzalez heading to Los Angeles to help spark one of the most anemic offenses in baseball.
2003 All-Stars: SS Alex Rodriguez*, 3B Hank Blalock
* - Voted into the All-Star Game
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.