Andy Pettitte has not been his old self this season, but he's doing enough to get the job done for New York... especially against Baltimore. Pettitte picked up his sixth win of the season on Saturday against Baltimore and improved his career record against the Orioles to 28-6, the second-most wins versus the Orioles since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954, behind Whitey Ford (30-17). Pettitte is 8-0 over his last 11 regular-season starts against Baltimore. Only Roy Halladay (10) has a longer current winning streak versus Baltimore than Pettitte.
It seems like Chris Davis does something amazing every week... and this week was no different. The Baltimore slugger hit home run No. 32 of the season in the Orioles' 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday evening (and has since hit his 33rd). The 32nd shot tied the record for the third-most home runs hit prior to the Fourth of July in the history of the American League. Ken Griffey Jr. had at least 32 homers before July 4th in two different seasons, with 35 bombs in 1998 and 32 in 1994; and Reggie Jackson homered 33 times prior to July 4th in 1969.
Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis was named the American League Player of the Week for the second time in the month of June, this time for the week ending on June 30th. Kipnis went 11-for-23 (.478) during the week with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He also scored nine runs. Kipnis has enjoyed a stellar past month and a half after a rough start and is now 44-for-113 (.389) with an on-base percentage of .486 and nine stolen bases since June 1st.
Victor Martinez has a vendetta against his former team and the Tigers are really enjoying it. The Detroit catcher went 3-for-3 with two RBI to help lead the Tigers to a 7-0 win over the Indians on Friday night. Martinez is now hitting .364 against the Indians since he was traded by Cleveland to the Red Sox in 2009. Only one active player with at least 100 at bats has a higher career batting average against the Indians than Martinez: Elvis Andrus, who has a lifetime average of .379 against the Tribe.
Division All-Star snubs: Detroit reliever Drew Smyly (3-0, 2.08 ERA, 54 Ks, 1.00 WHIP); Kansas City reliever Greg Holland (2-1, 1.91 ERA, 56 Ks, 20 saves)
Kyle Seager hit a tie-breaking two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning this past Wednesday, leading the Mariners to a 4-2 victory over Texas. It was Seager's second extra-inning home run of the season, tying him with Ian Desmond, John Mayberry Jr. and Mark Trumbo for the major-league lead in the category. The last Mariners player with two extra-inning homers in a season was Ryan Langerhans in 2009. Seager now has 13 home runs and 41 RBI this season and is one of baseball's top rookies. Despite his immediate impact in a struggling Seattle lineup, Seager was not chosen to represent his squad at this year's All Star Game.
Houston's Chris Carter hit a game-tying solo home run in the second inning and then hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh this past Wednesday evening, accounting for the only runs in the Astros 4-1 win over Tampa Bay. Only five other Astros have hit two home runs that either tied the game or put the team ahead while scoring all of the team's runs in the game: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Justin Maxwell. Not a bad group to be a part of. Only two Astros players are hitting above .269 for the season and there haven't been many bright spots, but Carter has definitely been the team's lone source of power this season. Put aside his .228 average and Carter still has 17 home runs and 46 RBI.
Division All-Star snubs: Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson (.319, 15 HR, 57 RBI, 48 runs scored); Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager (.286, 13 HR, 41 RBI, 46 runs scored)
There is just something about the Mets and extra-inning games. Mets backup catcher Anthony Recker hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the 13th inning and outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis notched a solo home run that tied the Diamondbacks again in the 14th inning, but Arizona scored in the 15th and took New York down by a score of 5-4. It was the first time in exactly 28 years that a team hit two game-tying home runs in extra innings and still lost the game. On July 4, 1985 at Fulton County Stadium, the Braves' Terry Harper hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning to tie the Mets, 10-10, and then pitcher Rick Camp homered in the bottom of the 18th to tie the score at 11. The Mets eventually won that game in 19 innings, 16-13.
The Nationals added some depth to their outfield this week, acquiring veteran Scott Hairston in a trade with the Cubs, who will receive a minor-league pitcher in return. Hairston has a .244/.299/.447 line over ten seasons with the Diamondbacks, Padres, Athletics, Mets and Cubs and received a two-year, $5 million contract in the offseason after posting a .263/.299/.504 line with 20 home runs and 57 RBI for the Mets in 2012.
Division All-Star snubs: Washington shortstop Ian Desmond (.281, 15 HR, 49 RBI); Washington starter Stephen Strasburg (5-6, 2.45 ERA, 107 Ks, 1.06 WHIP)
Jonah Keri is at it again and this time, he's chronicling just how upsetting it is to be a fan of the Brewers. Check out his excellent article here.
St. Louis will probably be looking for a little added boost in their rotation, but as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, the answer could be right in front of them. Chris Carpenter still is not healthy and has yet to be cleared for any throwing off of a mound, but should his recovery go smoothly... we could be seeing the big right hander soon.
To the naked eye, Alfonso Soriano is having a pretty solid season for a 37-year-old outfielder who has seen better days. The numbers are there, but it didn't start that way. Soriano had one of his worst Aprils ever, posting a line of .263/.291/.343 with one home run and two RBI during the month. It looked pretty bleak for Soriano, but the last two months have been a different story. Since May 1st, Soriano is hitting .254/.278/.493 with 11 home runs and 41 RBI. We probably can't call that great considering how much he's making, but this does give the Cubs a bit of an edge in the trade market. With just one year left on his massive contract and penny pincher Theo Epstein at the Chicago helm, we can imagine Soriano's services will be tested on the open market. The only drawback? Soriano's no-trade clause... but if the right team comes along, we shouldn't rule out anything.
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was named the National League Player of the Week for the week ending on June 30th. The reigning league MVP went on a small tear during the Giants nine-game road trip, going 11-for-22 (.500) with four home runs and six RBI. He also scored four runs. Despite his hot bat, the Giants lost eight of their nine games on the trip.
Arizona has had its fair share of surprises this season, including rookie phenom Patrick Corbin and hot-hitting Paul Goldschmidt (both All-Stars). Tyler Skaggs added himself to the list of young and impressive Diamondbacks this week when he pitched eight shutout innings on Friday night in a win over the Colorado Rockies. Skaggs is the second pitcher under the age of 22 to win a game and not allow a run in at least eight innings of work this season, joining Miami All-Star Jose Fernandez, who did the very same thing earlier in the week. The last time two different pitchers under the age of 22 did that in the same season prior to August 1 was in 2003, when San Francisco's Jerome Williams and Florida's Dontrelle Willis (twice) both did it prior to July.
Division All-Star snubs: Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra (.299, 7 HR, 26 doubles, .806 OPS); Los Angeles starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (7-3, 2.82 ERA, 90 Ks, 1.23 WHIP)
John Lopiano can be reached at email@example.com. Follow John on Twitter: @johnlopiano.
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