Out of the Box
When you think of great father-son tandems, you think of the names Bonds and Griffey. But if you look at the numbers, it's not that close a comparison between the combos that have hit the most home runs in big league history for father-son pairs. Barry Bonds' home run on Thursday was the 1,000th for he and his dad combined, and also gave him 246 since turning 35, passing Hank Aaron's total of 245.
The Daily Rundown
There is major concern in Seattle about the Mariners' early struggles. Seattle's pitching has not been good so far this season, and the starters were expected to be one of the team's strengths. The Mariners may be paying the price for overusing some of their starters last season.
2004 ERAs: Pineiro 8.26; Meche 5.31; Franklin 5.56
Three up, three down
The Brewers are over .500 and starting to believe they can be competitive in the toughest division in baseball.
Here are Peter Gammons' three reasons for optimism: 1) Brewers are fielding competitive team; 2) Brewers have arguably best farm system in MLB; 3) Brewers pitchers are improving.
Jeff Brantley's three reasons for pessimism: 1) Lowest payroll in MLB; 2) Less money, less players kept; 3) Not much pitching on horizon.
One other reason for Brewers optimism is the play of Bill Hall, who proved earlier this week that he could win games via the home run, or the bunt, getting walk-off hits on back-to-back nights. There was a time that Hall could win them with his arm too.
"He was our shortstop and our ace pitcher,'' said Brian Sutton, head baseball coach at Nettleton (Mississippi) High where Hall won a state title, played three other sports and graduated in 1998. "If we needed three outs, I called time, brought him over from shortstop and gave him a pep talk. He would pull his cap below his eyes and I could walk back to the dugout and tell the team 'This game is over.' ''
Touch 'Em All
Jim Edmonds: Sixth career walk-off HR.
David Ortiz: Nine HR in 40 games vs. the Devil Rays.
Derek Jeter: Solo HR ends 0-for-32 slump.
Carlos Beltran: 10th career HR vs. Rangers.
Brad Fullmer: First HR vs. Royals since April 21, 2001.
Barry Bonds: 668th career HR; 246th HR since 35th birthday (first all-time).
Hee Seop Choi: Ties career high in HR (third straight game with HR).
Alex Rodriguez: 30th HR vs. Athletics.
Mike Lowell: Six HR in last 36 AB.
Most Important Thing
Peter Gammons: Andy Pettitte's return.
Jeff Brantley: Derek Jeter's HR.
Rob Dibble: Red Sox bullpen continues to dominate.
Stats of the Night
The player who reached 10 HR in the fewest team games, was Mike Schmidt, who hit 10 in the Phillies' first 12 games in 1976. Barry Bonds hit his 10th HR in the Giants' 23rd game.
The team to throw the most consecutive scoreless innings in MLB history was the 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates, who threw 56 consecutive scoreless innings (June 1-9). The 2004 Red Sox threw 32 scoreless innings (April 24-29). Note that in 1903, the Red Sox (then known as the Pilgrims) beat the Pirates in the World Series.
Dan and Janet Hill of Moline, Ill. noticed that Derek Jeter hadn't been himself at the plate lately, during his 0-for-32 slump. They watched the SportsCentury profile of Jeter and compared his past batting approach with recent plate appearances.
"Although he looked better Wednesday night, we still believe his approach appears shaky,'' the Hills wrote in an e-mail. "Watching his final at-bat against Oakland's Arthur Rhodes on Wednesday and his strikeout against Boston's Alan Embree last Saturday, it looks as if his rhythm tap with his left foot is hitting the ground later than normal, thus resulting in two things: 1) The ball is on top of him before he begins his stride toward the pitcher ... the result was a commitment to swing very early, and a wild corkscrew motion on a down-and-in pitch. And 2) His rhythm tap lately has not been an up-and-down motion with his left leg. It looks as if it's an up-and-out motion, which results in his body and hands lunging forward early rather than staying balanced, keeping his hands back and getting the bat quickly through the hitting zone."
This analysis was very close to what Jeff Brantley noticed watching Jeter in person on Wednesday. Here's what Brantley said about the home run that broke Jeter's 0-for-32 string.
"Tonight he relaxed a little bit," Brantley said of Jeter. "His hips and hands were in the same spot, right on the ball. The ball was hit hard. That was Derek Jeter. When he stays back, he does just fine."
Mark Simon is the researcher for ESPN's Baseball Tonight. He can be contacted at Mark.A.Simon@espn.com.