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Pop the champagne!
Sure, it's not quite the major league record, but it is the longest streak since the 1886 Detroit Wolverines won 18 straight. And sure, catcher Russell Martin, a career .283 hitter, is batting 41 points below that. Let's put aside the fact that the current rotation, minus Chad Billingsley, has an ERA well above 5.00, not to mention the fact that they lost the only series they've played against a team from outside their division -- the last place team in the NL Central, the Astros.
Pardon me for being a tad underwhelmed at this arbitrary accomplishment. Sure, the Dodgers are playing well, and fantasy owners should be patting themselves on the back if they drafted Billingsley, or NL hit leader Orlando Hudson, the home runs of Andre Ethier, the steals of Matt Kemp, or Manny Ramirez "being Manny." However, we're not ready to crown Joe Torre as the King of Baseball just yet.
No, that title goes to Albert Pujols. If you want to know what unstoppable truly is, just look at the St. Louis first baseman, who Wednesday night went 4-for-4, raising his average to .364. He also hit his 11th home run of the season and now has 31 RBIs on the year. He's well on his way to his third MVP trophy, and possibly even a Triple Crown to go along with it. What's even more amazing is that he's continuing to put up these huge numbers despite living in a lineup with the likes of Skip Schumacher, Joe Thurston, Khalil Greene and the weak-hitting pitcher of the day.
Come September, the Dodgers should certainly be in the running for the NL West crown. However, before they can claim themselves to be one of the best teams of all time, they just might have to find a way to stop Albert Pujols and that's no easy task.
• Kevin Slowey probably wishes they'd never started his game in Baltimore. Rain forced two separate delays of the contest, and eventually the whole shebang was called off in the sixth inning. Unfortunately, that was long enough for Slowey (4-1) to give up a home run to Nick Markakis, and get tagged with his first loss of the season.
• Roy Halladay joined the six-win club, as the Blue Jays cruised over the Angels, 13-1. In seasons past, Halladay probably would have been allowed to pitch yet another complete game, but with his pitch count already at 117, Cito Gaston actually went to the bullpen for the ninth inning. Baby steps.
• Justin Upton must like hitting third in the Arizona lineup. After Bob Melvin decided to move Upton's hot bat up to the three-hole on a whim, the manager looks like a genius. Upton homered twice, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, and providing all the offense the team would need (or get, for that matter) to beat Jake Peavy of the Padres, who struck out 12 in the loss.
• Frank Francisco continues to take a page out of the Brad Lidge handbook, remaining a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities after locking up Texas' 3-2 victory against Oakland on Wednesday. Francisco, aka "Goose Egg", has an unblemished 0.00 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings pitched so far in 2009 for the first-place Rangers. World Series, here we come!
• Maybe Carlos Pena doesn't like Pepsi, but he sure likes Coke ... as in Phil Coke, the Yankees reliever who served up Pena's major-league leading 12th home run of the season in the top of the 10th inning. Troy Percival earned his fifth save of the year, despite allowing a Johnny Damon double, and wild-pitching him to third in the bottom of the 10th.
• Kerry Wood need not be worried, but former starter Aaron Laffey, who the Indians had just moved to the bullpen to give them a little more depth and far better results than the 9.33 ERA they'd been sporting, got his first career save on Wednesday with a three-inning relief appearance to close out the Red Sox, 9-2. Jeremy Sowers will replace Laffey in the rotation.
• Todd Helton haters, put a lid on it. The Rockies' first-baseman was 3-for-4 on Wednesday with his fourth home run and raised his batting average to .360 on the season. Helton helped Colorado pummel Randy Johnson, 11-1. The Big Unit failed to strike out a single batter, only the seventh time that has happened in 592 career starts, and only the third when he pitched at least five innings.
Ryan Braun, Brewers
Heeee's baa-aack! Braun went 3-for-6 with a grand slam and six RBIs against the Reds on Wednesday night, including a two-run single off of shortstop Paul Janish, who allowed five runs when he came in to mop up the mess Braun helped create in the 15-3 blowout. The six runs batted in was a career high for Braun.
Johan Santana, Mets
Sure, it would be nice to get some run support, but Santana did win his fourth game of the season, 1-0 against the Phillies, allowing only two hits and striking out 10 batters in seven innings. In the process, he lowered his ERA to a Greinke-like 0.91 for the season. (What? You thought we were going to give this honor to Paul Janish?)
Carl Crawford stole a base in his ninth consecutive game on Wednesday, matching the third-longest streak since 1920. Next on the swipes-in-a-row list are Rickey Henderson (11) and Bert Campaneris (12). In case you were wondering, Paul Janish's longest such streak? Zero.
• Arizona's Tony Clark was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained ligament in his right hand. The team has recalled Josh Whitesell, who was hitting .356 with 20 RBIs for Triple-A Reno. According to the team's official Web site, manager Bob Melvin told Whitesell he will "play every day in the foreseeable future" which spells the end of fantasy relevance for Chad Tracy, if he had any at all in the first place.
• Ron Gardenhire apparently had enough of Alexi Casilla's .160 average to go along with sloppy defensive play, and sent the second baseman to Triple-A Rochester. Matt Tolbert, who hit .283 in 41 games for the Twins last year, was recalled to take his spot on the roster for now, and perhaps longer if he performs well.
• The Nationals got a key part of their bullpen back on Wednesday when they activated Joe Beimel from the 15-day disabled list. Beimel pitched a scoreless inning against the Dodgers on Wednesday, a far better outing than was typical of exiled Saul Rivera, who takes his 9.28 ERA with him to Triple-A Syracuse.
• Seattle pitcher Shawn Kelley has a "significant" tear in his oblique muscle and will be out at least a month, if not longer, manager Don Wakamatsu told the Seattle Times. Kelley was placed on the 15-day disabled list and Garrett Olson was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to work in long relief.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Sure he has. In fact, I don't see why the Jays wouldn't keep him in there for as long as he keeps it up. Now, I'll say this: I think Cecil's MLB debut was the high end of his per-start expectation. His command was superb, and he struck out hitters at a rate similar to his minor-league rates. I think he's in for a rocky ride this rookie season, but sure, add him in AL-only and deep mixed. But I admit I'm not sold, because again, "rocky ride."
-- Full chat transcript
Eric Karabell: I think he gets over 20 homers for the season, probably knocks in 80 and hits about .280. So I think it will get a lot better. But he's not running, and if he does poorly it actually helps the A's to think about dealing him, which is odd, but will only help him.
-- Full chat transcript
Thursday's fantasy chat schedule:
AJ Mass, 11 a.m.
Jason Grey, 3 p.m.
• What you talking about, Dontrelle Willis? How about a solid performance for Triple-A Toledo. He worked into the eighth inning, allowing only two runs on five hits in a 2-1 loss to Pawtucket on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, the four walks and the fact he threw only 74 of 118 pitches for strikes shows he's still got a long way to go to get back to Mr. Drummond's penthouse.
• Pablo Sandoval's recent eight-game hitting streak ended with a failed pinch-hit attempt, but a trip to Coors Field is a recipe for a fantasy feast, plus he's homered off Jason Marquis before.