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Daily News and Notes
by Richard Van Zandt,

Notes through games of Thursday, May 25

Highly touted Phillies prospect Cole Hamels made his big league debut on Friday night and after having held opposing hitters to a

The Revival of Ichiro


Highly reminiscent of Wade Boggs circa the mid to late 80’s; Ichiro continues to rebound from his slow start and inch his way slowly up the batting charts. Though he had an 18 game hitting streak snapped in Thursday’s loss to Baltimore, he is batting .395 (32 for 81) since May 5 and has raised his season average to .314. 


He has played in all of Seattle’s 49 games and his 65 hits are second only to Michael Young’s 66 for the most in the majors.  He is on pace to surpass 200 hits for the 6th straight season.  He also has 15 stolen bases (in 17 attempts) and in the field he has not made an error while already recording 6 OF assists.


More Ichiro - May has typically been Ichiro’s best month through his career.  Outside of October (.436 in just 39 AB for the month), his best average has come in the season’s second month, when he was a .371 career hitter in 677 at bats before this season.  He also has 14 triples in the month, at least double the total he has in any other month.  His worst month by average has been April (.299 career) and you can expect his power production to surge in July, the month in which he has hit more home runs (14) than any other month.   


The Longest Streak Pt. I – The Dodgers were off on Thursday, and retain baseball’s longest winning streak at 7 games.  The streaking Tigers meanwhile won their 6th straight on Thursday to pull within one game of L.A. for the longest current unbeaten mark.  Detroit will host Cleveland on Friday, while the Dodgers travel to the nation’s capitol to battle the Nationals.


The Longest Streak Pt II – Speaking of the Tigers, they overcame a 6-run Kansas City lead yesterday by scoring 8 runs in the final two innings against baseball’s worst bullpen, and in doing so, finished off a four game sweep that sent the reeling Royals to their 13th consecutive defeat.  The Royals move on next to the Bronx where Scott Elarton (0-5) will take on the 6-1 Mike Mussina.  The Royals have won just twice in 22 games this year on the road.  The Yankees are 14-8 at home.  This thing could get awfully ugly.


Josh Beckett was strong again for Boston Thursday night at home against Tampa Bay.  He threw six shutout innings to earn his 7th win of the year and lower his ERA to 3.80.  And if you subtract the shellacking he took at the hands of Cleveland on April 27 (8 ER in 3.2 IP), his ERA is a fine 2.85.  He has thrown at least 7 innings in 7 of his 10 starts. 


Rodrigo Lopez turned his fortunes around in the O’s 2-0 win over Seattle yesterday. He allowed just 2 hits in 7.1 innings to up his record to 2-7.  In his first 10 outings to start the year Lopez had allowed no less than 4 runs in any one start.  


Concerns about Jose Vidro’s knee have proven unfounded as he has hit .344 in April, .351 in May and .347 overall to lead the National League in hitting through Thursday.  He has 12 hits in his last 26 at bats (.462) and in the field he has sparkled, not having made an error in 192 chances.


Chase Utley is now batting .328 on the year after going 4 for 5 in the Phils series salvaging win Thursday afternoon at Shea.  He has hit safely in 10 straight, batting .386 (17 for 44) during the streak.  In fact, he’s been held without a hit just twice in 20 games this month, going 34 for 89 (.382) with 5 HR, 14 RBI and a .618 slugging percentage.  His on-base percentage for the month is .476 and he has 10 multi-hit games.


The Revival of Corey Patterson?


After beginning the season just 1 for 15 (.067), Corey Patterson hit .382 (13 for 34) over his next 8 games to finish April at .286.  Thus far in May, Patterson is batting .304 to raise his season numbers to .297 with 5 HR and 18 RBI.  Is this the Corey Patterson Cubs fans longingly hoped for in his 6 seasons there or is he merely teasing the fans in Baltimore? 


Coming into the ’06 season, Patterson was a .291 hitter (259 for 890 in 235 games) with 34 HR and 115 RBI in the month of May.  From June on, that mark dips down to just .231 (325 for 1,401 – 392 games) with 41 HR and 134 RBI.  His worst month of the year statistically has been September, in which he is a lifetime .188 hitter (62 for 329).  You can expect a drastic dip in power numbers come July, when he has hit just 5 lifetime HR (274 career AB – 1 every 54.8) and has a .218 average.  He does tend to bounce back though slightly in August where his HR rate of 1 every 22.6 AB is his best of any month and his .259 batting average is his best post-May mark (save for his .275 BA in only 40 October AB).  So is this a new and improved Corey Patterson?  DN&N thinks not, but it’s likely we should know for sure by the All-Star break.


Houston, we have a problem - The Astros lost for the third straight day in Washington and dropped their record this month to 9-15 as Andy Pettitte got rocked for 7 runs on 8 hits in just 3 innings.  He is now 3-6 with a 5.76 ERA for the year.  Mike Lamb went 0 for 4 in the loss and has cooled down big time from his recent tear.  He is 0 for his last 12 and just 2 for his last 19 (.105).  And SS Adam Everett is still showing the leather (2 E - .991%) but his batting average for the month of May is just .195 to drop his season mark down to .221. 


There’s no crying in baseball! – Despite winning for the third straight day, Frank Robinson was in no mood to celebrate after the game Thursday.  Robinson actually shed tears as he discussed being forced to pull catcher Matthew LeCroy from the game in the middle of an inning.  After watching the defensively challenged backstop make two throwing errors and allow seven stolen bases, Robinson pulled LeCroy in the middle of the seventh inning to loud applause from the home crowd.  It’s probably a good thing David Hasselhoff wasn’t in the room.


Gaijin Pt I - Two years and 7 days since Randy Johnson threw major league baseball’s last no-hitter, a perfect game against Atlanta. Rick Guttormson of Torrance, California threw the first no-hitter in the Nippon Professional Baseball league since Kei Igawa tossed one against Hiroshima on October 4, 2004.  He became the 72nd pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Japan and it was the first ever no-hitter thrown in Japanese Interleague play.


Gaijin Pt II - NPL veteran Roberto Petagine is just 2 for his 16 since beginning the season with pinch hits in his first two at bats.  The Mariners’ designated pinch hitter homered in his first plate appearance, walked in his second and doubled in his third, but has just 2 hits and 2 walks since then.  Petagine averaged 37 homers a year in Japan from 1999-2004, including a high of 44 in ’99. 


Comeback Soon! Pt I – Phil Nevin capped the Rangers comeback Thursday with a 9th inning walk-off home run off of Huston Street that sent the reeling A’s to their sixth straight defeat.  Oakland jumped out to a 7 run lead against Kevin Millwood only to see the Rangers hit 5 homeruns, including 2 from fresh off the DL rookie Ian Kinsler (one a game tying shot in the 8th) in the come from behind win.


Comeback Soon! Pt II (More from KC) – Down 8-5 going to the 8th inning, the Tigers had KC just where they wanted them.  Coming into the game the Royals had an ERA of 7.09 from the 7th inning on.  After giving up 8 runs in the final two frames Thursday, that mark is now up to 7.52 (97 ER/116 IP).  The Tigers, after tallying three to tie in the 8th, got solo home runs from both Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames (his 2nd HR of the game) as well as a 3-run shot from Pudge Rodriguez that put an emphatic stamp on the four game sweep.   


The Royals, meanwhile, have received permission to interview Dayton Moore, a Braves assistant to the general manager, for a front office position.  It’s now been three weeks and 15 losses since Royals owner David Glass promised “significant changes.” 


A day after acquiring Orlando Hernandez, the Mets picked up lefty Dave Williams who had been designated for assignment by Cincinnati.  He was assigned to Norfolk for now, while Jeremi Gonzalez was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for El Duque. 


Comeback Soon! Pt III – Finally, the PAMF slow pitch softball team on Thursday night battled back from 4 runs down in the bottom of the 7th and final inning to earn a 13-12 walk-off win over Beckman, the top team in the league. 


Recapping the at bats of yours truly -

1st AB – Sacrifice Fly

2nd AB – Double

3rd AB – Game winning basehit!!


Final Line: 2 for 2, 1 R, 2 RBI

Season Line: 10 for 11, 3 R, 6 RBI, 1 SF, 2 DBLS - .909 BA


DN&N will be off for the Memorial Day Holiday but we’ll be back on Tuesday with all the latest from around MLB.  Have a happy and safe three day weekend!


Questions or comments for Richard? Richard Van Zandt is a staff writer for Baseball Evolution who lives in San Francisco, California. You can reach him at

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