I live for this! Good weeks for the Reds, Nats, and Giants.
Reds (12-7, 2nd place)
This team makes me feel like I should be on Prozac. I'm up, I'm down, I'm maniacally happy, I'm disgustingly depressed. Make up your minds, Reds! Either be good or be bad; I can't deal with these shining rays of hope you've given me over the past few weeks, when every inkling of rationality and logic within me tells me this will be another season of disappointment. You're setting us up for a heartbreak!
I can't even say that the pitching was good or bad, the hitting was good or bad. At times, the pitching was brilliant, like in Bronson Arroyo's Friday night performance and Aaron Harang's complete game shutout Sunday. Other times, it was like Little League, as in Claussen's Saturday performance. The hitting? Hitting was brilliant Thursday when the team came back from an early deficit and scored twelve runs. It was virtually non-existent on Saturday, when the team didn't get its first hit until the fifth inning.
I had to look up the meaning of "complete game shutout" today. I had long since forgotten the concept, but I gotta say, Harang kicked butt, especially coming off of four days rest. And what about third baseman Edwin Encarnacion? David Wright, eat your heart out. Ed-E's defense in Sunday's game was nothing short of spectacular, even throwing out a runner from his knees after he dove for a grounder.
Team Prozac is going to have to get some consistency going. I'm tired of this box of chocolates!
Reds player of the week: Brandon Phillips. When we groaned upon hearing the news of the acquisition of Phillips, it wasn't because it was Phillips we loathed - it was the thought of yet another second baseman crowding the roster. Little did we know that not only would Brandon swing a hot bat, but he would potentially rid us of team heel Tony Womack. Brandon's week? 14-31 for a .452 average, 17 RBI, 3 HR (including a salami), and 4 doubles, not to mention stealing that run during the Milwaukee game on Friday.
Nats (7-10, 3rd place through Saturday's games)
Nationals and offense were two words I hadn't heard in the same sentence before, even during last season's amazing first half run. Maybe they just lost confidence in the pitching and decided to do it with the bats. Who knows, but it certainly is nice to see some blowouts, especially against the hated Braves.
Armas has been pitching fairly well, and Patterson is his Big Nasty self, but what's up with ¡Livan!? He's like a human batting tee. Though he's hitting like he's got a tee up there, too.
Nats player of the week: This one was tough, but I'm going to pick Alfonso Soriano. One of the few Major Leaguers to actually take a good photo for his profile, Soriano was on fire this week, going 9-25 with a .360 average, 3 homers in Friday night's game for 5 RBI, and he has an 8 game hit streak going on, which is why he narrowly beat out Nick Johnson for my vote. Oh, and he made some pretty good plays in leftfield in Philly and is leading all outfielders in assists with 3. Not too shabby for a guy we didn't think would be playing for the team after the whole I won't play outfield drama.
Giants (10-7, first place through Saturday's games)
The Giants certainly don't look like a first place team right now, but what can you expect in a division whose 2005 winner was two games over .500? Noah Lowry seems to be progressing in coming back from an injury, and Jason Schmidt is not going to continue to pitch as poorly as he has, even with his loss of velocity, so things should pick up as far as pitching goes. The Rockies have been a surprise this April, especially since you haven't heard of half their roster, but I doubt they can keep up with San Fran. There certainly isn't any love between the teams. It has been a beanball war, with Matt Morris and Felipe Alou getting tossed from Sunday's game.
Giant of the week: Randy Winn. Randy's 12 game hit streak came to an end on Friday, but an 0-5 day doesn't diminish this past week's accomplishments. Winn went 9-22 for a .409 average. It's too bad this guy lingered for so long in Tampa Bay. He's proved to be a great addition to the Giants.
Around the horn
Albert Pujols may be better than the greatest player who ever lived, Josh Gibson. It's so frustrating to have him in the same league as your favorite team, but man, is that guy incredible to watch. It was only fitting that his 1000th career hit was a homerun. Just think, the guy is only 27 years old.
Pedro got win number 200 of his career. Mr. Beanball, you're our daddy for the week. He also won number 201 last night against the Padres, a seven inning, two hit masterly performance. The uniforms the Padres were wearing were so hideous I almost wanted the Mets to win. It was military night, and they were wearing uniforms that were supposed to be like desert BDUs. It's no surprise they would don such ugly garb; the Padres have a history of hideous uniforms. (example, example, example)
The Royals ended their 11 game losing streak on Saturday. Man, these guys are bad.
Goat of the Week
The Goat. You know, the one that has forever destined Cubs fans to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. This vengeful creature has once again inflicted its wrathful malice on the Cubbies, sticking new Cubbie-for-life Derrek Lee in the path of danger, and danger, as we all know, won this vicious battle. Cubbies fans, you have our sympathies!