This week’s National and American League Hit Lists are up, as is the combined ranking with the all-important league adjustment (-21 points for NL, +24 for AL to balance out the asymmtrical number of teams). Here’s a royal sampler:
[#2 AL Yankees] Tex Time: While helping to secure a series win, Mark Teixeira scores a hat trick in Boston, becoming just the second Yankee to homer three times in a game versus the Red Sox (after Lou Gehrig) and the fourth player do so for three different teams (after Johnny Mize, Dave Kingman, and Alex Rodriguez). It’s also Teixeira’s second four-hit game since the calendar turned on his wretched .136/.300/.259 April; he’s hitting .300/.375/.580 in May. Also lending a hand of late—particularly amid a slew of injuries that claims Nick Johnson and sidelines Jorge Posada—is backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, who matches Teixeira with five RBI on his big day; he’s hitting .408/.482/.490 while rocking the Great Gazoo helmet.
[#3 AL Twins] No Idle Threat: After failing to receive a single run of support in either of his previous two starts, Carl Pavano makes a whopping three stand up as he subdues the White Sox. It’s Pavano’s fourth straight quality start; he’s got a 3.30 ERA, a 34/7 K/BB ratio and just three homers allowed in 46 1/3 innings, and now ranks 13th in the league with a .599 Support Neutral Winning Percentage. Teammate Francisco Liriano is fifth at .663, not to mention eighth in ERA (2.36).
[#12 AL Royals] Claiming His Earthly Reward For a Job Poorly Done: On a day when the Royals halt a seven-game losing streak and Zack Greinke finally gets enough run support to claim his first victory of the year, the joy is upstaged by the firing of manager Trey Hillman. While the blame for a good portion of his plight rests with GM Dayton Moore for paying non-Monopoly money to Yuniesky Betancourt, Willie Bloomquist, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Kendall et al, the move was hardly unwarranted, particularly after Hillman’s latest bit of managerial malpractice: letting fragile Gil Meche throw an MLB-high 128 pitches and surrender the go-ahead run five batters into the eighth inning. Shocking nobody with his uninspired choice of a replacement, Moore tabs Ned Yost, a man who knows all about the ways in which managerial malpractice can cost a guy his job.
[#7 NL Mets] Hot Rod: Making Mets fans grateful that the team didn’t sign Bengie Molina over the winter, Rod Barajas is simply en fuego. He hits a walk-off homer agains the Giants, his second blast of the game and one of six in a span of eight starts across which he hits .375/.375/1.031 to lift his overall line to a lopsided .247/.272/.567. Also homering twice in that Giants game is Likable Ike Davis, who’s been everything the Mets could have hoped for; he’s hitting .290/.405/.478 and turning somersaults afield; the Mets are 14-7 with him in the lineup.
[#8 NL Dodgers] Dr. Dre is In: With Clayton Kershaw and John Ely leading the way, the shaky pitching situation takes a turn for the better, with that unlikely duo outdueling Ubaldo Jimenez and Dan Haren, respectively. Meanwhile, Andre Ethier is simply crushing it with a .478/.510/.978 May, including four three-hit games, a walk-off grand slam and an are-you-effing-kidding-me intentional walk in front of Manny Ramirez (.393/.507/589 for the year) setting up a game-breaking bases-clearing double, a sweep of the Diamondbacks, and a return to .500.
Back shortly with more…