The Fan was going to sound the gong on the Kansas City Royals for the 2003 season after their shutout loss to the Tigers tonight. But then the Twins and White Sox lost too. The Royals remain three and a half back in the division with sixteen games to play. Not impossible odds, but the odds are lengthening. It sure was fun while it lasted.
Speaking of fun, how about the two runs scored by the Marlins in the eighth to tie the Braves and then the game winning double in the ninth to take the win. That's the kind of win that will fire up the team and propel them from here. With the Phillies' loss, the Marlins are now a game up in the wildcard race and two games up in the loss column.
The Marlins are an amazing story. Here is a team that lost Mike Lowell and kept on scrapping and winning. Tonight, the Marlins lost Brad Penny in the first inning to an elbow injury. Penny is a big part of their rotation and success. Losing him had to be a blow. But the team still rallied from behind and won the game. Rick Helling, Chad Fox, Urbina and Looper pitched the last eight and a third innings and only gave up a run.
If the Marlins hold on to win the wildcard, Jack McKean will look like the biggest genius who ever managed the game. They were a .500 team when he took over and they are sixteen over .500 since. Amazing.
In other playoff hopeful games: The Cubs almost blew a big lead, but came back to win. The Red Sox beat Chicago's AL edition. Seattle and Oakland are both winning. And Houston is blowing out the sinking Cardinals.
And now for the Fan's favorite boxscore players and how they fared their last seven games:
-- Nick Johnson. Johnson batted .292 for the last week to keep his average just above .300, but that isn't the real story. Johnson also walked seven times and saw his season OBP rise to .443. His ability to get on base is critical to the Yankees' success and his eight runs scored last week indicate his importance.
-- Melvin Mora. Mora has struggled since his return from a hand injury. His season average is now down to .318.
-- Rocco Baldelli. Rocco had a tough week as he went three for eighteen (.167) to bring his season average down to .295. He did have three RBI and walked five times (the most in his short career). With the walks, Baldelli's season OBP is .331.
-- Coco Crisp. Crisp sure seems to be streaky! Last week he was great. This week he only had four hits in 23 at bats.
-- Hank Blalock. Blalock had a tough week also and only batted .192 for the week with a triple a homer, no RBI and three runs scored.
-- Mark Teixeira. Many of my favorite boxscore players had a tough week after a great week. Teixeira went 3 for 25 (.120) for the week with no extra base hits.
-- Miguel Cabrera. The Marlins young rookie continues to hold his own. Cabrera had six hits last week and five of them were doubles. He had five RBI and now has 49 RBI in just 71 games.
-- Pat Burrell. Burrell had a good week and is all the way up to .214 for the year.
-- Scott Podsednik. The Brewers leadoff hitter had an outstanding week as he went 10 for 29 (.345) and scored seven runs. His leadoff statistics (.317 BA, .383 OBP, 89 runs scored) rival anyone in either league.
-- Sean Burroughs. Jeff's son continues his steady season. He batted .292 for the week with an OBP of .393 and scored four runs. He's doing well in his new leadoff role.