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MLB Report: April 16, 2007

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No starting pitcher in the AL dominates an AL opponent the way the Blue Jays' Roy Halladay dominates the Detroit Tigers.


Halladay is 11-2 in his career against the Tigers, with a 1.83 earned-run average, six complete games, four shutouts, 68 strikeouts and only eight walks in 1,035 innings.


The only other active pitcher with an ERA under 2.00 against any team in at least 100 innings is the New York Mets' Pedro Martinez, who has a sub-two ERA against three teams — the Seattle Mariners (1.57), Cleveland Indians (1.77) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1.99).





• When megamillionaire Alex Rodriguez belted his major-league-leading seventh home run of the season against the Athletics at Oakland on Saturday night, he became the first New York Yankee player in history to hit seven homers within the team's first 10 games of a season.


Previously, the record for the fewest team games needed by a Yankee player to hit seven homers was held by none other than Mickey Mantle, who needed 11 games to produce seven homers in 1961. He went on that year to a career-high total of 54 homers.





Derek Jeter, who has won the past three AL Gold Gloves at shortstop, made 15 errors in 154 games last year, so six in the first 11 this season is alarming. He's not fretting, though.


"It may not look like it, but I feel comfortable out there," Jeter told reporters. "Still, we have to tighten things up, especially me."


Entering Monday, the Yanks led the major leagues in errors with 14.





Gary Sheffield, the Tigers' big off-season acquisition, went into Monday batting a mere .122 on the season.


"For the most part he's getting himself out," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.





Marco Scutaro's three-run homer off Mariano Rivera — arguably the finest closer in baseball history — with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday gave the A's a 5-4 victory over the Yankees and, amazingly, it was the ninth time in Scutaro's career that he had a plate appearance that resulted in a walk-off win.


This is a light-hitting infielder, folks.


The only batter to win more games in that fashion over that span (2004-07) than Scutaro is Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who's done it 10 times over the last four seasons.





• Scutaro's shot was the fourth game-ending home run surrendered by Rivera in his career.


The others came off the bats of Bill Selby (a grand slam at Cleveland, July 14, 2002), Bill Mueller (at Boston, July 24, 2004) and Vernon Wells (at Toronto, July 20, 2006).





Ichiro Suzuki had four hits (including a first-inning leadoff home run) in the Mariners' 14-6 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday, but it was his fourth-inning stolen base that earned Ichiro another line in the record book.


Ichiro was successful in his past 39 stolen-base attempts in 2006 to set a single-season AL record. He extended his streak to 40 in a row on Sunday to tie the all-time AL record for consecutive steals, set by Tim Raines (for the Chicago White Sox 1993-95).





• The San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds belted two home runs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, giving him 21 against his former team.


Only five other active players have at least 20 homers against a former team. They are: Rodriguez (26 vs. the Mariners), Moises Alou (26 vs. the Pirates), Sheffield (26 vs. the San Diego Padres), Preston Wilson (23 vs. the New York Mets) and Steve Finley (21 vs. the Padres).


(Some of the above statistics are courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau in New York.)





• Look for the Philadelphia Phillies to offer a contract to pitcher Dustin Hermanson, released by the Cincinnati Reds at the end of spring training because of concerns about a back problem that sidelined him most of last season.





• The Houston Astros are dangling reliever Brad Lidge after recently stripping him of the closer's role.





• Bone spurs are the source of an elbow impingement affecting ex-Jay-turned-Cardinal-ace Chris Carpenter but the St. Louis medical staff is hoping he won't need to miss more than another week.





• Despite showing some respectable power, Gabe Gross is the odd man out in the Milwaukee Brewers' outfield.


The main problem is that the Brewers have five outfielders for three positions — Tony Gwynn Jr. and Gross, an ex-Jay, are the bench players.





• Theres' a juicy rumour swirling around the majors that Minnesota Twins ace Johan Santana is tipping his pitches.


He doesn't believe it.


"A lot of guys say I tip my pitches," he told reporters. "Well, I doubt it. But if that's what they are seeing, take advantage of it."





• If you're watching a Brewers game in the near future, don't be surprised if you see outfielder Bill Hall pulling a slip of paper out of his back pocket during games and checking it.


Until he learns opposing hitters from his new position in centre field, Hall checks to see where he should play them.


Why not just look to outfield coach Ed Sedar on the bench for help?


"You don't need to look in on every pitch," he said. "I need to learn them myself. After I do, I won't need (the sheet) anymore."





•The Mariners' young phenom, Felix Hernandez, outpitched Boston's new phenom, Daisuke Matsuzaka, the other day—and Hernandez is quickly establishing himself as the AL's top pitcher — but it's Dice-K who's being paid better.


A lot better.


Hernandez's salary: $420,000 U.S.


Matsuzaka's salary: $6.333-million U.S.



marty.york@metronews.ca


 
 
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