Albert Pujols, speed demon? Kelly Wunsch, ironman? Well, maybe not, but the Cardinals’ first baseman and Los Angeles’ lefty specialist did provide two of the thirteen statistical tidbits – ranging from steals to slumps to slams – from around the majors in this latest installment of Notes and Numbers.
The Hottest of the Hot
In his last seven games, Chicago’s Derrek Lee has hit .679 with 12 runs scored, 5 home runs and 11 RBI, all tops in the majors over that span. For good measure, he also stole his ninth base of the year. Lee’s average has now climbed to .389, more than 100 points higher than his career-best mark (.282, set in 2001).
Sometimes You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Prior to the 2005 season, Deve Dellucci had recorded an unspectacular 0.43 career BB/K ratio. This year, in his ninth big league campaign, he’s nearly tripled that mark, going into Friday’s matchup with Kansas City with a BB/K of 1.24. The results of his improved patience certainly show: Dellucci’s .462 OBP trails only Derrek Lee’s .478, and his 1.013 OPS is tied with Miguel Cabrera for second-best among all outfielders.
A Shortstop No More?
With eight home runs, 32 RBI and a .277 average, Pedro Feliz is well on his way to another solid fantasy campaign. Nonetheless, dynasty and keeper leaguers might want to downgrade his value slightly. After playing the position 20 times in 2004, Feliz has yet to play a game at shortstop this year. Qualifying at first, third and left field is nothing to scoff at, of course, but losing SS eligibility would make him a far less attractive fantasy commodity.
Cutting It Close
With 17 one-run victories, nearly half the Chicago White Sox’ 35 wins have been decided by the slimmest margin possible.
Lou Brock Would Be Proud
After swiping two bases in his last four games, Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols is now on pace to steal 12 bags this year. Pujols entered the season with just 13 steals in 26 tries over his four-year career, but is a perfect four-for-four on SB attempts this season.
Having A Grand Time in Beantown
The Red Sox have hit a league-leading six grand slams this year, already equaling their 2004 total.
Dontrelle Willis (9-2), Jon Garland (8-2), Doug Davis (7-5), Roy Oswalt (6-6), Dave Williams (5-5), Odalis Perez (4-4), Kevin Brown (4-5), Brett Tomko (4-7) and Dewon Brazelton (1-7) have all picked up the decision in each of their appearances.
Who’s the Imposter Playing Center Field in Queens?
Carlos Beltran, Houston Astro: 90 games, 28 attempts, 28 steals.
Carlos Beltran, New York Met: 47 games, 3 attempts, 1 steal.
Maybe the AL East Isn’t So Tough After All
The Kansas City Royals, owners of the worst record in baseball at 16-37 are playing .500 ball (8-8) against AL East clubs following their recent sweep of the Yankees. Collectively, AL Central teams are 31-25 (.554) against their rivals from the East.
Victor Martinez has hit more home runs in the last four games (3) the in his 41 previous contests this season. In the process, he raised his slugging percentage from .273 to .341. That’s still well behind the .492 mark he posted last season, but it’s a start…
So Much for the .400 Watch
Speaking of slumps, Colorado infielder Clint Barmes was hitting an even .400 on May 13 following a three-for-six outing against Arizona (in which he also slugged two home runs), but his recent struggles brought his average all the way down to .318 by the end of May. The Rockie rookie’s slide coincided with a nine-game road trip in which he hit just .128.
Let’s Leave the Ks to Johan
Despite the presence of major league strikeout leader Johan Santana, Minnesota pitchers rank only 15th in the bigs in batters fanned. As mentioned in May 25’s edition of Notes and Numbers, the Twins’ true forte is being as stingy as it gets when it comes to walks, with only 84 free passes issued all season – just 1.62 per game. Santana, incidentally, has recorded 32.9% of his staff’s Ks.
Kelly Wunsch leads all pitchers with 32 appearances this season, but don’t worry about the Los Angeles lefty tiring out: he’s only recorded 17 IP, pitching more than one inning in a game just once.
With Carlos Beltran not running, Arlo Vander’s team needs every Albert Pujols steal it can get.
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