Thursday, August 2, 2007

"Big Teix" - A Smash Debut!

The Atlanta Braves already had a potent offense before they acquired Mark Teixeira from the Texas Rangers just before the trade deadline. With "Big Teix," the Braves now have the most feared lineup in the National League - Renteria, Chipper Jones, Teixeira, Andruw Jones, Francoeur and McCann in the two through seven spots. That's a lot of heavy lumber! The Braves were doing just fine without Teixeria in the lineup against the Houston Astros, scoring 26 runs in the first two games of their series. Last night, they hung a 12-spot on the Astros for the second consecutive night as "Big Teix" hit a 3-run homer in the sixth inning in his first start for the Braves at Turner Field. The crowd cheered wildly and didn't stop until "Big Teix" gave them the obligatory curtain call. The 12-3 win keeps the Braves only 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.

In Chicago, the Cubs have finally tracked down the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League's Central division. A Brett Myers wild pitch allowed Matt Murton to score in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Cubs took a 5-4 decision over the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. With the win, the Cubs are now percentage points ahead of the Brewers for first in the division after trailing them by 8 1/2 games back on June 23rd.

The two big home run chases remained just that last night as others took the spotlight in Los Angeles and New York. The resurgent Nomar Garciaparra hit a 2-run homer in the eighth inning - his third in the past 11 games, capping off a 4-run Dodger rally as the locals beat the San Francisco Giants 6-4. Barry Bonds went 0-for-3, drawing an intentional walk. The win keeps the Dodgers a game back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West standings. In New York, the Yankees got five more homers to give them 13 in the past two games - but none of them have been by Alex Rodriguez so he remains mired at 499 career homers. Incidentally, A-Rod is now 0 for his last 21 at bats. Andy Pettitte pitched a strong six innings for the Yanks, allowing only a run on six hits while walking two and striking out six in an 8-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. The win keeps the Yankees seven games back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race. The Red Sox rallied from a 3-1 deficit at home, scoring four runs in the bottom of the 7th to take a 5-4 win against the Baltimore Orioles. Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 24th save of the year.

In our nations capital, the Nationals continued their winning ways as they pounded Cincinnati Reds starter Bronson Arroyo for seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work. Austin Kearns continued his recent hot stretch for the Nats, slamming his third homer in the past nine games in the bottom of the second inning in a 7-2 win. For the Nats, it was their 13th win in their last 21 games. Early in the season, many figured the Nats were a lock to be the senior circuits worst team after their 9-25 start. Well, there are now actually four teams in the National League with worse records, so things are looking a lot better now. The Nats actually been an over-.500 team for nearly half a season now, going 38-35 for a nice .520 winning percentage their past 73 games - this in spite of having three of their best pitchers (John Patterson, Jason Bergmann and Shawn Hill) and first baseman Nick Johnson injured for most of or all of that period.


No comments: