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2007 – Week 4

by Matt Smith

A standard week in MLB, with heroes and zeroes, success and failure, and a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. Trevor Hoffman accounted for more of it than he would have liked, although he gets bonus points here as his mother was born in England (and it’s fair to say his career has been half-decent to say the least, this week notwithstanding).

Top bombing – the week started with the Red Sox showing the Bronx bombers how it is done. Four jacks in a row, including two that went completely over the Green Monster and out into the streets below (Mike Lowell’s was marginally the best as it looked the hardest pitch to go deep on). It was one of those great sporting moments when the momentum seems to carry a team along. You think they can’t do it again then, tho and behold, off goes another. Great entertainment for non-Yankees fans.

“We’re experienced veterans, not old” – David Wells and Randy Johnson created a nice piece of history on Tuesday. At a combined age of eighty-six, Wells and Johnson became the oldest lefty starter pairing in MLB history. Thirty-nine year old Trevor Hoffman recorded the save to prove that age is no barrier to success, at least for the time being anyway.

With friends like these … – Jake Peavy had good reason to be a bit peeved on Wednesday night. Peavy pitched seven astonishing innings against the D-backs, giving up only two hits, no runs and striking out sixteen. As he sat down with a 2-0 lead he could be forgiven for thinking his fourth win of the season was in the bag. Sadly for Peavy, after Scott Linebrink gave up a run, Trevor Hoffman came to the mound in the ninth and promptly conceded two runs to blow the save and lose the game 3-2. I doubt “sorry” makes much difference when you’re sitting in the clubhouse after something like that.

Appreciate this – It was a rough week for Hoffman (am I the only person who loves the fact that this great closer who strides out to “Hells Bells” is called Trevor? A good old English name if I ever heard one), starting with the blown save mentioned above. Friday night was Trevor Hoffman appreciation night in San Diego. You just knew something bad would happen to him and sure enough he let another save opportunity slide. The fact that this was the first time in ten years that he has blown two save opportunities in a row tells you two things: one, that this really was a bad week for him, and two that he’s had plenty more good ones than bad in his career. Most players would settle for that when they hang up their spikes.

“Can we have a refund?” award of the week – Hands up who thought Jeff Weaver would follow up his World Series heroics with a strong performance this season? The Mariners’ front office would be nervously looking around the rest of the class before reluctantly putting their hand up in response. Weaver took another loss last night and is now 0-4 with a 18.26 ERA on the season. It’s always important to get off to a good start with your new team. For all the “Weaver watch” fondness, this can’t be considered a “good” start. Let’s hope Five’s support for Curtis Granderson doesn’t have the same effect.

“On yer head son” – Chris Duncan has a touch of slap-stick comedy about him, largely due to his enthusiastic but limited performances in the outfield. He went one better this week though, having to be scratched from a start because he smacked his head while leaving his apartment. The knock to his noggin, which left him with twelve stitches, was predominantly caused by his height: 6ft 5. As a guy who isn’t quite that tall (i.e. take a foot off) it’s hard to have much sympathy. Still, I can appreciate the fact that he came into the game on the same day as a pinch-hitter and got a double.

“Saturday night’s not alright for streaking” – You would normally believe the opposite, but in this case we are talking about baseball streaks and several came to an end last night. The Tribe and the Pirates saw their winning streaks halted (six and five games respectively), while both the Astros and the Yankees stopped their losing streaks at seven games with victories yesterday. No need to guess who will be the happiest to see their runs come to an end.

Bad news of the week – Bad news for some players at least. Former Mets employee Kirk Radomski has pleaded guilty to supplying performance enhancing drugs to “dozens” of Major League players. ESPN report that he could be facing up to twenty-five years imprisonment, so it’s safe to say that there will be plenty of incentive for Radomski to help the Mitchell investigation as a means to reduce his sentence. Many are already suggesting that this could be the big source that really uncovers the “truth” behind the insinuations and circumstantial evidence that has plagued MLB’s (and Congress’s) attempts to put together some hard facts. This story isn’t going to go away any time soon, and another bloke will make sure of that.

“He’s not going away either” – Barry Bonds continued along his quest to make Bud Selig squirm by hitting three more homers on the week, taking his season total to eight and his career total to 742. At his current rate (eight in twenty games) it’s probably going to take him around 35 games before he takes the record away from Aaron. Give or take a few rest days, the first full week of June looks to be the projected time. From June 8 to 13, the Giants have six games at AT&T Park and considering San Francisco is arguably the only place where the record breaking feat will be met with joy, I would fancy it to happen then. As the first three of those games are against my Oakland A’s, I sense the script may be set. Have you booked your flights yet Bud? I hear the North Pole is nice that time of year.

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