1. Philadelphia Phillies (33-20; 1st NL East)
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels have combined to go 17-9 with a 2.93 ERA, 250 strikeouts and only 44 walks.
2. Cleveland Indians (31-19; 1st AL Central)
Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting .452 (19/42) with runners in scoring position this season.
3. Boston Red Sox (30-23; 1st AL East)
Adrian Gonzalez (45) and Kevin Youkilis (34) trail only Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder (42) and Ryan Braun (38) for the duo with the most RBI.
4. Florida Marlins (30-21; 2nd NL East)
Leo Nunez leads all of baseball with 18 saves in 19 chances.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (32-22; 1st NL Central)
Lance Berkman (.354 AVG/.473 OBP) and Matt Holliday (.347/.440) are making up for Albert Pujols’ slow start (.257/.326).
6. Milwaukee Brewers (29-24; 2nd NL Central)
Ryan Braun ranks top 10 in the majors in runs (40), hits (62), triples (3), homers (12), RBI (38), total bases (114), walks (31) and steals (13).
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (29-24; 1st NL West)
Superb pitching has led Arizona to a MLB best 9-1 in their last 10 games.
8. New York Yankees (28-23; 2nd AL East)
Derek Jeter is only 20 hits away from becoming the first New York Yankee to reach 3,000.
9. Texas Rangers (28-25; 1st AL West)
Josh Hamilton has driven in a run in 4 of 6 games since coming off the disabled list May 23.
10. Tampa Bay Rays (28-24; 3rd AL East)
Jeremy Hellickson, 6-3 with a 2.80 ERA, looks to be the early favorite for AL Rookie of the Year.
If the season ended today:
AL MVP: Jose Bautista – RF – TOR
NL MVP: Ryan Braun – LF – MIL
AL Cy Young: Trevor Cahill – SP – OAK
NL Cy Young: Jair Jurrjens – SP – ATL
At 7:05 PM ET last night, Roy Halladay toed the rubber at Citizens Bank Park to face the Cincinnati Reds for the first time since he tossed the second no-hitter in postseason history against them in last years NLDS. Six hours and eleven minutes later, in the bottom half of the 19th inning, Raul Ibanez capped a magical night that will go down in Philadelphia lore by smacking the 600th pitch of the game into deep center field, allowing Jimmy Rollins to tag up from third and score the winning run, giving the Phillies a 5-4 victory. However at the conclusion of the game, Halladay wasn’t the Phillies pitcher garnering all of the attention; instead, it was journeyman infielder Wilson Valdez, who moved over from second base to pitch for the first time in his professional baseball career (majors or minors). After being proactive and convincing his skipper that he could indeed do it, Valdez entered the game in the top of the 19th and immediately retired the NL’s reigning MVP, Joey Votto. After hitting Scott Rolen with his next offer, Valdez stepped off the mound and went to the rosin bag, looking like a seasoned closer. After shaking off his catcher, Valdez went on to retire the side – getting Reds slugger Jay Bruce to fly out and reliever Carlos Fisher to pop out. That’s right, in the top of the 19th inning, a second baseman was pitching to a middle relief pitcher. That’s why I love baseball. Valdez strolled off the mound to a roaring ovation from the Philly Faithful, and immediately wrapped his arm in a towel to keep it warm, again looking like he’d done this before. Thanks to Ibanez’s sac-fly in the bottom of the 19th, Valdez became the first position player to win a ballgame in eleven years, according to STATS LLC. Finally, at 1:19 AM ET, the Philly fans were able to rejoice in the W. Phil’s manager Charlie Manuel’s bold move paid off, but you can’t exactly blame Reds skipper Dusty Baker for not going to a position player to pitch. The last time he did that, shortstop Paul Janish got knocked around to the tune of five earned runs – at the hand of the Milwaukee Brewers.
BTW: The last player to start a game in the field and end up as the winning pitcher… Babe Ruth.