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First Base:  James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers

Loney has 89.3 RBI over the past three years despite combining for 36 home runs. His batting average and OPS have dipped the past three seasons. He hit just .222 with a .575 OPS last year against lefties, and .245 and .662 over the past three years, which could lead Don Mattingly to sit him more often than Joe Torre did. If he doesn’t get the 575+ at bats he had in the past three years he won’t achieve the counting numbers to overcome his lack of power.
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Second Base:  Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles
It’s not that I think Roberts will have a terrible year. I think he will be quite productive at times. I just fear that his back issues aren’t fully behind him. At 33 with a bad back I think he’s a bit of risk for a starting fantasy second baseman.
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Third Base: Michael Young, Texas Rangers
Young will be competing for at bats with Adrian Beltre (3B), Mike Napoli (DH) and Mitch Moreland (1B) so 600+ at bats is far from a certainty. He’s going to have to adjust to not playing in the field and possibly deal with trade rumors all year. With those issues accompanied with being 34 I don’t think Young will perform like a sixth ranked (79 ADP – Mock Draft Central) third basemen.
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Shortstop:  Alex Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves
Gonzalez displayed great power numbers for Toronto last year hitting 17 HRs in 85 games. Then he was traded to Atlanta. He hit just six in 72 games. His OPS for the Blue Jays was .793. It dropped to .677 with the Braves. He has just three seasons in his 12-year career with 60+ RBI. Last year (88), 2003 (77), and 2004 (79). At 34 I don’t expect him to come close to matching last year’s production.
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Catcher:  Jorge Posada, New York Yankees
Posada will turn 40 this summer. Sure he will have less injury risk at designated hitter, but players his age aren’t supposed to keep raking. Eventually father time catches up with you. I don’t see Posada getting 400 at bats this year, and I think his AB/HR ratio comes down. He’ll certainly have his moments, but I think a breakdown is inevitable.
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Right Field:  J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox
Drew is 35 and has just one 500+ at bat season under his belt (2004). With his age, injury history, and the fact that Mike Cameron will eat into some of his at bats, I don’t see a 20 HR in Drew’s future. At this stage of his career I think he’s better for the Red Sox team than for fantasy teams.
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Center Field:  Julio Borbon, Texas Rangers
Borbon has excellent speed, but he offers no pop. He’ll share at bats with David Murphy. There are better speed options out there.
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Left Field:  Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs
Soriano is 35 and his power took a slight hit while his speed took a major hit. He hasn’t had 500 at bats since 2007 and hasn’t played 150 games since 2006. With only 14 stolen bases over the past two years, back-to-back sub .260 batting averages, and average power, Soriano isn’t a top 100 player like he’s being drafted as.
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Starting Pitcher:  Trevor Cahill, Oakland A’s
Cahill was awesome last year going 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. He doesn’t get enough strikeouts for his ADP (25th pitcher, 94 overal) and his .238 BABIP is very alarming. In reality his ERA should be around 4.00 and his WHIP 1.30. I wouldn’t be afraid to own him, but I would be afraid to own him at his asking price. His ADP is lower than Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Colby Lewis, and Brett Anderson to name a few.
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Closer:  Andrew Bailey, Oakland A’s
His stuff is fantastic. That isn’t a question. I’m just afraid that he won’t be able to hold up to a full year. He already gave us one scare this spring and with Brian Fuentes waiting in the wings, I just can’t trust him as a number one fantasy closer like he’s being drafted as.
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Also check out:


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You know their name, but can you trust their game? Here are some former fantasy studs that you should avoid on fantasy draft day.
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Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta Braves
I love Chipper Jones. I believe he has put together a Hall of Fame career. I wouldn’t touch him this year, even with his reasonable 186 ADP. He hit just .264 and .265 the past two years. He has just one 500 at bat season (2007) in his past seven years. It was easy to justify owning him when he was hitting well north of .300, but he’ll be 39 in April. He’s far to great of an injury risk to trust on your team. If he slides big time in your draft, maybe you can take a look at him since third base is so shallow, but he’s going (on average) before Placido Polanco, Chase Headley, Kevin Kouzmanoff and countless other that will like be more productive this year.
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Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs
It’s not that Soriano shouldn’t be on fantasy rosters. I just think you can get far better value at his ADP of 98. Some of the outfielders that are going (on average) after him are Corey Hart, Nick Markakis, Delmon Young, Michael Stanton, Drew Stubbs and a rash of other superior options. Again, if he slides in your draft go ahead and take him, but his speed has diminished and his power is average. Take someone with more upside because Soriano is obviously on the wrong side of his career track.
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Manny Ramirez, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Manny has just 28 home runs in his past 194 games. His OPS (.869) was the lowest since his first cup of coffee with the Indians back in 1993. It was just .739 in his 24 games with the White Sox. Do I believe Manny can still hit? Absolutely. The problem is whether or not he’ll be motivated. Can he stay healthy? There are a lot of questions for somebody with an ADP of 160.
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Miguel Tejada, SS, San Francisco Giants
Tejada had an OPS of .693 last year for the Orioles and the Padres, which is a far cry for his career mark of .801. He rarely misses, so health shouldn’t be a concern. I just fear that his skills are eroding. After all he’ll be 37 in May. On top of that, Bruce Bochy already acknowledges that he will give Tejada plenty or rest this year. His ADP of 203 makes him a reasonable option. I just prefer guys with more upside.
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Johnny Damon, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Had the Rays not signed Manny Ramirez, I would like Damon a little more. He would be able to get some at bats at designated hitter. Playing in the field could take its toll on Damon, who turned 37 in November. He hit just eight home runs last year, and I don’t see significant growth in that category. He could have hot streaks, in which I would entertain riding them out, but I’m not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling that his return to the AL East will be favorable.
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Alfonso Soriano turned 35 in January. He managed to play 147 games last year, but he missed 125 games combined the three previous seasons. He was once considered an elite fantasy outfielder, but those days are over.
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While his 24 HRs put him in a tie for 15th among outfielders, the rest of his numbers fall way short of upper echelon outfielders. His 67 runs were tied for 49th. His 79 RBI ranked 24th. He was once a stolen base threat, but his five SBs were worse than 75 outfielders. His .258 batting average was tied for 41st. Those simply aren’t the numbers we’ve come to expect from Alfonso Soriano…or are they?
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Granted he missed 98 games in 2008 and 2009, but his average line from 2008-2010 is .259, 69 runs, 24.3 HRs, 69.7 RBI, and 11 SBs. He’s simply not the same player that averaged 106.2 runs, 36.7 HRs, 92.2 RBI, and 30.7 SBs from 2002-2007. continue reading »


Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

There was a time when Alfonso Soriano was one of the most vaunted players in all of baseball, a consistent threat to post a 40/40 season.  His past two seasons have seen a decline in his production, in part due to injuries (he played in 135 and 109 games), calling into question just how valuable he still is.

According to Mock Draft Central he currently has an ADP of 24.12, the eighth outfielder coming off the board.  Is that a valid draft position?  Should he still be selected among a drafts first two rounds?

Let’s first take a look at his numbers from last season:

453 At Bats
.280 Batting Average (127 Hits)
29 Home Runs
75 RBI
76 Runs
19 Stolen Bases
.344 On Base Percentage
.532 Slugging Percentage
.305 Batting Average on Balls in Play

We first have to discuss the injuries.  Last season marked the second consecutive year he missed time with a leg injury (quadriceps and calf, respectively).  He also suffered a broken finger last season, but that I would classify more in the fluky category.  The consistent leg injuries have got to be a concern at this point, because it plays a huge role in his potential value.

The advantage he used to give you in both power and speed helped to make him one of the best in the league.  He’s had three seasons of 40+ SBs and another two with over 30.  The past two seasons has seen him post a pair of 19 SB years, however.

Considering that he is hitting atop the Cubs line-up, meaning he does not have the RBI potential that most power hitters possess, the loss of excessive SB puts a major dent in his value.  If he is healthy and plays a full season then I easily could see him returning to the land of 25 SB, but at 33-years old it is hard for me to imagine him eclipsing that mark.

Yes, I know that he was on a better pace then that last season, but he was not in 2007.  Throw in the risk of him potentially going down once again, and it all adds up.

We all know that he has power, which is something that has never been called into question.  He has had at least 28 HR a season every year since 2002, including four years of over 30, and another one over 40.  While it was thought that the move from RFK to Wrigley Field would only enhance his power numbers, that has not been the case.

His FB% has actually been below his 2006 pace since signing with the Cubs, though he has been right around his career average:

  • 2004 – 47.3%
  • 2005 – 47.1%
  • 2006 – 51.4%
  • 2007 – 46.3%
  • 2008 – 48.0%

Think he was out to prove his value in that 2006 season and in turn cash in on a lucrative free agent contract?  It certainly is not very far-fetched and the numbers don’t lie.  He is more of a mid-30’s guy, as opposed to the player who exploded for 46.

He’s a career .282 hitter and has only once reached the .300 mark (in 2002).  He’s never shown the ability to be an elite hitter, thanks mostly to below average plate discipline.  He’s struck out 21.7% of the time over his career, and has been even worse the past three seasons:

  • 2006 – 24.7%
  • 2007 – 22.5%
  • 2008 – 22.7%

Couple that with a 5.7% career walk rate and you get the idea.  Don’t look for things to suddenly change.  You know exactly what you are going to get.

Yes, he should have the ability to score runs hitting atop the Cubs line-up.  He’ll have some very talented hitters looking to drive him in, including Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.  In 2007 he crossed the plate 97 times, despite the injuries, so a healthy Soriano could easily exceed the 100 mark.  Realistically, I’d bank on him at least surpassing 90 this season.

With all that said, let’s see what I’d project for him this season:

.282 (158-560), 33 HR, 81 RBI, 95 R, 22 SB, .314 BABIP, .328 OBP, .530 SLG

Those would be extremely impressive numbers, but are they second round impressive?  While he has the potential to significantly exceed these numbers, at this point there is too much risk of the injury.  He also does not bring the RBI potential of a slugger, nor the excessive SB potential of a speedster.  That makes him a “tweener”.

To me, the loss of speed is the reason why I’m not going to select him.  Carlos Beltran is going right around the same spot (21.29 ADP), and while he doesn’t have extreme SB potential either, he at least brings 100 RBI potential.  What about Carlos Lee, with an ADP of 25.72?  He too does not bring speed, but he has more RBI and a higher average.

There are just other options available I’d rather take, meaning that I would pass on Soriano in the second round.  If he’s there in the third, then yeah, but not before.  What about you?  Is Soriano a player you want in the second round?  Why or why not?

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Tuesday, August 26th
Geovany Soto
went 3 for 5 with 3 Runs, 2 Doubles, a HR, and 7 RBI.  Jimmy Rollins went 5 for 7 with a Run, a Double, a HR, 3 RBI, and 3 SBs.  Orlando Cabrera went 4 for 5 with 3 Runs, 2 Doubles, a Triple, and 2 RBI.  Ben Francisco went 3 for 5 with 2 Runs, 2 HRs, and 4 RBI.  Damion Easley went 4 for 5 with 3 Runs, a Double, a HR, 2 RBI, and a Walk.  Cody Ross went 3 for 5 with a Run, a Double, a HR, and 4 RBI.  Johnny Damon hit a pair of solo HRs.  Fernando Tatis had 4 RBI.   Vernon Wells (3 RBI), Omar Infante (3 Runs), Briand Giles (3 RBI), Carlos Quentin, Manny Ramirez, Cristian Guzman, Coco Crisp, Alfonso Soriano, Nyjer Morgan, Miguel Olivo, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Craig Counsell, Jayson Werth, Torii Hunter, Adrian Beltre (it’s almost as he’s punishing the Twins for not making a move for him at the trading deadline), and Rich Aurilia each had 3 Hits.  Franklin Gutierrez, Brad Hawpe and Adrian Gonzalez each scored 3 Runs.  Jason Kendall and Kevin Kouzmanoff each had 3 RBI.

Bronson Arroyo tossed a Complete Game allowing 1 Run on 5 Hits to improve to 12-10.  John Lackey Lackey threw a Complete Game allowing 1 Run with 5 Ks to improve to 9-2 with a 2.95 ERA.  Kevin Millwood also threw a Complete Game allowing 1 Run to improve to 8-7.  Gavin Floyd gave up 2 Runs on 4 Hits in 8 Innings to improve to 14-6 with a 3.70 ERA.  Cliff Lee did it again.  He allowed 2 Runs in 7-2/3 Innings to improve to 19-2 with a 2.43 ERA.  Ben Sheets pitched 6 scoreless Innings allowing 5 Hits to improve to 12-7 with a 3.05 ERA.  Roy Halladay gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings with 7 Ks to improve to 16-9 with a 2.69 ERA.  Ryan Rowland-Smith gave up 2 Runs on 5 Hits in 7 Innings with 5 Ks to improve to 3-2 with a 3.73 ERA.  Jorge de la Rosa gave up 1 Earned Run on 5 Hits in 6 Innings to improve to 7-7.   Wandy Rodriguez gave up 2 Runs on 3 Hits in 7 Innings with 10 Ks, but got a no-decision.  Zack Greinke gave up 1 unearned Run on 4 Hits in 6 Innings with 5 Ks, but got a no-decision.  Derek Lowe gave up 2 Runs in 8 Innings with 6 Ks, but lost.

Wednesday, August 6th
Johnny Peralta
went 5 for 5 with 2 Runs, 2 Doubles, a HR, and 2 RBI.  Albert Pujols went 4 for 4 with 2 Runs, a Double, a Grand Slam, and 4 RBI.  Mark DeRosa went 2 for 3 with a Run, a Double, a Grand Slam, and 5 RBI.  Denard Span went 3 for 5 with a Triple, 4 RBI, and a SB.  Richie Weeks and Randy Wynn each had 4 Hits.  Vladimir Guerrero had 4 RBI.  Mike Cameron, Jason Bartlett, Ty Wiggington, Garrett Anderson, Brian McCann, Dan Murphy, Billy Butler, Casey Blake, Ryan Ludwick, and Jacoby Ellsbury (3 RBI) each had 3 Hits.  Jay Bruce, Carlos Pena, Cliff Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Nick Markakis, Aaron Rowand, Jim Thome, and Rod Barajas each had 3 RBI.  Ben Zobrist and Mark Teixeira each scored 3 Runs.

Jeff Karstens nearly had a Perfect Game.  He settled for a Complete Game two-hit Shutout to improve to 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA.  Tim Lincecum gave up 2 Runs on 5 Hits in 8 Innings with 8 Ks to improve to 12-3 with a 2.68 ERA.  Kyle Kendrick gave up 4 Hits in 6 scoreless Innings to improve to 10-5.  Shaun Marcum gave up 1 Run on 3 Hits in 7 Innings with 7 Ks to improve to 6-5 with a 3.44 ERA.  Cha Seung Baek gave up 2 Runs in 6-1/3 Innings to improve to 4-5.  John Danks gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 6-2/3 Innings with 6 Ks to improve to 9-4 with a 3.21 ERA.  Tim Wakefield gave up 1 Earned Run on 4 Hits with 6 Ks in 6 Innings to improve to 7-8 with a 3.67 ERA.  Randy Johnson gave up 2 Runs in 7-1/3 Innings with 7 Ks, but lost.  Pedro Martinez gave up 2 Earned Runs on 4 Hits in 6-1/3 Innings, but lost.

Tuesday, August 5th
Jason Kubel
went 4 for 5 with 3 Runs, a Double, 2 HRs, and 3 RBI.  Placido Polanco went 3 for 6 with 3 Runs, a Triple, 2 HRs, 4 RBI, and a Walk.  Raul Ibanez went 3 for 5 with 2 Runs, a HR, and 5 RBI.  Fernando Tatis smacked 2 HRs and had 4 RBI.  Darin Erstad went 4 for 4.  Jason Bay, Derrek Lee, Emil BrownRyan Raburn, Carlos Quentin, and Carlos Gonzalez also had 4 Hits.  Jeremy Hermida and Chris Davis each had 4 RBI.  Richie Sexson hit a Grand Slam.  Alfonso Soriano went 3 for 5 with 2 Runs, a Double, a HR, and 4 RBI.  Mark DeRosa (3 RBI), Ryan Sweeney, Ryan Braun, Jody Gerut (3 RBI), Marlon Byrd (3 Runs), Luke Scott, Edgar Renteria, Alexei Ramirez, Jeremy Reed, Jose Lopez, Kelly Johnson (3 Runs), and Adam Kennedy each had 3 Hits.  Corey Hart, Nick Swisher, and Dioner Navarro each had 3 RBI.  Ichiro Suzuki scored 3 Runs.

Brandon Webb tossed a Complete Game allowing 1 Run to improve to 16-4 with a 2.93 ERA.  He’s the first to 16 Wins.  Chris Waters threw 8 one-hit scoreless Innings for his first career Win.  He has allowed just 2 Hits in 14 scoreless Innings to start his career.  Josh Johnson tossed 6 scoreless Innings allowing 5 Hits to improve to 2-0 with a 3.34 ERA.  Dave Bush gave up1 Run on 3 Hits in 7 Innings with 7 Ks to improve to 6-9.  Mike Pelfrey gave up 2 Runs in 6-2/3 Innings to improve to 10-7 with a 3.85 ERA.  Josh Beckett gave up 2 Runs on 4 Hits in 6-2/3 Innings with 7 Ks to improve to 10-8.  Matt Harrison gave up 2 Runs in 6-1/3 Innings to improve to 3-2.  Mike Hampton gave up 2 Runs on 4 Hits for his first Win of the year.  Greg Smith (2 Runs on 4 Hits in 6 Innings), John “Hard Day’s Night” Lannan (7 Innings, 2 Runs, 5 Hits, 8 Ks), Jorge de la Rosa (7 Innings, 2 Runs, 6 Ks), and Chris Carpenter (5 scoreless Innings, 3 Hits) all got no-decisions.  Zach Duke gave up 2 Runs on 4 Hits in 7 Innings with 6 Ks, but lost.

Sunday, July 27th
MIke Jacobs
went 3 for 4 with 2 Runs, 2 HRs, and 5 RBI.  Geoff Blum hit a couple of HRs and had 4 RBI.  Ivan Rodriguez and Brad Ausmus went 4 for 4.  Fred Lewis also had 4 Hits.  Billy Butler and Shane Victorino each had 4 RBI.  Raul Ibanez, David Wright, Fernando Tatis, Scott Podsednik(2 SBs), Jeff Baker (3 Runs), Guillermo Quiroz (3 RBI), Ryan Braun, Alfonso Soriano (3 RBI), Gerald Laird, Kurt Suzuki (3 RBI), Mark Kotsay, Conor Jackson (3 Runs), David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Stephen Drew each had 3 Hits.  Garrett Atkins, Hank Blaylock, Martin Prado, Manny Ramirez, and Miguel Tejada each had 3 RBI.  Dan Uggla scored 3 Runs.

Johan Santana tossed a Complete Game giving up 1 Run on 6 Hits with 5 Ks to improve to 9-7 with a 2.93 ERA.  Jarrod Washburn gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 8 Innings to improve to 5-9.  Nick Blackburn (7 Innings, 1 Run, 4 Hits) and Jeremy Sowers (8 Innings, 2 Runs, 3 Hits go no-decisions.  Zach Miner gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings with 5 Ks to improve to 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA.  Ubalod Jimenez tossed 6 scoreless Innings to improve to 7-9 with a 3.80 ERA.  Garrett Olson gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings to improve to 7-5.  Jake Peavy gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings with 10 Ks to improve to 8-6 with a 2.67 ERA.  Paul Maholm gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings with 9 Ks, but got a no-decision.  Clayton Kershaw tossed 6 scoreless Innings allowing 4 Hits while striking out 5 for his first career Win.  Randy Johnson tossed 7 scoreless Innings to improve to 8-7.  It was his 292nd Win.  Jon Lester gave up 2 Runs in 7 Innings with 8 Ks to improve to 9-3 with a 3.17 ERA.

Tuesday, June 3rd
David Murphy
went 4 for 4 with 3 Runs, a Double, a HR, and 2 RBI.  Kazuo Matsui went 4 for 4 with 2 Runs.  Dan Uggla hit a pair of HRs and drove in 3 Runs.  Milton Bradley hit a pair of solo shots.  Chipper Jones, Carlos Pena, David Eckstein, Shin-Soo Choo, Eric Chavez, Alfonso Soriano, Maicer Izturis, and Travis Denker also had 3 RBI each.  Johnny Damon, Jimmy Rollins (2 SBs), David DeJesus, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez, Yadier Molina, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Garko, Adrian Gonzalez, Robb Quinlan, and Damion Easley (3 RBI) each had 3 Hits.  Fred Lewis scored 3 Runs.

Jeff Francis pitched 7 scoreless Innings allowing 4 Hits while striking out 5 to improve to 2-5.  Wandy Rodriguez gave up 5 Hits in 6 scoreless Innings to improve to 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA.  Adam Eaton gave up 1 Run on 3 Hits in 6-2/3 Innings with 5 Ks to improve to 2-.  Roy Halladay gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings to improve to 7-5 with a 2.94 ERA.  Seth McClung gave up 1 Run in 6 Innings to improve to 3-2.  Randy Johnson struck out 8 to move into second place on the all-time strikeout list.  Gavin Floyd gave up 2 Earned Runs in 7 Innings to improve to 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA.  Joe Saunders gave up 1 Earned Run in 7 Innings with 5 Ks to improve to 9-2 with a 2.63 ERA.  R.A. Dickey pitched 5-2/3 Innings of scoreless relief allowing 3 Hits while striking out 6.  Brad Penny gave up 2 Run in 6 Innings with 5 Ks, but took a Loss.  Pedro Martinez gave up 3 Runs in 6 Innings for his first Win of the season.

Saturday, May 31st
Jose Batista and Maicer Izturis
each had 4 Hits.  Luis Rivas hit a Grand Slam.  Mark Reynolds hit a pair of solo shots.  Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira, Ken Griffey Jr., Adrian Gonzalez, Xavier Nady, and Josh Hamilton each had 3 RBI.  Jay Bruce (3 Runs), Jason Varitek, Casey Kotchman, Robb Quinlan, Delmon Young, Mike Lamb, Freddy Sanchez, Ronny Paulino (3 RBI), Frank Catalanotto, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Eric Chavez each had 3 Hits.

Brandon Webb tossed a Complete Game six-hit Shutout to improve to 10-2 with a 2.69 ERA.  Josh Banks pitched a Complete Game allowing 1 unearned Run to improve to 2-0 and keep his ERA at 0.00.  Scott Kazmir gave up 3 Hits with 6 Ks in 7 scoreless Innings to improve to 5-1 with a 1.22 ERA.  Felix Hernandez gave up 2 Hits in 7 scoreless Innings with 7 Ks to improve to 3-5 with a 3.29 ERA.  Chad Billingsley (7 scoreless Innings, 4 Hits) and Mike Pelfrey (7 Innings, 2 Runs, 6 Ks) each had no-decisions.  Javier Vazquez gave up 2 Runs in 7 Innings with 10 Ks, but took a Loss.  Ben Sheets gave up 1 Run in 8-2/3 Innings to improve to 6-1 with a 2.71 ERA.  Ricky Nolasco gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings to improve to 5-3.  Paul Maholm gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 6-2/3 Innings to improve to 3-5.  Shaun Marcum (7 Innings, 2 Runs) and John Lackey (8 Innings, 1 Earned Run, 7 Ks) each earned no-decisons.


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