Streaks come and go during the long regular season, but they take on added importance for teams involved in the playoff race in September.
Just ask the San Diego Padres, who finally snapped their losing skid at 10 games on Monday. The Padres streak was their longest since losing 13 straight in May 1994. But San Diego’s recent streak came as the division leader, and reduced its lead in the NL West from 6 1/2 games to just 1 game over the San Francisco Giants.
San Diego also went from having the best record in the NL to what was the fourth-best on Tuesday.
“You would never have thought that winning one game would be so important,” said Mike Adams, who won in relief on Monday. “That’s the biggest win that we’ve had maybe all year. The past 10 days, nothing went our way. We couldn’t catch a break. To come out tonight and get that win out of the way, hopefully that changes the tide and we’ll get on a little roll now.”
Adams and his teammates better hope so. They host the Giants in a huge four-game series beginning Thursday, followed by a three-game series at Colorado next week. The Rockies swept the Padres in San Diego over the weekend, and were closing in the divisional race, 4 1/2 games behind after Monday.
Only two teams in major league history have made the postseason in a year that included a losing streak of at least 10 games.
In the AL Central, two more streaky teams are battling it out for the division title. The Chicago White Sox won seven in a row, all on the road, through Monday, but remained 3 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins, who won four straight. Both teams will slug it out in a three-game set in Chicago next week, the last time they will meet in the regular season.
Morgan’s antics land him a suspension
Washington’s Nyjer Morgan lost it last week, and now has to pay for his actions with an eight-game suspension.
Morgan’s problems began on Aug. 21, when he threw a ball at a fan in the stands at Philadelphia. He was handed a seven-game suspension, which he appealed. Then, on Aug. 29, Morgan ran over St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson at home plate, although Anderson didn’t have the ball and Morgan would have easily scored. Morgan was called out for not touching home plate.
Last Tuesday, Morgan was at it again. He crashed into Florida catcher Brett Hayes, while attempting to score from second. It appeared that Morgan could have slid into home plate but chose to make contact with Hayes instead. Hayes tagged Morgan out, but he separated his left shoulder in the collision.
In the next game on Wednesday, Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad retaliated by hitting Morgan with a pitch in the fourth inning. Morgan responded by stealing second and third, despite his team trailing 14-3, and scored on a base hit.
For that, Volstad threw behind Morgan in the sixth inning, causing Morgan to charge the mound and triggering a brawl. After reviewing the game, Major League Baseball suspended and fined six players, both managers and a coach.
Morgan got eight games and Volstad was suspended for six.
“I’m a little surprised at (the suspensions and fines) overall,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “I think Major League Baseball is sending out a message with these suspensions and especially with the fines, and that’s that it doesn’t want bench-clearing brawls in this sport.”
MLB said that Morgan’s suspension was for “unnecessarily” running over Anderson, “inappropriate comments” directed toward the fans last Tuesday and for charging the mound and making inappropriate gestures and comments to fans on Wednesday.
Morgan’s frustration at the plate and being dropped from leadoff to eighth in the order may have set him off.
Colorado Rockies center-fielder Carlos Gonzalez has been swinging a hot bat, and is in the running for an NL triple crown. Here’s what he’s done lately (through Monday’s game):
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
.340 AVG, 31 HRs, 97 RBIs, .375 OBP, .616 SLG
Last six games: 16-27, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, .593 AVG
New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia led the major leagues in wins at the start of this week with 19. Sabathia’s win last week over Oakland extended his streak of unbeaten home starts to 21… Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez won his NL-leading 18th game on Monday in his sixth try since Aug. 4, snapping his four-game losing streak…Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has reached 100 RBIs for a record 14trh season… Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus and manager Tony La Russa aren’t seeing eye-to-eye lately. La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Rasmus asked for a trade, and that their problems started in July in Chicago, when La Russa threatened Rasmus with a demotion to the minors.
Copyright © 2010 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.