MLB Nine-to-Know: May 23

I have to tell you, at least at Fenway this weekend, that was the worst series of baseball I have seen all season and most of the play that I watched elsewhere wasn’t much better. Thankfully, we have a respite from intergreed play for a bit.

Here’s your Nine to Know:

1. The weekend story, the story of the season, has to be the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe, in front of about 100,000 fans this weekend at Progressive Field (!!), finished a three game sweep of the Reds, 12-4 yesterday. The Tribe has baseball’s best record at 29-15 and are 18-4 at the Jake (I really don’t want to call it Progressive Field). Asdrubel Cabrera went 5 for 5 with two homers and five RBI as Cleveland outscored Cincinnati, 19-9. Cleveland didn’t win its 18th home game last season until July 16. Here are the only other Indians who have had games equivalent to Cabrera’s:

Player Date Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB
Victor Martinez 2004-07-16 SEA W 18-6 6 5 3 5 0 0 3 7 1
Casey Blake 2003-07-05 MIN W 13-2 5 5 3 5 2 0 2 7 0
Minnie Minoso 1959-04-21 DET W 14-1 6 6 2 5 0 0 2 6 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/23/2011.

2. Emmanuel Burriss got the walkoff single that drove home Darren Ford and the Giants completed their three-game sweep of the A’s, 5-4 in 11 innings. Once again, Brian Fuentes (1-6) took the loss as the Giants earned their fifth straight victory and did it with their seventh walkoff win of the season. The Giants have won 10 straight at home and 11-0 in one run games at home.

3. How bad are the San Diego Padres? Well, the Mariners swept them this weekend if you are looking for a frame of reference. Yesterday, Felix Hernandez tied his career high with 13 strikeouts as the Padres were held to two runs all weekend. The Mariners won their fifth straight and struck out 35 Padres “hitters” in the series. The M’s held the Padres to six hits or less in each of the three games. San Diego is now 8-18 at home.

4. How bad are the Minnesota Twins? Well, the Diamondbacks swept them this weekend if you are looking for a frame of reference. In another matchup of lousy teams, the Twins proved to be the lousiest. The Arizona Diamondbacks ran their winning streak to six games, their longest in three years and have won eight of nine to reach the .500 mark (23-23).  The Twins are almost unbelievably awful. They have lost 12 of 15 and, at 15-30, have the worst record in baseball.

5. What does it tell you when the only decent pitching of the Fenway weekend came from a 44-year old with an aching back (okay, and a dancing knuckleball). The Red Sox took two-of-three in the Cubs first visit to Fenway since 1918. I look forward to their return in 2104. Tim Wakefield, contrary to popular belief was not a participant of that 1918 World Series (I do think he went to one of the games however) pitched brilliantly last night holding the Cubs to four hits in 6.1 innings. Both teams looked foolish Saturday night in their turn-back-the-clock unis in the sole game won by the Cubs. The two teams committed 10 errors in the three game set.

6. After taking two of three this weekend, the Yankees have now won 11 of 13 regular-season series against the Mets in the Bronx. The Yankees are back in first place in the fascinatingly close AL East:

EAST W L PCT GB RUN DIFF STRK L10
NY Yankees 25 20 .556 +50 Won 2 5-5
Tampa Bay 26 21 .553 +25 Won 1 4-6
Boston 25 21 .543 .5 +5 Won 1 8-2
Toronto 23 23 .500 2.5 +11 Lost 1 7-3
Baltimore 21 24 .467 4 -41 Won 2 5-5

7. As expected it was great pitching series between the Phils and the Rangers. Philadelphia won the opener, 3-2, then the two teams split 2-0 games. Roy Halladay picked up the win in the first game with the Phils scoring three times on just four hits. Cliff Lee threw eight dominant innings to win the the second game. Roy Oswalt lost for the first time at Citizen’s Park in game three. He is now 10-1 there. The Phils managed all of 17 hits this weekend and the Rangers have now gone 11 straight games scoring four or less runs.

8. The Marlins defeated the Rays, 5-3, in each of their Friday and Saturday games and the Rays, behind James Shields‘ 13 strikeouts salvaged the finale for Tampa, 4-0. Big Game Shields (5-2) now has two shutouts and three complete games this season. The Rays have gone 10 consecutive games without getting at least 10 hits.

9. And in real baseballRyan Braun hit a two-run triple off Ubaldo Jimenez and scored on a throwing error, as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Rockies, 3-1, and complete a three-game sweep over Colorado. Jimenez (0-4) threw the seventh complete game of his career and held the Brewers to two hits, but walked five and hit one. Milwaukee is now an NL-best 16-6 at home and has won 10 of its last 13 overall. Friday night, Prince Fielder hit a huge two run, 14th inning walkoff homer to give the Brewers a 7-6 win. The Brewers were held to five hits on Saturday, but Shawn Marcum (6-1) pitched brilliantly as Milwaukee won, 3-2. The Brewers are 24-23 and the Rockies are now 23-22.