by Jordan Adams - 04/17/2006
The second week of this 2006 MLB campaign dispels any notion that parity is non-existent in baseball. Although still early, the money-laden Yankees have been as inconsistent as any other team thus far, the Colorado Rockies are in first place in its division and the NL Central has shown itself to be the deepest division, yet winning seems to come in a roller coaster format.
With the exception of the New York Mets, no team has stood out as dominant. The Red Sox and A's are atop their respective divisions while the AL and NL Central have co-leaders out in front. Five of the six division leaders are separated by one or fewer games. Do not expect this trend to alter as the season matures, because while the payroll of teams shows great discrepency, the talent of the lesser, small market teams has begun to catch up and challenge the elite of the MLB.
NL Team of the Week
New York Mets
These New York Mets have been on a roll to start the season. This week they won five of their six games sweeping the Nationals in D.C. and taking two of three at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. In the Mets' five wins this week, they outscored their opponents 36-12. Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine both improved their '06 records to 2-0 while closer Billy Wagner recorded his second and third saves of the year.
Carlos Beltran led the charge as he silenced his critics homering twice and knocking in four. David Wright added a home run and four RBI while first baseman Carlos Delgado hit two home runs and drove in seven.
AL Team of the Week
Baltimore jumped back over .500 this week as they won five games, playing every day this week. The Orioles took three of four in Tampa Bay and then won their home series vs. the Angels. Erik Bedard won both his starts and improved to 3-0 on the young season. Closer Chris Ray had three saves as four of his team's wins were by two or less runs.
Miguel Tejada captained his team with five RBI and the rest of the offense contributed ten home runs over the course of this winning week.
NL Player of the Week
Matt Holliday | LF | Colorado Rockies
Coming off a benching due to lazy base running, Holliday exploded in his weekend series with the Phillies. Friday and Saturday he combined to have eight RBI, the last being in comeback fashion. This week he totaled four doubles, one triple, one long ball and eight RBI. He hit 7/23 with no strikeouts.
AL Player of the Week
Vernon Wells | CF | Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto centerfielder turned in quite a performance with his team on the road all week. He hit the ball well during his team's stint in Boston, taking two of three. Wells then continued his torrid hitting on the south side of Chicago. Overall Vernon hit three dingers and drove in nine, hitting 10/20 for the week.
Weekend Series to Watch
Los Angeles Angels @ Oakland A's | April 21-23
Probable Pitching Match-ups
Friday - John Lackey vs. Rich Harden
Saturday - Jeff Weaver vs. Dan Haren
Sunday - Kelvim Escobar vs. Esteban Loaiza
The first place Athletics welcome the Los Angeles Angels to Oakland. After getting off to a quick start, the A's lost four in a row to start this week, including a sweep by the Twins in Minnesota. Salvaging two of three at home against the Rangers will help to boost the club and get back to its winning ways.
The Angels got back to .500 with a victory Sunday over Baltimore. Their struggles can be linked to both hitting and pitching. Their bats have yet to wake up, as only three of their regular starters are over .300.
Staff ace Bartolo Colon has been hit hard in his first two starts, losing both games. Two of its other starters have ERAs over five and trailing in most games has not allowed its bullpen to pitch in winning situations.
Oakland is the more complete team and its pitching staff is much deeper. Look for the A's to take at least two of three from these struggling Angels. If the A's were to fall in one of these games, it would have to be in the series finale when Loaiza takes the mound.
A's win series 2-1
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