by Jordan Adams - 05/30/2006
The last full week of May witnessed the impact of several new teams climbing to the top of their division, however no feat was more notable then Barry Bonds' 715th home run. While the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks came out of the woodwork to take first place in their respective divisions, Bonds eclipsing Ruth was a mammoth story that ate up the press coverage not just yesterday, but most likely for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately, every Giants game will call for the 'Chasing Aaron' discussion, a record pursuit that Bonds simply cannot reach this year, nor possibly next year. And while all this hoopla has gone full circle, it overshadows all the success the rest of the MLB will have, teams and individuals included.
NL Team of the Week
This past week brought the Braves back to second place in the NL East, and only 3.5 behind the first place Mets. On the road all week, Atlanta managed to take five of their six games, including a three-game weekend sweep of the Cubs.
In San Diego during the week, starters John Smoltz and John Thomson recorded the Braves' two victories. The first two games were very low scoring, but in the rubber match the Braves exploded for ten runs, led by Andruw Jones' two home runs.
The weekend series in Chi-town was completely dominated by the Braves, including a Sunday barnburner won by Atlanta, 13-12, in eleven innings.
AL Team of the Week
Once again the Detroit Tigers managed to be the top AL team of the week. All that success has landed them the best record in the ML at 35-15, not to mention a 2.5 game lead over the defending champion Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
The Tigers won their first six games of the week before a shutout loss versus Cleveland on Sunday. Nonetheless, a 6-1 week kept them 20 games above .500 on the year. The Tigers made short work of the Royals with a four-game sweep, then headed home and won a series against the talented Cleveland Indians. Rookie starter Justin Verlander won both his starts this week, improving his record to 7-3.
NL Player of the Week
Jason Bay | LF | Pittsburgh Pirates
For the second straight week, Pirates' left fielder Jason Bay was the best player in the NL. Performing at an even higher level than he did last week, Bay clobbered seven home runs and drove in 15, scoring 11. If that weren't impressive enough, Bay hit .500 for the week, going 13 for 26. However, his efforts were not enough to keep his team from another losing week.
AL Player of the Week
Manny Ramirez | LF | Boston Red Sox
Manny is finally being Manny in the way he should be. He is starting to hit like he is capable of. This week Ramirez hit four long balls and had 10 RBI. Manny also hit two doubles, and hit for a .476 clip going 10 for 21. His Red Sox won five of their seven games this week, and hold a two game lead in the AL East.
Upcoming Weekend Series to Watch
Boston Red Sox @ Detroit Tigers | June 2-4
Probable Pitching Match-ups
Friday - Curt Shilling vs. Kenny Rogers
Saturday - Tim Wakefield vs. Jeremy Bonderman
Sunday - Matt Clement vs. Roman Colon
Finally we will see this week if the Detroit Tigers can stay atop the majors with a difficult week schedule against both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Their weekend series against the Sox will match the arms of the Tigers against a very solid Red Sox lineup. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz will lead the charge against top pitchers Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman in the first two games of the series. In the final game of the set on Sunday, Roman Colon will start in place of Mike Moroth who was placed on the DL.
The Tigers still boast the league's best ERA with a 3.36 team line. This week they will not see a weak batting order, so if they want to still claim that impressive stat, holding the best hitters in the AL East is a must.
The pitching match-up between Schilling and Rogers on Friday has the league's top two winning starters going to work. Schilling has eight wins, but if Rogers can earn the victory, he will tie that mark atop the league.
Tigers win 2-1
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