With a home run on Wednesday night against Milwaukee, Albert Pujols reached the 100-RBI mark for the seventh year in a row -- or every season he has been in the Major Leagues.
09/28/2007 12:01 PM ET
Pujols extends 100-RBI streak
He's the only player in Major League history to accomplish that particular feat. This season, he battled through injuries to get there.
"It's always awesome," Pujols told MLB.com. "It's an honor to get 100 RBIs. That's tough to do every year. But I wish I could trade that and be in the postseason, playing next month. But that's the way it goes.
"Obviously I need to thank my teammates because I couldn't do it by myself. They're getting on base, being aggressive running the bases. It's a big accomplishment that hopefully I can continue to do."
Manager Tony La Russa said after Wednesday's game that he is always amazed at the things Pujols does.
"I congratulated him," La Russa said. "It's historic. Some of us who have been around have had a chance to see it, to see history. That kind of excellence, from the first year of your career, it's historic. ... When you think of who's played this game and [that he is] the only guy that's ever done that, I don't know what more you can say."
Phillips joins Reds' Larkin, Davis: Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips hit his 30th home run of the season on Wednesday night, making him just the third member of the Reds (Barry Larkin and Eric Davis) to join the exclusive 30-30 club with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season. He's also just the second player that plays second base to do so, joining Alfonso Soriano.
"It's a beautiful thing," Phillips told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"It hasn't settled in yet," he added. "I still can't believe I achieved a goal that only one other second baseman has done. It's amazing. It's a good feeling to be in the same category with my favorite player growing up (Barry Larkin). It's a blessing."
Cincinnati manager Pete Mackanin doesn't think this will be the last time that Phillips reaches 30-30.
"I don't think he's ever going to hit 40 or 50 home runs," Mackanin said. "The thing about him is: Was this a career year or is he going to continue to do it? I choose to believe this is the type of year he's going to put together year to year. I don't think he's a one-time 30-30 guy. I think he's going to do it many more times in the future."
Lowell supplants Hobson in Boston record books: The Boston Red Sox are loaded with talent. But many of the players on the team believe Mike Lowell just may be the reason the team is close to winning the American League East Division title this year.
"He plays every day and his production has been so consistent," manager Terry Francona told the Boston Globe. "Just plays every day and he has great at-bats."
Lowell has put his name in the Boston record book this season. By driving in five runs Wednesday night, he now has 116 RBIs for the season, a new club record for RBIs by a Boston third baseman. Butch Hobson set the previous mark of 112 in 1977.
Hobson racked up that total by batting eighth or ninth that season. Lowell hasn't hit that low in the lineup, but he has hit sixth, fifth and now fourth. Manny Ramirez normally hits cleanup for the Red Sox, but Lowell has been there since the end of August while Ramirez was out with an injury.
Manning volunteers support for Helton: Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton has a fan in Indiana who is pulling for him -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. The two were both teammates and quarterbacks at the University of Tennessee and still keep in touch.
"I know how important it is for him to get into the postseason," Manning told the Rocky Mountain News. "I know he's had a great year."
Manning has been watching the Rockies' surge this month and even called Helton after he hit a game-winning, two-run home run off Dodgers closer Takashi Saito earlier this month.
"I hope they can catch up and get to the postseason," Manning said. "I am happy for him. I told him I didn't want him to come to a game until at least November or December. I hope they are playing in the postseason."
Berkman eats up Reds' pitching again: The Cincinnati Reds' pitchers will be happy to not have to see Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros until next season. On Wednesday night, Berkman does what he does best against the Reds -- hit. The switch-hitting first baseman was 4-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs. The four hits tied a career high.
Berkman, who reached 100 RBIs for the fifth time in his career, has an explanation why he hits so well in Cincinnati. His 17 career homers at Great American Ball Park are the most by a visiting player. He is also hitting .349 with 43 RBIs in 35 games there.
"The whole thing is when you've had success in a ballpark before, there's obviously something about it," Berkman told the Houston Chronicle. "I see the ball well here, and it's just one of those things when you've had success someplace and you get to feeling favorable toward it. I can't explain the home runs, except to say it's a good ballpark to hit home runs."
In 114 career games against the Reds, Berkman is hitting .332 with 41 home runs and 116 RBIs. And his success isn't limited to Great American Ballpark. When the Reds still played at Cinergy Field, Berkman hit .395 with nine home runs and 31 RBIs in 22 games.
Swisher wishes the best for children: Nick Swisher is the A's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes the outstanding talents of people, especially for their work in the community. Among Swisher's many charitable acts, he is active with Children's Hospital and Research Center of Oakland, the Women's Cancer Research Fund and Barry Zito's "Strikeouts for Troops," all in addition to his own "Swish's Wishes" charitable foundation.
"Nick does a lot of things quietly, and he really has a heart for helping others," Kathy Jacobson, who works for Swish's Wishes, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "People see this flashy guy, but he is really someone who cares about people, especially children."
Swisher was honored with his nomination for the Clemente Award. Despite never having seen him play, Swisher mentioned Clemente as one of his favorite players, along with his dad, Steve, who was a catcher for the Cubs and Padres from 1974-1982. Swisher said he once did a book report on Clemente in school.
"I got goose bumps getting nominated for that," Swisher said. "That is pretty special."
Don't bet on Mets' Alou retiring: Before the season started, New York Mets outfielder Moises Alou opted to sign a one-year deal instead of a guaranteed two-year contract because he wasn't sure if he wanted to play beyond the 2007 season. But the 41-year-old is closing the season so well, he may just be back for another season in 2008.
"I haven't made up my mind yet," Alou, who had his career-best and Major League season-high 30-game hitting streak snapped Thursday night, told Newsday. "Not even my wife knows. But if I was going to bet on it, yes, I'll probably play next year."
The Mets hold an option on Alou for next year, but with the veteran hitting .344, few people doubt the Mets would not exercise the option if Alou decides to return next year. About the only thing that has slowed Alou down this year is a quadriceps injury that sidelined him for nearly 10 weeks. Alou said the injury may even have benefittd him this year.
"Because I haven't had so many at-bats and haven't played so many games," he said, "I'm fresher."
Pirates' Morris ends on a high note: Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Matt Morris took full advantage of his final start of the 2007 campaign, working seven strong innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday in the Pirates' 5-1 victory. In picking up his 10th win of the year, Morris gave up just one run on six hits, striking out seven and walking nobody.
"What a great way to end the year for Matt Morris," Pirates manager Jim Tracy told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "To get the seven innings we got from him after he had to sit around for an hour (rain delay) says even more about how well he pitched."
After struggling for most of September, Morris ended the season on a high note.
"I got back to thinking about results instead of worrying about how I'm making the pitch and what's going on mechanically," he said. "At this point in the season, it's hard to change things anyway."
Braves' Jones embarks on free agency: Agent Scott Boras is convinced that this year's down season will not hurt Andruw Jones as he embarks on free agency. He then proceeded to list players who suffered a down year and immediately bounced back.
"I told him about Fred Lynn, who had a year like that where he hit about .220," Boras told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "These things happen in great careers. Paul Konerko a few years ago hit .230, I think, and then went on to become the World Series MVP."
Boras then highlighted Jones' accomplishments.
"Andruw had years with 51 home runs and 41 home runs," he said. "Andruw's worst has been 25 homers and 95 RBIs, for a center fielder. And he projects to have 405 putouts this year and leads the National League in putouts for center fielders.
"Everywhere I go, Andruw is widely respected because he's a gifted player, he's positive every day, and he loves to go out and play every day."
Vizquel had big sendoff in Cleveland: With all of the hype surrounding Barry Bonds playing his last home game in San Francisco, it got lost in the shuffle that several other veterans might have played their last game their, too. Among those are Gold Glove Award shortstop Omar Vizquel, who went through a Bonds-like circus when he left Cleveland.
"I was pretty chilled when I left Cleveland," Vizquel told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I knew that was going to be my last night. A lot of people came to my locker and got stuff signed. I needed to move on and they needed to move on. I feel the same way about the Giants. If they feel they want to do something different, they'll do something different. Life goes on.
"All these years they built a team around Barry. I don't know what they're looking for next year. They know what I can do, what I can offer. We'll see how they react to that."
Weeks bounces back from Triple-A stint: Early this season, Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks was still struggling to find his stroke while trying to come back from wrist surgery. In fact, things got so bad for Weeks he was sent to the Minors in August.
"When his wrist really hurt, he was doing certain things with his mechanics to compensate for it and got into some bad habits," manager Ned Yost told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "When you get in bad habits, you don't see the ball as good, you don't see the ball as long. You have to make quicker decisions, so you're swinging at pitches that are off the plate, you're taking balls that are off the plate.
"He got sent down and got into better plate mechanics and started seeing the ball better."
Since returning to the team after his one-week stint at Triple-A Nashville, Weeks has an on-base percentage better than .459. His batting average is still low but has been climbing and his .377 on-base percentage ranks second on the team among regulars.
Clemens done until postseason: Better safe than sorry.
Not wanting to push Roger Clemens, the New York Yankees have decided to rest their right-hander the rest of the regular season in order to get him ready to pitch in the postseason.
Clemens will remain in Tampa while the team plays its final regular season series in Baltimore this weekend.
"He's feeling better," Torre told Newsday. "He's just going to let it rest for a few days."
The Yankees do not anticipate Clemens having any trouble making a start during the Division Series next week.
Pirates' Morgan taking promotion in stride: Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who joined the team this month when rosters expanded, is doing his best to take it all in stride.
"I've been enjoying my time with the Pirates this month," he told MLBPLAYERS.com. "Of course I was excited to get called up for the first time, but it's been the same game since Little League, it's just on a bigger stage now. I have the same mind-set -- just play hard and have fun."
For Morgan, playing good defense is a source of pride.
"I take particular pride in my defensive ability. I've made the highlights and gotten some attention for big catches this season," he said. "I especially enjoy making a good catch during that key inning, like the one I made in Houston earlier this month. With a catch in an important situation like that, you can help your team get a victory. That's more enjoyable than just making a diving catch or robbing somebody in a lopsided game."
-- Red Line Editorial