This week: On Deck
Reality check: The Yankees are 26-11 since the break and had pulled within 41/2 games of Boston through yesterday afternoon. But the challenge the rest of August presents is daunting and perhaps determining. They finish vs. Detroit today, fly to Anaheim for three vs. the Angels, then back east for four in Detroit. All of which only sets them up for a crucual three-game series vs. the Red Sox Aug. 28-30.
42 and counting: 2006 NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb puts his streak of 42 consecutive scoreless innings -- the 12th-longest in history -- on the line when Arizona plays host to Milwaukee Wednesday (9:40 p.m.).
Move over, Milwaukee: Defending champion St. Louis has won 7 of 9 to suddenly make it a three-team race in the NL Central. The third-place Cardinals (3 GB) and the newly minted first-place Cubs conclude a wraparound series tonight (8 p.m., ESPN, Kip Wells vs. Carlos Zambrano) and tomorrow at Wrigley Field.
2007 Diary: Short hops
A look back at some of the week's stats, facts and story lines you might have missed:
White Sox closer Bobby Jenks pitches a perfect ninth vs. Seattle to run his string of consecutive batters retired to 41 in a row, tying the major-league record set by San Francisco's Jim Barr in 1972.
In a week where Bobby Cox breaks the record for most ejections, Nomar Garciaparra is -- hard as it is to believe for a guy in his 12th season -- thrown out for the first time for arguing a called third strike in the Dodgers' 4-1 loss to Houston. Garciaparra had gone 1,303 games.
Astros P Wandy Rodriguez continues one of the great Jekyll & Hyde impersonations in losing to the Dodgers, 6-2, in Los Angeles. He is 1-9 with a 7.80 ERA in 12 starts on the road, but 6-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 12 contests at home.
All the attention is paid to the end result as Brandon Webb extends his scoreless innings streak to 42 in a 4-0 complete game shutout of Atlanta. But there are a couple other impressive numbers buried within his story -- four and three. He has gone to three-ball counts on just four batters in his past 18 innings. And he is the first pitcher to hurl three consecutive complete games since Roger Clemens in 1998.
Home runs to lead off games this season for Arizona's Chris Young after hitting one Thursday in Florida.
Consecutive 30-save seasons for Trevor Hoffman -- a major-league record -- after nailing down the Padres' 11-9 win Thursday vs. Colorado.
Age of Bobby Doerr, now the oldest living Hall of Famer with the passing of Phil Rizzuto.
Consecutive errorless games at second base for Detroit's Placido Polanco after a clean fielding night Monday, a major-league record.