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Is Nate McLouth For Real And Other Baseball Notes

Pittsburgh Pirates CF Nate McLouth went 1-3 with three walks, his 11th HR and a stolen base.  How much of a fluke McLouth is right now is hard to determine, but since last year August, he has had 330 ABs and hit 21 HRs.  That extends McLouth's excellent first seven weeks by another eight.  He looks legitimate, no? 

Arizona Diamondback ace Brandon Webb moved to 9-0 on the season and now is the unanimous plus one choice for the NL Cy Young.  However, his 9th victory didn't exactly come against the "A" team of the Colorado Rockies.  Ryan Spillborghs in CF, Clint Barmes at SS, Jeff Baker at 3B and Javier Herrera at 2B is the kind of line-up that would even allow Justin Verlander to get a 2nd victory on the season.

The Yankees recalled SP Ian Kennedy to replace the awful Kei Igawa after just one start.  Kennedy allowed five runs in five innings yo increase his season ERA from 8.37 to 8.48.  Will this be the season the now-last-place Yankees do not rebound from a mediocre start?  At least their #3 hitter, Derek Jeter, collected a couple more singles.

Cleveland Indians reliever Rafeal Betancourt started the 9th inning to protect a 4-1 lead and proceeded to load the bases.  He was replaced by Masahide Kobayashi after loading the bases.  The closing failure in the Summer of '06 lloks to be more real than fluke for Betancourt.  Add him to the list of relievers who can't pitch effectively without the comfort of knowing their team will have a additional ABs to make-up for any mistakes made on the mound.

Philadelphia Phillies' 1B Ryan Howard hit his 9th HR last night.  In his last five plate appearances, he has homered twice and walked.  The chance to get Howard for 5th or 6th round value is quickly passing.