Hudson making climb back up mountaintop
ESPN The Magazine
Tim Kurkjian is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."
Baseball Tonight Live
"Baseball Tonight" analysts, ESPN.com writers and SweetSpot Network bloggers chatted and gave their in-game opinions throughout the day's games -- all in Baseball Tonight Live.
Touch 'Em All
Who went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Adrian Beltre, BOS||4||TB||Top 2: 1-0, 0 Outs. None on.||Garza|
|Adrian Beltre, BOS||5||TB||Top 3: 1-1, 2 Outs. 2 on.||Garza|
|Hanley Ramirez, FLA||8||ATL||Bot 1: 0-1, 2 Outs. None on.||Hanson|
|Jose Reyes, NYM||1||PHI||Bot 3: 1-2, 0 Outs. None on.||Blanton|
|Magglio Ordonez, DET||7||SEA||Top 3: 1-1, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Vargas|
Thursday's Best Matchups
White Sox at Rays, 7 p.m. ET
Neither manager, Ozzie Guillen or Joe Maddon, has gotten along with umpires this week. Perhaps that will be a pregame topic for the pair? White Sox starter Gavin Floyd has struggled through his first nine starts, going 2-4 with a 6.31 ERA. Jeff Niemann has had no such trouble, starting 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA.
Phillies at Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET
Go ahead, try to figure out the Mets. After losing three of four while the rumblings over Jerry Manuel's job status grew louder still, New York has rattled off four consecutive wins, including the first two in this series with the Phillies. Mike Pelfrey's only loss this season -- he's 6-1 -- came on May 1 against Philadelphia.
Yankees at Twins, 8:10 p.m. ET
Despite a finger issue, Javier Vazquez will make his scheduled start. He was masterful his last time out, allowing one hit over six innings against the Mets to pick up his second consecutive victory. Nick Blackburn, meanwhile, has won each of the past four times he's taken the mound.
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WEB GEMS LEADERBOARD
WEDNESDAY'S BEST AND WORST
BESTUbaldo Jimenez, RHP, Rockies
Seriously, it's not this easy, Jimenez is making it look like it is. He pitched eight innings against the Diamondbacks and tossed eight more zeros on the board, lowering his ERA to -- wait for it -- 0.88. In 10 starts, Jimenez (9-1) has allowed seven runs total. In half of his starts, he has not allowed a single run.
WORSTRyan Howard, 1B, Phillies
The Phillies were shut out for a second consecutive day by the Mets and the third time in four games overall. Howard went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He has struck out in 20 of 23 games so far this month. The two he tossed onto the pile in Wednesday's loss gave him 27 strikeouts already this month. Meanwhile, he's walked just eight times.
It was easy to overlook the Padres in the springtime. After all, their most recognizable face, Adrian Gonzalez, doubles as their only legitimate bat and he spent the offseason popping up in various trade rumors. The rest of the lineup and the pitching staff were filled with various unknowns -- not in the sense that the Padres had no idea who was playing where, but in the sense that nobody had reason to know about these guys. Projecting anything but a last-place finish seemed optimistic.As we near June, the Padres are not only out of the cellar, but actually way up in the attic. So, how are they doing it? For one, the Padres' rotation leads the league in xFIP, meaning they own the aspects their pitchers can control -- namely strikeouts, walks and getting ground balls. It's not just the defense-free parts of pitching the Padres have succeeded at, though. Clayton Richard and Jon Garland have sub-3 ERAs and former top prospect Mat Latos isn't too far behind. The team's pitching staff has been the best in baseball for the first two months of the season. In addition to pitching well, The Padres' staff also maintains the third-lowest batting average on balls in play throughout the league.