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TODAY: Monday, May 15


SUNDAY'S TIDBITS

Line of the Day

Dustin Hermanson
We could have picked several lines from Montreal's 16-15 victory over the Cubs, a game that included Sammy Sosa's five hits, Henry Rodriguez's seven RBI, Eric Young's five steals and Montreal's triple play, but Hermanson's stands out. Why? Switched from the rotation to closer, Hermanson allowed four runs in the ninth inning -- only to get the victory when the Expos scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth.

IP H R BB HR
44 11

Hero of the day
The Cardinals' Craig Paquette went 5-for-5 with four RBI as St. Louis edged the Dodgers 12-10.

Goat of the day
After the Cubs rallied to take the lead off Hermanson, Rick Aguilera promptly surrended a game-tying homer to Rondell White and then a game-winning single to Mike Mordecai.

Injury report
  • Derek Jeter missed the weekend series in Detroit. The Yankees expect to evaluate Jeter's status on Tuesday and decide whether to put him on the disabled list.

  • Tigers RHP Brian Mohler, who had an emergency appendectomy last month, allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a rehab start Saturday with Class A West Michigan. Moehler may return to the rotation Friday night at Boston.

  • Cleveland's Jaret Wright is being pushed back in the starting rotation to rest his shoulder, which tightened up in his last start. Wright (3-2) was scheduled to start against Detroit on Wednesday. He'll now face the Yankees on Saturday.

  • Rey Ordonez (sore shoulder) sat out again and could be headed for the disabled list.

    Stat of the day
    Boston beat Baltimore 10-1 Sunday, completing its first four-game sweep in Baltimore since 1977.

    Stat of the day, II
    After defeating Montreal 11-7 Sunday, Colorado has scored at least 10 runs in its last seven games at Coors Field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rockies are the first team in the modern era to score at least 10 runs in seven consecutive home games.

    Quote of the day
    "It was ugly, it was exciting, and it turned out to be one of the toughest games I've ever played."
    -- The Expos' Jose Vidro. Montreal rallied four times from deficits to win the game.

  • TUESDAY'S GAME OF THE DAY
    Rockies at Mets
    Masato Yoshii (1-4, 5.40) vs. Rick Reed (3-1, 3.49)

    Yoshii was perhaps the Mets' most valuable starter down the stretch last season. If he wasn't included in the deal that brought Colorado's Darryl Hamilton to New York, the Mets' staff might be a lot better off at this point.

    FANTASY CORNER
  • Which players are getting added and dropped the most? Check the latest ratings from ESPN Fantasy Games.

  • In the latest edition of The Pivot, Keith Law examines some starting pitchers who have underperformed this year. Who will bounce back from their slow starts?
  • Pitching, anyone have any pitching?

    Roy Halladay
    Toronto's Roy Halladay is another young pitcher who hasn't developed.  

    Nothing against guys like Joe Strong and Rich Sauveur, but their recent recalls to the majors is a symbol of the plight of pitching in the big leagues today.

    "I've had 17 calls in three days from clubs looking for middle pitching help," one National League GM says. "Problem is, I've been on the other line trying to find a couple of relievers myself."

    And that, says ESPN's Peter Gammons in his latest column, is what is going on in today's market -- everybody is looking for pitching but nobody is looking to trade it away.

    Can't buy me love
    Yes, it's still early, but we thought we would point this out:

    Florida Marlins: 21-18, 29th-highest payroll
    Kansas City Royals: 19-18, 28th-highest payroll
    Chicago White Sox: 21-16, 26th-highest payroll
    Oakland Athletics: 20-18, 25th-highest payroll
    Montreal Expos: 19-16, 24th-highest payroll
    Toronto Blue Jays: 21-18, 22nd-highest payroll
    Cincinnati Reds: 20-16, 21st-highest payroll

    Amazing, isn't it? Of the teams with the 10 lowest Opening Day payrolls, seven of them currently have winning records. Two of them -- the White Sox and Athletics -- are in first place. The Reds trail the Cardinals by ½-game in the NL Central. The collective record of the bottom 10 payroll teams (including the Twins, Pirates and Brewers) is 189-184, a .507 winning percentage.

    Of course, teams with the top 10 payrolls (in order, the Yankees, Dodgers, Braves, Orioles, Diamondbacks, Mets, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers and Devil Rays) are doing OK as well -- they are a collective 199-164, a .548 winning percentage. Three teams having losing records -- the Orioles (16-21), Rangers (17-20) and Devil Rays (13-23).

    Hot as Helton in Colorado
    There is no good time for an injury, but for Colorado's Todd Helton, this is an especially bad time. After all, this is a guy who is hitting .581 in May. Helton strained his right hamstring in Sunday's win over the Giants after -- what else? -- hitting a double in the seventh inning.

    "I'd be surprised if he plays Tuesday in New York," manager Buddy Bell said.

    As for Helton, he leads the National League in batting average (.417) and RBI (41) due to his torrid streak this month, during which he has a five-hit game (May 3 vs. Montreal), two four-hit games (May vs. Montreal and May 12 vs. San Francisco) and one three-hit game (at Houston).

    Helton has had 15 games of at least two hits this season -- and 10 of them have come at Coors Field. Of course, that shouldn't come as a surprise. Helton is hitting a robust .533 at home, .319 on the road. He's slugging 1.100 at home, .611 on the road. Is it any wonder the Rockies have scored 10 or more runs in seven straight home games (see Stat of the Day)?

    Ahh, and while the Rockies are 12-4 at home, they are only 6-14 on the road. The reason for this is obvious: Just check their splits. They lead the NL with a .367 average at home, and are scoring 10.0 runs per game at Coors Field. Meanwhile, they are hitting just .246 on the road, where they are scoring 3.75 runs per game. At home, the Rockies have hit 25 home runs in 16 games; on the road, just 12 in 20 games.

    We checked the OPS (on-base + slugging) total for all Rockies with at least 50 at-bats. Each one of the them has hit better at Coors Field than on the road -- in most cases, much better:

    Player     Home    Road  Diff.
    Hammonds  1.432    .704   728
    Helton    1.722   1.004   718
    Perez      .941    .413   528
    Lansing   1.080    .669   411
    Bragg      .797    .426   371
    Hunter     .822    .465   357
    Cirillo   1.149    .813   336
    Goodwin   1.109    .786   323
    Walker    1.098    .776   322
    Mayne      .905    .642   263
    Shumpert   .734    .663    71
    

    By the way, the National League average OPS (including pitchers) is .797. Only two Rockies (Helton and Jeff Cirillo) are doing better than that on the road.

    Also, before you blame Colorado's pitching for their road troubles, their road ERA is 5.38, ninth in the league.

    We've said it before, we'll say it again. Until the Rockies learn to score some runs on the road (getting rid of non-hitters like Brian Hunter and Neifi Perez would be a start), they'll continue to have problems doing much better than a .500 record