The Weekend Buzz while you were watching your daughter's eighth-grade promotion ceremony and wishing you could slow down time. ...
1. Three for The Show: Adrian Gonzalez is packing so much ammunition these days, Sarah Palin thinks someone should ride through the streets of Boston and warn the British.
|Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez leads the league with 58 RBI, two more than Prince Fielder and three more than Matt Kemp. (AP)|
Matt Kemp is doing more damage in Los Angeles than former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a roomful of housekeepers.
Each of these guys homered Sunday, driving home one more point: Offense may be down across the game to early 1990s levels, but it sure ain't down when Gonzalez, Fielder and Kemp are playing:
• Gonzalez has 10 RBI in six games since Monday while pushing the Red Sox to a season-high nine consecutive wins. The majors' RBI leader, Gonzalez is on pace for 160 -- which would be the highest total in the game since Manny Ramirez checked in with 165 back in 1999.
• Fielder now has six homers and 13 RBI in seven games since Monday while pushing the Brewers into first place in the NL Central for the first time since July 9, 2009. In one of his patented white-hot streaks, Fielder has crushed eight homers in the Brewers' past 10 games for a team off to its best home start in history at 25-9.
• Kemp now has four homers and eight RBI in seven games since Monday, not bad considering he didn't even start Friday because of a hamstring strain. He did blast a pinch homer in a brief, ninth-inning appearance, and at 20 homers for the season, he's on pace for a career-high 49. For a man who had a combined 54 over the past two seasons (28 last year, 26 in '09), that's breakout stuff.
For a variety of reasons, this trio had something to prove in 2011.
Following off-season shoulder surgery and armed with a new seven-year, $154 million deal, Gonzalez is proving he's healthy -- and tough enough to live up to incredibly high expectations.
Fielder, who's four years younger than Albert Pujols, very well may be a better buy on this winter's free agent market.
Kemp, after regressing last summer, again is showing his MVP-type skills.
Maybe this is the Year of the Pitcher II.
But don't tell any of the poor slobs on the mound charged with facing these guys.
2. Silence of the lambs: Where are all the haters who emailed like spammers when Boston was 2-10? Winners of nine in a row, Boston is 37-16 since that start. Future is bright, too: Daisuke Matsuzaka isn't even around anymore to drive them into the ditch.
3. Kids 'R' Us: Mega-prospects Mike Moustakas (Kansas City) and Anthony Rizzo (San Diego) both made their major-league debuts on Friday. Then each cracked his first big-league homer on Saturday. The Royals and Padres are so excited, they've scheduled a play date June 27-29 in San Diego.
4. Francisco Liriano-no-no-no: Filthy Twins lefty made a serious run at his second no-hitter of the season Sunday before a loooong bottom-of-the-seventh derailed him. Minnesota's five-run seventh, along with driving Matt Harrison from the game with a liner, took 30 minutes. It was enough time to have a pizza delivered ... or surrender an Adrian Beltre single.
5. Joba Chamberlain's elbow surgery: You can now purchase your copy of The Joba Rules on the discount shelves at your local Borders bookstore, or in the Yankee Stadium gift shop.
6. Oakland fires Bob Geren: Either the Athletics have collected some of the biggest malcontents in the game over the past decade, or they've developed an impressive tradition of installing weak managers who don't communicate well and eventually face a clubhouse mutiny. Happened to Geren, just as it happened to Ken Macha before him.
"You're talking about a long span," club president and general manager Billy Beane said when I asked him about it. "Any time there's a change, there are always going to be things like that perceived as part of the problem. Ken was a great success here [he was fired after leading the A's to the '06 ALCS]. Bob was dealt a tough hand with injuries.
"Whenever there is a tough environment and you start losing games, that's going to be the perception. But I don't see anything beyond that, honestly."
The firing happened shortly after Lew Wolff said Geren was "fantastic," revealing an out-to-lunch owner as part of the problem as well.
7. Bad week for hitting coaches: Texas sacked Thad Bosley after less than three months (he replaced Clint Hurdle last winter), and Florida fired John Mallee. The Marlins are 1-10 in June, with seven one-run losses. Of course, Mallee didn't appear to be holding Mike Stanton back: Since May 1, Stanton leads the NL and is tied with David Ortiz for the major-league lead with 14 homers.
8. Where's Ichiro? In the deepest slump of his career, Suzuki is in a .197 free-fall since May 1. As Seattle Times baseball man Larry Stone points out, Ichiro, at 37, is getting fewer infield hits and may need to look in other directions. He's currently on pace for the second fewest infield hits of his career.
9. There's Tony: St. Louis' Tony La Russa managed his 5,000th game over the weekend, which means he's almost as exhausted as Connie Mack (who, at 7,755, is the only man who's managed more games than La Russa).
10. Realignment? One idea in current labor talks is two 15-team leagues, which would mean interleague games all season and would be utterly asinine. Equally asinine would be if Houston swapped leagues. The Astros, who can't get close to winning in the NL, would be a human piñata in the AL.