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The bottom half

August 10, 2008|Bill Shaikin

The week ahead

Dodgers: The Dodgers haven't won a playoff series since 1988. You might have heard about this once or twice. Milwaukee hasn't won a playoff series since 1982. The Brewers haven't even appeared in the playoffs since 1982. So they traded four prospects for CC Sabathia, who is 6-0 in seven starts for Milwaukee, with four complete games. No other team in the National League has more than four complete games. The Brewers are led by Ryan Braun, the Granada Hills High product who has more home runs than anyone in the league not named Ryan Howard or Adam Dunn.

Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Friday through next Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Angels: Seattle, the popular preseason choice to dethrone the Angels atop the American League West, might lose 100 games for the first time in 25 years. The 1983 Mariners featured Richie Zisk, Spike Owen and 44-year-old Gaylord Perry. This year's Mariners already have dumped general manager Bill Bavasi, manager John McLaren, first baseman Richie Sexson, designated hitter Jose Vidro, reliever Arthur Rhodes and outfielder Brad Wilkerson. Jarrod Washburn nearly escaped to New York, but the Mariners and Yankees failed to agree on a trade, so he is scheduled to start against his old team Tuesday.

Angels vs. Seattle Mariners, Tuesday and Wednesday at Angel Stadium.

Elsewhere: Colorado was 9-1 coming out of the All-Star break, creeping within six games of first place in the NL West, so the Rockies kept their best player (outfielder Matt Holliday) and their closer (Brian Fuentes) at the trading deadline. But then they went 5-7 -- with Washington sweeping a doubleheader at Coors Field -- raising the stakes in this series against first-place Arizona. The Rockies rallied from a 7 1/2 -game deficit last August, but they did it with a 14-1 finish, and miracles don't happen twice.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies, Tuesday through Thursday at Coors Field, Denver.

Minor leaguers of the week

Angels: Alexander Torres, lhp

The Angels have done well with Venezuelan pitchers in Francisco Rodriguez and Kelvim Escobar, and they might have another one on the way. In a dominant performance for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga last week, Torres struck out 12 batters in 5 1/3 innings, including the side in three consecutive innings. Torres, 20, signed with the Angels at 17 and spent three seasons in various rookie leagues before moving up this year. In five starts at Rancho Cucamonga, he is 2-1 with a 3.81 earned-run average and 31 strikeouts in 28 innings, and two ground balls for every fly ball.

Dodgers: Justin Miller, rhp

Miller came within two outs of a no-hitter Friday for Class-A Great Lakes. He struck out the first batter of the ninth inning, then gave up a single and walk and left with a 2-0 lead. After reliever Bobby Blevins gave up a three-run home run, Miller had lost the no-hitter, shutout and victory, all in the ninth inning. Miller, 21, the Dodgers' sixth-round pick in last year's draft, is 4-8 with a 3.90 ERA. His control needs work -- 65 walks in 122 innings -- but he gets three ground balls for every fly ball.

-- Bill Shaikin

STATS Corner

Jose Molina never got much of a chance to start with the Angels. He backed up his brother Bengie, and the Angels groomed Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli as their catchers of the future. When the future arrived, the Angels traded him to the New York Yankees.

He was supposed to back up there too, but Jorge Posada's season-ending shoulder surgery gave him a chance to start for much of this season. He's on the verge of setting career highs for games and at-bats, and he has distinguished himself as the toughest catcher to run against in the major leagues.

With the Yankees trading for 13-time Gold Glove winner Ivan Rodriguez last month, that's quite a defensive duo behind the plate. In this week's STATS Corner, the toughest and easiest catchers to run against this season, with a minimum of 40 games, through Friday's games from STATS LLC:

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*--* LOWEST STOLEN BASE PCT. ALLOWED 1. Jose Molina, Yankees 55.4% 2. Jason Kendall, Brewers 60.0% 3. Rod Barajas, Blue Jays 63.4% 4. Dioner Navarro, Rays 66.0% 5. Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers-Yankees 66.0% 6. Victor Martinez, Indians 66.7% 7. Yadier Molina, Cardinals 69.8% 8. Brian Schneider, Mets 70.3% 9. Kevin Cash, Red Sox 70.5% 10. David Ross, Reds 70.6% *--*

*--* HIGHEST STOLEN BASE PCT. ALLOWED 1. John Buck, Royals 92.7% 2. A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox 86.9% 3. Josh Bard, Padres 86.5% 4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers 86.0% 5. Jesus Flores, Nationals 85.4% 6. Kelly Shoppach, Indians 85.2% 7. Chris Iannetta, Rockies 84.4% 8. Chris Coste, Phillies 84.2% 9. Mike Napoli, Angels 83.7% 10. Russell Martin, Dodgers 83.3% *--*

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