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Friday, June 25, 2010
1st Pitch: Chasing history before the break

By Jeremy Lundblad, ESPN Stats & Info

Quick Hits: With less than a week before All-Star voting closes, let’s take a look at some players having historic first halves to the season. Can they keep up the pace going into the break?
Today’s Trivia: Over the last three seasons combined, who has the most home runs before the All-Star break?

Today’s Leaderboard: Roy Halladay takes the hill against the Blue Jays for the first time in his career today. Among players that started their career in the last 50 years, Halladay has the second best winning percentage before the All-Star break. Only Pedro Martinez has been more dominant. Halladay is 101-44 (.697) before the break, and just 55-38 (.591) after.

Key Matchups: Aaron Rowand has only started four of the Giants’ last 11 games, but you can bet that he will be penciled in on Friday. Quite simply, no one mashes Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball like Rowand, who is 11-for-17 with four home runs and eight RBI in his career against the veteran. That’s the highest average for anyone who has faced Wakefield at least 15 times. This would be their first regular season meeting since 2006.

In four of the first five games that he faced CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez hit a home run. He’s homerless in two meetings since, but has a .571 career average against the big lefty. Only Jermaine Dye and Alfonso Soriano have more career homers against Sabathia, but among those with 15 plate appearances, no one tops Manny’s 1.894 OPS.

Trivia Answer: Since 2008, Adam Dunn’s 66 home runs before the All-Star break are the most in the majors. He has one more than Albert Pujols and two more than Ryan Howard.