Sunday, June 10, 2012
Inside sweeps week in interleague play
It might be time for reruns on the television networks, but it was sweeps week as the second round of interleague play began. Six series ended with one team winning all three games, including the Citrus Series between the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays.
The mood has been bright in Tampa since the word Devil was removed from the team’s name, and the Rays are well on their way to taking the season series against the Marlins for the fourth time in the last five years. The Rays swept the series by outscoring Miami 22-7 in their first trip to Marlins Park.
Expect that to continue when the series shifts to Tropicana Field next weekend. The Rays have won 9 of their last 12 games against the Marlins in St. Petersburg.
Miami keeps switching directions with each turn of the calendar. After going 8-14 in April, the Marlins went 21-8 in May, accumulating the most wins in a single month in franchise history. The tide has turned since then, as Miami has lost six straight and is 2-7 in June.
The Marlins next series is at home against the Boston Red Sox, another team that is coming off a weekend whitewashing. The Red Sox were swept by the Washington Nationals at Fenway Park. Heading into the series, the Nationals/Expos franchise had never won in nine games in Boston.
Washington did something that no National League team had done since 2002. That June, the Atlanta Braves swept a series at Fenway Park, the last time the Red Sox were swept at home in an interleague series. Between the two sweeps, Boston compiled a 58-23 record at home in interleague play.
The sweep craze also swept into the Bronx for the Subway Series. The New York Yankees swept the New York Mets at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2003. Russell Martin hit a walk-off home run as the Yankees won 5-4 on Sunday. It was the first walk-off homer by the Yankees in the history of the Subway Series.
The series win for the Yankees shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Subway Series is one of the more lopsided in interleague history. The Bronx Bombers are 52-35 against the Mets in regular-season play. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees’ .598 winning percentage is the highest by a team against an in-state opponent in interleague play.
Former Yankee A.J. Burnett was also part of a sweep this weekend, as the Pittsburgh Pirates swept the Kansas City Royals. Burnett has now won five straight starts, which Elias points out is his longest streak since winning six straight in 2008 for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Los Angeles Angels swept the Colorado Rockies in Denver to extend their road winning streak to nine games. That’s tied for the longest streak away from home in the majors this season, and is two games short of the franchise-record 11 straight in 1988. The Baltimore Orioles won nine straight road games in May.
The Arizona Diamondbacks finished up a sweep of the Oakland Athletics with Joe Saunders picking up the win. It was the 13th win of Saunders’ career against the A’s. Elias confirms that it is the most wins by a pitcher against Oakland since Saunders picked up his first win against them in 2006.