1. Cereal Stud: Cereal Killer Carl Crawford has been off to the races this season. His six steals in a single game on May 3 against the Red Sox tied a live ball era record and made Varitek look like a poor man’s Mike Piazza behind the plate. Crawford is already 30 for 30 in stolen base attempts this season and has run his overall success streak to 32 (39 if we include the 2008 playoffs). Vince Coleman holds the record for most consecutive stolen bases, with 50 spanning the 1988-89 campaigns (Ichiro holds the AL record with 45). Who can forget the Whiteyball Cardinal team of 1985, with Coleman and Willie McGee collectively swiping over a bag a game? Speaking of Willie McGee, he and Sam Cassell must be from the same alien family.
2. Susan Boyle Surprise Award I: Wonder sideburns activate—form of a homerun hitter! Since coming off the DL on May 1, Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer has gone yard eleven times in only 91 at bats, while hitting over .400. Mauer is averaging a homerun every 8.27 at bats, a rate that would rank sixth in the single season record book (only Bonds and McGwire have had a better single season rate). What makes Mauer’s homerun output so surprising is that his highest single season HR total is 13, which he accomplished in 2006.
3. Susan Boyle Pleasant Surprise Award II: Justin Verlander’s metamorphosis into a strikeout pitcher has been as surprising as Mauer’s power surge. Before this season, Verlander had recorded 477 career strikeouts in 600 innings pitched, for a 7.155 K/9 ratio. This season, he is at 11.55 K/9 (85 Ks in 63.1 IP).
4. This past Wednesday was a great day for the Killers’ arms. All four starters that were going that day recorded wins and two relievers got saves. Seton Hall Prep alum Rick Porcello continued his strong May by going six innings and giving up two runs while allowing only five baserunners. Big Unit pitched great to earn win number 299, giving up one run and three hits over six innings. Peavy and Kershaw didn’t pitch that well but both earned the all important W.
5. Stat-o-the-week: Bionic man Chris Carpenter returned from the DL on May 20 and has since run his scoreless streak to 23 innings. Pretty impressive for a pitcher who had thrown less than 22 innings the past two seasons combined. Dr. James Andrews really needs to be in the Hall of Fame.
6. The Betting Line: Can Kevin Slowey end the season with more wins than walks? Slowey picked up his seventh win for the Twins this week and capped a 4-1 month in which he give up only three walks in 35 innings pitched. On the season Slowey has issued only five free passes. That said I have to go with a big NO. If Greg Maddux could never do it in the NL (he was close in 1997 when he finished with 19 wins and 20 walks), Slowey’s chances are close to nil.
Cereal Killers Update (as of May 29): 80 points; 1.5 points behind Yo Mamma’s Uggla