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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Soulful Seasons (Week 1)

Elijah Dukes - CF - Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Six months ago, nobody, including Dukes, was willing to bet that he had any future in professional ball. Now he's hit homers in each of his first two games, drawn a few walks, and looks to solidify is slot in the Devil Rays lineup as well as among the Rookie of the Year frontrunners.

Vladimir Guerrero - RF - Los Angeles Angels

Vlad the Destroyer (.440 - 3 HR - 10 RBI) quickly despelled any rumors that he was hiding a knee injury by co-winning the season's first AL Player of the Week Award. Especially soulful was the display against Texas on Tuesday. He was facing Vicente Padilla who plunked him last season to start one of the 2006's most heated brawls. Padilla continued to throw up and in to the Destroyer. He responded by going 4-for-4 with a HR, 3 RBI, and more than a few withering stares.

Alex Rodriguez - 3B - New York Yankees

A-Rod's dominant opening week would be much more soulful if it wasn't so inevitable. The New York press corps will find several moderately clever ways of pointing out that it's April.

Russell Coltrane Martin - C - Los Angeles Dodgers

Trane batted better than .300 with a double, a dinger, a pair of RBIs, and 4 runs scored. He has been a hit machine for the Dodgers, batting second while Rafeal Furcal recovers from a hamstring injury. Juan Pierre and Nomar Garciaparra have had typically slow starts, so Martin's presence atop the lineup has been especially helpful in for Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez, both of whom also had strong opening weeks. Perhaps most importantly, Martin has looked spectacular on defense. The Brewers and Giants both tested Martin's arm, which helped Russell to a major league-leading 4 men caught-stealing (as opposed to 2 successful) through 7 games.

Dontrelle Willis & Jake Peavy - SP - Florida Marlins & San Diego Padres

Taking a page out of the David Wells playbook, these pitchers drew attention away from their off-the-field issues.

Willis : 12 IP, 12 K, 4 ER, 2 W
Peavy : 13 IP, 9 K, 1 ER, 1 W

Pretty good numbers for drunk drivers.

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