MLB in review: May
Here were the newsmakers and news breakers during the month of May in Major League Baseball.
By Anthony Castellano
OSAMA BIN LADEN CAUGHT DURING METS-PHILLIES GAME
The fierce rivalry between the Mets and Phillies took a backseat to history on May 1 during the Sunday night game on ESPN. A buzz filled the stands as fans began to learn the news that the United States killed Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. No formal announcement was made, but fans were able to access the news through their phones and other devices. Soon, 45,000 fans began chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A." The Mets won the game in the 14th on Ronny Paulino’s fifth hit of the game.
LIRIANO THROWS A NO-HITTER
After missing all of 2007 because of elbow surgery, the Twins' Francisco Liriano has never been the same and unable to rekindle the 12-3 season he had in 2006. Liriano took a bold step toward regaining his dominance when he pitched the season’s first no-hitter on May 3 against the White Sox in Chicago. The 27-year-old walked six and struck out two in the first complete game of his career. Liriano ended the month on the disabled list with an inflamed left shoulder. He was 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA during May after a rocky April where he was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA.
RED SOX-ANGELS GAME LASTS FOR 7 HOURS
On May 4 at 7:10 P.M., the Red Sox and the Angels began play at Fenway Park. On May 5 at 2:45 A.M., the game ended after thirteen innings, 13 pitchers, 37 total players, 445 pitches, five hours of playing time and 2.5 hours of a rain delay. The Angels emerged victorious on a Bobby Abreu two-run single in the top of the 13th. The Red Sox and Angels headed back to the field 11 hours after their marathon finish for an afternoon game.
VERLANDER THROWS SECOND CAREER NO-HITTER
Tigers ace Justin Verlander lost the perfect game after he issued a walk to Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia with one out in the 8th inning. His first no-no came in 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers in Detroit. Verlander was 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP in May. On the year, he's 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA.
ETHIER'S HIT STREAK ENDS AT 30
Andre Ethier's 30-game hit streak ended against the Mets on May 7. Ethier was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and walk in a 4-2 loss at Citi Field, thanks to Mets pitchers Dillon Gee, Mike O'Connor and Tim Byrdak. The last player to hit in 30 straight games was Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals in 2009. Following the hitless game, Ethier started a mild five-game hitting streak. After batting .385 in April, Ethier has come back down to earth with a .261 average in May.
HARMON KILLEBREW DIES
Retired Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew died May 17 after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 74. Killebrew hit 573 home runs during his 22-year career, 11th-most in major league history. His eight seasons with 40 or more homers still is tied for second in league history to Babe Ruth. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.
JORGE POSADA TAKES HIMSELF OUT OF THE LINEUP
The struggling Yankees DH took himself out of the lineup on May 14 before a game against the Red Sox. Posada and his .169 average were scheduled to bat ninth in the lineup. The 39-year-old said he needed a "mental health day" and rest for his stiff back. General manager Brian Cashman went on TV during the Fox telecast and said Posada asked out of the lineup, and it was not injury-related. Ouch. The chatty Cashman strikes again. Posada apologized to his teammates the next day as the Sox swept the Yankees. Posada was homerless with four RBIs and a.219 batting average in May. On the season, Posada is batting .169 with six homers and 16 RBIs.
JOSE BAUTISTA ON A TEAR
Toronto’s Jose Bautista is looking to surpass his magical 2010 season where he smashed 54 home runs. On May 15 against the Twins, he hit three homers and drove in four runs. His overall numbers against Minnesota in 2011 are something out of a video game: .480, seven homers and nine RBIs. Bautista batted .360 with 11 home runs and 23 RBIs in May. His 20 home runs lead the AL and his .363 average is second to Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce who is hitting .370.
METS LOSE WRIGHT AND IKE
Met fans are saying “Oh no, not again” after losing first basemen Ike Davis to a sprained left ankle and David Wright to a lower back stress fracture. Davis was one of the Mets’ most consistent hitters before the injury, batting .302 with 7 home runs and 25 RBIs. Davis suffered the injury on May 11 after colliding with Wright on a pop-up against the Rockies. Wright was injured from a play at third base during an April 19 game against the Astros. After playing with the injury for about a month, an MRI revealed the fracture. Despite Wright's low .226 average he was providing decent production with six home runs and 18 RBIs.
WILPON TRASHES WRIGHT, REYES AND BELTRAN
Mets owner Fred Wilpon literally added insult to injury when he stated in an interview to The New Yorker that David Wright is "A really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar." The embattled owner slammed free-agent-to-be Jose Reyes for being injured and said he would not receive Carl Crawford money. Of Carlos Beltran, Wilpon said, “He’s 65 to 70 percent of what he was” and only received that large contract based on his 2004 postseason performance with the Astros.
ROCKIES LOSE JORGE DE LA ROSA
Jorge De La Rosa, the Rockies’ most reliable pitcher this season, tore a ligament in his elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old lefty was 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA and making a strong pitch to be an All-Star. Colorado finished the month in third place, 4.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West.
GIANTS' POSEY BREAKS LEG DURING COLLISION
The injury bug stayed in the NL West and took out the 2010 Rookie of the Year Buster Posey. Posey broke his left leg on May 25 while trying to prevent Seattle's Scott Cousins fromscoring. Posey was leading in the All-Star voting for a catcher with his .284 average, four homers and 21 RBIs. Posey had surgery on May 29 and will miss the reminder of 2011.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, DAVID EINHORN
The Mets announce an agreement to sell a minority share of the team to hedge fund manager David Einhorn for $200 million. According to multiple published reports, Einhorn could become the majority owner in three years ending. Earlier in the month, Fred Wilpon told Sports Illustrated that the Mets were "bleeding cash" and could lose up to $70 million this year.
DODGERS MAKE MAY PAYROLL
After rumors swirled early in the month that the Dodgers might not be able to make their May payroll, owner Frank McCourt was able to pay his players, according to the Los Angeles Times. ESPN reported that the embattled owner offered discounts on luxury boxes and bills to corporate sponsors for cash up front. McCourt is trying to prevent Major League Baseball from taking over full control of the team.