This week begins our Players of the Week column. Check back each Friday to see who the hottest players in Major League Baseball were over the past week. We’ll be choosing both a top performer at the plate and on the mound.
This week’s Player of the Week on the offensive side of the diamond has to be Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays. Crawford has been on an offensive tear. In the last week he went 12 for 24 at the plate, and of his 12 hits, six were for extra bases, including four doubles and two triples. Crawford scored four runs and had four RBI’s along with a steal and two walks. Over the last week, Crawford’s on-base percentage has been an impressive .538, and his slugging percentage equally so at .833. His hot streak included a career first on Tuesday as Crawford hit three doubles in the game.
With the Rays sitting a couple of games behind the Yankees right now, Crawford couldn’t have picked a better time to step up his offense. The Rays take on the Blue Jays over the weekend and will host the Yankees for three games beginning Monday. Apparently Crawford enjoys hitting from the number three spot in the batting lineup, as his average now sits at .304 for the season.
With Carl’s speed (fourth in the AL with 42 stolen bases), you might think he’s more suited for a leadoff spot or the number two hole, however if this pace keeps up throughout the rest of the season he may have found a permanent home at the third spot in the order. He may also help lead the Rays to their first World Series victory.
From the mound, nobody has been better than Cole Hamels over the last week. Hamels came up with two wins in the Phillies’ recent hot streak, which helped land them in sole possession of first place in the National League East, a spot that had been occupied by the Atlanta Braves for quite some time.
Hamels’ performances over the last week include seven shutout innings, not once, but twice. Over those two victories, he’s struck out 12 batters and brought his record up to an even 10-10. With his seven-inning win against the Florida Marlins, Hamels extended his scoreless innings streak to 25 consecutive innings. That scoreless streak has lowered Cole’s ERA to 3.06, the lowest it has been since the 3.09 he finished with at the end of the 2008 season, a season during which the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series.
Cole won’t be on the mound this weekend as the Phillies take on their rival the New York Mets. He’ll take the rubber again next against in Florida on Tuesday to see if he can continue his scoreless inning streak, and beat the Marlins for his second consecutive start.