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Baseball Sunday

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jason Marquis, front, looks to throw as Washington Nationals base runner Ryan Zimmerman leads off first base in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Monday, July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jason Marquis, front, looks to throw as Washington Nationals base runner Ryan Zimmerman leads off first base in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Monday, July 6, 2009. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski, AP

"It's disappointing. I didn't get to finish what I started. I kept thinking what I could have done different. I gave it my best shot. That's baseball. I'll survive."

— Bill Castro

was fired as the Brewers' pitching coach after 33 years with the organization as a player, scout or coach

4 Rockies starting pitchers with at least 10 wins — the first time in franchise history.

Nationals issues

There are still 19 first-round draft choices unsigned with the deadline to get them under contract looming at midnight on Monday.

But no team is under closer scrutiny than the Nationals, who used the first overall pick to take San Diego State righthander Stephen Strasburg, knowing that hard-driving agent Scott Boras was going to demand a record-shattering signing bonus.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Washington failed to sign its first-round pick last year (University of Missouri righthander Aaron Crow) and that interim general manager Mike Rizzo is hoping to be named the permanent replacement for Jim Bowden.

He's the man

Seattle hitting machine Ichiro Suzuki has gone 147 straight games without going hitless in back-to-back games. That's the longest streak since Stan "The Man" Musial of the Cardinals went 174 games in 1943-44.

Tidbits

According to the Team Marketing Report, the highest price for a small draft beer in a major league stadium is $8.75 at San Francisco's AT&T Park. The lowest? Arizona's Chase Field, where the suds will set you back four bucks.

When Junichi Tazawa, Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito all pitched in relief for the Red Sox last Friday night, it was the first time in history three Japanese-born teammates had pitched in the same game.

And a literary note: Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen says his favorite book is "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss.

—Philadlphia Daily News

Appalachian League

This rookie-level league is pretty much a Smoky Mountains version of our Pioneer League. Most of the players are just out of high school or recently signed free agent contracts from a foreign country.

The league started in 1911 with teams in Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. Teams from Kentucky were soon added only to have the league fold in 1914.

It started up again in the 20s only to fold again soon after. It opened yet again in 1937 and surprisingly stayed open through World War II.

A fourth and final incarnation of the league opened in 1957 with six teams, including Bluefield, W. Va., which has been affiliated with the Orioles since 1958, the longest current agreement in baseball history.

Source: mlb.com

The Nationals' Elijah Dukes is once again teasing fantasy owners with a hot August. Dukes has a .300 average, one homer and 12 RBIs in 30 at-bats this month.

Speaking of Nats, the D.C. Nine have had some of the top fantasy producers since the All-Star break in 3B Ryan Zimmerman (.376, 10 HR, 23 RBIs), Adam Dunn (.342, 7 HR, 22 RBIs) and Josh Willingham (.321, 6 HR, 21 RBIs). One of the reasons for the Nats rise can be traced to speedy lead-off man Nyjer Morgan, who has hit .362 with a .407 on-base percentage since arriving from the Pirates.

Alex Rios' owners have to be hoping life in Chicago can light a fire under the 28-year-old outfielder. Rios' production has dipped the past two years in Toronto and he was hitting .264 with 14 homers, 64 RBIs and 19 stolen bases for the Jays this season.

—New York Times

Top to bottom

1. New York Yankees

Record: 73-43 Last Week: 1

Leads MLB with 38 comebacks

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 69-47 Last Week: 2

Took 2 of 3 from rival Giants

3. L.A. Angels of Anaheim

Record: 68-45 Last Week: 3

Saunders August ERA: 10.57

4. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 65-48 Last Week: 4

Moyer yet to pitch out of bullpen

5. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 65-52 Last Week: 6

Wainwright does it all in 14th win

6. Boston Red Sox

Record: 66-49 Last Week: 5

Get some defensive help at SS

7. Texas Rangers

Record: 64-50 Last Week: 9

Critical stretch vs. Sox, Twins, Rays

8. Colorado Rockies

Record: 64-52 Last Week: 11

Leads NL in quality starts

9. Florida Marlins

Record: 62-54 Last Week: 16

3 ovations for Johnson's Friday start

10. Detroit Tigers

Record: 61-54 Last Week: 10

Red Sox beating not a good sign

11. San Francisco Giants

Record: 62-53 Last Week: 8

Averaged just 1.8 runs last week

12. Atlanta Braves

Record: 60-55 Last Week: 13

Escobar showing consistency

13. Chicago Cubs

Record: 59-55 Last Week: 12

Lost 3 games on the Cards last week

14. Chicago White Sox

Record: 59-57 Last Week: 14

Easy week: A's, Royals and O's

15. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 61-54 Last Week: 7

Pitching scorched last week

16. Minnesota Twins

Record: 56-59 Last Week: 18

Pavano's 2nd outing not as good

17. Seattle Mariners

Record: 60-56 Last Week: 15

Best pitching in the AL

18. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 55-59 Last Week: 17

2 great outings by Halladay

19. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 53-63 Last Week: 21

Have moved up 6 spots in 2 weeks

20. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 57-58 Last Week: 19

Gallardo bounces back

21. New York Mets

Record: 54-61 Last Week: 22

Still adding features to Citi Field

22. Oakland Athletics

Record: 51-64 Last Week: 23

Beating weak competition

23. Houston Astros

Record: 56-60 Last Week: 20

Bourn putting together great season

24. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 48-67 Last Week: 24

Winning record at home, 30-28

25. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 50-65 Last Week: 25

Get speedy infielder from Red Sox

26. Cleveland Indians

Record: 49-66 Last Week: 27

Just -34 run differential

27. Washington Nationals

Record: 41-75 Last Week: 28

Braves stopped nice wining streak

28. San Diego Padres

Record: 49-68 Last Week: 26

Entering very tough part of schedule

29. Kansas City Royals

Record: 45-70 Last Week: 29

Team batting just .254

30. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 46-69 Last Week: 30

Have lost 11 of 12