Quote of the week
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, on going 0-for-3 after hitting a line drive that broke the nose of San Diego starter Chris Young on Wednesday and then, moments later, knocking catcher Josh Bard out of the game with a hard slide at the plate: "It was a pretty tough night. After that I couldn't concentrate on my other at-bats. I kind of had flashbacks."
Stat of the week
Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins leads the team with 28 RBI. He's doing that despite batting .208 with runners in scoring position and having more strikeouts (13) than hits (11) in those situations.
Psychology 101 of the week
Reds pitching coach Dick Pole went up to Matt Belisle before his last start Tuesday and said simply, "Step it up, pal. Right now." Belisle then went out and held the Dodgers to three runs in six innings.
Dusty Baker said Belisle wasn't pitching to save his spot in the rotation, but conceded that he wanted to see him show a little more urgency. "A hungry man is a working man," the manager explained.
Nice story of the week
The no-hitter thrown by Red Sox righthander Jon Lester against the Royals Monday night struck an emotional chord. He's a cancer survivor and that seems to have touched everybody. "There was crying in the dugout in the middle of the game," manager Terry Francona said.
Lester said he's still getting used to being a role model. "It's something that I'm trying to learn how to deal with," he said. "It's different when you get people coming up to you in the street that you don't know and telling you that you're an inspiration to them. You don't know what to say. You don't know how to act. You don't know what to do. It's something that I'm having to cope with and interact with people on that level."
- Paul Hagen