MIAMI GARDENS, FL: Pitcher Tommy Hanson #40 of the Atlanta Braves throws against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Braves defeated the Marlins 1-0. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
First, the weekend's key scores: 7-3, 11-6 and 3-2.
Now, the five stories you wouldn't have missed if you'd left work Friday afternoon with your priorities straight ...
Tommy Hanson strikes out 14, Braves win sixth straight.
The Braves are only two games behind the Phillies, and they've got the National League's best run differential (by just a smidge). Sunday, Hanson struck out 14 Astros; no Brave had struck out more since John Smoltz K'd 15 Mets in 2005. The Braves have won six straight. Meanwhile the Astros have lost eight of their last 10, and have the worst record (24-42) and the worst run differential (-77) in the majors. They profiled before the season as the National League's worst team, and that's exactly what they've been.
Brewers sweep Cardinals and take over first place.
It's funny how it's only mid-June and the National League looks exactly like it's supposed to: Phillies and Braves in the East, Brewers and Cardinals in the Central, Giants out front in the West.
This was a big weekend for the Brewers. Just slightly more than five weeks ago, they lost their seventh straight and fell to 13-19. They scored only seven runs in those seven losses, and it looked like their "all-in" season was nearly over just after beginning. Improbably enough, they've since won 25 of 34 and now look like favorites in the NL Central, considering the Cardinals' various injury woes.
Red Sox haven't lost since April.
Or maybe it just seems that way. After sweeping the Blue Jays this weekend -- and outscoring them 35-6 -- the Sox have won nine straight. Most reasonable people, I think, figured the Red Sox would rebound from their 0-6 start and eventually challenge the Yankees for first place. Even most of the reasonable people, though, must be at least a little surprised to see the Red Sox in first place already, and with the best record in the American League no less. The cream does usually rise to the top. But not usually so quickly.
Indians still in first place!
Speaking of things happening quickly, the Indians lost three straight the Yankees and have lost nine of their last 10. Just as the Red Sox were supposed to get better, the Indians were supposed to get worse. Just not nearly this fast. The good news is that they're still in first place (barely) and still have a positive run differential (barely). The bad news is that they have to play the Yankees again tonight and visit Detroit immediately afterward in a battle for the top spot in the Central.
Astros joining American League after 50 seasons in National League.
Or not. Saturday, ESPN.com's Buster Olney broke the story that Major League Baseball and the Players Association are discussing some fairly radical changes in the existing structure. In the wake of that news, I wrote about it. In the wake of me writing about it, Al Yellon wrote about it. This is all great fun and I think we'll enjoy the discussion a great deal, but let me just mention in passing that Major League Baseball and the Players Association discuss a great many things, and very few of them wind up happening.
Anyway, that's the news. Good morning, and have a pleasant afternoon.