- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki
After combining for five homers in a 12--4 win over the Reds on June 5, the two sluggers have both hovered near the magic 1.000 OPS mark and they sit 1--2 in the league in slugging. Those numbers are not a Coors Field mirage—Gonzalez has a slash line of .348/.414/.696 on the road and Tulowitzki is hitting .302/.361/.613 away from Coors. The lefthanded-hitting Gonzalez has arrested a steady decline against southpaws and is hitting .322/.371/.563 against them this year. The most important number? Just eight games missed between them this season. The pair have never both played in 130 games in the same year.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz
They're the longest-running set of teammates in this group, but Pedroia and Ortiz rarely hit 3--4 before this season; the signing of Shane Victorino last winter pushed Pedroia, a longtime number 2 hitter, down one spot. Pedroia is having the best season of his career despite hitting just four homers, with career highs so far in average (.333) and OBP (.416). Ortiz, who missed the first three weeks of the season with right heel soreness, has picked up where he left off last year with 13 homers and a 1.031 OPS. The Red Sox are 27--17 when these two hit 3--4, 12--8 in all other games.
Matt Holliday and Allen Craig
The one matched set in this group features two righthanded batters who handle righthanded pitching very well. Holliday has a small reverse platoon split for his career (.922 OPS vs. RHP; .902 vs. LHP) and Craig, who crushes lefties (.311/.344/.580), is a career .299 hitter against righties. While their 2013 numbers aren't quite as impressive as their '12 ones were, these two have been the lineup core for the best team in baseball to date, one that is second in the NL in runs scored. Holliday and Craig have combined for an amazing .378 batting average with runners in scoring position.