(a seperated shoulder has rendered Placido Polanco gone, gone, gone for the AL Central leading Tigers)

The only sight this week more surprising that Bobby Abreu laying down a sac bunt Monday night (his first in 8 years) was I-Rod playing 2nd base for the Tigers late in their 3-2 win over Boston Tuesday. The only sight on Tuesday TV more familiar than Denis Leary turning his Bill Hicks ripoff routine into dramatic fodder was the Mets falling behind early to the Phillies. A person unfamiliar with Monday’s debacle and the strain already placed on the Mets’ pen might’ve thought Willie Randolph had something personal against Orlando Hernandez.

There’s an answering machine message from Bill Giles. He doesn’t think El Duque was beaten up too badly.

There’s nothing wrong with Rick Peterson’s starters that couldn’t be solved, by say, making John Maine pitch on 2 days’ rest between now and the end of the year.

Jose Reyes
hit 3 HR’s last night, and a Mr. A. Rodriguez of the Bronx would like to point out, they all count, even when you’re losing by a lopsided margin. Along with scoring a ton of runs and leading the NL in stolen bases, Reyes is on pace to drive in 82 runs…as a lead-off hitter. A tad more plate discipline (and admittedly, he’s made greater strides in this area than I’d ever have dared hope for) and he’s right up there with Wright and Beltran in the MVP sweepstakes.

I’ve been flipping back and forth between a pair of extra inning affairs ; the Cubs and Astros are tied at 6 in the 13th (Chicago somehow survived a bases loaded/one-out situation in the bottom of the 10th when Aubrey Huff hit into a 3-2-3 double play) and the Snakes and Rockies deadlocked at 1 in the bottom of the 11th at Humidor Field.

Billy Beane’s shit might not work in the playoffs (as the saying goes), but the A’s remain a sure thing in the month of August.

While the Bonderman/Schilling matchup was Tuesday’s glamour duel, Anibal Sanchez vs. Chad Billingsley has been the superior battle thus far. The latter has held the Fish to just 3 hits, as the Dodgers — due to lose at least once between now and October — are ahead, 2-0 in the 7th.