Edinson Volquez, Reds
The Naked Truth: 9-2, 1.56 ERA
Having a nice little Saturday: Volquez has earned the win in five of his last seven starts. The right-hander has not given up more than three earned runs in any start all season. He also leads MLB with 96 Ks.
You're my boy, Blue!: Reds closer Francisco Cordero believes Volquez's success can be attributed to the fact that he is finally learning how to pitch, instead of just throwing hard.:"He's not putting a lot of pressure on himself. He wasn't pitching (well) in Texas. I think he's a little bit more mature. Sometimes when you're young and you throw hard, sometimes you just want to show that. I know that was my case early in my career. All I cared about was throwing hard ... I learned you've got to throw strikes, got to be able to move the pitches around like he's doing. He's been blessed with a lot of stuff." (USA Today)
Think KFC will still be open?: No doubt about it. Volquez has been dominant all season. The only thing that should give Reds fans some concern is that Dusty Baker has been known to ride young arms until they fall off. (See: Wood and Prior)
Before this season, Volquez had thrown just 67 and 1/3 innings in the big leagues, over the last two seasons. It will be interesting to see how he holds up through the rest of the year.
* * *
Cristian Guzman, Nationals
The Naked Truth: .314 average, 5 HR, 24 RBI
Having a nice little Saturday: Since June 5, Guzman is 17-for-43 with 4 RBI.
You're my boy, Blue!: Guzman's work ethic has really impressed Nationals hitting coach Lenny Harris. "You watch his work habits, the way he carries himself, he has been a professional on the field and off the field," Harris said. "He is always making progress. I watch him all the time and he reminds me of a lot of guys that I played with." (MLB.com)
Think KFC will still be open?: Yep, especially in D.C. Guzman is hitting .340 this season at Nats Park with 3 HR and 14 RBI. The former Twin returns to Minneapolis on Tuesday when the Nats open up a three game at the Metrodome on Tuesday. In three career games against the Twins, Guzman is 8-for-14.
* * *
Jose Guillen, Royals
The Naked Truth: .282 average, 11 HR, 49 RBI
Having a nice little Saturday: Guillen has been on an absolute tear. Since June 6, the Royals outfielder is 16-for-29 with 4 HR and 12 RBI.
You're my boy, Blue!: Royals manager Trey Hillman thinks that Guillen's hot streak has a lot to do with the weather. "Hot is the operative word," Hillman said. "When he's in warmer weather, which he prefers, he's a lot better. He doesn't like cold weather."
Guillen's outlook on the hot streak is a little different. "I'm the same guy," he insisted. "You just go up there and swing. Some times, you're going to catch one of those (stretches) when you're seeing the ball well. Things come your way. But when it's not going your way, it's not going your way. It's a crazy game." (KC Star)
Think KFC will still be open?: Maybe. Guillen has dominated left-handed pitching this season, hitting .333 with 4 HR and 22 RBI. Don't look for much tonight though, he is 0-for-8 with 4 Ks in his career against Diamondbacks starter Doug Davis.
* * *
Gavin Floyd, White Sox
The Naked Truth: 7-3, 3.10 ERA
Having a nice little Saturday: Floyd has won four of his last five starts. Over that span, the right-hander has gone 35 innings, surrendering just 11 earned runs.
You're my boy, Blue!: Like Guillen, Floyd is having a hard time describing why he has been good lately. ''Baseball is a weird sport,'' Floyd said. ''You can go seven innings and give up one run and lose 1-0, so you just try to go on, make pitches and get your team back into the dugout.'' (Chicago Sun Times)
Think KFC will still be open?: Probably. Floyd looks like he has finally figured out how to pitch in the big leagues. According to the Chicago Tribune, opponents are hitting just .199 against him this season. But, keep in mind that Floyd had a 7.29 ERA in '06, and a 5.27 ERA in '07, so we'll see if he can keep it up for an entire season.
* * *
Jorge Cantu, Marlins
The Naked Truth: .296 average, 14 HR, 39 RBI
Having a nice little Saturday: Over the last week, Cantu is 14-for-31 with 6 HR and 10 RBI.
You're my boy, Blue!: "Everything's going great right now, because I'm very confident at the plate," Cantu said. "Just recognizing the pitch and hitting it. That's just (it), as a hitter. When you're going good, just keep doing it." (Sports Network)
Think KFC will still be open?: Who knows? Cantu is hitting everything in sight right now, but he played in just 52 major league games last season, so it remains to be seen whether he can continue to hit consistently.
He has proven he can at home though. In 36 games this season at Dolphin Stadium, the third baseman is hitting .329 with 10 HR and 22 RBI. In 28 games on the road, Cantu is hitting just .246 with 4 HR and 17 RBI.