Player of the week: Vladimir Guerrero 

The Angels’ versatile and strong-armed right fielder has feasted on opposing pitchers to start the 2007 season. Guerrero, who has never met a pitch he hasn’t liked, is fifth in the American League with a .382 batting average, is second with 10 RBIs and one of only four in the AL with three or more home runs. In leading his team to a 6-3 record and first place in the AL West, Guerrero has picked up a hit in seven of nine games, including a four-hit effort on April 3 against the Texas Rangers. A career .325 hitter, Guerrero is a very early candidate to add another MVP award next to his one from 2004.

BASEBALL STORYLINES

Coming off a disappointing season that saw the Philadelphia Phillies miss out on the playoffs for the 14th consecutive year, a 2-6 start was not what manager Charlie Manuel was hoping for. Brought in to take a middling franchise (six straight seasons between 80 and 88 wins) to the next tier, Manuel has struggled to mold his talented team into a consistent winner. With Jimmy Rollins increasing the spotlight with his bold preseason prediction for the club (but coming up empty in their meeting with the division favorite New York Mets), this season already looks like it could have disaster written all over it for the Phils and their manager.

With a throng of Japanese media following his every pitch, Red Sox rookie pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka made his debut at Kansas City with thrilling results. The 26-year-old right-hander went seven innings on April 5, allowing just six hits and one earned run while striking out 10. His second start was good, too, going another seven inningsand surrendering three runs. So far, the $103 million dollar man looks like a great investment.

KEY SERIES

Angels at Red Sox (today-Sunday): Two AL hopefuls from opposite coasts meet in this weekend clash. Red Sox offseason pickups J.D. Drew and Daisuke Matsuzaka have been impressive so far, while the Angels counter with potent duo of outfielder Vladimir Guerrero (.382 batting average) and starting pitcher John Lackey (0.75 ERA).

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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