A Cardinal Tint to the A.L. Pennant Races

Sept. 3, 2008

STANFORD, Calif. - As the 2008 Major League Baseball season enters the stretch drive, a pair of former Stanford stars are playing key roles for contending clubs - MVP candidate Carlos Quentin with the Chicago White Sox and rookie Jed Lowrie of the Boston Red Sox.

Entering play on Wednesday, September 3, Chicago was tied atop the American League Central division with the Minnesota Twins, while both clubs were 4.5 games behind Boston for the Wild Card. A big reason for the White Sox' success has been Quentin, who has emerged as one of the favorites to win A.L. Most Valuable Player honors during his first season with Chicago. In just his third big league campaign, Quentin leads the A.L. with a career-high 36 home runs (one behind Philadelphia's Ryan Howard for the Major League lead) and ranks fourth with 100 RBI. In fact, he has a chance to become only the sixth player in White Sox history to reach the 40-home run plateau, joining the likes of Albert Belle, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.

Lowrie, who made his Major League debut on April 15, is batting .283 with 19 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 39 RBI in 58 games for the defending World Champion Red Sox. He has been invaluable since being recalled for a second time on July 12, filling in for the injured Julio Lugo at shortstop while also logging time at both third base and second base. All told, the sure-handed Lowrie has made just one error in 176 total chances for a .994 fielding percentage. Boston currently leads the A.L. Wild Card race, while trailing front-running Tampa Bay by 4.0 games in the A.L. East.

Five other former Stanford players were also in the majors as of September 3, including a pair of excellent pitchers in the A.L. East. Veteran Mike Mussina is enjoying a resurgence in his 18th season with a 17-7 record and 3.39 ERA in 29 starts for the New York Yankees. Mussina's win total is tied for the second-best in the A.L., and is his best output since going 17-8 in 2003. Within the same division, Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie ranks 12th with a 3.57 ERA and eighth with a .239 opponents batting average over his 29 starts.

Rounding out the Cardinal contingent in the American League is Ryan Garko of the Cleveland Indians, who has parlayed his .318 average with runners in scoring position into a career-high 70 RBI.

Jody Gerut has been a bright spot for the San Diego Padres, batting .297 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI in 97 games. He has hit 10 of his homers following the All-Star Break, while hitting at a .325 clip in the second half.

Hoping for his third career trip to the postseason is Philadelphia super utilityman Eric Bruntlett, who has played every position for the Phillies this year except for pitcher and catcher. The veteran has seen action in 104 games this year for Philadelphia, which is 2.5 games behind in the National League East and 4.0 contests back in the Wild Card chase.

Major Leagues (7)

Eric Bruntlett (IF)
2008 Team: Philadelphia Phillies
2008 League: Major League Baseball - National League East
Seasons At Stanford: 1999-2000
Seasons In Professional Baseball: 2000-08
Seasons In Major League Baseball: 2003-08

Ryan Garko (1B)
2008 Team: Cleveland Indians
2008 League: Major League Baseball - American League Central
Seasons At Stanford: 2001-03
Seasons In Professional Baseball: 2003-08
Seasons In Major League Baseball: 2005-08

Jody Gerut (OF)
Current 2008 Team: San Diego Padres
Current 2008 League: Major League Baseball - National League West
Seasons At Stanford: 1996-98
Seasons In Professional Baseball: 1999-2008
Seasons In Major League Baseball: 2003-05, 2008

Jeremy Guthrie (RHP)
2008 Team: Baltimore Orioles
2008 League: Major League Baseball - American League East
Seasons At Stanford: 2001-02
Seasons In Professional Baseball: 2003-08
Seasons In Major League Baseball: 2004-08

Jed Lowrie (IF)
2008 Team: Boston Red Sox
2008 League: Major League Baseball - American League East
Seasons At Stanford: 2003-05
Seasons In Professional Baseball: 2005-08
Seasons In Major League Baseball: 2008

Mike Mussina (RHP)
2008 Team: New York Yankees
2008 League: Major League Baseball - American League East
Seasons At Stanford: 1988-90
Seasons In Professional Baseball: 1990-2008
Seasons In Major League Baseball: 1991-2008

Carlos Quentin (OF)
2008 Team: Chicago White Sox
2008 League: Major League Baseball - American League Central
Seasons At Stanford: 2001-03
Seasons In Professional Baseball: 2004-08
Seasons In Major League Baseball: 2006-08

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