Caught Looking recaps the most memorable moments and accomplishments from the 2010 season. Here are moments six through ten.

10. Cliff Lee‘s blanking the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS
With the American League Championship Series tied at one game apiece, the Yankees were looking to get a leg up on the Rangers with the series shifting to Yankee Stadium. Cliff Lee had other ideas. Lee was on his own stratosphere when he took the mound for Texas in Game 3 as he fired 8.0 shutout innings with just two hits, one walk while striking out 13 Yankees on the night. The Yankees missed out on acquiring Lee mid-season, and they realized the consequences quickly in that Game 3. The Rangers won by the score of 8-0 to take a 2-games-1 lead, and the Yankees never recovered in the series and were promptly sent home in six games.

9. The National League finally wins an All-Star game.
It only took 14 years and a 12-game winning streak by the American League before the NL finally broke through with a victory in the All-Star game. The NL defeated the AL 3-1 on July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim to break the amazing AL streak. Braves catcher Brian McCann ripped a three-run double in the seventh inning to give the NL all the runs needed in this one and was named the game’s MVP. The game would feature the AL’s only run as unearned along with some questionable managing by Joe Girardi in the ninth inning.

8. Ken Griffey Jr. announces his retirement
Following two months of the 2010 season, Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement in early June. The man who was destined to break Hank Aaron‘s home run record never reached that accomplishment due to various injuries that derailed Griffey’s career from the premier power hitter he was in the mid-90’s. If you grew up watching baseball in that decade, that’s the guy you wanted to be when you played baseball in the backyard. Despite the injuries, Griffey still played 22 seasons with a total of 630 home runs. He was a 13-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner and will soon be a Hall of Famer.

7. Trevor Hoffman opens the 600 save club
Thanks to some poor pitching to start the season and some poor decision-making by the Brewers coaching staff, it took Trevor Hoffman almost a full season to record nine saves in 2010 to total 600 saves for his career. But he eventually got there. On September 7 against the Cardinals, Hoffman finally had the opportunity to close the door again and tossed a scoreless ninth inning to become the first closer with 600 career saves. It’s a terrific accomplishment that was sort of overshadowed by the Brewers decision to not allow Hoffman to sniff a save chance for the majority of the season after some blown saves earlier in 2010 despite the Brewers being out of contention long before September. At any rate, Hoffman will be remembered for his stellar career and being the first to the 600-save club.

6. A-Rod hits home run No. 600, Ichiro’s and Pujols milestone
Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez went into a little home run drought (12 games) between number 599 and 600, but he eventually joined the 600-home run club with a blast off of Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum on August 4 in Yankee Stadium.

The hit machine Ichiro Suzuki continued to pile up his list of accomplishments as he became the first player to record 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons in 2010. Like A-Rod, Ichiro’s milestone also came against Toronto with a single on September 23.

A-Rod hit home run number 600, but one day he will be joined in that club by Albert Pujols. Pujols hit his 30th home run of the season on August 15 against the Cubs to become the first player to record 10 straight seasons of 30 or more home runs to start a career. Yep, that’s more than Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner, Barry Bonds…OK, you get the picture—Pujols stands alone in this category. He later hit his 400th career home run in the season.


Two 600 milestones in the same season? Congratulations to Trevor Hoffman on nailing down his career 600th save with a scoreless ninth inning over the Cardinals 4-2 Tuesday night. He’s the only pitcher in ML history with 600 saves. Keep in mind, the save didn’t become a stat until 1969, but it’s still a momentous accomplishment by a player who has been saving games effectively for 18 seasons.

Brewers announcer Bob Uecker said it best: “It’s been a long time coming.” No kidding. Two months ago, I wasn’t sure this moment would ever happen…at least not in Milwaukee. I’m still not sure why the sinking Brewers didn’t give him the chance to get this save say two months ago when they were still out of it and going nowhere. What was the big wait? Sure he struggled mightily early this season, but they had the save counter up at Miller Park all year when it looked like he may never get that chance. Thankfully, the situation worked itself out as he did get that chance in the final month of the season.

So what’s the next move for the 42-year-old closer? He’s currently in the middle of his worst season ever at 2-7 with a 6.09 ERA and nine saves in 47 appearances. He signed a one-year deal with the Brewers in the offseason, and I doubt they will make an effort to bring him back for 2011. And I don’t believe Hoffman would want to come back at this point. He continues to say to the media that he’s playing this season out and will make the decision when the time comes, but something tells me that he will hang it up after this season and go out on top in the 600-save club.

At any rate, Tuesday night was a great moment for baseball and Hoffman that should be remembered for a long time as he will be entering Cooperstown sooner than later. So who’s next for the 600-save club? Mariano Rivera? The 40-year-old Yankees closer sits at 555 saves. So far he’s shown no signs of breaking down at all, so 600 saves for him is definitely a legit possibility.

After saving 37 games for the Brewers in 2009, Trevor Hoffman began the 2010 season just nine saves away from being the first closer to reach 600. Halfway through the season, Hoffman stands at 596 for his career and has not pitched in a save opportunity in more than a month. And there’s been no indication that this will change anytime soon.

The Brewers handling of Trevor Hoffman has become a disgrace.

It’s become a sad situation to watch in Milwaukee. Don’t get me wrong, Hoffman has been horrendous this year. It’s easily his worst season of his career at a time when it was destined to be one of his most memorable years with the 600-plateau accomplishment. Hoffman blew five saves by mid-May. He’s 2-4 with an 8.04 ERA in 28.o IP of work this season. After blowing a save on May 18 to the Reds when he allowed three runs while not recording an out, Trevor has been relegated to mop up work as a reliever while John Axford took over closer duties. Hoffman’s last appearance was a scoreless inning Friday night in a 9-3 win over the Braves.

What I don’t get is how the Brewers are handling this situation. Management has a save count board put up at Miller Park, but the thing continues to sit at 596 while Hoffman does not get opportunities. I agree that they needed to let someone else close for a while, but at least throw him the occasional opportunity. Let him get four more saves sometime this season, and then he can make the retirement decision in the offseason after he’s hit the accomplishment. I think he’s earned that much.

The Brewers aren’t exactly going anywhere this year with a record of 42-51 and rumors of Corey Hart, Prince Fielder and others being traded away any day continue to swirl around Wisconsin. A perfect example of what I’m talking about happened the weekend before the All-Star break with the Pirates in town. The Brewers held a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the ninth and brought Axford on to close the Buccos down. Why not throw Hoffman against the lowly Pirates, who managed six hits in the previous eight innings? If you aren’t going to give him a chance to close a game against the Pirates, when exactly are you going to throw him…if ever?

The coaches continue to say publicly that he could return as the closer at anytime. Brewers manager Ken Macha had this to say on June 23:

“I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal, and (if) that’s getting 600, we’d like to get that done for him,” Macha said. “Or 610, or whatever he wants.”

That was on June 23. Pretty much a month ago. Hoffman has had zero opportunities since that time. Yeah right, Ken. This situation has become a disgrace for Hoffman.

He’s basically a $7.5 million liability of a middle reliever for the Brew Crew. If you really aren’t going to give him any more chances to reach 600 then just trade him or cut him to give him the opportunity to do it elsewhere. It would be a less than stellar parting from the team, but this situation is already a mess. It’s almost like the Brewers front office is waiting for Hoffman to make the first move and say, “Hey, I quit if I’m not going to get to pitch, or trade me to another team that will use me.”

Hoffman is the type of guy that may never say that to management and so we sit here and wait. It’s a shame to see a great career like Hoffman’s go down this road in his final chapter. Even if he finally hits the mark in Milwaukee, he probably already has the “no one wants me here” feeling and if he doesn’t and they hold onto him until the end of the season, it could get very ugly. I just have the feeling that this situation is going to get worse before it gets good again.

The bottom of the ninth play-by-play from Tuesday’s afternoon game between Milwaukee and Cincinnati as Trevor Hoffman attempted to nail down his 597th career save:

T. Hoffman relieved M. Estrada
– P. Janish singled to shallow center
S. Rolen hit for C. Fisher
– S. Rolen homered to deep left center, P. Janish scored
– C. Heisey doubled to shallow left
– B. Phillips walked
– J. Votto singled to right, C. Heisey scored, B. Phillips to second

Obviously, Hoffman was not good Tuesday afternoon. Four hits, one walk, three runs, ZERO outs and a big fat blown save and loss. Sure, the Reds have been hot, but when the all-time saves leader blows a two-run lead in a season that continues to get worse, it begs the question—is this it for Hoffman?

It wasn’t just a bad game either because Hoffman has struggled mightily all season. He’s currently 1-3 with a 13.15 ERA with 8K-7BB. Coming into the season, he needed only nine saves to reach the milestone of 600, and he currently has five on the year. Though he’s also blown five saves this year and it’s only mid-May. He blew a total of four games all last season for the Brewers, and the most saves he’s blown in any given year throughout his career was seven. Batters are hitting well over .300 against him. He’s absolutely getting torched all over the field.

While I expect him to keep scuffling toward 600 saves, I’m not sure how much longer the Brewers will continue to go with the 42-year-old as their closer. Without question, Hoffman has had a Hall of Fame career that has him leading everyone in saves all-time, but I have to believe that his 19th season in the Majors will be his last run.

It doesn’t look like 2010 will be a great season for milestones throughout Major League Baseball. We’ve been treated to some good moments the past couple seasons as some sluggers knocked their 500th home runs while Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th bomb. This season might be lacking of such milestones besides a couple ones by A-Rod and Trevor Hoffman. Let’s take a look at possible achievements that could be reached this year…

600 home run club: Griffey launched his 600th home run in 2008 becoming just the sixth member of this prestigious group. This season Alex Rodriguez looks to become the seventh member of this group. A-Rod sits just 17 homers shy of 600 and barring injury, he should easily eclipsed that number and more in 2010.

Newly-signed Minnesota Twin Jim Thome is also in striking distance of the 600 plateau, but he would need an incredible rebound season late in his career of 46 homers. I guess if he stays healthy and Target Field ends up being a launching pad similar to what Yankee Stadium did with the winds, Thome might have end up having a shot. But most likely, he’ll need to stick around for another season to hit the mark. Manny Ramirez is also in the ballpark, but needs 54 this season in the pitchers haven known as Dodger Stadium.

And since we’re on big home run totals, Albert Pujols needs 34 jacks for 400 career homers as he continues to pave his way as the most dominant hitter in the game today.

600 saves and counting: Trevor Hoffman is ready to add to his legacy this season. He already holds the lead for most saves all-time, but the 42-year-old closer is only nine saves away from being the only closer to save 600 games. Whoa. Hoffman is also still pitching effectively and closing games for the Brewers, so he should have no problem hitting 600 saves and more.

The 300-win club: Randy Johnson winning his 300th game might be the last pitcher we see do that for a long time. The closest active pitcher to 300 is the fossil Jamie Moyer with 258. Moyer is 46 years old, so I doubt he will have enough to get to 300, but then again the guy continues to ignore retirement and keep pitching. After Moyer, it gets interesting…Andy Pettitte has 229, he won’t get there. Pedro Martinez has 219 wins, but he doesn’t pitch full seasons anymore. Tim Wakefield has 189 wins…hey, maybe that knuckleball arm can hold up for another 15 years. It looks like the next best chance to get there is down around 150 wins, which includes Roy Halladay (148), Javier Vazquez (142), Roy Oswalt (137) and C.C. Sabathia (136). Sabathia’s age makes him the likely candidate to be the next 300-game winner, but nothing is a given. Either way, 2010 won’t feature a 300-game winner and don’t look for another one until some time down the road.

Hit Parade: No chance for any 3,000 hitters during the 2010 season unless some team lost its mind and signs Barry Bonds. Though we have a couple chances at 2,500 hits. Johnny Damon needs 75 hits for the big 2,500, and Chipper Jones needs a little more with 94 hits. Damon and Chipper should hit these totals, but no one is close to 3,000 hits this season (Griffey the closest with 2,763 hits).