Hitting in the No. 1 spot in the Reds lineup for 27 games this season, Felipe Lopez has gotten comfortable with starting Cincinnati's ballgames off on the right foot. But the shortstop has also proven he is finisher, as he ended last week in grand fashion, being named the Bank of America National League Player of the Week for the Aug. 15-21 period. Lopez led the NL in total bases (25) last week, and batted .400 (12-for-30) with three home runs, seven RBIs and six runs scored. On three occasions last week, Lopez had three-hit games. Only one of them, however, ended in a Reds win. As a result of injuries this season to everyday leadoff man Ryan Freel, Lopez has been forced into the No. 1 hole. When he is in that spot, he has productive at-bats like those last week.
The 2005 All-Star is batting .360 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in the 27 games that he has had to bat leadoff. "I don't know what it is," Lopez said before Sunday's 13-6 win. "I'm still aggressive. I just try to go out there and do the same things anywhere in the lineup. I still try to get on base any way I can." Lopez batted .182 with two home runs and six RBIs in his normal No. 2 spot in the 28 games that sandwiched Freel's two stretches on the DL. The third baseman's second stint began Tuesday night. Cincinnati's shortstop said he doesn't see a direct correlation between his success and Freel's injuries. He said he just took time to work at bettering himself as a hitter, and his success just happened to occur during the times when Freel has been injuried. "I just went back to the film and looked at it," Lopez said of his hitting. "And now I feel the same [as before Freel's tough stretch]." Entering Monday's games, Lopez led all NL shortstops in home runs (19), RBIs (63), slugging percentage (.497), runs scored (73) and hits (122). Other players up for consideration for the weekly award included Lopez's Cincinnati teammates Rich Aurilia (.435, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs), Ken Griffey, Jr. (.500, 3 HRs, 5 RBIs) and Wily Mo Peña (.417, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs). As part of the award, Bank of America will donate $1,000 on behalf of Bay to the Little League Urban Initiative.
Coley Harvey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.