Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Lester No-Hits Royals; Ludick On Fast Track for Cards
Players of the Day from Monday, May 19, 2008 American League Last year at this time, Jon Lester was recovering from Lymphoma cancer and working to get back to the Red Sox. Twenty-two regular season starts later - with a World Series clinching win thrown in for good measure - Lester came all the way back and then some, no-hitting Kansas City for a 7-0 Boston triumph and a personal victory for one of baseball's truly great guys. Lester walked just two batters while striking out nine in a yeoman performance, throwing 130 pitches. Lester was perfect much of the game, setting down 20 straight batters from the 2nd through the 8th innings. Our hat's off to Jon Lester, who's proven to be not only a survivor, but a champion. Notes: Lester's win improved his record to 3-2. He's been no-decisioned in 6 of 11 starts this season. Flashing back to reality, the Red Sox win - their 4th straight - was necessary to keep them in first place as the Tampa Bay Rays beat Oakland, 7-6, in 13 innings, and are lurking just a game back. National League Ryan Ludwick is having a career year, helping the St. Louis Cardinals stay challenge in the NL Central. in Monday's 8-2 win at San Diego, Ludwick cracked his 12th home run (a two-run, first inning job) in the first inning, singled and scored in the 5th and doubled home another run in the 6th. After missing all of 2006 and finding his way in a career-high 120 games in 2007 - batting .267 with 14 homers and 52 RBI - Ludwick has become a reliable cleanup hitter behind Albert Pujols, batting .350 with 12 homers and 32 RBI, all top 10 numbers. His .772 slugging percentage is second in the league behind Houston's Lance Berkman. Notes: While the Cardinals won their third straight, the Padres continued their season from hell with their third consecutive loss. At 16-30, they have the worst record in the majors, along with the lowest batting average, .235 and lowest RBI total, 145.