Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Contreras Cages Tigers; West Out-Units The Big Unit

Players of the Day for Monday, June 8, 2009 American League It was a night of firsts in the second game of the Tigers-White Sox double-header on Monday. After dropping the day game, 5-4, the Sox came back with a 1-hit performance by Jose Contreras, who notched his first win of 2008 (1-5), and a 6-1 win. Contreras allowed a first inning double by Clete Thomas, but then retired 22 of the next 23 batters, a 5th inning walk the only break in the streak. After completing the 8th inning, Contreras turned the ball over to reliever Matt Thornton, who allowed a one-out homer by Marcus Thames - his first of the season - in the ninth for the lone Tiger run. The outing was sweet redemption for the usually-reliable Contreras, who had recorded losses in five of his first six starts this season. It was his first start in a month, after back-to-back outings in which he didn't last past the third inning and was demoted to AAA Charlotte. If Contreras is sound, his arm will be a bonus for the White Sox, whether he comes out of the bullpen in middle relief or takes back his spot in the starting rotation. It is still unclear how manager Ozzie Guillen plans to use him. National League Rookie Sean West put it all together for his first major league win, facing off 300-game winner Randy Johnson, by blanking the Giants over 8 innings for a 4-0 Florida win. Obviously unfazed by the Big Unit (West stands 6'8" himself), West allowed just two hits and one walk while fanning six. In just his 4th major league start, West has actually pitched well enough to win before. In his first start, he allowed 4 hits and 2 earned runs in 5 innings against the Rays, and followed that up with 7 solid innings against the Mets, in which he gave up four hits and one earned run. He took his only loss last week against the Brewers, lasting only into the 4th inning, but his numbers are credible: 2.22 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 15 Ks vs. 9 BBs in 24.1 innings. Opposing hitters are getting to him at a feeble .159 clip. Fantasy owners alert!

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