Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lester Leads Red Sox over O's, 4-0; Lights Out Lincecum

Players of the Day for Monday, June 29, 2009 American League If the Red Sox keep getting the kind of starting pitching they have been of late, there won't be a pennant race in the AL East. Boston could wrap up the division by mid-September. On Monday, the latest Boston pitcher to throw lights out was Jon Lester, who set down the Orioles on five hits over seven innings in a 4-0 Boston dusting. Lester (7-6) struck out 8 while getting 7 more outs on ground balls and 6 via the fly. He did not walk a batter and never allowed a base runner past second. To say he was in command would be an understatement. The O's never had any offensive threat all night against Lester's array of out pitches. The win put the Red Sox 3 1/2 ahead of the idle Yankees, winners of 5 straight and 5 games better than the Rays, who have won 6 in a row. Toronto has tailed off into 4th place with 3 straight losses. National League If you're looking for Cy Young candidates in the National League, you'd better take a serious look at Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants, because this 29-year-old is looking to surpass the stats he put up in 2008, when he won the award. On Monday night in St. Louis, Lincecum (8-2) tossed his second complete game shutout of the season in a 10-0 waltz past the Cardinals, and the numbers were mind-blowing: 2 hits, no walks, 8 Ks. The only hits were Rick Ankiel's 5th inning single and Albert Pujols' double in the 7th. Lincecum put down the first 14 and last 8 batters in order, using just 95 pitches, 60 of which went for strikes. With the season approaching the midpoint, Lincecum is on pace for a repeat of 2008. Last year he went 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 265 strikeouts in 33 starts. So far in 2009, he's had 16 starts, is 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 132 Ks. While the Cardinals were being shut out, Milwaukee was cruising past the Mets, 10-6, and into first place in the NL Central by one game over St. Louis.

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