Friday, September 18, 2009

Davis Shuts Out Orioles; Hamels Improving As Playoffs Approach

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 17, 2009 American League When the calendar turned to September, the Tampa Bay Rays fell completely apart. Heading into the final game of their 4-game series with Baltimore, the Rays' record for the month stood at 2-11 and their record had fallen to the mediocre level of .500 (73-73). With the 2009 campaign winding down, the Rays must look ahead to next year. Some reason for optimism may have emerged in their 3-0 win over Baltimore as minor league prospect Wade Davis tossed a 4-hit shutout for his first win in just his third major league start. A 6'5" right-hander who was called up from AA Montgomery earlier this month, Davis walked 2 batters but struck out 10. He also was adept at inducing ground ball outs, recording 12 ground outs and just 5 fly ball outs. A native Floridian, Davis has the look of a bright rookie prospect for 2010. National League Philadelphia took another step closer to their third straight NL East pennant as Cole Hamels (10-9) dominated the Washington Nationals for a 4-2 Philly win. Hamels, who led the Phillies to World Series glory last season, appears to be rounding into championship form at just the right time. Joining Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez as experienced starters, a healthy Hamels solidifies the top of the rotation. Going 8 innings against Washington, Hamels allowed just one earned run on 5 hits while fanning 10 batters and walking one. The 10 Ks matched a season high. Brad Lidge came in to finish in the ninth, and despite allowing a run, earned his 30th save. Hamels has been on his game in September. In his last three wins, he's worded 23 2/3 innings and allowed just 2 earned runs while striking out 25. His lone September loss came against Houston in his only road start as he gave up 8 hits and 4 earned in 6 innings. The win dropped the Phillies' magic number to 10, as they are 7 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta - winners of 7 straight - in the East division. NOTES: Detroit dropped an 8-2 decision to Kansas City, as Zack Greinke improved to 14-8 for the Royals. That loss moved idle Minnesota closer to the Tigers, now just 4 games separating the top two in the Central. with Boston all but clinching the wild card as Texas has stumbled, the Central division may be the only race left in the American League. In the NL, Colorado still leads the Giants in the wild card hunt by 3 1/2 games. Atlanta is 4 1/2 back and the marlins 5 behind, so the race is not nearly over.

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