Thursday, October 1, 2009
Hallady's 4th Shutout Downs Boston; Phillies Are In; Nolasco Fans 16 in Marlins Win
Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 30, 2009 American League The game may not have mattered to the Red Sox, but Roy Halladay wanted to end his 2009 season on a positive note. With many of the Boston regulars taking seats on the bench after clinching the wild card spot a day ago, Halladay knifed through the depleted lineup like he was pitching to minor leaguers, which, in fact, he was. Cruising to his 17th win against 10 losses, Halladay shut down the Red Sox on 3 hits and two walks, striking out 6 in a 12-0 Toronto triumph. It was his 4th shutout of the season - a career high - and 9th complete game, tying his career best, set in 2003 and again in 2009. While the Yankees' C.C. Sabathia is the current favorite to win the Cy Young award, Halladay's numbers are right there with the best in the league and should be given strong consideration. He leads the league with 239 innings pitched, is tied for 4th in wins, and his 2.79 ERA is third best among starters. Nobody except Kansas City's Zack Greinke is close to him in complete games or shutouts. Greinke has 6 and 3, respectively. Separating himself from the pack even further, Halladay's 208 Ks to 35 BBs is the best ratio in the league. Again, only Greinke comes close (237-49). National League The Florida Marlins have been eliminated from post-season contention, but Ricky Nolasco made sure that the Atlanta Braves would be playing golf instead of baseball in October, fanning a career-best 16 batters in a 5-4 Marlins' win. At one point, Nolasco struck out 9 batters in a row, one short of the major league record set by Tom Seaver. The 16 Ks also set a new standard for the franchise, and ended Nolasco's remarkable season with a flourish. The 4-year pro will finish 2009 with a 13-9 record after having been sent to the minors earlier in the year. Nolasco allowed just 4 hits and 2 walks in 7 2/3 innings. Neither of the two runs scored on him were earned. The Braves lost their second straight to the Marlins and trail the Rockies by 4 games in the wild card race. The best the Braves can do is tie, but the Rockies would have to lose all four of their remaining games. The Braves could conceivably win their last four, as they host the Washington Nationals to close out the season. The Nats are the worst team in the majors, with a 55-103 record. NOTES: San Diego got 7 shutout innings (on one hit) from Clayton Richard and kept the LA Dodgers from clinching the NL West. With their magic number stuck at 1, the Dodgers dropped the 5-0 decision, their 4th straight loss. That leaves the Rockies just 2 1/2 back, with Colorado visiting LA for the final three games. The Phillies smashed the Astros, 10-3, clinching their third straight NL East crown. Philadelphia is just 1/2 game behind the Dodgers for the best record in the league, which would give them home field throughout the playoffs. The Phils are 92-66, while the Dodgers are 93-66, and have just 3 games left. The Phillies play all of their games at home, with one against the Astros on Thursday, and three over the weekend with the Marlins.