Monday, August 2, 2010

LaRoche, D-Backs Hammer Mets; Liriano Blanks Mariners

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 1, 2010 National League After dropping two of three at home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, one might be inclined to believe that the Mets have thrown in the proverbial towel on the 2010 season, and one might not get much of an argument from most quarters. Having been projected to be one of the top teams in the NL East in each of the last three season, the Mets have proven to be nothing less than complete under-achievers. Their one win against Arizona was a 5-4 squeaker; the other two losses were not close, losing 9-6 on Friday and thumped soundly, 14-1, on Sunday afternoon. The Diamondbacks didn't strike until the 4th inning, but when they did, it was on Adam LaRoche's first of two homers, a three-run shot which drove in Kelly Johnson and Justin Upton. The same two players were aboard for LaRoche in the very next inning, and he delivered the same result, as part of a five-run inning. The Mets had no answers and offered no resistance to the Arizona onslaught. The Diamondbacks hit four homers in all and amassed 16 hits off three Mets' hurlers. LaRoche added a double to go 3-for-6 with 6 RBI. Because Atlanta lost to Cincinnati, 2-1, the Mets didn't lose any ground and remain 6 1/2 games off the pace, tied with the marlins in third place, but the offense has been lacking and now the pitching staff seems to be breaking down as well. Unless something changes soon - and the Mets made no moves prior to the trading deadline - it looks like another sad finish to another lost season in New York. American League Minnesota won its 8th straight game and remain locked into second place, 1/2 game behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. The 4-0 win over Seattle was mostly a 7-inning tour de force for starter Francisco Liriano, who allowed just two hits - a triple by Michael Saunders and a Chone Figgins double - and two walks to go with his 11 whiffs, including getting Casey Kothman four times on strikes and Russell Branyan and Figgins three times each. Liriano improved to 10-7, and moved into a tie for second place on the AL strikeout list with Boston's Jon Lester with 150 Ks. Liriano is averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per 9 innings (9.92), as his strikeouts have come over 136 innings. He also has not allowed a run in 21 consecutive innings. The last time he was scored upon was July 16, when he allowed 2 runs over 7 2/3 innings in a 7-4 win over the White Sox. Liriano will likely go against Cleveland on Friday, setting him up as the probable starter for the opener of a three-game series at Chicago, August 10.

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