Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beltre, Red Sox Refuse to Die; Phillies Clinch on Halladay 2-Hitter

Players of the Day for Monday, September 27, 2010

American League

Even though the Red Sox can only hope to tie the Yankees or the Rays for either the wild card or the AL East pennant, they refuse to go down without a fight.

On Monday, the Red Sox produced their 87th win of the season, a 6-1 victory, courtesy of Clay Buchholz, who limited the White Sox to one run on five hits over eight innings, and the bat of Adrian Beltre, who clubbed a pair of doubles while going 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run.

With both the Yankees and Rays losing, the Red Sox remained alive for at least one more day. They must win all of their remaining games, and either the Rays or Yankees lose all of theirs, in order to tie for a post-season position.

The Yankees took a 7-5 defeat at Toronto, while the Rays floundered against the Orioles, losing 4-0 in Tampa, but remained 1/2 game in front of New York in the division standings.

National League

For the fourth consecutive season, the Philadelphia Phillies are champions of the NL East.

This year may have been their sweetest season, overcoming injuries and an Atlanta Braves team that surprised many but eventually fell in face-to-face combat with the fighting Phils.

Fittingly, it was Roy Halladay on the mound for the first and last outs of the clinching game, hurling a 2-hit shutout over the Nationals for an 8-0 win.

Halladay, who didn't allow a walk, gave up leadoff singles in the 3rd and 8th innings, in between setting down 13 straight. Neither runner advanced past first; Wilson Ramos was doubled up in the third inning and Adam Dunn stood stranded at first as Halladay easily set down the next three batters.

A model of efficiency, Halladay recorded his 21st win against 10 losses with just 95 pitches, 65 of which went for strikes. He fanned six, leaving him one short of the NL lead, currently held by Tim Lincecum, with 220. Halladay is unlikely to pitch any more during the Phillies' remaining six games as he will probably take extra rest before the playoffs.

The victory was Halladay's 9th complete game and 4th shutout, both tops in the league. He also leads in innings and wins, stats that should make him the NL Cy Young winner.

PENNANT NOTES: Cincinnati had the night off, and since the Cardinals didn't feel like rolling over just yet, beating the Pirates, 6-4, the Reds still have one more game to win (or one Cardinals loss) before claiming the NL Central.

San Francisco was idle, but the Rockies fell closer to elimination in a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers and the Padres fell one game behind the Giants in the division, painfully losing 1-0 to Carlos Zambrano and the Chicago Cubs. Zambrano increased his scoreless stretch to 13 innings with 7 shutout frames against the Padres.

No comments: