Friday, September 9, 2011

Ian Kennedy Wins NL-Best 19th; Brent Morel, Paul Konerko Bash Indians in 9-1 White Sox Win

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 8, 2011

American League

The Chicago White Sox continue to hang tough in the AL Central, cementing their hold on second place in the division with an 8-1 win over Cleveland that knocked the Indians 10 games off the pace of Detroit and 1 1/2 games behind the Sox, who overtook the Indians earlier in the week.

Morel: 2 HR
Cleveland pitchers didn't do a bad job on most of the White Six hitters, allowing only eight hits. The trouble was three of those hits were home runs, two of them by rookie third baseman Brent Morel, who got the Sox on the board in the second inning, tying the game at 1-1 with a solo blast, then broke the deadlock in the 7th inning with a three-run bomb, putting Chicago ahead for good.

Konerko: Grand
Paul Konerko finished the job, connecting for his 29th of the season with the bases full later in the 7th. Konerko’s 10th career grand slam tied a White Sox record held by Robin Ventura.

Thanks mostly to the Tigers - who have won six straight - the Indians have dropped four in a row, three of them to Detroit, and the White Sox have made the most of it. Still 8 1/2 games behind Detroit, Chicago has little chance of catching them, though after they finish their four-game series with the Indians on Sunday, the Tigers come to town for a three game set.

The last time the Tigers and White Sox met was in the first three days of September, with the Tigers sweeping a three-game series in Detroit. Chicago hopes that a change of scenery to their home ball park will change their fortunes.

National League

Kennedy: 19 Wins
The NL Cy Young award is not going to be easy to figure out this season, but Arizona ace Ian Kennedy put his case forward on Thursday, winning his 19th game against just four losses as the Diamondbacks continue to defy the experts and lead the NL West by 7 1/2 games with a 4-1 win over San Diego.

Kennedy scattered seven hits over 7 2/3 innings, getting help from his infield in the form of two double plays, but mostly he was in command, striking out 11 batters, including a string of five straight over the 5th and 6th innings.

He gave up San Diego's only run of the game with two outs in the 8th and was pulled in favor of reliever Brad Ziegler. J.J. Putz gave up a hit, but struck out two in the 9th for his 38th save.

Kennedy has quietly been having a super season, though he may be overshadowed in the Cy Young race by other National Leaguers having banner years. Kennedy leads the league in wins with 19, followed by LA's Clayton Kershaw with 17 and a pair of Phillies - Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay - with 16. His 2.90 ERA is 9th in the league, and he has rung up 178 strikeouts, fifth best in the NL. The players ahead of him in both departments are the same three chasing after him in wins.

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