Thursday, August 28, 2014

Drew Smyly Comes Though Again for Rays in 3-1 Win at Baltimore; LA's Clayton Kershaw is MLB's 1st 16-Game Winner

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 27, 2014

American League

Smyly: Nice trade
About a month ago, Drew Smyly was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the deal that sent David Price to Detroit. As of Wednesday night, that deal didn't look too bad... for the Rays.

As Price was getting shelled by the Yankees, allowing nine straight hits in the third inning en route to an 8-4 Yankee win, Smyly was setting up and knocking down the Orioles for a 3-1 victory.

Staked to a 3-0 lead after the first two Tampa Bay at-bats, the only run given up by Smyly - and one of just two hits over seven innings - was a two-out, solo homer to Baltimore's Chris Davis in the bottom of the second. After that, Smyly was just about untouchable, getting the next 12 batters in order before Steve Pearce's two-out single in the sixth inning.

After 87 pitches, Smyly was done. Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee pitched hitless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, McGee picking up his 15th save.

So, let's review. Since the trade:

Smyly: 5 starts, 3 wins, 1 loss, 1.50 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, Opp. BA: .150

Price: 5 starts, 1 win, 2 losses, 4.41 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, Opp. BA: .232

And, it gets worse, or better, depending upon which side of the trade you're on. The Rays also got 18-year-old infield prospect Willy Adames from the Tigers. Center fielder Austin Jackson was sent from Detroit to the Mariners, who then sent infielder Nick Franklin to the Rays.

Wednesday's results helped cloud an already murky playoff picture. The O's still lead the Yankees in the AL East by six games. Detroit trails Kansas City by 2 1/2 in the Central and Seattle by 1/2 game for the second wild card. The Yankees are 2 1/2 back of Seattle, with Cleveland 4 1/2 out.

Baltimore has taken two of three from the Rays and will complete the four-game series at Camden Yards on Thursday at 7:10 pm EDT.

Kershaw: 16-3
National League

There's little doubt that Clayton Kershaw is one of the best pitchers to ever don a Dodger uniform, and that list was already pretty impressive beofre Kershaw came along (Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax come to mind).

On Wednesday, Kershaw became the first 16-game winner in either league, tossing eight innings in a 3-1 Dodger win.

Kershaw didn't have his best stuff, but still limited the Diamondbacks to six hits and a pair of walks. The only Arizona run was unearned, coming in the fourth inning on a throwing error by left fielder Steve Van Slyke.

Throwing 106 pitches, Kershaw struck out 10, moving him into third place among NL starters, with 194 Ks. Stephen Strasburg leads the league with 202; Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto is next, with 199.

Kershaw leads the league in wins and has only three losses this season. He sports a 1.73 ERA, lowest in the majors.

LA's win kept them five games up on the Giants, who also won, topping Colorado, 4-2. The Dodgers took both games in Arizona and, after a day off, head to San Diego for a three game series with the Padres. After that, they return home for a nine-game stand to start the month of September.

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