Sunday, June 26, 2011
Sunday trio dominates in different ways
A trio of hurlers went the distance on Sunday, with each dominating their opposition in different ways.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay threw his NL-best fifth complete game this season and 63rd of his career (most among active pitchers) in a 3-1 win against the Oakland Athletics.
He improved to 5-0 with a 2.64 ERA in his past 8 starts. The Phillies have won each of those starts.
He attacked the Oakland hitters early, starting 25 of 33 hitters with a first-pitch strike, tying his third-highest percentage (75.8) in a start this season.
In the eight instances he fell behind 1-0, Halladay threw a strike on the next pitch, not going to a 2-0 count once all game. It's just the sixth time in the past three seasons he didn't go to a 2-0 count in a game.
Halladay had success with his changeup, relying on it more often than usual with runners on base. He used his changeup 23 percent of the time with runners on, his third highest percentage in a start this season.
He recorded five outs on his changeup without allowing a hit -- tying a season high -- with four of those outs coming with runners on base.
Halladay has been a great caretaker of leads since joining the Phillies. He improved to 30-3 in 35 starts when the Phillies have given him a lead (he was staked to an early 2-0 lead on Sunday).
Elsewhere, a former teammate of Halladay’s also went the distance.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero, who was Halladay’s teammate in Toronto in 2009, threw his second career shutout in a 5-0 Blue Jays win against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Romero dominated the Cardinals by keeping the ball down. Cardinals hitters were 0-for-16 with four strikeouts and a double play in at-bats ending with a pitch down in the zone from Romero.
Sixteen at-bats ending in low pitches without allowing a hit are the most by any starter in the last three seasons. Nine of the 12 low pitches the Cardinals put in play were groundouts, including the double play.
In Romero’s hometown of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw went the distance for his second straight start. Kershaw now has three complete games this season.
He struck out 11 for his second consecutive game with at least 10 strikeouts. He's the first Dodgers pitcher with at least 10 strikeouts in consecutive starts since Chan Ho Park during the 2000 season.
Kershaw continued relying on his slider with two strikes. He struck out eight Angels with the pitch Sunday, matching the second-highest total of his career.
It was the third time this month he's had at least eight strikeouts via the slider. Entering June, he had just two such starts in his career.