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V for victory (and Vance)

With all the firepower of the Philadelphia Phillies rotation entering the season, what are the chances the Phils would find the most success not in games started by Roy Halladay, he of the two Cy Youngs and two no-hitters? Not in starts by $120 million man Cliff Lee? Not in the starts of former World Series MVP Cole Hamels? Nor the outings of 3-time All-Star Roy Oswalt? Against all odds, the top team in the majors has been at its best when a 23-year old rookie is on the mound.

When the Phillies beat the New York Mets Tuesday, they improved to 14-2 in games started by Vance Worley this season. Not only is that Philadelphia’s best record with any pitcher on the mound, the Elias Sports Bureau tells us it’s the best mark any team has in games started by a single pitcher in 2011 (minimum 15 starts).

Worley allowed one run on five hits while striking out a career-high nine and walking one over seven innings. The win was the Phillies 12th straight in a game started by Worley, the longest team win streak in starts by a single pitcher since the Boston Red Sox won 12 straight starts by Daisuke Matsuzaka over the 2007-2008 seasons.

Most Called Strikes in a Start
This Season

Prior to Tuesday, the last time the Phillies had won 12 consecutive starts by a single pitcher was 1972 when they won 15 straight outings by Steve Carlton. Worley’s next start is scheduled for Tuesday in Cincinnati. If the Phillies win, Worley would be the first pitcher to have his team win 13 of his starts in a row since the Oakland Athletics won 14 straight starts by Dan Haren in 2005.

Elsewhere around the majors:

Craig Kimbrel worked a scoreless 9th inning for his 40th save of the season, tying the MLB rookie record set by Neftali Feliz last year. Kimbrel has not allowed a run in his last 31⅔ innings, the longest streak by a rookie since Brad Ziegler in 2008 (39 innings), according to Elias.

Sean Burroughs provided the only offense in the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0 win vs the Washington Nationals, hitting a two-run HR in 7th inning. It was Burroughs’ first HR since April 30, 2005, a span of 2,306 days. During that span, the MLB HR leader was Ryan Howard with 277.

Prince Fielder became the first player to reach 100 RBI in 2011, scoring Ryan Braun on a double in the 6th inning in the Milwaukee Brewers win over the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates. Fielder now has four career seasons with at least 100 RBI, tying Cecil Cooper’s franchise record.

Ricky Nolasco passed Dontrelle Willis for the most strikeouts in Florida Marlins history when he fanned Johnny Cueto in the 2nd inning. Nolasco finished the night with eight strikeouts, tied for his second most in an outing this year.