Roy Oswalt blanks Mets for the Phillies' 18th shutout of 2010

5 Comments

Roy Oswalt tossed a complete-game shutout of the Mets yesterday, marking the 18th time this season the Phillies have held an opponent scoreless. Not only is that the most shutouts by a Phillies team since 1965, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes that just five teams since 1989 have hurled more shutouts.
Those five teams were the 1992 Braves, 1992 Pirates, 1998 Braves, 2002 A’s, and 2007 Padres. All but the Padres made the playoffs, and even San Diego won 89 games that year. Of course, simply making the playoffs likely won’t be a problem for the Phillies and as noted last week capturing homefield advantage would put them in position to rely exclusively on Oswalt (2.94 ERA), Roy Halladay (2.44), and Cole Hamels (3.06) in the first round.
Of their 18 shutouts, Halladay started eight of them, Hamels started four of them, and Oswalt started three of them (despite not joining the team until midseason). J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer, and Kyle Kendrick started one apiece. All of which means the Phillies have blanked their opponent in 26.4 percent of the games started by The Big Three.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
6 Comments

There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).