Roy Halladay delivers his second straight strong start

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After tossing eight innings of one-run ball against the weak-hitting Marlins last Sunday for his 200th career victory, Roy Halladay had his second straight strong start last night in a tougher test against the Cardinals.

Halladay allowed two runs over seven innings as part of an 8-2 victory. The game was called in the seventh inning following a 35-minute rain delay, so Halladay was credited with his 67th career complete game.

Halladay gave up just two hits on the night, in the form of solo homers from Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday. The veteran right-hander walked two and struck out six while throwing 59 out of 109 pitches for strikes. According to Brooks Baseball, he averaged right around 91 mph on his fastball and topped out at 92.95 mph. He was still hitting 92 mph in his final inning of work. Halladay also generated 11 swings-and-misses, though the majority of them were with his curveball.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Halladay said after the game that he feels like he is finally getting comfortable with the changes he made to his delivery during the offseason.

“Tonight was about as good as I’ve felt,” he said. “I still need to be more consistent, but I feel good where I’m at. I feel like it’s coming together the way it should. I’ll continue to work at it until I get more consistent.”

Halladay struggled during spring training and gave up 12 runs in 7 1/3 innings over his first two regular season starts, but he has allowed just three runs in 15 innings over his last two outings, improving his ERA from 14.73 to 6.04 in the process. We may never see a return to his ace-like form, but if anyone can figure out how to be successful with diminished stuff, it’s probably Halladay.

Giants tab Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants, to the shock of absolutely no one, have tabbed Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day, March 29 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. He’ll pitch opposite Clayton Kershaw.

This will be the fifth consecutive season in which Bumgarner has started on Opening Day for the Giants. His five total Opening Day starts is still way behind the club record held by Juan Marichal, who started 10 Opening Days, including six consecutively from 1964-69.

Bumgarner, 28, missed nearly two months in the first half last season due to a dirt bike accident. He still managed to have a great season, compiling a 3.32 ERA with a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings.