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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.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.

Raines to wear an Expos cap, Pudge to wear a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

1990:  Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos in action. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
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There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.

Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.

Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.

With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.

Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.