Phillies brave the cold, benefit from another blown call, to take a 2-1 lead

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The game story calls Brad Lidge’s save “sweet redemption” but it’s not like it was a shutdown affair. He had shaky control and put two runners on before sealing the deal.  That’s good — certainly better than he had been doing — but let’s not go pretending it’s 2008 again yet, OK?

And what would a 2009 postseason game be without yet another blown call? Because a lot of you
were probably asleep for it, here’s how it went down: Ninth inning,
game tied, Rollins singles, moves to second on a Victorino sacrifice,
moves to third on Chase Utley’s infield hit, and then scores the
winning run on a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly. Except Utley’s hit
shouldn’t have been a hit, because it bounced up and hit him on the leg
in the batter’s box. Home plate umpire Jerry Meals didn’t call the ball
dead. Meals admitted after the game that he blew it, blaming a tough
angle — which is true — and the fact that Utley didn’t react: “Chase
Utley took off like it was nothing,” Meals added. “He gave no
indication to us that it hit him. Whatever percent of the time, you’re
going to get a guy that’s going to stop if it hits him.” I guess
“whatever percent of the time” criminals turn themselves in for their
crimes too, but I don’t think we should base law enforcement strategy
on it.

All of that stuff aside, I’m kind of pulling for the Phillies in this series because (a) they’re
a more interesting team to watch than the Rockies in my personal opinion; and (b) I really don’t want to see
more winter ball like we’ve had in Colorado over the weekend. That said, if the Phillies take care of business
today, we’ll have two nights with no baseball, which is a bad thing.

So let’s go Rockies
today, and let’s go Phillies tomorrow!

Gerrit Cole second-fastest to 200 strikeouts in a season

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Astros starter Gerrit Cole dominated the Athletics on Monday night, limiting them to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out 11. It marked his 12th start out of 22 this season with double-digit strikeouts, giving him 205 total on the season.

It is no surprise, then, to hear that Cole is the second-fastest in baseball history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Cole got there in 133 1/3 innings. The only pitcher faster than Cole was Randy Johnson, who reached 200 K’s in 130 2/3 innings back in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.

Along with the 205 strikeouts, Cole holds an 11-5 record with a 3.03 ERA across 136 2/3 innings. Among qualified starters in the American League, only Charlie Morton (2.61), Mike Minor (2.86), José Berríos (2.96), and teammate Justin Verlander (2.99) have a better ERA than Cole, who has twice finished in the top-five in Cy Young Award voting.