Roy Halladay’s struggles continue in loss to Mets

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Roy Halladay was chased from his season debut last Wednesday against the Braves after he gave up five runs over 3 1/3 innings. And things didn’t get any better tonight against the Mets, as he was charged with seven runs in four innings as part of a 7-2 loss.

While Halladay mixed in a pair of 1-2-3 innings, he worked in deep counts for most of the night and struggled to put batters away with his diminished stuff. The 35-year-old right-hander threw just 59 of his 99 pitches for strikes while yielding six hits and three walks. He also hit a batter and uncorked a wild pitch.

Halladay put himself in an early hole by giving up a three-run homer to John Buck in the second inning and was ultimately pulled from the ballgame after he gave up three straight hits to begin the fifth inning. Chad Durbin then allowed two inherited runners to score, closing the book on another ugly night for Halladay.

As Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com notes, this is the first time in Halladay’s career that he has had back-to-back outings of four innings or fewer while allowing at least five runs. His ERA sits at 14.73 (12 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings) through two starts.

While Halladay looks like a shell of his former self at the moment, Matt Harvey continues to emerge as one of the most exciting young pitchers in the game. After fanning 10 batters over seven shutout innings in his season debut against the Padres last Wednesday, he struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball tonight.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.