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Yesterday was a day for low scoring games. 17 teams scored two or less runs in Sunday's Major League Baseball action. Only 3 of those teams won their games with the New York Yankees taking a 1-0 shutout win over the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Nationals defeating the Chicago Cubs by a 2-0 score. The Arizona Diamondbacks were the only other team that scored two or less runs and still emerged victorious. Brandon Webb (6-0) became the first six game winner this season after defeating the San Diego Padres 2-1 in a pitchers duel with Jake Peavy, who struck out 9 in 7 innings.
There were four shutouts on Sunday. The other two besides those registered by the the Yankees and Nationals were the 3-0 shutout by the Tampa Bay Rays over the reeling Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers shutting out the Minnesota Twins 10-0. The loss was the fifth consecutive loss by the Red Sox and the Rays have a current winning streak of six games which is the longest among all major league teams. Josh Hamilton took the Major League lead in RBI's in that game driving in his 26th and 27th runs of the season when he hit his fifth homer of the season. Hamilton didn't get hit his 27th RBI last season until the 29th of June.
Pirates: What Took Them So Long To Release Matt Morris?
Matt Morris was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday. The question is "Why did it take them so long to jettison him?" His ERA was 5.40 after his first start this season and by the time he lost his fourth consecutive game, it was 9.67. He had given up an astronomical 41 hits in 22 innings before being released.
It was a mystery why the Pirates thought Morris would do any better for them than he did for the San Francisco Giants. He was 17-22 for the Giants and gave up 380 hits in 343 innings. The Pirates had Morris signed to a $10 million contract for this season, which may have been their reasoning for keeping faith in him and allowing him to stay in the rotation. I doubt that any Major League team will sign Morris who has a 121-92 lifetime record after the debacle he left behind in San Franicisco and Pittsburgh.
Morris has never been the same pitcher since his glory years with the St. Louis Cardinals. The lure of free agency may have been the downfall for Morris, who won 22 games for the Cardinals in 2001. Unless he has made some terrible investments, Morris should be able to live off what remains of the $47 million he has made before this season plus the $10 million he is due to receive this season. The Giants probably got rid of Morris last season so they wouldn't have two duds starting in their rotation, since Barry Zito was contaminating the pitching mounds in NL ballparks last season, and is doing the same this year.
Zito is now officially the worst pitcher in the Major Leagues this season with his 0-6 record. Matt Chico of the Nationals is struggling to catch up with Zito with his 0-5 record, but when Zito is pitching this badly, Chico is obligated to settle for being the second worst pitcher in the Majors. Zito has posted a 11-19 record so far with the Giants.
Sunday Baseball Roundup
Chien-Ming Wang (5-0) showed again he is the ace of the New York Yankees' starting rotation, as his lifetime record now goes to 51-18 with his 1-0 win yesterday over the Cleveland Indians in a pitcher's duel against C.C. Sabathia (1-4).
Josh Beckett (2-2) pitched well enough to win most games, as he gave up one earned run in 7 innings, but with James Shields (3-1) pitching, the Boston Red Sox weren't able to score any runs, as the Tampa Bay Rays took the 3-0 win with Shields pitching a shutout and allowing only two Boston hits. Evan Longoria hit his 3rd homer of the season and raised his batting average to .271 in the contest.
Paul Konerko kept the Baltimore Orioles from taking sole possession of first place in AL East when he hit two home runs as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Orioles 6-1. Carlos Quentin drove in his 19th run of the season for the White Sox, and is currently second in the AL in on base percentage with a .435 mark among players with at least 70 at bats.
The Oakland A's scored four times in the eighth inning to take a 4-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. The win kept them in a first place tie with the Los Angeles Angels, with both teams having 16-10 records. Joe Blanton (2-4) took the win, and Emil Brown drove in his 21st and 22nd runs of the season. Brown is second in the AL in RBI's (22). Only the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs have a better winning percentage than the Athletics so far this season.
Jered Weaver (2-3) rebounded from being bombed by the Boston Red Sox when he gave up 5 runs and 10 hits in 5 innings to defeat the Detroit Tigers 6-2. Justin Verlander (1-4), who pitched a no-hitter last season is not fooling anyone this season after giving up 6 runs in 5 2/3 innings to the Los Angeles Angels. His ERA ballooned from 5.93 to 6.50 in the contest.
John Smoltz (3-2) took his second consecutive loss in the Atlanta Braves' 6-3 loss to the New York Mets. Smoltz seemed to be uncomfortable on the mound and gave up his first two home runs of the season. All the Braves need now would be to lose Smoltz to the disabled list.
Billy Wagner, who had pitched a reliever's no-hitter in his first nine innings of the season, gave up his first hit of the season while notching his sixth save of 2008. It will be interesting to see if the two home runs by Carlos Delgado yesterday will be a momentary blip in a bad season or the start of his recovery from a season long slump.
Brett Myers (2-2) took the loss, as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Paul Maholm (2-2) defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1. Myers pitched his second consecutive bad start, and has now allowed 10 runs and 19 hits in his last 12 innings in the loss to the Pirates and his previous loss to the Colorado Rockies. In his two starts prior to these last two starts, he gave up 4 runs and 10 hits in wins over the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros in 15 innings. Nate McLouth is still on fire for the Pirates hitting two home runs and he now has 21 RBI's which ties him for 4th in the NL with Chase Utley, Derrek Lee, and David Wright, which is select company for McLouth.
Albert Pujols hit his 5th homer and Kyle Lohse (3-0) showed again what a smart move it was by the St. Louis Cardinals to sign him by allowing one run and 4 hits in 6 innings as the Cardinals defeated the Astros 5-1. Lohse has been 6-0 since joining the Phillies last season and Phillies may be wishing now they had kept him. Astros could only manage 4 singles in the contest.
The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies when James Loney hit a game winning walkoff single in the tenth inning. Andruw Jones is continuing to slump for the Dodgers. He has one homer and 4 RBI's in 82 at bats. Since his (career high) 51 homers in 2005, his home run totals have fallen to 41, 26 and now only one this season. ESPN.com is projecting him to hit 6 homers and drive in 26 runs and strikeout 188 times in 2008. While anyone knows the home run and RBI totals will be higher than those projected totals he could strike out more than the 147 times he struck out in 2004, which is his personal worst strikeout total.