What could have been
1. No No-No: Curt Schilling was so close to a no-hitter against Oakland, but he just couldn’t make one final out. Schilling was near-perfect through 8.2 innings, with only one baserunner reaching on an error by Julio Lugo. But when it came time to get his name added to the history books, Schilling shook off his catcher like Nuke LaLoosh and allowed a single to Shannon Stewart. He still pitched a great game, with no runs or walks allowed and just the one hit. He also gave the Red Sox a much-needed win after four straight losses. David Ortiz homered in the first inning for the Red Sox’s only run of the game. They will face the Diamondbacks next in an unusual interleague matchup, while the A’s will take on cross-bay rival San Francisco.
2. Break out the Brooms: The Phillies may be a contender after completing an unlikely sweep of the New York Mets on the road. After winning the first two games of the series 4-2, the Phils won 6-3 in extra innings on Thursday. The Mets had three straight solo homers in the sixth inning by Carlos Delgado, David Wright and Paul Lo Duca, which turned out to be their only runs of the game. The Phillies tied it up in the ninth thanks to Pat Burrell’s homerun, then won it in the tenth with three runs. The pitching matchup between Cole Hamels and John Maine was excellent, as both pitchers threw seven strong innings. However, it was the Mets’ bullpen that failed them in this contest. The Phillies are just five games back of New York now, closer than they’ve been most of the season. The Marlins have also been streaky lately and are 6.5 back themselves.
3. The League’s Worst Starting Rotation: Many teams around the league have pitching problems, but none of them even approach the crappiness of the Rangers’ starters. Everybody in their rotation has an ERA above 6.00. Robinson Tejada has been the `best’ with a 6.28 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. The others have struggled even more. Brandon McCarthy (6.35 ERA), Vicente Padilla (6.45), Kameron Loe (7.40), and Kevin Millwood (7.57) have all wasted an above-average offense and bullpen. Yesterday it was Loe who got shelled, with nine runs allowed in less than three innings to the Tigers. Detroit’s major-league leading offense feasted on Texas during their series, with 25 runs in three games. The Rangers are one of those teams that just needs to rebuild from the ground up.
Player of the Day: Rich Hill, Cubs: 8 innings, three hits, one run, 11 strikeouts in a win over the Braves.