Aces high: Santana, Carpenter both record 13 K's

Originally Published: June 13, 2006
ESPN.com

BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA

Pitching, pitching, pitching. That was the name of the game Tuesday, with some of the best in the business in action. For a while it looked like Twins ace Johan Santana might challenge baseball's single-game strikeout record, but he couldn't even get a win as Boston's Curt Schilling was equally as good.

Kudos as well to the Jays' Roy Halladay, who won his seventh straight decision, and the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter, who matched Santana's 13 strikeouts and got a win to boot after closer Jason Isringhausen picked up yet another "cardiac save" (a Harold Reynolds-coined term).

Meanwhile, Detroit's Kenny Rogers got to within one win shy of 200 and the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang showed he could put up zeroes beyond the first few innings.

TUESDAY'S TOP PITCHING PERFORMANCES
Johan Santana 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 13 K, 102 pitches
13 K's a season high; fifth 10+ K start of season
Chris Carpenter 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 13 K, 111 pitches
8-1 career mark against Pirates
Kenny Rogers 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 108 pitches
Last three starts: 4 earned runs in 22 innings
Roy Halladay 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 104 pitches
Jays are 10-1 in his last 11 starts; he's 7-0
Curt Schilling 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 91 pitches
Walked just one batter in last six starts
Chien-Ming Wang 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 90 pitches
Allowed one run in last two starts (15.2 IP)

FOR TEXAS, LESS IS MORE

Texas manager Buck Showalter told me earlier in the year that a team can improve one of two ways: either with run production or run deduction, and the Rangers chose to go with the latter this year.

Run deduction is all about pitching and defense. Texas signed free-agent starter Kevin Millwood (who had an AL-best 2.86 ERA in 2005) and got better on defense by trading Alfonso Soriano. Everybody sees the home runs Soriano hit, but what they didn't see were the double plays that weren't being turned and the ground balls not being fielded. Soriano was a huge defensive problem at second base, and Texas turned what was a negative defensively into a big positive this year.

What I also like is the depth that general manager Jon Daniels added to the starting rotation with the addition of Adam Eaton, whom they expect to get back at the All-Star break. Eaton was arguably the best pitcher in baseball the first half of the 2005 season. He's young (28) and was really coming into his own last year. Their bullpen has been solidified with closer Akinori Otsuka (we saw what he could do in the World Baseball Classic). And when you have Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira, you're always going to have offense. I look for Texas to be able to stay in the race this year because the Rangers no longer have to score eight runs a game to win.

CHATTING WITH JOE MORGAN
TJ (LA): Were there contract restrictions in your contracts as a player, like not riding a motorcycle? What do the players think of such restrictions?

Joe Morgan: Yes. We had restrictions like that. I'm sure they still exist. I had no motorbikes, no skiing and even no basketball! Some teams would give a pass on basketball. I also couldn't skydive! But I wasn't going to do those things anyway. I started skiing the day after I retired! I never rode a motorcycle.

At some point, an athlete has to think about that one time and how it can change your life. I personally do not understand why young guys want to do these things. I understand it is exciting and the thrill involved. I would love to ride a motorcycle, but I fear the consequences. It only takes one bad driver to pull out in front of you. You can say the same about a car, but on a motorcycle you don't have anything around you to protect you. The concrete doesn't bend.

More from Morgan's chat Insider

SECOND-HALF HOPES
Cubs manager Dusty Baker on the return of Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee.
FORWARD THINKING: WEDNESDAY
Mets at Phillies, 7:05 ET: In three starts with the Mets, Orlando Hernandez (4-5, 5.48 ERA) is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA. He tossed a three-hitter against the D-Backs in his last start. Brett Myers (4-2, 3.44) takes the mound for the Phillies.

Dontrelle WillisBraves at Marlins, 7:05 ET: Dontrelle Willis (3-6, 4.32) is pitching better than his record indicates. The Marlins' left-hander has not allowed more than two earned runs in each of his last five starts. In contrast, Braves starter John Thomson (2-6, 4.84) has given up four or more earned runs in each of his last five starts.

Dodgers at Padres, 10:15 ET: Brad Penny (7-1, 2.34), who's coming off back-to-back scoreless outings, is 3-4 with a 5.05 ERA in nine career starts against the Padres. San Diego sends Mike Thompson (2-2, 4.67) to the hill.

Wednesday's probables

GROWTH DISORDER
Steve Phillips on the D-Backs' stance on suspended pitcher Jason Grimsley.
TUESDAY'S NEWS AND NOTES
Russ Ortiz • The D-Backs designated RHP Russ Ortiz for assignment, which means they have 10 days to trade, waive or release him. The team is on the hook for the $22 million left on his contract.

• Yankees RH reliever Octavio Dotel gave up a two-run homer in a one-inning rehab appearance for Triple-A Columbus. Dotel, who had elbow ligament replacement surgery a year ago, had hoped to rejoin the Yankees by the middle of the month.

• Cubs RHP Mark Prior had the most effective start of his four rehab outings in the minors, holding Triple-A New Orleans to four hits and one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings.

ELIAS SAYS
Chris Carpenter Chris Carpenter struck out 13 batters in seven shutout innings and earned the victory in the Cardinals' 2-1 win over the Pirates. That equaled the most strikeouts by a Cardinals pitcher through the seventh inning since Steve Carlton fanned 16 Phillies batters -- including 14 through seven innings -- in 1970. Matt Morris also had 13 K's through seven innings in a 2001 start against the Brewers.

More from Elias Says