Monthly archives: August 2007
Every Division has a story, August 31
NL East (Rico Brogna Division):
The Mets and Phillies both won and the Phillies remain two back.
Philadelphia survived a game in which Marlins starter Sergio Mitre hit three Philadelphia hitters (Aaron Rowand, Kyle Kendrick, and Chase Utley). The Marlins have lost 14 of 16 and are tied for the worst record in the NL because Washington lost at home to San Francisco, 3-2.
The first place Mets will start Mike Pelfrey Saturday in Atlanta. He's 0-7 with a 5.92 ERA.
NL Central (Ted Savage Division):
The Cubs started off the day getting pounded by the Astros 6-1 and Sean Marshall likely lost his starting job in the rotation to newly acquired Steve Trachsel.
The Brewers moved back to .500 with a 3-2 win over the Pirates at home and to within 1½ games of the Cubs.
St. Louis weathered a bad start by Anthony Reyes to rally against the Reds and win it 8-5. Rick Ankiel hit a grand slam in the sixth to put the Cardinals ahead. Cardinals reliever Ryan Franklin had his first major league RBI with a single in the 8th. Edwin Encarnacion had an inside-the-park homer for the Reds and Josh Hamilton hit a leadoff homer. Juan Encarnacion was hospitalized with an eye injury after being hit by a foul ball off the bat of Aaron Miles while standing in the ondeck circle.
The Cardinals put Scott Rolen on the DL and acquired Russell Branyan to fill his roster spot. The Cardinals are Branyan's third team this season to go along with San Diego and Philadelphia. He could realistically play in the postseason against both teams.
Well, somewhat realistically.
NL West (Steve Finley Division):
The Padres traded places with the Diamondbacks for first place. The Padres beat the Dodgers 6-4. But the Diamondbacks lost a weird game.
The DBacks took a 3-0 lead in the 7th on a 3-run homer by Miguel Montero. The Rockies got two in the 8th on an RBI single from Cory Sullivan. The Rockies were down to their last out in the ninth when Todd Helton singled. Jamie Carroll pinch ran for Helton. Garrett Atkins blooped a single to center that Short Chris Young tried to make a shoestring catch on, but he came up short and the ball bounced past him and Carroll came all the way around to score. The Rockies scored four in the 10th to win it.
NL Wild Card (Terry Mulholland Division):
In the only game matching two of the top four NL wild card contenders, Colorado will send Elmer Dessens (2-1, 5.64) against Dana Eveland of Arizona (0-0, 20.25).
AL Central (Vito Valentinetti Division):
Because of a game postponed by the I-35W bridge collapse, the Twins and Royals played a doubleheader today in Minneapolis. The Royals won the first game 9-3, but it was Scott Baker of the Twins whom the fans will remember more.
Baker came within three outs of a perfect game and within two outs of a no-hitter before Mike Sweeney singled. Baker finished up for a one-hit, shutout. He threw the first complete game one-hitter for the Twins since Scott Erickson did on July 24, 1992 against Boston, also in a doubleheader, but in the first game. The Royals have been no-hit only once and that was by Nolan Ryan in 1973. The Twins and Royals play Saturday morning at 11:10 am CT. The University of Minnesota will be playing in the Metrodome later that night against Bowling Green.
The White Sox looked to stopped Cleveland's six-game winning streak as they took a 5-2 lead into the 8th and the Indians had one one with two outs. Then walk, single, single, walk, double, and walk and it was an 8-5 Cleveland win.
AL East (Pee Wee Wanninger Division):
The Orioles finally snapped their 9-game losing streak, beating Boston 9-8, but almost blew a 9-3 lead. The Red Sox trailed 9-6 in the ninth, scored twice against Danys Baez and had two on and one out when Jason Varitek grounded into a double play to end the game.
The Yankees couldn't capitalize as the Devil Rays won their fourth straight in a 9-1 rout. Andy Sonnanstine and Grant Balfour combined on a 2-hitter, the lowest hit total given up by the Rays against the Yankees in franchise history.
AL West (John Montague Division):
The Angels increased their lead to 6½ games, the biggest margin in the majors, with a 6-5 win over Texas at home. Frank Francisco did manage to strike out Vladimir Guerrero in the 9th. Prior to that at bat, Guerrero was 4 for 5 with 3 homers and 2 BBs against Francisco.
AL Wild Card (Dave Collins Division):
Yankees lose. Mariners lose (seventh straight). Tigers lose. Tomorrow's pitching matchups: Ian Kennedy vs. Edwin Jackson, Miguel Batista vs. Dustin McGowan, Justin Verlander vs. Dan Haren.
MLB somewhat apologizes for Francona uniform spot check
MLB Executive Vice President Jimmie Lee Solomon said that the timing was "unfortunate" that one of his employees decided to check during a game in New York if Boston manager Terry Francona was wearing a uniform top under his fleece top.
"...They should have used better judgment," Solomon said. "That does not negate the fact that Francona has not been wearing his uniform" jersey."
An MLB official checked yesterday at my apartment to see that my cat's litter box was officially licensed. At least that's what he said he was doing.
Has anyone seen my DVD player by the way?
Every Division has a story, August 30
AL East (The Pee-Wee Wanninger Division):
As you probably heard somewhere, the Yankees moved to within five games of the Red Sox after a 3-game sweep. But elsewhere in the division, the Orioles lost their ninth straight game as the Devil Rays completed a 3-game sweep.
The Rays have now gone back over the .400 mark. Tampa Bay has topped .400 in a season just four times in its history.
AL Central (The Vito Valentinetti Division):
Cleveland and Detroit both won. The Indians won a game-ending bases loaded walk by Kenny Lofton against Rick White of Seattle. It was just the 8th walkoff RBI for Lofton in his career and the first time he did it with a walk.
The White Sox have now lost 16 of 19 games. Third baseman Andy Gonzalez made three throwing errors in the third inning. For more on this see the AL West below.
AL West (The John Montague Division):
The Rangers benefited from Andy Gonzalez's bad third inning. But it was a team effort.
The Angels are now just 1/2 game behind the Red Sox for the best record in the AL. The Red Sox did win the season series 6-4.
AL Wild Card (The Dave Collins Division)
The Yankees finally surged past the sagging Mariners to take over the lead in the wild card and rearrange the playoff pairings. The Mariners head to Toronto. The Yankees host Tampa Bay. The Tigers (included as a courtesy since they won the pennant last year) go to Oakland for an exciting rematch of the 2006 ALCS.
NL East (The Rico Brogna Division)
The Phillies swept four games from the Mets at Citizens Bank Park to move within two games. The rest of the division was off.
When Mets closer Billy Wagner came into a 10-8 game in the 8th, Mets announcer Gary Cohen mused that Wagner may have just been coming into pitch the 8th against the Phillies best hitters as Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, and Ryan Howard were due up. Despite a Burrell homer, Wagner went out again in the 9th and the Phillies rallied to win 11-10.
Burrell hit two home runs in the game to run his career total against the Mets to 41. Burrell has hit 21 against the Marlins, 19 against the ExNats, and 14 against the Braves.
NL Central (The Ted Savage Division):
The Cubs beat the Brewers 5-4 and now Chicago is the only team in the division with a winning record. The Brewers loaded the bases in the ninth and got one run on a bases-loaded walk by Corey Hart, but Kevin Mench grounded into a force play on the first pitch from Ryan Dempster to end the game.
As the guy from Milwaukee told me, "We have a saying in Milwaukee, 'Kevin Mench does not take walks.'" Chris Capuano took the loss. The Brewers won the first seven games of the year that Capuano started. And now have lost 18 straight games in which Capuano has pitched, the last two as a reliever.
The teams in the division all switch partners for the weekend. Houston will be at Chicago, Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, and Cincinnati will be at St. Louis. The Reds are just seven games out of first.
NL West (The Steve Finley Division):
Tall Chris Young faced Short Chris Young tonight in San Diego. Tall had two strikeouts, but walked Short once. Then Tall Chris walked five others. And hit a batter. And gave up a home run to Mark Reynolds. The DBacks took an 8-0 lead and held on for an 8-7 win. San Diego missed a chance to match the team record of biggest deficit overcome. They have done it twice. Once in 1970 and again in 1974.
Over the weekend, Arizona visits Colorado and Los Angeles goes to San Diego.
For the morbidly curious, San Francisco will be at Washington this weekend. Time to see Barry Bonds make his last appearance at RFK!
NL Wild Card (The
Everybody is coming back to the pack. The #8 seed in the league, Colorado, is just six games behind Arizona, the team with the best record in the NL
Yet another addition to the Baseball Reference Play Index
Sean Forman at Baseball-Reference.com has added yet another feature to the Play Index. There is now a Postseason Batting Event and Postseason Pitching Event.
Or which pitcher has given up the most postseason home runs? Is it who you thought it was?
Book Review: Spalding's World Tour
Last year, I heard a lot of good things about Mark Lamster’s Spalding’s World Tour, but I never got around to reading it. Maybe it was because Amazon.com kept telling me I had to read it and I decided to rebel. But I think laziness was a big part of it.
Every division has a story, August 29
Florida and Washington both lost as each team refused to give up the distinction of having the worst record in the NL. Oh, and the Phillies swept the Mets at CBP and moved to within three games of New York. The game ended on an interference call on Marlon Anderson who tried to take out Phils second baseman Tadahito Iguchi on a possible double play with a slide that would have earned him a red card in soccer or five minutes for roughing in hockey.
The only division in the NL with an even number of teams had all of its teams playing against each other. And the losers combined to score one run. Aaron Harang pitched the Reds to an 8-0 win over Pittsburgh. Roy Oswalt pitched Houston to a 7-0 win over St. Louis and gave Cecil Cooper his first win. Ben Sheets came off the DL for the Brewers and went six innings as the Brewers won 6-1 to move back into second place in the division.
The Cardinals had a day off Monday. Barring a rainout, the Cardinals have no more off days the rest of the season. And they play a doubleheader on September 15 at home against Chicago.
The Padres won their third straight game over the DBacks and took over first place in the NL West by .001. The Padres also tied the Mets for best record in the NL at 73-59. The Padres hold the season series edge over the Mets by a 4-2 margin.
Baltimore blew a 4-1 lead in the 8th to Tampa Bay and lost 5-4 in 12 innings. The Orioles have lost eight straight games and been outscored 90-32. If you take out the 30-3 loss to the Rangers as an outlier, then it doesn't look so bad. It's just 60-29 over 7 games.
Cleveland beat Johan Santana of the Twins for the fourth time this year. The Indians swept the Twins to make Minnesota's playoff hopes "mostly dead." The Tigers are heading toward mostly dead status after losing to the Royals 5-0. The Royals scored all five runs in the first off of Andrew Miller.
The Angels finished off a 3-game sweep of the Mariners to increase their lead to five games and just one game in back of Boston for the best record in the AL. The Mariners lead the Yankees for the wild card now by just .001. Seattle could be out of a playoff spot by the time they start their game in Cleveland Thursday night as the Yankees play the Red Sox in a day game.
Tales from the Scorebook (A salute to Esteban Loiaza)
Today we travel back to August 12, 1995.
The scene is Dodger Stadium. It's Hollywood Stars Night, which was still a baseball game at the time between E-list and F-list celebrities. Tony Danza could have been there, but I don't know. I missed that fine event. By design.
It was also "Baseball Night in America", which was MLB's incredibly idiotic plan to get people interested in baseball again after the work stoppage of 1994 by having nationally televised games shown on Saturday nights. Starting at 8 pm. And almost every game involved your local team. Just with different announcers. This same set up also gave us the idiotic idea of having all four division series games shown simultaneously, so you could only see one at a time. But I digress.
Every division has a story, August 28
San Diego beat Arizona 6-4 to pull to within one game of the DBacks in the NL West. But, the Padres have now caught the Diamondbacks in the AILC (All Important Loss Column). However they are two back in the FSRLIWC (For Some Reason Less Important Win Column).
The St. Louis Cardinals crawled back to the .500 mark and moved into second place ahead of stumbling Milwaukee. The Cardinals are 2 games back overall and 1 in the AILC.
The Braves stuck out 19 times in 11 innings against the Marlins in a 4-3 loss, the second time they had reached 19 Ks in a game this year. The Braves whiffed 19 times against the Reds on July 18. Florida's win and Washington's loss created a tie for the worst record in the NL.
After getting a save in a game the Rangers won by 27, Wes Littleton got a win against the White Sox after he entered a tie game in the 8th inning with two on and none out. Littleton hit Jermaine Dye with a pitch to load the bases, but then got Juan Uribe to hit into a force out at home and then got Danny Richar to ground into a DP. The Rangers scored in the bottom of the 8th to get Littleton the win.
After scoring 16 runs against the Yankees Monday, Detroit put a 16 on the scoreboard in Kansas City, but in the hit column. And they lost to Kansas City 6-3. The #3 hitter for the Tigers was Timo Perez.
The game of the night was in Baltimore, where the Orioles lost to Tampa Bay, 15-8. The Orioles led 6-3 going to the 8th and then gave up 11 runs. It was the 31st loss this season by the Orioles bullpen. The Devil Rays won despite giving up six home runs, the first team to win a game when giving up at least six home runs since the Red Sox did on August 8, 2004.
Working out of trouble, the ultimate way
Rafael Perez of Cleveland came in to pitch last night at home against Minnesota and faced one batter, threw three pitches, and got all three outs of the seventh inning when Mike Redmond of the Twins grounded into a triple play.
Back on September 8, 1991, Barry Jones of Montreal came in to pitch against the Reds in the ninth inning with runners on first and second and no one out and saved a 2-1 victory when Chris Sabo grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play.
Don Nottebart of the Reds also faced one batter and got a game-ending triple play back on May 30, 1967 against the Cardinals.
Eleven pitchers in the last 50 years who have gotten three outs in an inning while facing just one batter in the game, but not all have involved triple plays.
In the year of the somewhat unlikely, the very unlikely happened
But your question is: I drove in six different counties this past Saturday through Monday? Can you name them?
Look beyond for a clue:
Streak or no streak?
August 25, 2007:
Headline on MLB.com
Placido Polanco's 147-game errorless streak ended when his throw pulled first baseman Marcus Thames of the bag in the first inning.
But then .... later that day in the Detroit News:
Detroit's official scorer, Ron Kleinfeltner, in consultation with umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, changed the error to Thames, ruling that Thames was never on first base to begin with.
This bit of indecision in Detroit made it all the more fitting (at least to me, if not no one else), that Bobby Seay of the Tigers was awarded a win Sunday in Detroit's 5-4 win over the Yankees. Since starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens left after 1 1/3 innings with an injury (he has since gone on the DL), the official scorer could award the win to whichever reliever was deemed the most effective. The first reliever for Detroit, Chad Durbin, gave up three runs, and then Seay followed with two scoreless innings. Joel Zumaya and Todd Jones finished up.
Seay had pitched in 116 straight games without picking up a decision, which appears to be the longest streak of its kind. Trever Miller of the Astros has the current longest active streak without a decision at 68 games. Miller also had a stretch of 89 games without a decision earlier in his career.
Random Record of the Week #22
The Colorado Rockies have some fairly impressive hitting records for a young franchise. Larry Walker holds the single season batting average mark at .379 in 1999 and he set the slugging mark in 1997 at .720. Andres Gallaraga drove in 150 runs in 1996. Walker and Todd Helton have had 49-homer seasons and Helton hit 59 doubles in 2000.
But one thing the Rockies don't seem to like to do is hit triples. Despite the deep gaps at Coors Field, the Rockies have never had a lot of sluggers who were fast enough to make it three bases most of the time. And the single season triples is held by a trio of some of the least impressive hitters in Colorado history.
When Perez hit 11 triples in 1999, he broke his old franchise record of 10 set in 1997. He did that in just 83 games and he even got some Rookie of the Year votes. Then again, Kevin Orie got some Rookie of the Year consideration in 1997.
In 1999, Perez batted mainly in the leadoff or #2 slot and got seven of his triples at Coors Field. He also got nine of them as a left-handed hitter. The four triples hit on the road came in Arizona, New York, Philadelphia, and San Diego. The 11 triples helped Perez to an OPS+ of 61 on the season. But Perez did tie for the NL lead with Bobby Abreu of the Phillies.
The next year, Perez again worked his triples magic. And again, the left side of the plate was where Neifi did his damage, getting 10 of the 11 triples from that side. And again, 7 of the 11 were hit at Coors Field. The other four came at Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Montreal, and New York. And thanks to an increase in doubles from 27 to 39, Perez raised his OPS+ all the way to 66.
Neifi was on a record triples pace again in 2001, hitting 8 in the Rockies first 87 games, but Colorado packaged him off to Kansas City in a 3-team deal that saw Jermaine Dye ending up in Oakland. He would hit just one in 49 games with the Royals in 2001.
But there were new triples specialists for the Rockies in 2001. Second-year player Juan Pierre, getting a chance to lead off most of the season, matched Perez's record of 11 triples. And Pierre did most of his work on the road, hitting just three triples at Coors Field. Pierre hit one in Chicago, one in Los Angeles, one in Montreal, one in Oakland, one in San Diego, one in San Francisco, and two in Arlington. The record-tying 11th came on September 27, 2001 against Bobby Jones of the Padres at Coors Field. Pierre's OPS+ in 2001 was 89.
But Pierre had company in his triples onslaught. 21-year old Juan Uribe replaced Perez at shortstop and in just 72 games, he also belted 11 triples. Uribe tied Pierre and Perez's mark on the second to last day of the season on October 6, 2001 against Brian Tollberg of the Padres. Uribe went 6 for 13 in the final three games of the year to bring his season's batting average to an even .300. Uribe hit 8 of the triples at Coors Field (a franchise record) and the other 3 at San Diego. Uribe finished with an OPS+ of 98. The following year, he was the fulltime shortstop and had an OPS+ of 52. Uribe and Pierre finished one behind Jimmy Rollins for the NL lead in triples.
The only other major league player since 1900 to hit 11 triples in 72 or fewer games played in a season was Fred Clarke of the Pirates in 1904.
Cory Sulllivan made a run at the Rockies triples record last season, but came up one short with 10. Sullivan hit his 10th triple on August 16, but failed to get another one during the rest of the year. Sullivan also had two triples in one inning on April 9 against the Padres, the first NL player to do that in 80 years and the first in the majors since 1951.
Presently, Kazuo Matsui leads the Rockies this season in triples with 6, so Neifi, Juan, and Juan will likely keep their place in the record book for another year.
Or at least metaphorically, I don't know how to fish. I just go and order fish. I just want to eat today. Mmm... fish...
Nothing interesting will happen in baseball until Monday anyway. Why? Because if I don't notice it, it isn't interesting. It's a proven scientific principle.
The Random Record of the Week will be delayed a day. I know most people can't start their week without reading that. And the next one will involve the Colorado Rockies. So it's bound to be good!
I'll be travelling sans laptop and be in a secret undisclosed location. My cat will be guarding my apartment. Don't get on his bad side.
So the standings will be a couple days out of date. You'll have to figure out on your own just which team in the NL is the worst. The playoff pairings are unlikely to change in the next two days. No one is going to be eliminated. No one is going to clinch a spot.
The evolution of the cheap save record (CORRECTED)
The save became an official stat in 1969.
The first save was recorded by Dodgers pitcher Bill Singer on April 7, 1969, in an opening day win at Cincinnati. The Dodgers won 3-2. Singer pitched the last three innings in relief of Don Drysdale.
The next day Chuck Hartenstein of the Cubs got a save in San Francisco in a 6-2 win by Chicago in 14 innings at Candlestick Park. So quickly the record for biggest winning in a save went from +1 to +4. (The save rule was a bit different in 1969.)
On April 12, Wayne Granger of the Reds moved the mark to +9 in a 12-3 Cincinnati win over the Braves.
Eight days later on April 20 in the second game of a doubleheader, Bob Locker of the White Sox got a save in a 13-3 game against Seattle. So the record was now +10.
Locker's place in history lasted all of two days. Clay Carroll of the Reds got a save on April 22, 1969 in a 14-0 Cincinnati win at Houston. Carroll's save in a +14 game would hold up as the mark to beat for the rest of 1969.
Carroll's mark was not tied until July 7, 1971 when Astros reliever Jim Ray got a save in an 18-4 win over the Giants at Candlestick Park. Paul Linblad of Texas became the first AL pitcher to get +14 save on May 27, 1972 at Minnesota.
The next +14 save would come on May 1, 1975 as Jim Colborn of Milwaukee got the save for Pete Broberg in a 17-3 win at Detroit. The Tigers were the next victim of a +14 save when Dennis Leonard of Kansas City got one on April 9, 1977 when the Royals won at Tiger Stadium 16-2.
The +14 barrier was finally shattered, in an event as momentous as Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, when Ramon Hernandez of the Cubs got a save in a 23-6 win over the Padres at Wrigley Field on May 17, 1977. The record was now +17.
Hernandez's mark would not be match for nearly nine years. Mickey Mahler of Texas got a save in a 19-2 win by the Rangers over the Indians at Cleveland on May 12, 1986.
Stan Belinda upped the ante on September 4, 1999 while pitching for the Reds. He pitched the last three innings of Cincinnati's 22-3 win at Philadelphia. Actually, Ed Vosberg had a +19 save first on April 19, 1996 pitching for Texas against Baltimore in a 26-7 game.
And that brings us to yesterday, August 22, 2007 in the first game of a doubleheader when Wes Littleton of the Rangers did a Bob Beamon on the record, with his +27 run save in the Rangers already mythic 30-3 win over the Orioles.
So to sum up, the record went from:
+1 - Bill Singer
+4 - Chuck Hartenstein
+9 - Wayne Granger
+10 - Bob Locker
+14 - Clay Carroll, Jim Ray, Paul Linblad, Jim Colborn, Dennis Leonard
+17 - Ramon Hernandez, Mickey Mahler
+19 - Ed Vosberg, Stan Belinda
+27 - Wes Littleton
The record has been held or shared by three Reds pitchers and
Getting an Incomplete grade on the season
Kevin Millwood of Texas came within one out of getting the Rangers first complete game this year, but was pulled with two on and two outs in the ninth innings of a 4-2 Texas loss to Seattle in Arlington.
The Rangers are one of four teams without a complete game. The other three are in the National League: Washington, Florida, and Atlanta.
Millwood gave up 13 hits in his 8 2/3 innings of work and if he had gone the distance giving up 13 hits he would have been the first pitcher to pick up a CG with 13 hits allowed since C.C. Sabathia did so last year.
The most hits allowed in a complete game in the last 50 years is 17 by Mike Norris of Oakland against Minnesota on September 26, 1980. Norris also gave up 10 runs in the game and four home runs. He pitched the whole game for reasons that Oakland manager Billy Martin took to his grave. Norris gave up five runs in the ninth on back-to-back homers to Ben Oglivie and Gorman Thomas. Oglivie hit an inside-the-park grand slam.
I'm not sure of what the major league record for most hits allowed in a complete game, but I'm guessing it's pretty high and possibly over 30. The most hits surrendered by any one pitcher in a game is 36 by Jack Wadsworth of Louisville on August 17, 1894. But the only source I could find about that game said that Wadsworth didn't pitch a complete game. Philadelphia beat Louisville 29-4 that day.
Owings goes deep again
Arizona pitcher Micah Owings homered in the third inning at home against Sean Marshall of the Cubs.
This is the second consecutive game that Owings has homered in, which is not that unusual for a pitcher as Carlos Zambrano did it on two occasions last year. However, Owings is the first pitcher with THREE home runs in a two game span since Mike Hampton did it for the Rockies on June 5 and June 10, 2001. Hampton's homers came in three consecutive at bats.
Don Drysdale homered in three straight games in 1958 and Ken Brett homered in four straight games in 1973.
The long save and the short save
Since the save became an official statistic in 1969, the pitcher who has had the most saves of three innings or more has been Gene Garber, who had 52.
Going the other way, the pitcher with the most saves that were just one out was Rollie Fingers with 39.
And since most closers today get a save by pitching one complete inning and nothing else, it's not surprising that the leader in 3-out saves is Trevor Hoffman with 417.
Chicago's Really Big Day of 1897
It was back on June 29, 1897 when the Chicago Colts (not yet the Cubs) set a major league record (for those people who don't count the National Association as a major league, which includes MLB) for runs in a game when they manhandled the Louisville Colonels at West Side Park, 36-7.
I'll try to recreate the Sporting News boxscore, but I have a 110-year old printout and only limited info. ABs were not part of the boxscore then. Although Chicago was the home team, player-manager Cap Anson opted to have his team bat first.
*Connor called out for missing third
Earned runs - Chicago 9, Louisville 5; Two-base hits - Everitt, Ryan, Callahan 2, Donohue, Werden, Dexter 2, Jones, Delahanty; Three-base hits - McCormick, Lange, Connor; Home runs - McCormick, Ryan; Sacrifice hits - Everitt, McCreery; Stolen bases - McCormick 2, Lange 2, Callahan, Donohue; Struck out - By Callahan 4; Bases on balls - Off Callahan 2, Off Fraser 5, Off Jones 5; Hit by pitcher - Ryan 2; Umpire - Sheridan
Please note that this box score is not authoritative. Also different sources used different methods to figure out earned runs. The New York Times box score credited Chicago with 19 earned runs and Louisville with 6.
The 1897 Colts were an unusual choice for scoring a lot of runs as they weren't a very good team. They were 59-73 and finished 9th in the 12-team NL. They did score the fourth most runs in the NL, but they were nearly 200 runs behind pennant-winning Boston (1025 to 832). Anson, the team's player-manager, was 45 years old and playing his last major league season, and the owners dumped him at the end of the year.
The pitcher, Nixey Callahan, probably batted eighth because the catcher this day was backup Tom Donahue and Callahan outhit him on the season .292 to .239. Callahan played both the infield and pitched during the season.
The Louisville Colonels were even worse than the Colts, finishing in 11th at 52-78 (.400). They did have three future Hall of Famers on the team in Fred Clarke (who played in this game), Honus Wagner (a rookie utility player who did not get into the game), and Rube Waddell (a 20-year old rookie pitcher who got into just two games.) The Delahanty who played in the game was Tom Delahanty, not Ed.
The starting pitcher for Louisville, Chick Fraser, was the team's nominal ace getting the most starts (34), but he went 15-19. Fortunately, the other pitcher for Louisville that day, was 20-year old Jim Jones, who pitched just one game all season.
So we know that Jones pitched 6 1/3 innings, gave up 19 hits, 22 runs, 14 earned runs (by today's standards), one homer, five walks, and he hit two batters. So Fraser pitched 2 2/3 innings, gave up 12 hits, 14 runs (unsure how many were earned), and five walks. The two pitchers combined to strike out none.
Jones made one other appearance for Lousville that year, presumably as a pinch hitter. He would play again for the New York Giants in 1901 and 1902 as an outfielder, although he did pitch one game for New York, going five innings and giving up six runs.
The Colts and Colonels faced each other the next day. Fraser started again for Louisville. And the Colonels beat Chicago 8-7. Prior to scoring 36 runs, Chicago had scored 0 and 2 runs in each of the previous two games.
Webb's streak ends at 42 innings
The Milwaukee Brewers ended Brandon Webb's 42 inning scoreless streak in the first inning on an RBI single by Prince Fielder to drive in Gabe Gross. Gross singled to lead off the game, stole second, went to third on a groundout by Craig Counsell, and Fielder singled to left to score Gross.
Webb looks to add more zeroes tonight
Brandon Webb aims to add on to his 42-inning shutout streak tonight in Phoenix against the Brewers. The game starts at 6:40 pm PT.
Milwaukee has scored 16 runs in the first two games of the series. Webb has pitched against the Brewers since July 15, 2006 and threw seven shutout innings. The Brewers have beaten Arizona five out of six times this season.
Public school gets rare title in Japan high school tournament
One of Japan's biggest baseball events, the summer Koshien high school baseball tournament, concluded earlier today with Saga Kita School of Saga Prefecture winning the title, 5-4, over Koryo. Saga is in the southern island of Kyushu.
A public school had not won the tournament since 1996. It is traditionally dominated by private schools.
Anderson puts up double digits in RBIs in one game
Garret Anderson set an Angels franchise record tonight with a 10 RBI game against the Yankees Tuesday night. The Angels won the game 18-9, the most runs scored by the Angels against the Yankees in team history.
Anderson missed a chance to tie the AL record for most RBIs in a game which is 11 by Tony Lazzeri on May 24, 1936 when the Yankees defeated the A's 25-2. Lazzeri hit two grand slams in that game.
The NL record for RBIs in a game is 12 which was done by two St. Louis Cardinal players. One was Jim Bottomley on September 16, 1924, a 17-3 win over the Dodgers, and by Mark Whiten in the second game of a doubleheader on September 7, 1993 against the Reds, which the Cardinals won 15-2. Whiten hit four home runs in that game.
Vladimir Guerrero held the previous Angels record for RBIs in a game with 9, which he did against the Red Sox on June 2, 2004.
Besides Anderson and Whiten, four other players in the last 50 years have had 10 RBIs in a game: Alex Rodriguez (who did it against the Angels and hit two more home runs tonight), Nomar Garciaparra, Fred Lynn, and Reggie Jackson.
Angels pitcher Marcus Gwyn gave up four runs while earning his first major league save.
He is the 22nd pitcher to pick up a save while giving up four or more runs since the save became an official stat in 1969.
Getting the most out of very little
Tampa Bay lost to Boston tonight at home 8-6. The Devil Rays got their six runs on just four hits. Two of them were homers: a 2-run homer by Carlos Pena and a 3-run homer by Akinori Iwamura. The sixth run came home on an error.
I didn't think six runs on four or fewer hits was all that unusual and it's not. It's happened 76 times in the last 50 years.
But two games stood out.
On April 9, 1996 the Tigers scored 10 runs against Seattle on just four hits and beat the Mariners 10-9 at Tiger Stadium. Four Seattle pitchers walked 9 Tiger batters and also gave up three home runs, one of them a grand slam to Cecil Fielder. Paul Menhart took the loss for the Mariners. And now he has appeared on this blog twice in a span of less than an hour and I didn't even remember who he was prior to tonight.
On June 29, 1962, the Mets (aka the gold standard for bad teams in the post 1947 baseball) beat the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, 10-4, despite getting only four hits.
The Mets scored six runs in the first innings this way:
Stan Williams relieved Ortega in the fifth and pitched the rest of the game. He walked eight, giving Dodger pitching 16 walks for the game. The Retrosheet boxscore has a pitch count for the game. The Dodgers threw 205 pitches, but only 97 were strikes. This was one of only two games the Mets won against the Dodgers in 1962 in 18 tries. The Dodgers had walked 11 Mets in a 13-inning win the night before and hold the major league record for most walks in two consecutive games with 27.
Frank Finch of the Los Angeles Times led his game story the next day with this:
Just one unsightly blemish
Detroit beat Cleveland tonight 2-1 at Jacobs Field and the Tigers pitchers, Jair Jurrjens, Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney, and Todd Jones, combined to give up just one hit: a home run to Jhonny Peralta in the sixth.
A team getting just one hit in a game and having it be a home run is not all that unusual. It's happened 63 times in the last 50 years.
However in the last five times it has happened, including tonight's game, the team that gave up the home run lost twice.
Last year on June 22, 2006, Anthony Reyes of the Cardinals lost to the White Sox, 1-0, on a Jim Thome home run in the seventh.
And on August 23, 2005, Freddy Garcia of the White Sox to the Twins, 1-0, on a Jacque Jones home run.
Last September 22, 2006, Tall Chris Young of San Diego lost a no-hit bid in the ninth when he gave up a 2-run homer to Joe Randa, but he won the game.
Indecision no more
Angels pitcher Darren Oliver, appearing in his 46th game of the season, got the win in his team's 7-6 win over the Yankees Monday night. It was the first decision of the season for Oliver, who also had no saves.
Scott Aldred of the 1998 Devil Rays pitched the most games in the season without an W, L, or S with 48. He did have 8 holds.
Trever Miller of the Astros has appeared in 64 games without a win or loss this season, but he does have one save. If he doesn't win or lose, he would set a major league record for most games pitched without a win or loss in a season, which is also Aldred's 1998 season.
55-69 and no fight!
With Washington's win over Houston and the White Sox win over Kansas City, there are now five teams in the majors with the record of 55-69. Florida lost earlier today to San Francisco to start the trend.
Mediocrity loves company.
That's .448 if you're scoring at home.
All five teams are in fourth place in their respective divisions.
Just eyeballing past standings, I think that there have been two years since the three division era started in 1994 when three teams finished the year with the same record:
2000: St. Louis, Atlanta, and the White Sox all finished 95-67
1997: Cincinnati, San Diego, and Toronto all finished 76-86.
In 1992, when each league had two divisions and just 26 teams overall, the Mets, San Francisco, Angels, and Kansas City all finished at 72-90.
I then got bored and stopped looking.
Jenks consecutive batters retired streak ends
Bobby Jenks failed in his attempt to pass Jim Barr for the most consecutive batters retired in major league history. Jenks had retired 41 straight batters, but Joey Gathright of the Royals led off the top of the ninth with a single.
Knotty Problem of Baseball?
In the eighth inning tonight in Chicago, Kansas City catcher Jason LaRue appeared to catch a foul popup behind home plate off the bat of A.J. Pierzynski.
However, the umpires ruled that LaRue pushed the screen behind home plate with his hand to keep the ball from hitting it.
I suppose that's illegal, but I can't figure out why.
Pierzynski struck out on the next pitch.
The various comings and goings
The Mets made the requisite "playoff team needing a spare part" deal by acquiring Jeff Conine from the Reds in exchange for A-level infielders Jose Castro and Sean Henry. Jorge Cantu will get called up by the Reds to take Conine's roster spot. Conine went to UCLA the same time I did. And he was drafted in the 58th round by the Royals in 1987. We all thought that Shane Mack would have the longer career. We were not correct.
The White Sox, trying to escape the cellar in the AL Central, have signed Mike Myers. I'm sure that will help a lot.
Mark Redman pitched for Tulsa tonight, which is the Rockies AA affiliate. This year he has pitched for Atlanta (0-4, 11.63), Richmond (Atlanta AAA, 1-0, 0.00), Oklahoma (Texas AAA, 2-4, 5.34), and Syracuse (Toronto AAA, 0-2, 5.12). Redman has given up 5 hits, including 2 homers, and 5 runs in 5 innings for Tulsa tonight against Midland.
These are desperate times.
Random Record of the Week #21
Page 21- Most home runs against one club, season - 14, Lou Gehrig New York vs. Cleveland, 1936 (6 at New York, 8 at Cleveland)
The 1936 New York Yankees were a team that steamrolled the entire AL, scoring 1065 runs, and winning 102 games to beat out second place Detroit, the winner of the two previous AL pennants, by 19 1/2 games. And leading that offense was Lou Gehrig, the team's incomparable first baseman.
Gehrig batted .354 (5th best in the AL, but only second best on his team as catcher Bill Dickey batted .362), driving in 152 runs, drawing 130 walks, and striking out just 46 times. Gehrig led the AL in slugging at .696 and in OBP at .478. Gehrig reached base safely 342 times. And he hit 49 home runs, the best in the AL. And of those 49, nearly 29% of them came against third place Cleveland.
17 K and a Tale from the Scorebook
Johan Santata of the Twins set a franchise record (Washington included) with a 17 strikeout game against the Rangers today in Minneapolis. Santana gave up just two hits (both of them to Sammy Sosa) and walked none in eight innings of work.
Joe Nathan struck out two in the ninth for the save. The Twins won 1-0.
The 19 total whiffs by the Ranger hitters were a team high for a nine-inning game. Texas had struck out 18 times in a game three times before, most recently on May 22, 2007 against the Twins in a game that Johan Santana started also.
Despite Walter Johnson having pitched for the Washington Senators, the Big Train did not hold the franchise record for strikeouts in a game previously. There were four Twin pitchers and one Senators pitcher with 15 Ks in a game. Camilo Pascual had 15 strikeouts in a game in Washington and Minnesota.
Controlling your playoff destiny
According to the RIOT numbers site, the following teams cannot win their divisions unless they get help:
The Dodgers could win all of their remaining games and finish in a tie for the wild card. The Braves, Cardinals, and Rockies are all teetering on the precipice.
(These lists can change if a trailing teams wins a few games and the first place team loses some.)
The Scooter picks up a year after death
In his New York Times column today, Murray Chass reveals that Phil Rizzuto was actually born in 1916, and not 1917, as he had always insisted.
Chass also reports that Rizzuto may have passed away very late in the night of August 13, instead of early in the morning of August 14. However, a death date of August 14 would mean that Rizzuto and his longtime NL and inter-borough rival, Pee Wee Reese, died on the same day. Reese passed away on August 14, 1999.
When Hoyt Wilhelm passed away in 2002, it was revealed he was a year older than everyone thought.
Garrett Williams of the Lubbock, Texas Little League team struck out the first 17 batters from the Coon Rapids, Minnesota team, but had to leave the game before striking out the final batter because he had reached the pitch count limit.
In the AP story, it appeared that Williams didn't care about missing out on going 18 for 18.
And now for the rest of the story...
Williams didn't have a perfect game going, he actually surrendered three hits.
Owings and the Big Night*
Pitcher Micah Owings of Arizona has hit two home runs and a double in his first three at bats against Buddy Carlyle of the Braves tonight in Atlanta.
Owings is the first pitcher to have two homers and a double in a game since Jack Harshman of the Orioles on September 23, 1958.
Owings also has 5 RBI, the most by a pitcher since Robert Person of the Phillies had 7 on June 20, 2002.
And then Owings had an RBI single in the seventh, making him 4 for 4 with 6 RBI and 11 total bases. No pitcher in the last 50 years has surpassed 10 total bases. Two pitchers have hit three home runs in a game: Guy Hecker of Louisville of the AA on August 15, 1886, and Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves on May 13, 1942.
Owings is just the fifth pitcher in the last 50 years to have a game with at least 6 RBI. Owings is also the first Arizona pitcher to hit two home runs in one game as well as the first pitcher to hit two home runs in a game at Turner Field. Owings also gave up three home runs (the only hits he allowed) and I believe he is the first pitcher to give up three home runs in a game while hitting two.
Webb's scoreless streak reaches 42 innings*
For the first time since 1988 when Orel Hershiser set the alltime record with 59 consecutive scoreless innings, a pitcher has passed 40 straight scoreless innings. Brandon Webb of Arizona shut out the Braves in Atlanta, 4-0 to run his scoreless string to 42 innings.
Webb last gave up a run in the sixth inning of a 6-2 loss at Chicago on July 20 when he Jacque Jones got an RBI single off of him. Webb pitched a scoreless seventh. (#1)
The last pitcher to throw three consecutive complete game shutouts was Roger Clemens with Toronto in 1998.
Webb's next start should be Wednesday, August 22 at home against Milwaukee.
Update - Webb's streak is listed as 42 innings and not 42 1/3 because of a ruling by the Elias Sports Bureau back in 1968 when Don Drysdale has his 58 inning scoreless streak.
From the Los Angeles Times, September 27, 1988:
The Center or Central cannot hold
The Central divisions in both leagues saw a change in their leaders tonight.
Cleveland reclaimed the lead in the AL Central with a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay while Detroit lost in New York 6-1. The Indians have now been in first for 71 days. The Tigers have been in first for 56 days. (There have been some days when they were tied.)
In the NL, the Cubs edged St. Louis 2-1 and moved into first when Milwaukee continued its slide with an 8-3 loss to the Reds. The Brewers have spent 112 days in first place. This is just the third day the Cubs are in first and the first day they have been in first all alone.
Why you should short your stock in the Milwaukee Brewers
Plays like this make me think that the Milwaukee Brewers are doomed:
K. Griffey Jr. reached on fielder's choice, J. Keppinger to second on third baseman R. Braun's throwing error, K. Griffey Jr. and J. Keppinger scored on right fielder G. Gross' throwing error
Zambrano signs new deal with Cubs *
ESPN Radio in Chicago is reporting that Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs have reached an agreement on a 5-year, $90 million contract.
The Cubs are presently 61-59 and just ½ game behind first place Milwaukee in the NL Central.
It is no longer "reportedly." And it's actually for $91.5 million.
Puerto Rico cancels winter baseball season
After 69 years of play and participating in every Caribbean Series since 1949, the operators of the Puerto Rican winter league have decided to call off the upcoming season with hopes of reorganizing and starting again after the 2008 MLB season.
Offerman denies hitting anyone with a bat
Jose Offerman, now playing for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, denied hitting Bridgeport Bluefish players Matt Beech and John Nathans with his bat, according to published reports.
Easy Griddle trivia contest! Win free tickets to tonight's Dodgers game - OVER
Reader Barry Cohen has forwarded to me a pair of tickets in the Reserved, Section 4 at Dodger Stadium for tonight's Dodgers-Astros tilt!
The first person who answers this question:
Which Dodger manager has the highest winning percentage of all time? This includes both Brooklyn and Los Angeles. There is no minimum number of games.
And the answer is (are): Clyde Sukeforth and Ray Blades (1.000). Sukeforth won two games as interim manager at the start of the 1947 season. Blades won one game as an interim manager in 1948. Both times they were filling in for Leo Durocher and Burt Shotton was following.
Scareduck had the right answer, and I'm waiting to see if he wants the prize.
Tales from the Scorebook (Updated with images)
(First in an occasional series, unless you think they're no good and I'll stop)
Although I have been keeping score at baseball games since 1972 (when I was 6), I never bought a scorebook until 1995. I was off visiting friends in the Oakland area and when I got to the Oakland Coliseum, I saw a scorebook on sale for something like $6 and it didn't take long for me to do the math between the price of the scorebook and buying a program each time.
So as my friend and I settled in to the upper deck of the Oakland Coliseum on a beautiful Saturday afternoon on May 27, 1995, I entered into a new world. The book itself was really more appropriate for softball as it had 11 batting slots, but since it had a nice shiny Oakland A's logo on it, it had the veneer of Major League respectability. The logo has since been obscured by a collection of mysterious stains by substances which I'd rather not identify because it may remind me of what I ate.
The Yankees had started the day in third place in the strike-delayed season, while the Athletics were in second place. Oakland was starting its unexpected (and often forgotten) ace of the 1995 season, Steve Ontiveros. The Yankees started a young lefty making his first major league start, Andy Pettitte. Pettitte had pitched in five games in relief earlier in the year. I had to check the scoreboard a few times to make sure I had the right number of Ts in Pettitte.
De Nederlanders komen! De Nederlanders komen!
Two players with exceedingly Dutch names were in the news today.
The Tigers brought up Jarr Jurrjens from AA Erie to start tonight against Cleveland. Jurrjens is a native of Curacao. He took the roster spot of the equally cool-named Yoman Bazardo.
The Mets signed 18-year old Dutch third baseman Marinus Vernooij today. He's from Rotterdam.
Offerman arrested after attacking players with bat during game
Former big leaguer and current Long Island Duck Jose Offerman was arrested last night after he attacked Bridgeport pitcher Matt Beech and catcher John Nathans with his bat after getting hit by a pitch.
Racially biased umpires?
After Time magazine ran with a story about a study by a University of Texas professor named Daniel Hamerhesh suggesting that home plate umpires are racially biased in ball-strike calls, Phil Birnbaum took a deeper look.
He was not too worried.
Or as Phil states at the end, about 1 in every 700 pitches.
And there he goes, number 132 for Bobby Cox!
Braves manager Bobby Cox broke the known record for ejections that he held with John McGraw tonight in Atlanta when umpire Ted Barrett ran Cox for arguing balls and strikes in the fifth inning.
After the ejection, a taped tribute from McGraw was played on the scoreboard telling Cox to "Go &*^ himself!"
It was an old tape.
Phil Rizzuto, 1917-2007
Yankee great Phil Rizzuto passed away Tuesday in West Orange, N.J. He was 89 years old.
Bronx Banter obviously will have more.
For those of us who grew up on the West Coast, we remember Scooter this way.
I need to pick a new home team to go see
The last time I saw the Los Angeles Dodgers win in person was back on September 21, 2006. The Dodgers beat the Pirates 5-2.
Since then, I've attended the following games in person:
I'm going back in on Thursday. Wish me luck.
But at what point can I write a series of self-indulgent, self-pitying essays about my team's losing ways and have them published by a big East Coast outfit?
Random Record of the Week #20
This particular record turned out to be one that shows how difficult it can be to definitely find out about certain events in history. It wasn't until 2006, that SABR researcher Mike Grahek found Kling's feat. And even then finding out the exact details can be hard. And for me, it's even harder when you're just spending a couple hours poking around online trying to find the answer.
Changes atop the leader board
Detroit took advantage of the Yankees sweep in Cleveland to reclaim first place in the AL Central. The Yankees are just .001 behind Seattle for the wild card.
The Yankees also moved one game ahead of the Mets in the NY Metro Area Battle. The Dodgers recent slide has dropped them 9 1/2 games back of the Angels in the LA Metro Area Battle. Washington remains a game behind Baltimore in that Metro Area Battle.
The Pirates swept a three-game series from the Giants are just .001 from climbing out of the #16 slot in the National League. The Pirates and Giants play a twi-night doubleheader in Pittsburgh Monday.
Jenks ties ML record for consecutive batters retired
In the top of the 9th in Chicago, White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks retired Adam Jones, Jamie Burke, and Yuniesky Betancourt, to tie Jim Barr for the major league record for consecutive batters retired at 41. It was the 14th straight game without a batter reaching for Jenks.
The Mariners are winning the game 6-0 however.
No space, alstublieft!
Last week, Florida Marlins pitcher Rick Vanden Hurk finally told team officials that his last name is really spelled VandenHurk. Apparently, when VandenHurk came to the U.S. as a 16-year old, a space was put in between the n and H. But no more, so please no spaces.
Baseball Deathwatch started
It's just August 11, but it's not too early to check to see which team will get the dubious honor of being the first team to be eliminated from a chance at the postseason.
Thanks to the good people at the RIOT numbers site, run by people out of the UC Berkeley Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and the Haas School of Business, you can figure out if your favorite team's chances of being eliminated or clinching a spot are easier or harder than you think.
In the AL, it's no surprise that Tampa Bay, the team with the worst record in the majors, is the most likely to be eliminated first. The Rays have 47 games left and have to win at least 29 of them to have a chance at the postseason. And with just 29 wins everything would have to break just right for them to get a tie for a playoff spot.
In the NL, the Pirates may have the worst record, but the Giants have a slightly more difficult road to the postseason. That's because the four teams above the Giants in the NL West standings are all above .500 and all playoff contenders and they all play each other again this season, so there is a limit to how many games the teams in front of the Giants may lose. The Pirates have the advantage of playing in the NL Central where there are just two teams in contention, the Brewers and Cubs, and their records aren't that good. The Pirates do have the disadvantage of being the Pirates however. However, the Pirates and Giants are in the middle of a two-city, five-game series. After playing today and Sunday in San Francisco, the teams will fly to Pittsburgh to play a doubleheader to make up a pair of games canceled by poor weather.
Six teams in the NL cannot advance to the postseason without help: San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston, Washington, and Florida. Six teams in the AL are in a similar situation: Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Kansas City, Oakland, and Texas.
I'm guessing (and it's really a guess) that no team will be eliminated in August, but I would be surprised if Tampa Bay isn't the first one to go down. But don't count out the Giants, they are gaining on the field.
Johnson, Browning, and Barr next in line for Jenks
Now that Bobby Jenks has retired 38 straight batters to tie David Wells AL record, he has three NL pitchers in front of him before he holds the record.
At 39 straight batters is Randy Johnson in 2004. On May 12, 2004 Johnson gave up a single to Joe McEwing of the Mets to lead off the inning then retired the next three batters and three more in the seventh before being pinch hit for. In his next start, on May 18, 2004, Johnson threw a perfect game in Atlanta. On May 23, 2004 in Florida, Johnson retired the first six Marlins, but Abrham Nunez led off the third with a double to end the streak at 39.
At 40 straight batters is Tom Browning in 1988. On September 11, 1988 Browning gave up a one-out single to Rick Dempsey of the Dodgers in the fifth. Browning retired 11 straight Dodger hitters after that and was pinch hit for in the top of the ninth. John Franco would lose the game on a walkoff homer by Jeff Hamilton.
In Browning's next start, he faced the Dodgers again, but this time in Cincinnati on September 16, 1988 and Browning went through L.A. 27 straight.
Next up for Browning would the Giants at home on September 21, 1988. He got Brett Butler and Robby Thompson to start the game, but Will Clark singled with two outs, ending Browning's streak at 40 straight batters.
Jim Barr's record streak of 41 straight batters retired came in two games. On August 23, 1972, Barr walked Pirate pitcher Bob Moose to lead off the third and then the remaining 21 Pittsburgh hitters went down.
Then on August 29, 1972, Barr started for the Giants in St. Louis and retired the first 20 Cardinals hitters. But Bernie Carbo doubled with two outs in the seventh. The Cardinals would get just three hits in the game.
Jenks streak is stretched out over 13 games and he has not allowed a batter to reach since July 17.
Damning Justin Upton with faint praise
Daron Sutton on the Diamondbacks broadcast Friday night was quite excited that Justin Upton had received his second intentional walk of his career in just his first week.
Actually, Upton has been in the majors for 9 days and his played in 8 games.
And two other players this year have had at least two intentional walks in their first eight games of their career. One is Upton's teammate, Mark Reynolds. He received intentional walks in his second and sixth games. The other was Dodgers third baseman (now in Las Vegas) Andy LaRoche, who had TWO games with TWO intentional walks in his first six games.
Two players in the last 50 years have received THREE intentional walks in their first eight career games. The first was Glenn Bjorkman of the Astros in 1983 and the other was Wil Nieves of the Padres in 2002.
Jeff Salazar received an intentional walk in each of his first two major league games for Colorado last year. He's now in the Diamondbacks organization, which apparently is the place to be if you want to receive intentional walks.
Justin Upton has a very good chance of being a great player. But his intentional walks early in his career have pretty much just been a factor of there being a base open at the right time. His first IBB was on Wednesday against Pittsburgh and he was passed after teammates Orlando Hudson and Eric Byrnes had a double steal to open up first base with one out in a 5-5 game in the fifth. Friday's came in the 7th against Washington with one out and runners on second and third in a 4-4 tie.
The rookie record for IBBs in a season is 16 by Alvin Davis of Seattle in 1984. In the last 50 years, ten rookies have hit 10 IBBs in a season. That list includes Rey Ordonez!
Jenks ties AL record for consecutive batters retired
Bobby Jenks set down the Seattle Mariners in order in the 9th tonight to save the White Sox 5-3 win in Chicago.
Jenks went 3-0 on Jose Lopez before getting him to strike out. Yuniesky Betancourt grounded out to short and Ichiro Suzuki grounded out to third.
Jenks has now retired 38 consecutive batters, tying David Wells mark from 1998. Wells was helped out by a perfect game in the middle of the streak.
The Metro Area Battles heat up
With the Mets losing to Braves, their lead in the NY Metro Area race over the Yankees was cut to just one game. However, the Mets will be hosting Florida over the weekend and the Yankees will be in Cleveland. The Mets and Yankees had the same record in 2006.
Last night, there was a change atop the Maryland/DC Metro Area race as the Nationals edged ahead of the Orioles by .001. This taut and gripping race promises to go down to the wire. The Nationals will be in Arizona this weekend while the Orioles host the Red Sox. The tension along the B-W Parkway is at a fever pitch I hear.
The Cubs, Angels, and Athletics all have healthy leads in their races.
Jenks threatening consecutive batters retired records
White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks has retired the last 35 batters he's faced and is just three short of the alltime AL record for consecutive batters retired, which is 38 by David Wells on May 12, May 17, and May 23, 1998. Jim Barr of the Giants holds the major league record with 41 straight batters retired on August 23 and August 29, 1972.
The last batter to reach against Jenks was Ryan Garko on July 17, 2007. Garko hit a 2-run homer off of Jenks. Jenks retired the next three batters and then 11 straight appearances without a batter reaching first.
Noticed on Baseball Musings.
The White Sox are home to the Mariners over the weekend.
Spiezio to get drug treatment and Ankiel replaces him*
Rick Ankiel's return to the majors as an outfielder came as utility man Scott Spiezio was placed on the restricted list by the Cardinals. Spiezio is entering into a drug treatment program.
Update- Ankiel hit a 3-run homer off of Doug Brocail of the Padres in the 8th inning.
Ripken named special envoy by State Department
Cal Ripken was named as a special envoy for the State Department by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Purportedly, Ripken's job will be to promote baseball around the world, but I've been told by my sources at Foggy Bottom that Ripken is actually on a top secret mission to head off a potential civil war in Andorra.
Book Review: Playing in Isolation by Junwei Yu
In his book, Playing in Isolation : A History of Baseball in Taiwan, Junwei Yu, a professor in Recreation and Sport Management at Shu Te University in Taiwan, we are presented a fascinating look at the development of the sport of baseball in a nation that few Americans have visited or even understand its internal conflicts. Yu has written a tremendous work about the history of baseball in a country that is frequently mentioned in international circles, yet few people understand anything about it.
Hey, I stayed up until the end!
And there's been a change in the AL playoff picture as the Mariners have taken over the wildcard spot.
For the time being.
Seattle leads the Tigers by .001. But the Tigers trail the Indians by a 1/2 game in the Central. And Seattle, Cleveland, and Detroit all play tomorrow.
Team struggling? Try these tips?
Slate.com received a copy of a training document handed out to Free Tibet supporters to refer to when they go to baseball games to protest the Beijing Olympics of 2008.
Just try that at Fenway Park the next time the Yankees are in town. Good luck with that.
An almost cycle very early for Justin Upton
In just his fifth major league game, 19-year old Arizona outfielder Justin Upton missed hitting for the cycle, hitting for a double, triple, and homer, but grounding out to second to end the game against Matt Capps of the Pirates in Arizona's 8-3 loss to Pittsburgh.
Upton would have become the youngest player ever to hit for the cycle, which is still Mel Ott, who was 20 years old when he did it on May 16, 1929. Ott played his first major league game at age 17 on April 27, 1926.
Fred Lewis of the Giants back on May 13 became the fastest player to hit for the cycle, doing so in his 16th career game.
Going through the last 50 years, the fastest any player had a game with a double, triple, and homer in it before was 8 games by Gregg Jefferies back on August 29, 1988. Jefferies did it again in his 17th game on September 9, 1988.
Twelve players have come within a homer of the cycle in their first five games in the last 50 years. Thirty-one players have come with a triple of the cycle in their first five games in the last 50 years. Five players have missed the cycle by a double in their first five games in the last 50 years.
The Bonds 'advantage'? Probably not
In the wake of Michael Witte's article in Editor and Publisher that Barry Bonds gains an enormous mechanical advantage from his elbow guard, Will Carroll tracked down the man who makes the brace (it's custom made), orthotist Mark Silva, for Baseball Prospectus.
In the article (which is for subscribers) or the podcast (which anyone can listen to), Silva describes the process for making the guard and you find out that it's a relatively mundane process. Also, the elbow guard's main function is, not surprisingly, to protect Barry Bonds's elbow. Silva wants to make a guard that is as light as possible so the person using it doesn't feel it at all and think it's a hindrance.
Silva also mentions that he hasn't had to change the mold for the guard in the last 12 years because there has been no meaureable change in the size of Bonds arm in that time and players like Mo Vaughn and Rickey Henderson have worn similar guards and have had similar sized arms.
Update - From Edman8585, you can read another rebuttal of Witte's report.
My question is: Why would Editor & Publisher run such a piece? It's not exactly what their readership is looking for.
Matt Vasgersian, not a fan of the Mound City
Sam DC passes along this link where Padres TV announcer was quoted (he thought we was off the air) speaking ill of the good denizens of the Mound City.
The language is not suitable for reprinting in a family-oriented blog.
More about it at Awful Announcing.
No Ted Drewes and no toasted ravioli for you, Matt!
Where in the word? Parts three and four
No prizes today. Just the overwhelming respect of your peers. Today two pictures:
You can leave your guesses in the comments this time. And if you can figure out why these were picked today that would be good also.
The Hughie Jennings Watch
I put it on the sidebar so you can track the progress, but Craig Biggio is running out of time in his quest to pass Hughie Jennings for the alltime HBP record.
The Onion covered the topic better.
Pedro Astacio hit Biggio the most times, 7. Biggio has been hit just three times this year, the lowest total of his career since 1991.
Random Record of the Week #19
Page 323 - Fewest strikeouts in an NLCS game, 0, Pittsburgh against Los Angeles, October 6, 1974. (This is a record for hitters, not pitchers)
Game 2 of the 1974 NLCS was a daytime affair (there would not be night game in the LCS until 1975) at Three Rivers Stadium. The NL West champion Dodgers had won Game 1, 3-0, on a 4-hitter by Don Sutton. It was the Dodgers first postseason victory since Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. The Pirates were playing in their fourth NLCS and their third under manager Danny Murtaugh.
Andy Messersmith, who had gone 20-6 with an ERA of 2.59 in the regular season, started for the Dodgers against Jim Rooker (15-11, 2.78) for the Pirates. Messermsith had pitched in 39 games in 1974 and had struck out at least two batters in each game. He had 221 strikeouts on the season, second in the NL behind Steve Carlton of the Phillies who had 240.
Mets ensure that Glavine's 300th win is a long night
It took 200 minutes to finish it, but Tom Glavine finally got his 300th win as the Mets beat the Cubs 8-3 at Wrigley Field. On a sultry night in Chicago, Glavine went 6 1/3 innings and five Mets relievers (Guillermo Mota, Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, Jorge Sosa, and Billy Wagner) finished up.
The Mets put 23 runners on base, picking up 16 hits and 7 walks. They also stranded 15 runners, tying them for the third highest total in the majors this year in a nine-inning game.
Eight teams have left no runners on base in a game this year and two of them won.
When mascots attack
Coco Crisp of the Boston Red Sox narrowly avoided injury today in Seattle when the Mariners Moose mascot narrowly missed hitting him with an ATV outside the Boston dugout.
From the AP story:
Seattle GM Bill Bavasi called down to Boston manager Terry Francona very quickly to apologize and presumably this particular Moose is now unemployed.
Perhaps Randall Simon had the right idea all along.
La Russa on batting his pitcher 8th
Tony La Russa last night batted his pitcher (Joel Pineiro) in the #8 slot and had second baseman Adam Kennedy bat ninth. Today, Adam Wainwright is batting eighth and Aaron Miles is batting ninth.
According to a story by Joe Strauss in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, La Russa wants to create more offense by increasing the number of runners who could be on base for the top of his order, which today is David Eckstein, Scott Spiezio, and Albert Pujols.
Last night, the Cardinals lost to Washington 12-1 with the only run coming on a home run by Kennedy in the #9 slot and Miles finished up on the mound.
After two innings today, the Cardinals and Nats are tied 1-1. The only run for the Cardinals came on a home run by Ryan Ludwick.
The top of the second of the Cardinals went like this:
David Wells, constitutional scholar
Commissioner Bud Selig has fined David Wells an additional $5,000 on top of his seven-game suspension (under appeal) for comments critical of the disciplinary process:
But Wells turned to his keen, legal skills for a retort:
David, I hate to break this to you, but this isn't a First Amendment issue. You signed a contract where you said you'd behave and you also agreed to allow such discipline to be meted out. However, because the Commissioner is a nice guy, he is giving Wells the right to petition him for a redress of grievances.
Wells has also been granted Third Amendment privileges by the Commissioner as long as he's a player, which means he doesn't have to have those Marines from Camp Pendleton stay at his apartment in San Diego.
Not a relation
In the San Diego Union-Tribune story about Adam Hughes, the 33-year old La Jolla resident who "caught" home run #755 off the bat of Barry Bonds, there is also this paragraph.
Wrong speling. And no one in my family would ever spend that much time working on such a problem.
A paucity of hits, but still a win
Oakland beat the Angels today 2-1 with just two hits: a single by Jack Cust in the fourth that didn't figure in the scoring and a game-winning RBI pinch hit single by Travis Buck in the seventh. Oakland did draw seven walks, so the A's weren't hurting for baserunners.
The Athletics were the eighth team this year to win a game in which they got two or fewer hits. The other seven can be found here. The Padres have won three such games this year, all by the score of 1-0 and all started by Tall Chris Young.
In the last 50 years, 1971 has seen the most wins by teams getting two or fewer hits. In that year, there were 12. That included a game on April 9, 1971 when Oakland beat Kansas City 5-0 in 5 1/2 innings on just two hits. And all five runs scored in one inning, the second, and the A's only had only one hit in that inning. Vida Blue struck out 13 Royals. It was Oakland's first win of the season and the A's would pick up 100 more in the regular season to go to the postseason for the first time since 1931.
Book Review: Level Playing Fields by Peter Morris
But baseball field's were not always treated so kindly. It took until the early part of the 20th Century before groundskeepers became an important part of any stadium. In a new book by Peter Morris (who wrote the two volume Game of Inches last of year), the development of the craft of groundskeeping is examined in Level Playing Fields : How the Groundskeeping Murphy Brothers Shaped Baseball. The slim book (178 pages including the index and notes) uses the Murphy brothers as a peg for Morris to detail the early and somewhat erratic development of baseball playing fields.
In baseball's earliest days, teams would play wherever they could find open space. But sometimes the space wouldn't be so open. There would be trees on fields. There would be potato patches. Sometimes the field was all dirt. Sometimes it was all dirt. Sometimes the fields were mostly rocks. Sometimes runners had to run uphill going to some of the bases.
But much of that changed in the late 19th Century when the Murphy brothers, Tom and Jack, arrived on the scene. Tom got his break when the old NL Baltimore Orioles hired him to take care of their field in the 1890s. Tom Murphy was able to keep the grass long in the outfield, supposedly so the Orioles outfielders could hide baseballs on the field to throw in to catch unsuspecting runners. He also kept the dirt around home plate hard so the famous "Baltimore Chop", i.e. hitting the ball directly down so it would take a high hop and allow the batter to reach first, was much easier. However, Tom's career would run into some trouble when he tried to murder Connie Mack's brother and had to serve a few years in prison. (Attempted murder? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?) But when he got out, he still found work grooming big league fields.
John Murphy got his start in Pittsburgh tending a field that flooded nearly every year and after a period, realized that he should go work some place where he would have more dry land. So he moved on to the new AL Orioles (now the Yankees), but eventually quit his job in a dispute with John McGraw and there is a tale that John Murphy was so angry that he spelled out "McGraw" in white posies on the diamond and then yanked them out one by one in anger. Personally, I'm hoping to be able quit a job in that fashion. Eventually, John Murphy and McGraw reconciled and he went on to achieve notoriety as the groundskeeper at the Polo Grounds.
As the 20th Century dawned, baseball decided to crack down on fields that were blatantly unfair and John Murphy was able to adapt to this and was well known for making fields that were smooth and grass that was mowed frequently. A photo in the book shows the Polo Grounds field during the 1912 World Series and the grass looks to be in great shape even in October.
Morris uses the phrase "level playing field" quite frequently because his point is that once baseball finally made its playing fields truly level, the game became much more equal. As field conditions improved, home field advantages dropped. And while baseball fields today are not uniform in size and almost assuredly never will be, they are a far cry from the days when managers would let overflow crowds encroach on to the field in the section that would benefit their hitters the most. There may be a hill in center field in Houston and a monstrous wall in Boston, but there are no more turtlebacks (think playing baseball with moguls) behind second base. And there certainly aren't any more fields with trees surrounding third base..
We watch baseball in an era when guys rolling a tarp get applause. The Murphy brothers would likely be pleased.
Neifi, switch to decaf
Neifi Perez has tested positive for illegal stimulants for a third time and he's now been suspended for 80 games in addition to his earlier suspension of 25 games back on July 6.
So Neifi's season is done. And one would think that it's likely the end of his career.
I will leave this thread open for people to reminisce about their favorite Neifi Perez moments.
Thanks to Chyll Will for the link.
Where in the World? Answer
The mysterious red bricks of the post below were not the Freedom Trail. They were not the Prime Meridian. They were not part of Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.
They were at the University of Pittsburgh and marked part of the fence of old Forbes Field.
Eric Enders had the first correct guess (on his first try) and won the prize. Which he gave away.
Where in the world? Part two
So where is this? This is a picture that I personally took. If you think you know the answer, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first person to guess it right can win their choice of prizes:
The answer will be revealed after 6 pm PT.
Hint: It's not in Boston or St. Louis.
22 hits were not quite enough
The Braves lost to the Astros 12-11 in 14 innings at home despite picking up 22 hits in the game. The starting nine for the Braves all had hits, including pitcher Jo Jo Reyes. The Astros used 21 players and the Braves used 22. The winning run for the Astros scored on a pinch single by Jason Jennings.
The Braves were the 13th team in the last 50 years to get at least 22 hits and lose the game. All the games went extra innings. Back on May 17, 1979, the Cubs had 26 hits in a 10-inning, 23-22 loss to the Phillies.
The highest scoring extra inning game for the Braves was played on April 19, 1900 when they lost to the Phillies 19-17 in 10 innings despite making up a 17-8 deficit in the ninth.
A lonnnggggg second inning
The White Sox and Yankees each hung up an 8-spot in the second inning at Yankee Stadium. The 16 combined runs shattered the previous high for total runs in the second inning by two.
The old record was 14 and it was done three times, most recently by the Indians (6) and White Sox (8) on September 2, 2001. Chicago won that game 19-10.
The most runs scored in any one inning is 19 by Washington (14) and Baltimore (5) of the American Association in the first inning on June 17, 1891. Washington would win the game 20-19. That Washington squad gave up 1066 runs in just 139 games.
The winning pitcher for that day was Kid Carsey, who would finish the season with a record of 14-37. Kid was actually a 20-year old rookie and he would pitch in the majors through 1901.
But never very well.
Today's starters were non-kid Roger Clemens and Jon Garland.
Cleveland (13) and Boston (6) combined for 19 runs on April 10, 1977 at Fenway Park. Cleveland won the game 19-9. Dave LaRoche got the win despite retiring just one batter and giving up three runs. Tom Buskey, who finished the game for Cleveland, gave up three runs in two innings.
Team struggling? Call on me
The Cubs record when I took my nephew Dan to see them on June 3: 22-31.
The Cubs record from June 3 to today: 35-18.
I prefer to fly business class.Offer not valid in California or where prohibited by law. No actual guarantee of your team's improvement is given. Your team's improvement may vary. Especially, if your team is the Pirates.
Got any extras? MLB signs deal with StubHub
MLB and StubHub.com signed a deal that makes the eBay spinoff the official secondary ticket reseller for all 30 major league teams, according to a story in the New York Times.
A rare bit of very long relief in the NL
Manny Parra of the Brewers pitched the last 6 1/3 innings of his team's 8-5 loss to the Mets in Milwaukee. No NL pitcher had thrown at least six innings of relief since Carlos Villanueva of the Brewers did back on September 15, 2006 in Washington.
Long relief stretches are more common in the AL where the DH rule allows a manager to avoid to deal with possible pinch hit situations. Five AL pitchers had already pitched at least six innings in relief this year.
Parra also batted twice as a reliever, but that is not that unusual. Bob Shaw of the White Sox batted SIX times in a game on April 22, 1959 while pitching in relief of starter Early Wynn.
Twins call off Thursday's game and groundbreaking ceremony
Because of the tragic collapse of a highway bridge across the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Minnesota Twins have postponed Thursday's game against the Royals as well as a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Twins new stadium.
Why the French shouldn't cover baseball
Headline from AFP (Agence France-Presse):
Bonds misses out for now in a bid to equal US baseball homer mark
Bell won't return to manage Royals in 2008
Kansas City Royals manager Buddy Bell announced that he will resign at the end of the season and serve as a special assistant to GM Dayton Moore. Bell said he wished to spend more time with his family. He also had surgery on a cancerous left tonsil last year.
Bell has managed parts of nine different seasons and has a lifetime winning percentage of .419 coming into today's game against the Twins.
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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