Playing a little catch-up here; thirty teams generate a lot of box scores! Any neglect of your team is unintentional….

Tuesday — Nationals 3, Padres 1: Yowza! At 13-4, Washington remains on pace with the franchise’s best start (and last playoff edition), the 1981 Expos. They also lowered their team ERA to 2.21, half a run below the next-best NL team, and have allowed just 3 HRs all year.

  • They’ve yielded 2 runs or less 11 times, and won them all. They allowed 11 runs in one game and 8 in another, and 4 runs or less in all other games.
  • Bunt or not? Top of the 7th, no score, Nats got the first two men on and #8 hitter Steve Lombardozzi moved them up with a sac bunt. It looks great when it works — pinch-hitter Chad Tracy rolled a single up the middle to plate 2 runs — but according to Win Probability Added, even in that situation the sacrifice added just 1% to their winning chances.

Tuesday — Rays 5, Angels 0: Four Tampa HRs led to a 4-way tie in the AL East, and David Price logged the second shutout of his career two years less a day from his other whitewash.  Price allowed 22 HRs last year, but just 1 so far in 4 starts.

  • Weird stats: Luke Scott has 4 HRs, 15 RBI … and just 5 Runs. He’s also grounded into 6 DPs; he’s never had more than 9 GIDP in a season.
  • Ervin Santana tied a career worst by losing his 4th straight start. He’s served up 10 HRs (3 more than any other pitcher) in less than 24 IP, with at least 2 in all 4 games. He’s one of three active pitchers who allowed 20+ HRs each of the past 6 years.

Monday – Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: With 2 out, 2 on and a 2-2 count, catcher* Joe Mather took advantage of Jason Motte’s bad miss and drilled it up the middle for a game-winning 2-run single.
(*That’s position #2, if you’re scoring at home.)

  • It was the Cubs’ first walk-off win this year, and their first “do-or-die” game-winning hit since June 29, 2007.
  • It was the first walk-off RBI in Mather’s 138 games.
  • It was just the second blown save for Motte since taking over the closer role last August; he had gone 17 for 18, counting the postseason. The runners who scored got aboard on back-to-back walks.
  • Cubs speedster Tony Campana singled in his only time up and then swiped 2nd and 3rd base. Last year, Campana had just the sixth 4-SB game by a Cub in the live-ball era (all of them since 1989). He finished the year with 24 steals and just 2 CS, going 7-1 in games that he entered as a pinch-runner — the most steals in PR games since 2008.
  • Where have I seen this play before? Oh … right.

Tuesday — Cubs 3, Cardinals 2 (10): Deja voodoo? Once again, Joe Mather was up with 2 out in the 9th and a chance to be the hero. But he struck out, so the Cubs had to wait another inning to walk off winning.

  • Alfonso Soriano still doesn’t have a HR, but he got his first game-ending RBI since 2009. Tony Campana put himself in position to score the winning run with a 1-out single and his second steal of the game.
  • Kids, that was Tyler Greene at 2B demonstrating how not to play a one-hop liner with the winning run on 2nd, 2 out and the runners going with the pitch.
  • The Cubs have their first series win, and their second 2-game win streak. They also have a 3-2 lead in the season series with the Cards, after going 5-10 last year.
  • Bryan LaHair tied the game in the 9th with his first-ever HR off a lefty – a classic “only in Wrigley” drive into the the first row in left-center. LaHair had been 0-5 with 4 Ks vs. LHPs this year, and 5-39 (.128) in his career.
  • LaHair’s dinger snapped a 9-game homerless streak for Chicago, one shy of their longest streak since 1978.
  • St. Louis is 6-1 with Lance Berkman in the lineup, 5-6 without him.

Monday – Dodgers 7, Braves 2: L.A. finally played a team with a winning record. That’s not the only “air” in their 13-4 record; they’re 6-2 in one-run games, and their BA is .294 with RISP, .243 with none on. But the wins still go into the bank.

  • Braves backup catcher David Ross hit his first HR of the season. Out of 56 active catchers with at least 600 career PAs, Ross ranks 2nd in HR% at 4.3%, trailing only Mike Napoli (5.6%).
  • Jair Jurrjens (5 runs on 9 hits in 3+ IP) has allowed 4+ runs or more in three straight starts — the first such streak of his career. His next appearance will be for AAA Gwinett.

Monday – Red Sox 6, Twins 5: Cody Ross tied the game with a 2-run HR in the 7th, then hit the eventual game-winner with 2 out in the 9th (see Batters Top 5 WPA table below).

  • Two scoreless innings trimmed Boston’s bullpen ERA to 8.06 (see Relievers Top 3 WPA table below).

Monday – Brewers 6, Astros 5:

  • Nyjer Morgan spoiled his “Bermuda Triangle” (BA=OBP=SLG) by getting hit with a pitch. Through 17 games (after Tuesday), he’s 8-47, all singles, with no walks and no RBI.

Tuesday — Brewers 9, Astros 6:

Monday – Giants 6, Mets 1 / Giants 7, Mets 2: In each game, Nate Schierholtz went 3-5 with a triple, the first time he’s ever had consecutive 3-hit games. He missed his shot at the cycle in the opener, but still became the first player this year with a HR, a 3B and a SB in one game.

  • Worst game of the year by a position player so far? — In the opener, Ike Davis went 0-4 with a bases-full GIDP, another bases-full out and 2 strikeouts (see Batters Bottom 5 WPA table below) – and made a 2-out error that set up a 3-run inning.
  • Jeremy Hefner is the fifth Met to debut with 3+ scoreless innings. The only one to throw a shutout was Dick Rusteck; he was knocked out after 1 IP in his next start and never won again.
  • 7 of 9 doubleheaders at the Mets’ new park have been swept (3 by the Mets, 4 by the other guys); 10 of the last 11 doubleheaders played in the last 5 years at Shea ended in splits (counting the 2008 “two parks in one day” doubleheader).
  • On Saturday, Mike Pelfrey threw his best game since last July. By Sunday he was on the DL, along with the recently-not-terrible Jason Bay.

Tuesday — A’s 2, White Sox 0: Perhaps it’s time we got to know the rookie Tommy Milone, now 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA. He notched his second near-shutout of the year, 8 scoreless innings on 3 hits and no walks. After a full count on the very first batter, Milone had no 3-ball counts for the rest of his outing.

  • Pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki drove in the game’s first run in the bottom of the 8th after Daric Barton drew a leadoff walk. (Who says all those Barton walks don’t do much good?)
  • In his 4 starts this year, Milone walked 3, then 2, then 1, then none. The last two games seem more his style. At AAA last season, he had 155 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 148 IP.
  • Base-stealers are 0 for 3 against Milone, including a pickoff.
  • Chicago got just 5 men on base, and 3 were erased by DP or CS.

Tuesday — Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: Went to a ballgame, and the Eric Thames Variety Hour broke out. Toronto’s young LF hit a game-tying HR, then tipped one over the fence with his glove an inning later to put the O’s back on top, and finally ended the game by striking out with the tying run on base.

  • In his last 54 games, Thames’s beneficiary Matt Wieters has 18 HRs, 42 RBI and a .977 OPS. The 162-game pace is 54 HRs, 126 RBI, 99 Runs, 75 walks, 96 Ks.

Tuesday — Indians 4, Royals 3: After a 2-4 opening week, Cleveland has gone 8-2 and grabbed a share of the division lead.

  • KC’s 12-game skid has a lot of causes. One is Jeff Francoeur, hitting .180 with no RBI and -0.97 WPA during the streak. (Among qualifiers for the season, Alex Gordon is last in WPA at -1.15 and Francoeur is 3 spots up at -0.92.)
  • Five of the losses were by 1 run; only two were blowouts (margin of 5 or more).

Tuesday — Pirates 5, Rockies 4: Hitting .089 before the game (4-45) with no doubles or walks, Clint Barmes went 3-3 with a HR, two doubles and a walk.

  • Andrew McCutchen‘s 3 RBI bumped his season total to 5.
  • Carlos Gonzalez (2 HRs including a turnaround shot in the 8th) had the year’s highest WPA in a losing effort, 0.70.
  • Pittsburgh’s 2 runs in both the 7th and 8th matched their biggest innings of the year. They’ve scored a total of 19 runs in innings 1-6.
  • The Pirates went 4-16 with RISP, jacking that situational split all the way up to .190 (20-105).

Tuesday — Red Sox 11, Twins 2: Mike Aviles tied a career high with 9 total bases (HR, two 2Bs, single) on the 1-year anniversary of the last time he did it.

  • David Ortiz is hitting .444, on the heels of a career high .309 last year. After averaging 140 Ks in 2009-10, Big Papi slimmed down to 83 Ks last year.
  • Much has been said about Boston’s injured outfielders, but their OF OPS ranks a respectable 6th in the AL at .755. Last year, with Jacoby Ellsbury‘s breakout, they were 4th at .772.

____________________

Monday’s Best & Worst in WPA

Batters

– Top 5:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO GDP SB CS WPA ▾ RE24 aLI
1 Joe Mather 2012-04-23 CHC STL W 3-2 4 3 0 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0.756 1.913 3.013
2 Cody Ross 2012-04-23 BOS MIN W 6-5 4 4 2 2 0 0 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 0.650 2.354 1.187
3 Nate Schierholtz 2012-04-23 (1) SFG NYM W 6-1 5 5 1 3 0 1 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 0.267 3.275 .452
4 Alex Rodriguez 2012-04-23 NYY TEX W 7-4 4 2 1 1 0 0 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 0.206 2.741 .998
5 Ryan Braun 2012-04-23 MIL HOU W 6-5 4 4 2 3 1 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 0.195 2.100 .638
[All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used / Generated 4/24/2012.]

– Bottom 5:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO GDP SB CS WPA ▴ RE24 aLI
1 Starlin Castro 2012-04-23 CHC STL W 3-2 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 -0.271 -1.148 2.186
2 Alex Gordon 2012-04-23 KCR TOR L 1-4 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 -0.257 -1.832 2.073
3 Josh Reddick 2012-04-23 OAK CHW L 0-4 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -0.202 -1.664 1.257
4 David DeJesus 2012-04-23 CHC STL W 3-2 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 -0.191 -1.214 1.987
5 Ike Davis 2012-04-23 (1) NYM SFG L 1-6 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 -0.180 -2.846 1.397

 

Starting Pitchers

Top 3:

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc BF 2B 3B GDP WPA ▾ RE24 aLI
Jake Peavy 2012-04-23 CHW OAK W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 0 2 5 0 107 71 84 31 1 0 1 0.540 4.459 1.053
Jaime Garcia 2012-04-23 STL CHC L 2-3 GS-8 7.2 6 1 1 1 4 0 85 61 66 28 0 0 2 0.415 2.481 1.339
Brandon Morrow 2012-04-23 TOR KCR W 4-1 GS-7 ,W 6.2 7 1 1 1 3 1 100 66 58 27 3 0 1 0.286 2.240 1.278

Bottom 3:

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc BF 2B 3B GDP WPA RE24 aLI
Miguel Batista 2012-04-23 (1) NYM SFG L 1-6 GS-4 ,L 3.2 7 6 3 3 2 2 77 45 28 20 1 0 0 -0.412 -4.686 .641
Kyle Kendrick 2012-04-23 PHI ARI L 5-9 GS-4 ,L 3.0 11 7 7 1 1 1 63 38 9 21 4 0 0 -0.373 -5.587 .571
Jason Marquis 2012-04-23 MIN BOS L 5-6 GS-7 6.1 11 5 5 0 3 2 112 71 34 27 1 0 2 -0.340 -2.079 1.101

 

Relievers

Top 3: (BoSox fans can smile for one day, at least)

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str IR IS BF 2B 3B WPA RE24 aLI
Alfredo Aceves 2012-04-23 BOS MIN W 6-5 9-9f ,S 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 15 11 0 0 4 0 0 0.197 0.491 3.538
John Axford 2012-04-23 MIL HOU W 6-5 9-9f ,S 1.0 1 0 0 0 3 0 19 11 0 0 4 0 0 0.155 0.471 3.507
Daniel Bard 2012-04-23 BOS MIN W 6-5 8-8 ,W 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 11 4 1 0 3 0 0 0.240 0.935 3.580

Bottom __:

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str IR IS BF 2B 3B WPA RE24 aLI
Matt Capps 2012-04-23 MIN BOS L 5-6 9-9f ,L 1.0 1 1 1 0 0 1 17 11 0 0 4 0 0 -0.303 -0.509 1.435
Franklin Morales 2012-04-23 BOS MIN W 6-5 8-8 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 10 6 0 0 2 0 0 -0.134 -0.444 1.840
Jason Motte 2012-04-23 STL CHC L 2-3 9-9f ,BL 0.2 1 2 2 2 1 0 31 18 0 0 5 0 0 -0.813 -1.753 5.144

xx

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