Tuesday’s featured game: Texas at Boston

The Rangers clobbered the Red Sox on Tuesday, 18-3, opening a two-game miniseries in Fenway.

  • It’s the fourth time since 1991 that a Fenway guest scored 18+ runs; the other three were by the Yankees. The 15-run margin was the second-biggest over homestanding Boston in that span.
  • Texas became the first team this year to have all 9 starting batters score at least 1 run.

The defending AL champs came in at 8-2 with a 4-game win streak, having cleaned up on the two worst teams in the AL last year (6-1 vs. Seattle and Minnesota). This was their first crack at a team that had a winning record last year.

  • The 2011 Rangers went 40-17 in their own division and 25-18 against the AL Central, but just 22-22 against the AL East.
  • They went 6-4 against Boston last year, averaging 6.5 R/G and allowing 5.7. They won 2 of 3 at Fenway (during the September Swoon), scoring 28 runs with 6 HRs.

On Saturday, the Red Sox became the first team to get a HR from five different players. The Rangers matched that Tuesday, hitting 3 taters in a span of 4 batters in the 8th. The chief spud-slinger was Mark Melancon, who began that inning with a 22.50 ERA and left it at 49.00 (9 runs in 2 IP over 4 games).

  • Already in dutch with the Fenway Faithful after taking two ugly losses in the opening series, Melancon has now faced 17 batters and allowed 5 HRs. That ties him with Josh Beckett for the MLB lead (pending late games) and fuels the fire of those who questioned the offseason trade that brought in Melancon at the cost of SS Jed Lowrie.

After getting a day off in the wake of his manager’s curious criticism and subsequent apology, Kevin Youkilis started at 3B and fanned in all four trips — just the third time he’s donned the golden sombrero. Youk is now hitting .176 with 1 double and 3 RBI in 9 games, and has whiffed in 12 of 34 PAs.

Colby Lewis (7 IP, 2 runs, 7 Ks, no walks) now has 21 strikeouts against a lone walk this year. He joined Roy Halladay and Stephen Strasburg as the first pitchers with 3 Quality Starts; and like those two, Lewis has allowed 2 runs or less in each game.

Want more good company for Lewis? Here are the 9 pitchers who had 200+ IP and a SO/BB ratio of 3 or better in each of the past two years:

 ▴ Yrs From To Age
Roy Halladay 2 2010 2011 33-34 Ind. Seasons
Cole Hamels 2 2010 2011 26-27 Ind. Seasons
Dan Haren 2 2010 2011 29-30 Ind. Seasons
Felix Hernandez 2 2010 2011 24-25 Ind. Seasons
Cliff Lee 2 2010 2011 31-32 Ind. Seasons
Colby Lewis 2 2010 2011 30-31 Ind. Seasons
James Shields 2 2010 2011 28-29 Ind. Seasons
Justin Verlander 2 2010 2011 27-28 Ind. Seasons
Jered Weaver 2 2010 2011 27-28 Ind. Seasons

Lewis is the only one who has never been an All-Star, but that may change soon, especially with the exposure he’s gotten from going 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 8 postseason starts in 2010-11. (What’s that, you say? — Lewis hasn’t gotten much notice for these feats? Well, at least we know.)

Jon Lester threw 80 pitches and got just 6 outs, matching the shortest stint of his career. Despite a sterling 76-36 career record, he has not been a fast starter. In his first 3 starts of each season since 2008, Lester is a combined 2-9.

Only four other starts of 80+ pitches and 2 IP or less are known to the Play Index, all in the regular season:

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit ▾ Str BF SB
Chris Young 2007-04-15 SDP LAD L 3-9 GS-3 ,L 2.0 7 5 4 5 2 0 84 47 18 4
Steve Parris 2000-04-21 CIN LAD L 2-9 GS-2 ,L 2.0 7 5 5 2 2 1 84 50 15 0
Russ Ortiz 1999-07-26 SFG STL W 10-8 GS-2 2.0 4 7 0 6 1 1 84 42 17 3
Jeff Suppan 1997-06-08 BOS CLE W 12-6 GS-2 2.0 4 5 5 5 1 1 80 42 15 6
[All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used / Generated 4/17/2012.]

I left in the SB column because of the Suppan game: The combination of Mike Stanley behind the plate (he allowed 94 SB in 105 games the year before, with only 17% CS) and young Suppan on the hill (25 SB and 3 CS that year) allowed Cleveland to run amok, with 6 steals in the first 3 innings — 3 of them by noted burner Matt Williams, who twice stole 3rd base in the only 3-SB game of his career. (This game may have also signaled the end of Stanley’s career under the mask. He caught 12 more games for Boston that year before being dealt to the Yanks in August; he would play 3 more seasons but never caught again.) Yet for all the Indians’ dancing on the basepaths, the Red Sox scored 9 runs in the 4th and pulled away. That was 1997, folks.


Tuesday’s featured game: Texas at Boston — 19 Comments

    • That is sooo awesome. John, I fully expect a post to put his accomplishment in perspective. I saw he had a shutout going for awhile – has it really gotten to the point with Moyer that I am disappointed he couldn’t throw a complete game? Winning at 49 is not enough?

      The fact that I saw him pitch for my hometown Pittsfield Cubs really puts his career in perspective for me.

      • Odd how so many batters struggle against Moyer and yet Mark Kotsay of all people completely owns him. Going into last night’s game Kotsay was 19-33 with 5 doubles, a triple and a homerun. And sure enough, last night was Kotsay’s first game of the year, and he went 2-3 off of Moyer. Guys, if Mark Kotsay can hit him, you can too!!!

        • Ed — Did you see the game tonite? It was funny that Kotsay’s 2 hits were a sawed-off blooper and an excuse-me dribbler down 3rd base line. Both he and Moyer were laughing and teasing each other about it.

    • Gotta love it. Way to go Jamie!

      Seven innings and no earned runs too!

      Not sure if this accurate, but according to my research, he may also have the record for greatest time between wins:

      His first W was 6/16/86 (vs. Carlton) and last, so far, was 4/17/12. That makes approx. 25 yrs, 10 mos. between 1st and last wins.

      For comparison, Nolan Ryan’s first W was 4/14/68 and last was 8/15/93, a distance of approx. 25 yrs, 4 mos.

      Kinda cool that Jamie and Orioles beat Ryan’s Rangers about 2 weeks after Ryan’s last win too, on 8/29/93. (Maybe Ryan would have been pitching if he wasnt hurt. Oh well)

      As for the time between wins, like i said, i’m not sure if i’m right, but looks like Jamie is the new leader there too. (I also checked Wilhelm, Niekro, Spahn and Paige (MLB only)).

      • I checked a few other possibilities, shping, and I can’t find anyone either with a larger gap. Tommy John was 24 yrs, 11 mo.

      • Forgot about T John. Good try bstar.

        I also wondered about oldest to win a W Series game. I looked it up and remembered that in 2008, Moyer left with a lead in Gm3 but the bullpen coughed it up, evn tho Phils eventually won. Had Moyer gotten the win, he wouldve been 45 yrs, 11 mos.

        My best guess for oldest in this category would be Grover Alexander, who was 39 yrs, 8 mos when he beat the Yankees in ’26 Series. Seems like there could be an older one tho.

        Nonetheless, very impressive to be throwing Moyer’s name around with the likes of Ryan, Niekro, Alexander, etc.

        • Actually there was an older winning pitcher in last year’s WS – Darren Oliver at age 41.

          According to P-I oldest winning pitcher in a WS game was Dolf Luque of the Giants, at 43 years, 64 days when he won game 5 of the 1933 series against Washington.

          Other over 40 pitchers to win a WS game are Kenny Rogers, Curt Schiliing and John Franco.

    • Appears that the previous record was Jack Quinn at 49 years, 74 days on Sep 13, 1932.

      Moyer definitely has the longest span of time from first to last win. Aside from stunt appearances, only Ryan’s appearance span is longer than Moyer’s and, as Shping has identified, Ryan’s win span is shorter than Moyer’s.

  1. I heard this morning on local sports radio that Moyer’s top fastball last night was clocked at 78 mph. 78 mph? (Or was it 73 and I wasn’t listening carefully? Naw, had to have been 78.)

    What kind of smoke and mirrors do you use, without a knuckleball, to get ML hitters out when your “heater” would barely break a pane of glass?

  2. Back to the game mentioned – on Josh Hamilton’s 8th inning HR, the Red Sox announcers mentioned several times that that they had never seen a HR hit that deep into the righjt field stands. Since Jerry Remy has been doing Red Sox games for over 20 years, and he played for the Sox before that, this is very impressive.

    ESPN Home Run Tracker listed it as 469 feet. There was of course the obligatory mention of Ted Williams’ “Red Seat” blast of June 9th, 1946, off Tigers pitcher Fred Hutchinson, which was officially listed at 502 feet, 37 rows deep.

    Long time Red Sox fans – does anyone recall a similar or longer HR to right field than Hamilton’s last night? The best I can remember is a Mike Greenwell HR sometime in early 90s (?) that was mentioned at about 465 feet.

      • Yup, HRs more than a few rows deep behind the bullpens in Fenway are not that common.

        I did some further research on Williams’ “Red Seat” HR of 1946, and found that the true distance was probably closer to 530 feet, if you account for the extra distance the ball would carry. This makes sense, since 22 rows further back would be about 60 feet further back.

  3. @Neil,

    Interesting you should mention Moyer with mid-70s velocity. Reminded of Randy Jones of the Padres who had similar “heat” (and, coincidentally, pitched in the mid-1970s).

    Jones was good enough to win 20 twice, once in the season right after losing 20.

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