I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a Saturday recap, so just for the hell of it, here’s the rest of Friday’s action:
@Phillies 6, Red Sox 4: Carlos Ruiz (.371) is now batting higher than any qualified catcher ever has for a season, and his 1.036 OPS is within hailing distance of Mike Piazza’s record (1.070). His 2-run single in the 1st (the biggest Win Probability event of the game) lifted him to .400 with RISP and 4 for 9 with the bases loaded (10 RBI).
- Cole Hamels (6-1, 2.48, 5.8 SO/BB) should be able to expand his library of old-school baseball histories after he signs his next contract.
Marlins 3, @Indians 2: Cleveland issued 4 walks, and 3 of them scored — each one on an out. Miami is 15-3 when drawing 4+ walks.
- Carlos Zambrano is livin’ large, but I expect more than a little regression. His SO and BB rates are about the same as last year, when he had a 4.82 ERA. His 19% K rate is exactly the NL SP average, but opponents are hitting just .199, 52 points below the NL SP average.
- One factor in Jose Reyes‘s .337 BA last year was a career-low 7% K rate. He’s at that same rate this year, but batting 90 points lower. He’s on pace for just 75 runs, a career low for a full season. He’s already hit into 5 DPs, matching last year’s total and on pace for 21 (career high is 9).
- Miami is hitting .271/.761 at home (4.4 R/G), .214/.627 away (3.3 R/G). But they’re over .500 in both.
- Indians had been 8-0 when allowing exactly 3 runs.
Rangers 4, @Astros 1: Is he a good-luck charm, or just a good pitcher on the right team? Rookie Robbie Ross is now 5-0 in just 15 relief appearances. Ross in the minors was a SP with good control and outstanding HR rates; in 20 IP so far, he’s walked just 4, and the only 2 HRs came in a game the Rangers already had well in hand.
- The last relievers with more than 12 wins were Roger McDowell and Mark Eichhorn in 1986.
- Neftali Feliz (5 BB, 51 balls of 101 pitches) had MLB’s 2nd start in 2 days with 100+ pitches in less than 5 IP but no more than 1 run allowed. There was only 1 such start in the past 2 years.
- Texas leads the AL in OPS+, and probably would do so even without Josh Hamilton. Seven of their other nine regulars have OPS+ over 100.
- The Rangers are 14-6 on the road, outscoring opponents 129-72.
- Is Joe Nathan all the way back? In 17.2 IP, he has 21 Ks and 2 walks. Since his only blown save in week 1, he’s converted 7 straight allowing no runs and 2 runners in those games.
@Dodgers 6, Cardinals 5: I’m tempted to see the hidden hand of TLR at work in the bottom of the 9th, guiding the base-filling IBB — except that even LaRussa would have blanched at doing that to get to a man with a .450 OBP. A.J. Ellis looked at 4 pitches and collected his 23rd walk, LA’s 2nd game-winning stroll of the year.
- That helped Ellis atone for a rough 3rd inning. In the top half, his throwing error contributed to 4 unearned runs, and in the bottom half he hit into a rally-killing DP with the bases full.
- The other walk-off BB this year came against the Dodgers.
- That’s five 0-for-5’s for Dee Gordon (most in MLB), now hitting .200/.239/.255, and 10 straight games without a steal (because … you know). LA ranks 2nd in RBI from both their #3 and #4 hitters, but they’re next-to-last in Runs by their leadoff men.
- Lance Berkman’s HR in the 9th was the first pinch-HR this year that tied the game with 2 outs in the 9th or later — and the first such HR by a Cardinal since 1994-06-16. It was also a rare PH success for Berkman, who’s 9-56 in that role.
- Kenley Jansen is the 5th pitcher this year to allow a HR but otherwise strike out the side. Jansen has fanned 41.7% of all batters faced in his career, the highest in MLB history among pitchers with 100+ IP, and his .148 BA allowed is also the lowest. (Craig Kimbrel is 2nd in both.)
Diamondbacks 6, @Royals 4: Like an oasis in the desert was the return of Chris Young to an Arizona lineup that has just 1 regular with an OPS+ over 95. A month away didn’t cool off Young, whose go-ahead 2-run double in the 5th gave him 15 RBI in 12 games and a 1.340 OPS.
- The Snakes went 10-18 without Young; they’re 8-4 with him.
@Giants 8, Athletics 6: The first bad start by young Jarrod Parker was a doozy — 6 runs in 2 IP, 4 walks, no Ks. Counting one game with Arizona last year, Parker had begun his career with 5 straight starts of 5+ IP and 2 runs or less. That’s the longest streak in the searchable era, matched by 14 others. (Bear in mind that, until recent decades, most pitchers began their careers in long relief.)
- For the 2nd straight day, the Giants had 8 hits and 9 walks, 3 doubles, no triples or HRs.
- Oakland’s Josh Donaldson (5 RBI, HR, two 2Bs) needed a big game — he came in 4 for 49 this year, with 1 double and no walks. The last 3-extra-base-hit game by an A’s third baseman was in 2007. Eric Chavez had 5 of those from 2000-05.
Twins 11, @Brewers 3: Thanks to a 16-hit attack keyed by leadoff man Denard Span (5-3-4-3), the first runs of the year against Scott Diamond didn’t spoil his perfect record or stop him from becoming the first Minnesota hurler with 3 wins. All other Twins SPs are 6-21 combined.
- The Twins’ last 3-game win streak was July 3-5, 2011, starting with a win over Milwaukee.
- Joe Mauer had his 3rd multi-XBH game this year, after just 1 all last season. He had 10 in 2009, his MVP year, and 9 the next year.
- 9 of the 11 HRs by Ryan Braun have come with nobody on, where he’s hitting .346. He’s hitting .276 with men on base. Maybe it’s random, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he were trying too hard in his relative few RBI chances. Milwaukee’s #1-2 hitters have a combined .298 OBP, and Braun is one of two regulars hitting over .259.
- The Crew will be under .500 at the quarter pole for the 3rd straight season. Last year, they didn’t get over .500 for good until game 47, but finished with 96 wins and the division crown.
Angels 7, @Padres 2: I did cover this game last night, but wanted to add this: Albert’s first multi-Run game since April 16. In the intervening 28 games, he had a .222 OBP and scored 8 runs.