Memorial Monday musings

[Just in time for Tuesday night’s slate, here are a few notes on Monday games.]

White Sox 2, @Rays 1: To put it very mildly, ChiSox history is not replete with strikeout artists. From 1955 until yesterday, a pitcher had fanned 15+ in a game 210 times, but none of them were White Sox. Chris Sale ended that drought by posting just the 2nd ChiSox game of 15+ Ks in searchable history.

  • Matt Moore whiffed 10, making it the first game this year in which both SPs reached double figures, and the first since 2007 involving 2 AL teams.
  • Not only did Adam Dunn provide all of Chi’s scoring with a 2-run turnaround HR in the 6th, but there were 7 players in the game with more strikeouts than his 1.
  • Heck, the Sox hadn’t had even a 12-K game since 2007; there were 124 of those by other teams in between.
  • No qualifying White Sox pitcher has ever averaged a strikeout per inning. There have been 168 of those in MLB since 1901.
  • In the live-ball era (i.e., post-Ed Walsh), no White Sox pitcher has reached 220 Ks in a season. Other teams have had 242 such seasons since 1920. The Rays have had 2 in their 14-year history.
  • Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to 14 with a bloop single in his final chance.

@Marlins 5, Nationals 3: When someone calls Holds a “junk stat,” ask him what’s the value of a rescue job like the one Edward Mujica pulled off Monday: Inheriting the tying & go-ahead runs with one down in the 7th, Mujica induced a first-pitch GIDP by Ryan Zimmerman, then poured on the strikes in a zippy 8th to hand the lead (and the glory) to someone else.

  • Seeing the ball flee Giancarlo’s bat never gets old.
  • Better get ahead of him: Giancarlo is hitting .413/1.650 when the count’s in his favor (8 HRs in 46 ABs), but .169/.492 when he’s behind.
  • Jordan Zimmermann‘s first career HR was the 4th HR by a pitcher this year, all in May. It was the 2nd HR by a pitcher against Carlos Zambrano, in 486 ABs. The other was by Matt Cain back in 2007. (Cain has 5 career HRs in 407 ABs, but just a .120 BA.)
  • Zimmermann’s outing fell on the wrong side of this divide: Starters allowing no walks in 6+ IP are 75-32 this year.
  • 10+ starts and 6+ IP in each: Zimmermann, VerlanderSabathiaCain.
  • Has the 2007-09 model Hanley been discontinued? — The one with the alloy wheels, a .325 BA and 145 OPS+? I don’t know if he’s still affected by the injury that spoiled and shortened his 2011, but a .259/103 line doesn’t suit a $15 million third baseman.

@Pirates 4, Reds 1: The Bucs are back to .500 for the first time since game 4. The fulcrum was another dominant outing by James McDonald (8 scoreless), the only pitcher with 9+ starts who has not allowed more than 3 runs in a game. He earned (just) his 4th win, as his mates surpassed 3 runs for just the 4th time in his 10 starts; they’ve lost McDonald starts by scores of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 5-0.

  • McDonald’s WHIP is just under 1, his SO/BB ratio is over 3, and his ERA+ is in the 150s. Only 2 qualifying Pirates have posted a WHIP of 1 or less in the live-ball era — Vern Law in 1965, and Babe Adams in 1920. No Pirate this century has had a SO/BB ratio of 3 or better. And the last Pirate with an ERA+ of at least 150 was Rick Reuschel in 1985.
  • It’s the first time since 1999 that Pittsburgh has been at .500 or better after 48 games; to find them over .500 at this point, you have to go back to 1992, which was also their last winning season and last playoff appearance. (Of course, they were over .500 much later in the season last year — 51-44 and alone in 1st place — but a 3-15 slide dropped them back under and they never came up again.)

@Rangers 4, Mariners 2: In 61 career ABs settled on a 2-0 count, Mike Napoli had 30 hits and 10 HRs. Steve Delabar had already dug himself a hole with a leadoff walk. Now, with 3rd-and-1st and 1 out in a tie game, he fell behind 2-0 to Napoli. You know where this is going.

  • No outs, none on, game tied or pitcher’s team ahead by 1, and he issues a 4-pitch walk. Seattle leads the majors with 5 such walks, 4 of them in the last 2 weeks, 3 of those leading to big innings in losses.
  • Guess this pitcher’s ERA: 24.1 IP, 18 hits, 7 walks, 31 Ks. (Yes, I withheld one little piece of info.)

@Twins 5, Athletics 4“Bring Your Best Friend to Work” Day — Scott Diamond used a trio of DP grounders to minimize the damage from 11 baserunners and 2 HRs in 6.1 IP. Diamond has gotten the GIDP in 29% of all chances over his 5 starts (MLB average is 11%), and his 1.71 GB/FB ratio is twice the MLB rate (only one qualifier has a higher rate). Which is one reason for his 2.27 ERA despite allowing 9.9 H/9. Here’s another: .351 BA and 3 HRs with bases empty, but .180 and 1 HR with someone aboard. And another: Diamond has walked just 4 of 129 batters (one IBB); 0 of 33 leading off an inning; 1 of 76 with the bases empty; and the other 3 walks came with a base open.

  • I don’t think I’ve heard his name once in the highlight shows, but Josh Willingham has a 158 OPS+, is on pace for career highs of 152 games, 88 Runs, 98 RBI, and leads AL LFs in Range Factor and Total Zone Runs.
  • Close-trophobia? In the 8th inning, Minnesota leads the AL with a .292 BA and ranks 2nd in OPS. In the 9th and later, .179 BA and dead last in scoring.
  • Josh Reddick‘s 10th in his last 21 games gave him 14 for the year. That’s the most HRs in Oakland’s first 49 games since Jason Giambi had 17 in 2000, his MVP year. The A’s haven’t had a 40-HR season since then, nor a 30-HR season in the past 3 years. Reddick has created extra value with his baserunning, stealing 5 in as many tries and scoring from 2nd on a single or from 1st on a double in 7 of 9 chances, with no outs made.
  • The WPA “Bad Job” Award for the day goes to Coco Crisp, whose day at bat went as follows: GIDP with 1 on (in front of a HR), GIDP with 1 on, groundout with 2 on, popout with 2 on, groundout in 9th with tying and go-ahead runs on.
  • Ka’aihue surfs Diamond Head?
  • Minnesota is last in the AL with 34 HRs hit, and worst in MLB with 69 HRs allowed — 7 more than the next team. They’ve allowed 41 HRs in 24 road games.

Cardinals 8, @Braves 2Lance Lynn was the latest to bury the hatchets. Atlanta has dropped 8 straight, and has averaged 2.4 runs and 5.8 hits in their last 10 games. They trailed 6-0 today before getting on the board.

  • Matt Adams (5-1-3-3) is 13 for 34 in 9 games since Lance Berkman went down. Adams came out of Slippery Rock U. in 2009 and was drafted in the 23rd round, but he tore up the rookie league and hasn’t slowed since, placing top-10 in OPS in class A and AA, then starting this year at a .340 clip in AAA.
  • Lynn (8-1, 2.54) is the fastest Cardinal to 8 wins since 1999 (Kent Bottenfield).
  • Atlanta has yielded 7+ runs in 4 straight games for just the 2nd time this century.

@Indians 8, Royals 5: A solo HR, 13 singles, and a change of venue & opponent were enough for Cleveland to bounce back from being swept in Chicago. Josh Tomlin returned from the DL and did just enough to earn the win, allowing 4 runs in 5 IP and leaving after just 81 pitches.

  • Jason Kipnis is the first 2B this year to reach 30 RBI. He’s 2nd in OPS+ and HRs, 3rd in Runs.
  • Chris Perez converted his 17th straight save since blowing the try on opening day.
  • On an annual basis, roughly how many boys born in Puerto Rico would you guess are named Irving?

@Angels 9, Yankees 8: After 3 hours and 38 minutes of debate, Mark Trumbo moved for cloture — and boy, did that motion ever carry.

  • It was Trumbo’s second career 3-XBH game. The first one went HR, 3B, 2B; this one went 2B, 3B, HR. Those are his only career triples. Neither game had a single.
  • When Streaks Collide — New York’s season-best win streak ended at 5, while …Anaheim’s 7-game win streak is their longest of the last 3 seasons.
  • Since 2005, New York is 11-24 in Anaheim, scoring 4.8 R/G but allowing 6.0.
  • I hope Cory Wade had his birthday cake before the game.
  • Just called up from AAA, Bobby Cassevah was pressed into duty straight away, working a career-high 3.1 IP after Jered Weaver was injured. Cassevah’s track record makes you think he has a godfather in the organization. He was drafted in the 34th round in 2004 (so you know they don’t have much invested in him). He spent 2 full years in rookie ball, during which two things were determined: (a) that he wasn’t cut out to be a SP, and (b) that he needed a little more time in rookie ball. Looking at the body of work, his K rate is low, his walks and hits and ERA are high. His big-league life has been charmed so far: 30 walks, 34 Ks in 63 IP should signal disaster, yet his ERA is 2.86. But if you draft this man for your fantasy team, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

@Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2: Big day for SF leadoff man Gregor Blanco, who doubled and scored in the 1st (on a discretionary steal of home) and then doubled home the Giants’ last run in the 2nd.

  • Miguel Montero is on a fantastic 2-year run throwing out base-stealers — but he should never have made this throw with a man on 3rd and 2 out in a tie game. He couldn’t have caught Angel Pagan at 2nd without a time machine. It was a bad day all around for Montero; he went 0 for 4 with a GIDP and struck out in the 9th with the tying runs aboard. He recently agreed to a 5-year, $60-million extension, but his power stroke has been missing so far; his .085 ISO is less than half his prior career average.
  • Blanco has a .403 OBP, 11th among players with 100+ PAs, and has 19 Runs in his last 20 starts.
  • John McDonald hit his first career pinch-HR, and the first allowed by SF this year. They allowed 6 last year, second only to Houston.

@Rockies 9, Astros 7 (1st)@Rockies 7, Astros 6 (2nd, 10): Colorado halted a 5-17 nosedive and gave Houston its 4th straight loss after a 4-game win streak.

  • Dexter Fowler scored the Rockies’ first run of the day on a triple, and drove in their last run with a triple. His combined box score line was 9-5-7-3, HR, 3B, SB. He set a personal best with a 0.711 WPA in game 2: HR for a 1-0 lead; bunt single, wound up on 3rd after throwing error, scored on groundout; 2-out bases-loaded walk that led to a 4-run inning; 2-out infield single with a man on 2nd (no scoring resulted); sac bunt moving 2 men into scoring position in a tie game; game-winning triple. (For a capsule view of Fowler’s impact on game 2, go to the Rockies box score and click on the “WPA” column heading to sort.)
  • With 19 HRs in 80 IP, Alex White has the highest HR rate of any starting pitcher with 10+ starts: 2.14 HR/9. Having gone homerless in 3 of 4 starts this year, he made up for lost time by allowing 3 in 6 IP yesterday. He’ll have to learn how to pitch in Denver: 15 HRs in 7 home games (4 HRs in 8 starts away).
  • Rockies’ offense: 6.12 R/G at home, 3.74 R/G away.
  • Houston is 27-48 all-time in Denver. They’ve scored 30 runs over their last 5 games there, but lost them all.


Teams at or above .500: 10 of 10 in the Eastern divisions, 9 of 20 in the others.

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The Brewers battery tonight will each be making their first MLB starts. Not debuts, but first starts. Must be rare


Here’s a couple I’m familiar with.

– Dave McNally and Andy Etchebarren, Sep 26, 1962, McNally pitched a 2-hit shutout
– Bobby Darwin and Ed Kirkpatrick, Sep 30, 1962, The only pitching start of Darwin’s career


Here are some recent occurrences.

Shairon Martis and Luke Montz, WSN, Sep 4, 2008
Luther Hackman and Ben Petrick, COL, Sep 1, 1999
Juan Acevedo and Jorge Brito, COL, Apr 30, 1995


Sorry I forgot to mention that Tuesday’s combo battery first start seemed rare for a non September call-up scenario.

Nash Bruce

“Ka’aihue surfs Diamond Head?” Lol! 😀

Good news for Braves fans, and boy do we need it. The Braves sent Kris Medlen down to AAA to give him 2 or 3 starts in order to prepare him for a rotation spot! There was a lot of curiosity surrounding the Braves’ usage of Medlen this year, as instead of being a high-leverage right-handed reliever in the bullpen he seemed to have become a little bit of a middle-to-long mop-up reliever instead. Medlen did a fairly credible job of starting in 2009-10, posting 8 QS out of 18 starts with a 4.31 ERA, and the team behind him… Read more »

David Wright playing shortstop for the second time in his career (I believe) after Justin Turner goes down. So weird being at the game and hearing “Now batting, the shortstop, David Wright”

Of course, he made one error in the game – at third, in the first inning


In tonight’s Angels/Yankees game, there was the unusual confluence of 4 players with 300+ career HRs (A-Rod, Pujols, Andruw Jones, Texeira) and another 4 over 200 HR (Jeter, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Torii Hunter).

The same thing happened April 14th (replace Ibanez with Vernon Wells). Not sure if it’s happened any other time.

Richard Chester

That’s really tough to research but I think I found the first game to feature 4 300+ HR players. It occurred on 9-10-69 between the Braves and the Giants and the 4 guys were Mays, McCovey, Aaron and Cepeda.


An earlier one was 4-20-63, Mets vs Braves, with Snider, Hodges, Aaron and Mathews. Aaron had hit no. 300 the previous day.

Richard Chester

Thanks for the correction. I retraced my research trail and now I can’t see how I missed it.


Richard, I also found 6 guys with 300 HR and 3 more with 200 HR in these Yankees/Orioles games from 2005

– April 8,9,16 – 300 (Sosa, Palmeiro, Rodriguez, Sheffield, Sierra, Martinez), 200 (Lopez, Giambi, Williams)
– June 27,28 Jul 4 – 300 (Sosa, Palmeiro, Rodriguez, Sheffield, Sierra, Martinez), 200 (Tejada, Giambi, Williams)


Giancarlo has absolutely killed us this year. In 7 games against the Giants he’s batting .444/.516/1.074 (!) with 4 homers and 5 doubles. I don’t remember any of the homers being cheap either.


How’s Giancarlo hitting with an even count?

Paul E

Adam Dunn is on pace for a “beyond-Mark-Reynoldsish” 252 K’s, however also on pace for 136 BB’s. In 1987, Jack Clark almost reached 300 PA’s (275 K’s & BB’s)without putting the ball in play in only 131 games. This was kind of unheard of at the time (probably because Rob Deer didn’t walk a lot). It would be incredible for Dunn to approach 400 !!


The WPA “Bad Job” award of the day should be a regular feature.


Jack Cust had 308 in 2008.

Richard Chester

Also Ryan Howard had 306 in 2007 and Mark McGwire had 317 in 1998.