The ISP ate my homework last night. I’m posting this in whatever form it was saved — apologies for any errors and omissions.
Royals 6, @Yankees 0: Mike Moustakas gave KC an early lead, drawing iron with a 2-run shot — the 10th HR off Kuroda in 53 IP. Felipe Paulino took over from there and held NYY scoreless through 6.2 IP, slicing his ERA to 1.42 with his 3rd scoreless start in 4 outings this year. (Then again, two of those are against the AL East cellar-dwellers.)
- Moustakas came in hitting .338/.919 in his last 72 games (split between 2011-12).
- NYY went 0-13 with RISP, dropping their season mark to .222. They’re now 0-10 in homerless games.
- Mark Teixeira started in the #7 spot for the first time since his rookie year.
- The Bronx bullpen door opened 3 times, disgorging April waiver pickup Cody Eppley, journeyloogy Clay Rapada, and Freddy Garcia a.k.a. Chief Mop-Up. Kudos to Joe for not being concerned about a fall to last place.
- As noted by my colleague birtelcom, the Bombers in recent years have usually started modestly, then caught fire in the summer. True, but those teams went 21-8 against KC at home and were never shut out. (Meanwhile, the Royals are only 5-17 at home — but 2-2 there against the Yanks.)
- The Yankee highlight: A-Rod’s 500th double, tying John Olerud and Goose Goslin for #54 on the career list, one spot and one double behind Jeter. Rodriguez is 10th all-time in extra-base hits (1,163), and needs just 30 more to reach #6, but that’s about as high as he can realistically aspire; it says here that he won’t catch Mays (1,323) in that department.
Nationals 2, @Phillies 1: Speaking of one-something ERAs and struggling offenses, we give you Gio Gonzalez vs. the Phillies: 9 Ks in 6 scoreless frames, his 2nd dominant effort in as many games against them. Washington survived more Hen-Rod wildness in the 9th: walk, wild pitch, single, wild pitch put the tying run on 2nd with 1 out, but Sean Burnett came on for the last 2 outs — the 2nd straight Monday that he bailed out the closer.
- The Nats are 7-7 when scoring 2 runs or less. To reiterate: this simply isn’t done over a full season. They were the best team in the majors last year at winning with 2 runs or less — but with a record of 13-40 (.245). Other MLB teams this year are 33-128 with 2 runs, 9-125 with 1 run. Washington is 6-2 with 2 runs, 1-4 with 1 run — both winning percentages about triple the league average.
- When it’s broke, fix it. And Henry Rodriguez as the closer is broke: 18 IP, 13 walks, 10 runs, 8 wild pitches(!!!), 3 blown saves in 12 tries and 2 bailouts. Rodriguez led the NL with 14 wild pitches last year, and has an astounding total of 32 WPs in 115 IP — more wild ones than the league-leading totals for knuckleballer Phil Niekro in 1976-77 combined (over 600 IP). If they truly are to contend, a change is in order. They have effective alternatives.
- The Phils recently called up lefty Raul Valdes up from AAA, where he had 26 Ks and 1 walk in 21 IP. In 3 games up, 6 Ks, no walks and 1 hit in 4.2 IP.
Red Sox 8, @Orioles 6: Should have known Balto’s 5-2 lead wouldn’t hold up: Boston had scored 6+ in 6 of 8 Clay Buchholz starts. Make that 7 of 9, as the Sox add 6 more runs. The O’s didn’t go down easily, getting the tying runs in scoring position with 1 out in the 8th — but they went.
- BoSox have fought back to .500 and gotten one foot out of the cellar.
- B&O Warehouse temporarily renamed for Bombin’ Ortiz.
@Marlins 7, Rockies 4: This is Mark Buehrle in a nutshell — or a lunchpail, if you will: Colorado scored 4 in the 1st on 4 hits by the first 5 men, but Buehrle had no plans for an early evening and yielded just 1 more hit through 7.2 IP. Meanwhile, down by 4-2, Giancarlo injured the architecture with a slam off a Moyer soft-serve.
- That’s the first slam the old man’s allowed since 2004, when he was a lad of 41.
@Cardinals 4, Padres 3: Trailing 1-0 most of the game, the Redbirds caught an unlikely lift from Tyler Greene and rode him to a much-needed win. The struggling 2B (hitting under .230 for his 4th straight season) doubled and scored the tying run in the 7th, then offset SD’s 8th-inning rally with a turnaround 2-run shot, using Andrew Cashner‘s velocity to wrist-snap a 400-foot drive to the opposite alley.
- Padres’ batting averages by spot in the order, starting with #5: .233, .258, .185, .167, .168 (with a total of 4 HRs from those spots). So that’s how come Yonder Alonso has just 10 Runs despite a .380 OBP and 14 doubles.
- Thanks to his recent release, the O-Dog‘s SD season stats will forever read: 1 HR, 5 triples, no doubles. That’s a once-in-a-century sort of distribution.
- Andy Parrino will never be mistaken for Barry Bonds, but he is tied for the MLB lead with 6 intentional walks. How stupid is that? He’s got more IBBs than RBI! Until he hits his way out of the paper bag — .174 with .226 SLG and 51 OPS+ in 54 career games — why assume that he’s a bigger threat than the pitcher?
- If Pythagoras were king of the AL East, the Jays would be crown prince.
@Astros 8, Cubs 4: Sometimes the clutchiest blow comes early: Jason Castro capped a 2-out rally in the home 2nd with his first HR, a 3-run shot off Matt Garza. That was enough for Bud Norris to win his 4th straight start (1 ER, 29 Ks in 26 IP).
- 7 straight losses for Chicago. Their staff is last in the NL in BB/9 and SO/BB.
- Jed Lowrie homered for the 2nd day in a row, surpassing last year’s season total with #7. His season thus far looks a whole lot like his partial 2010.
- Cubs 2B Adrian Cardenas has reached base 3 times in 19 trips, all doubles. Were not to reach base again, he would have tied the record for most TOB with TOB=2B, shared by 6 others (4 pitchers).
- Castro has 3 career HRs; two were 3-run shots against the Cubs.
- I’m waiting for the day when Jason Castro of Castro Valley, CA faces Jim Johnson of Johnson City, NY.
- 2002-07 (MIN): 9.8 SO/9
- 2008-10 (NYM) — 7.4 SO/9
- 2012 — 9.5 SO/9 through 8 starts
In start #9, Johan fanned 7 in 6.1 IP. But he couldn’t hold a 4-0 lead, allowing a tying 2-run HR in the 7th, and it turned into one of the most disappointing Mets losses of the year.
They couldn’t ransom a man on 3rd with 1 out in the top of the 8th, then made a 3-base error to open the bottom half, when LF Mike Baxter failed to cede right-of-way to CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who did everything but light signal flares to call for the easy fly. A great play by Wright on a high hopper down the line held the lead run off for a moment, but a fly to RF was just deep enough to score him on a bang-bang play at the plate. The Pirates got their biggest comeback win of the year by margin overcome.
- Baseball’s a game of atonement: Backup catcher Michael McKenry struck out and DP’d in his first 2 ABs against Santana, then cranked one. The RHB has 2 hits in 9 ABs off southpaws, both HRs.
- Wright obviously won’t hit .400 for the year, but his 2-4 with a walk put him at .415 (.515 OBP) and opened up a 56-point lead over the idle Matt Kemp in pursuit of the Mets’ 2nd straight batting crown (and 2nd ever). And this is a batting title stroke.
- Great play by Alvarez, but do you think Ronny Cedeno’s safe if he runs through the bag? I do. In fact, I think umps give the benefit of the doubt to the fielding team when a runner dives into first.
- Ike Davis sat against the tough lefty Bedard, but whiffed as a pinch-hitter with 2 on, then fanned again to end the game. Terry Collins earlier did not rule out a trip to the minors for the erstwhile slugger. I hate to say it, but I think Buffalo beckons.
Non-game notes (stats are through Sunday unless specified):
— Home runs worth 3 runs or more:
- 4 – Brandon Inge
- 3 – Carlos Beltran, Edwin Encarnacion and J.P. Arencibia
- 2 – 22 players
- 0 – Pittsburgh Pirates
The Bucs are 7th in the NL with 34 HRs, but 22 were solo and the other 12 with one man on. You can’t drive in runners who aren’t aboard, and the Pirates have an incomprehensible .269 team OBP — 22 points below the next-worst MLB teams. (Or maybe it’s not so unfathomable; those two teams with a .291 OBP are AL clubs Seattle and Oakland.)
— They moved the fences which way? The rezoned Citi walls are playing more hard-to-get than ever, with a quarter-season park factor of 80. That’s based on an average of 3.45 R/G per team in Mets home games vs. 5.64 in their road games. The HR rate is 0.65 HR/G at home, 1.02 away. There have been parks with extremely low HR rates, but for all-around scoring, park factors below 90 are rare; the lowest one-year park factor that I’ve seen was 86 at Petco Park in 2009.
— Remember the buzz last year over Adam Dunn threatening the record-low for batting average? Ozzie finally sat him down just enough to keep from qualifying, but 2012 has brought a whole new slew of contenders, most prominently:
Eric Hosmer, the rosy future of KC, .172 and 10 for his last 80;
Clint Barmes, signed for 2 years and $10.5 million, ,165 with ONE walk and 36 Ks in 129 PAs (but on the rise after a 4-for-45 start); and
Ike Davis, the first baseman Mets fans pined for all last summer as he was unable to come back from a severe ankle sprain after a red-hot start (.302/.925), started the season 0 for 18 and has never recovered, now hitting .163 over all and a mind-bending 4 for 62 at home, with 3 RBI in 20 games and none of his 5 HRs.
(Seattle SS Brendan Ryan is hitting .165, but he’s never before qualified and it’s hard to see that happening now if he doesn’t hit a little.)
Barmes has a .190 OBP (20 hits, 1 BB, 3 HBP in 129 PAs). The lowest qualified mark in the live-ball era is Hal Lanier‘s .222 in 1968.
Hosmer has a .165 BAbip, dead last among 178 qualifiers and 22 points below the next guy. The only other gap of more than 5 points is on the other end of the list, where David Wright‘s .476 is 67 points ahead of the pack.
He came in hitting .338/.919 in his last 72 games (split between 2011-12).