Thursday recap (f/k/a/ “Running amok”)
Angels 3, @Mariners: Dan Haren‘s 4-start losing streak (5.79 ERA therein) was no match for Seattle’s .232 BA/.291 OBP. Haren bested his previous high by 2 with 14 strikeouts in a 4-hit, no-walk shutout. His 126 pitches were the 3rd-highest total in MLB this year.
- Haren is 11-5, 2.43 in 20 starts against the M’s.
- Albert Pujols hit his 5th HR and added 2 other hits — his first HR/multi-hit game of the year and 244th of his career. Feeling frisky, he even threw in his 2nd steal.
- Baseballissimo! A day after hitting a decisive grand slam against Texas, Seattle’s Alex Liddi had a different four-of-a-kind: a Golden Sombrero. The 2nd Italian-born player to HR in the majors has whiffed 29 times in 88 PAs this year, 46/132 for his career.
@White Sox 11, Twins 8: Alejandro de Aza lost a game-tying HR to video review in the 5th (they got it right), but his grand slam in the 6th — the 3rd HR of the inning — provided the final margin for the team’s 6th victory in 7 games. Chicago clubbed a season-high 5 HRs, including Paul Konerko’s 10th.
- de Aza has one other 4-RBI game in his short career, also against the Twins.
- A.J. Pierzynski hit his 7th HR. His career high is 18, but he hasn’t reached double figures since 2009. It’s early yet, but there are currently 10 catchers with OPS+ of at least 110 who are on pace for 400 PAs. No more than 8 backstops have reached that mark in any season 1983. Three are currently over 160 OPS+, a level reached just 9 times in all since 1901.
- Joe Mauer hit his 2nd HR of the year — on the road, natch. In his last year in the Metrodome, he hit 16 HRs in 65 home games. In the new park, 2 HRs in 126 games. (OK, but he has a .443 OBP at home this year; that’s a winning number even if he never goes yard.)
- Philip Humber is winless in 6 starts since his perfect game.
- In his first game since being officially dubbed the (latest) White Sox closer, young Addison Reed gave up a 2-run HR to Justin Morneau in a non-save situation, giving Morneau 2 HRs in the game and 11 RBI in his last 7 games (20 for the year).
- Konerko (4-2-2-2) is hitting .384. The White Sox season record is .388 by Luke Appling in 1936. Shoeless Joe is #2 at .382 in 1920, his final season. Since 1937, the highest mark is .353 by Frank Thomas in 1994. In 2009, Konerko (age 34) had a season that almost perfectly matched his career averages to that point: .277 BA (same as career), .353 OBP (.352), .489 SLG (.491), 114 OPS+ (116). It’s been said that such a year by a veteran represents the end of his growth as a player. But over the last 2+ seasons, Konerko has hit .315 with a .399 OBP (his previous best season was .381) and 157 OPS+ (136).
Niners 14, @Dolphins 7: San Francisco had a season-high 15 rushing first downs … er, base hits, and obliterated their previous high of 8 runs. The red-hot tandem of Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan combined for 8 RBI on 5 hits.
- SF trailed early, but Pagan drove in the tying run in the 4th, then added a go-ahead 2-run double. He has hit in 33 of his last 35 games, and is on a 26-for-71 run (.366).
- Gregor Blanco (2 hits, 2 walks, 3 runs) has his OBP up to .387, and has scored 17 runs in his last 18 games. He leads the club with 20 walks in just 111 PAs.
- Fish gotta swim; Giancarlo gotta fly.
- Omar Infante (4 hits) is batting .340/.969.
- Ryan Vogelsong left after 6.1 IP. (Scratch the rest of this paragraph — I didn’t realize he left 2 runners behind, and both scored.) That (would have been) 5 straight starts of 6+ IP and 1 ER or less, tying Johnny Cueto for the longest such streak this year. It also (would have) tied Matt Cain (twice) for the longest such streaks in one season by a Giant since 1989, when Rick Reuschel had 6. (Bill Swift had 7 across 1993-94, split 4 and 3.)
@Indians 2, Tigers 1: Justin Time – Masterson beat the Bengals for the first time in 8 career starts, completing Cleveland’s sweep. He walked 5, but Detroit’s offensive woes continued with an 0 for 9 with RISP. That wasted a typically strong Verlander effort (CG, 1 walk, 7 Ks); he lost to Cleveland for the first time since 2010.
- Shin-Soo Choo (monster HR and walk in 4 trips) is coming on after a slow start. In his last 15 games, he’s hitting .340 with an OBP near .450.
- The Tribe has been Verlander’s toughest out; he’s now 13-12, 4.70 in 28 career starts.
- Tigers haven’t won consecutive games since April 17-18, and are 11-21 since then. Attention has focused on the inconsistency of Fielder and Cabrera, but the bigger problems are lower in the order.
Phillies 10, @Cardinals 9: Philly matched their season high with 4 in the 1st, then let a 6-0 lead get away. But rookie Freddy Galvis broke a 7-7 tie with his 3rd RBI, matching a career high, Mike Fontenot added a 2-out pinch-RBI hit (now 3-4 as a PH and 7-14 over all), and erstwhile 20-HR man Ty Wigginton added his 3rd of the year (and first in 4 weeks) for what proved to the the deciding run.
- The Cards tied it up in the 5th on HRs by Holliday and Yadier Molina (5-1-4-3), another catcher having an excellent year. That knocked out Joe Blanton and brought in Raul Valdes, retired his only 2 men and picked up the win. He’s retired 16 of 17 batters this year.
- STL has yet to win after trailing by more than 3 runs.
- Through 46 games last year, Philly allowed 3.17 R/G; this year, 4.02. But their SO/BB ratio has actually improved, from an excellent 3.08 to an astounding 3.62; the Nats are #2 at 3.01. So where are the extra runs coming from? HRs, mainly: 28 through 46 games last year, 48 this year — tied for most in the NL.
- Carlos Ruiz (3-5, .366) began the day batting .341/.963 when he’s ahead in the count, and .354/.970 when he’s behind. On a 1-2 count, he’s 9-22; on 0-1, he’s 8-17 with 2 HRs. His .996 OPS is 75 points above the Phillies’ record for a qualified catcher (Spud Davis, 1932, .921). His .357 BA is 8 points ahead of Spud’s club record for BA. Davis holds the top two spots on that list, as well as nos. 4 and 8, all in the hitter-friendly years 1930-33. (For example, in 1930 Davis hit .313/.844, with just a 96 OPS+.)
@Reds 6, Braves 3: Broom at the top: Devin Mesoraco came in with 3 RBI in 67 PAs, but his grand slam helped Cincinnati complete a 4-game sweep over Atlanta (see below for history). The Reds have taken over the Central lead with a 6-game win streak, their longest in a season since Aug. 2010, and knocked the Braves into 2nd in the East. Homer Bailey won consecutive starts for the first time since last July.
- Mesoraco teed off on a 2-0 pitch from fresh reliever Kris Medlen, who hadn’t allowed a tater in 24 IP this year.
- All or nothing: The Reds at home have a .300 OBP, but have hit 28 HRs in 21 games.
- That’s 6 straight Braves games with no more than 3 runs or 7 hits. Since 1989, they’ve had just one other 6-game streak at those levels; their last longer streak was in 1985 (7 games). They have one 8-game streak in the live-ball era (1952, their last year in Boston).
- The Reds went 3-24 with RISP in the series, but Atlanta was 0-12 — 0-3 in all 4 games.
- Michael Bourn has 4 HRs in 28 games in Cincinnati. In all other parks, 12 HRs in 733 G.
- Through Aug. 22 last year, opponents batted .154 off Jonny Venters and slugged .182, with 1 HR in 74 IP. He faded down the stretch, with a .278 BA and 5.64 ERA in his last 15 games. Through Wednesday, the league was hitting .317 despite 23 Ks in 75 PAs; would you believe a .487 BAbip?
- Cincy’s last 4-game sweep of the Braves (by my count) came at the start of the 1980 season; they went 16-2 that year against their West division foes, who were 79-64 against everyone else. Three of those four games were shutouts, by Frank Pastore (age 22; 3-hitter), Mike LaCoss (age 24; rain-shortened) and Charlie Leibrandt (age 23; first start ever). The other game saw The Mad Hungarian serve up a 2-out, turnaround, walk-off HR by Dave Concepcion, who batted 3rd and had 3 extra-base hits for a career-best 0.958 WPA; that was the only game-ending HR of his 19-year career. (It’s hard to picture now, but Davey was their primary #3 hitter from 1979-83.) Phil Niekro started and lost games 1 and 4 of that series en route to a 15-18 season, leading the NL in losses for the 4th straight year.
- Wednesday, Brandon Phillips drew 3 walks for the 2nd time in 1,078 career games and the first time in 6 years, ending a streak of 916 games with 2 walks or less. That was the 3rd-longest active streak; Ichiro has a 1,003-gamer, while Frenchy has a 1,033-game streak spanning his entire career.
Padres 11, Mets 5: In a rain-delayed game in Flushing, San Diego set team season highs with 10 Runs (they hadn’t scored more than eight) as well as 16 hits. Those are also season highs for any team at Citi Field this year; no one had topped 13 hits, and no visitor had more than 8 runs.
- Everth Cabrera, a career .231 hitter and 2 for 21 this year, had his first 4-hit game, and the first this year by an NL #8 hitter.
- Manny Acosta came in with a 10.53 ERA and fattened it, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits in 2 IP. In 21.2 IP, he’s allowed 31 hits, 15 walks and 30 runs (27 ER). (The Mets announced before the game that they do not intend to send Ike Davis to the minors, but if the bus is still in the lot, I know a guy who could fill that seat….)
- David Wright went 3-5, hitting .405/.500/.628. His 2-run HR was the 8th at home by the Mets in 770 PAs: 3 by Wright, 2 by Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
- WPA leaders through Wednesday: (1) Joey Votto, 3.3; (2) David Wright, 3.0; … (25) Josh Hamilton, 1.2. Mets and Rangers both have been involved in 13 blowouts; Mets have 14 one-run games, Texas 11.
- Who will steal more bases this year – Jose Reyes, or the team he left behind? The Mets held a slim 16-13 lead as play began.
- During one of the dull moments, Ron Darling said something that I’ve never heard from anyone but myself: The best left fielder he ever saw at cutting off balls down the line and throwing to the bases was Kevin McReynolds in his Mets days. K-Mac had 17 assists from LF in 1988, tops in the NL.
- Tonight aside, the Padres’ offensive malaise is not all about the parks. Away from Petco, they were averaging 3.4 R/G with a .303 OBP and .656 OPS; both would be in the bottom four of the over-all NL tables.
- Mets are 12-9 at home despite being outscored 70-84; they’ve averaged 4.9 R/G away, but just 3.3 at home.
- There have been 85 win streaks of 3+ games so far in MLB, but none by the Friars.
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