Saturday Nightcap

Nationals 2, @Reds 1Jordan Zimmermann (HQS with 9 SO, 1 BB) trimmed his ERA to 2.14 in 7 starts and even got his 2nd win in the bargain. He has 33 starts since 2011, a season’s worth. Here are his numbers and where they rank out of 101 pitchers with 30+ starts in that span: 2.95 ERA (13th-tie), 130 ERA+ (13th-tie), 1.11 WHIP (14th), 1.7 BB/9 (8th) and 4.0 SO/9 (9th-tie).

  • The Nats are 6-5 when scoring 2 runs or less. The collective W% of the other 29 teams in such games is .118 — worse than the 1899 Spiders — and every other team is under .500. The last team to win more than it lost when scoring 2 runs or less was … Don’t be silly. Even in 1968, teams lost 4 out of every 5 such games, and the best record was 24-44 by Gibson’s Cardinals. I’m not going to check every year, but: for 1918-19, the best season W% was .354 (17-31) by the 1918 Cubs. Playing .500+ when scoring 2 or less just isn’t done.
  • 16 of 33 Nats games have been one-run contests (10-6).
  • How .500 can you be? Cincinnati is 16-16, 8-8 both home and away. They’ve scored 120 runs and allowed 119.

@Dodgers 2, Rockies 1: Welcome to the closer role, Kenley Jansen. What took you so long to get here? Now go get CarGo, Tulo and Helton to protect this 1-run lead. Mission accomplished.

  • The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, 22-11.
  • Matt Kemp‘s HR drought reached 10 games, and he’s 0 for his last 12 ABs.
  • Jansen has allowed 5 career HRs. Two were by Cameron Maybin, including his only one this year.

@Orioles 5, Rays 3: Baltimore opened a 2-game lead in the East and a share of the AL’s best record. They built a 4-1 lead through the 5th, sparked by Adam Jones, but it started to slip away in the 6th against Brian Matusz. But that’s why they make doors on bullpens. Luis Ayala (2 ER in 17 IP) came on with 2 out and 2 on to strike out Matt Joyce (172 OPS+), then he and the firm of Strop & Johnson finished up in scoreless fashion.

  • The O’s have 5 RPs with at least 14 IP; their ERAs range from 0.57 to 1.69. In their 22 wins, the bullpen has allowed 8 ER in 72 IP, a neat 1.00 ERA.
  • Remember Bill Hall? Since 2009, Hall — who hit 35 HRs in 2006, but no more than 18 otherwise — has bounced from the Brewers to the Mariners, Red Sox, Astros, Giants, and now the O’s. Last year’s 60 OPS+ in 199 PAs left him with only minor-league job offers this season, but somehow the Orioles decided his Norfolk 15-game line of .222 BA with 2 HRs, 4 walks and 25 Ks marked him ready for prime time. He started in LF today and popped a solo HR, though his other ABs were strikeouts that stranded 5 men.

Braves 7, @Cardinals 2: Brandon Beachy has allowed 2 ER or less in all 7 starts, tops in the majors. Michael Bourn paced the attack with a 6-2-3-2, including a rare HR. All but 1 of his 14 career HRs have been pulled to RF, and surprisingly for the 3-year reigning SB champ, none have been inside the park.

  • Go figure: As a rookie last year in 142 IP, Beachy averaged an impressive 10.7 SO/9 and 3.7 SO/BB, with a 3.68 ERA. This year, with 6.6 SO/9 and 2.4 SO/BB, his ERA is 1.60. I sense a .228 BAbip and a little regression to come….
  • With a road-heavy early schedule, the Braves are 13-8 away and 21-13 over all.

@Yankees 6, Mariners 2Phil Hughes had his finest game in many a moon, lasting 7+ IP for just the 2nd time since the 2010 All-Star break (34 starts). His last game before that break was a high-quality start against Seattle, and they figured in 2 of his 10 “strong starts” in between (6+ IP, 2 runs or less — yeah, I’m coining more terms).

  • It makes sense that Hughes does well against the M’s: his biggest weakness is the gopher ball, while their diet runs more to nuts & berries.
  • “The other guy” in the big offseason trade between these teams, Hector Noesi, didn’t walk a man and had just one bad inning out of seven, but that was enough to drop him to 2-4, 6.31.
  • Derek Jeter DH’d and remained ahead of all prior Yankees hit paces, now with 53 in the club’s first 33 games.
  • The first Yankee hit by Jayson Nix was an oppo HR. It was nice of Coney to call it straight: “a Yankee Stadium HR.”)

@Pirates 5, Astros 2: Andrew McCutchen went deep for the 3rd time in 5 games and had 4 hits for the 2nd time in 4. Pittsburgh is 6-1 when McCutchen has at least 2 hits.

  • You don’t need brute strength to drive one out to the opposite power alley: Check out McCutchen’s bat speed.
  • Jose Tabata had a HR and a triple. His last multi-XBH game was 112 games and 13 months ago.
  • Closing was journeyman Juan Cruz, now with his 4th team in 5 years. He’s allowed just 1 run in 13 IP.
  • There are still plenty of questions about Pedro Alvarez, but he has the reflexes, the range, and plenty enough arm for the hot corner.

Royals 5, @White Sox 0: Pitching like a man whose rotation spot is in jeopardy, Luke Hochevar — the only pitcher with 3 Game Scores under 20 — had his first scoreless start in over 2 years, blanking the Sox for 7 IP on 3 hits and a walk.

  • The Royals went 6-13 with RISP.
  • Not participating in the 12-hit attack was Jeff Francoeur (0-5). How does that 2-year, $13.5-million extension look right now? The man with the career .312 OBP is batting .233 with a .287 OBP, no HRs and 6 RBI in 130 PAs.

Padres 2, @Phillies 1: After 8 starts, Roy Halladay is 3-3, and the Phillies are 3-5. Two of the Doc’s losses are to San Diego, though he allowed but 2 runs in 7 IP each time. The Padres got their 3rd road win in 11 tries; 13 of their next 18 games are away.

23 thoughts on “Saturday Nightcap

  1. 1
    Doug says:

    “Jeff Francoeur … the man with the career .312 OBP is batting .233 with a .287 OBP”

    It’s good to see that Francoeur has finally learned how to take a walk now and then. 🙂 He’s on pace for 45-50 walks, compared to his career high of 42.

    “Pitching like a man whose rotation spot is in jeopardy, Luke Hochevar …”

    If he can stay in the rotation, he well on his way to a “Jekyll and Hyde” season. In 7 starts, he has 3 quality starts and 3 disasters.

    • 23
      Brent says:

      When the disaster start post went up the other day, Luke H immediately came to mind for me. He has had a Jekyll and Hyde career to date (more Jekyll than Hyde)

  2. 2
    Doug says:

    “Phil Hughes had his finest game in many a moon, lasting 7+ IP for just the 2nd time since the 2010 All-Star break”

    Hughes is also rounding into form as a Jekyll and Hyde guy. That was his second straight quality start of the season (for a total of 2) to go with 3 disasters.

    Hughes also kept pace with 6 other pitchers with 7 decisions in 7 starts this season. The longest streak of decisions to start last season was 17 games by John Lackey.

  3. 3
    John Autin says:

    Oakland setup man Ryan Cook is really racking up some numbers. He’s tied for the MLB lead with 9 Holds, he’s 2nd to Jim Johnson in reliever WPA, and he’s allowed no runs (and none of 6 inherited runners) on 3 hits in 16.2 IP.

  4. 4
    Doug says:

    Casey Janssen, Toronto’s new closer, converted his second save in as many opportunities, each time with a 1-2-3 9th inning. The last Toronto closer to do that was Kevin Gregg in August 2010.

    • 5
      Neil L. says:

      Doug, don’t remind me of the sad state of the recent Blue Jays closers.

      Kevin Gregg, Jon Rausch, B.J. Ryan arrrgh!!

  5. 6
    Doug says:

    Neil, I see you’ve already blocked “double-F” from your consciousness.

    • 8
      Neil L. says:

      Yes, beneath the subconscious, Doug! 🙂

      I was referring to the more distant past.

      • 15
        John Autin says:

        Neil, would you be so kind as to write down the steps involved in blocking “double-F” from one’s consciousness? I’ll need to refer to them often, it seems.

        Goodness, the Mets’ bullpen is atrocious.

        • 20
          Neil L. says:

          Sigh, JA, I was only putting on a brave face in front of Doug.

          Bullpen betrayal is hard to get past because part of you, I think, has already chalked up the game in the win column.

          But I do grant you, JA, even with all my optimism about the Mets, that they have an Achilles heel and it resides beyond the outfield fence once the game has started.

  6. 7
    Neil L. says:

    John Autin, it’s Mother’s Day.

    (Partially) sorry for a blog hijack but remember last year on B-Ref when there were moving stories about the role poster’s mothers played in getting them interested in baseball.

    We can’t reproduce the experience here, but I’ll give a shout out to my 85-year-old mother who I can still honor in person.

    With due respect to HHS posters who only have have the memories of their mother.

    Any of your moms baseball fans?

    • 9
      Shping says:

      Good shout out Neil.

      My Mom took me to my first gm at Wrigley Field in late 70s — a three hr drive from Wisconsin — so i could see my 2nd fav team, the Dodgers. Then she chatted up Don Stanhouse’s girlfriend and helped me meet most players, getting a ball autographed by Garvey, Sutton, LaSorda, etc. Thanks Mom!

      • 10
        Neil L. says:

        Shping, very nice.

        Your mom drove that far with you!! And she charmed her way into memoriabilia for you.

        I can’t top that story, but my mother introduced me to baseball on the radio in the early sixties. Revealing my age…. but I was very young.

        • 11
          e pluribus munu says:

          I was the product of a mixed marriage: Giants and Dodgers. My mother prevailed and I owe to her the location of my first game, Ebbets Field, still good for steet cred among the under-60 set. It was a good game – the Bums won the pennant – and on this Mothers Day I now acknowledge that to be a much more important matter than giving away the baseball cards.

          But hats off to Shping’s mom: that’s going the extra mile after driving it.

          • 12
            Neil L. says:

            A “mixed marriage”, baseball wise. 🙂

            Nice addition, e pluribus, thank you.

            How many games did you attend at Ebbets?

          • 16
            e pluribus munu says:

            Just the one, alas, Neil. Missed the next year and then . . . For good home games, I had to rely on Frank Lary for the next few seasons.

    • 17
      John Autin says:

      I’m always amazed at how deeply sports are ingrained in my mom’s awareness (especially baseball), even though she rarely watches or thinks about them unless I’m around.

      We watched a bit of the Mets game today before going out. She asked me how they had been doing; I said “pretty well, they’re 19-14.” Her instant reply: “Oh, they’re 5 games over .500!”

      I knew she knew baseball well, but I was still kind of surprised that she had a grasp of “.500” or of the idiom “games over .500.”

      Good ol’ Mom!

      • 18
        Neil L. says:

        Maybe Mets’ loyalty was in your DNA, John. Thankfully, you still have your mother with you.

        To boot, she watched a baseball game with you, even if on the tube.

  7. 13
    Timmy Pea says:

    I wrote a song. There is a speedy small head kid that plays for the Phillies, he only hits singles and makes catchers look sillys.

    • 21
      Neil L. says:

      Timmy Pea, with apologies to Jim Croche, you have a song! Well done!

      “And when he gets on base he gives hurlers the Willies”

      Sorry, Timmy, you inspired me.

    • 22
      Doug says:

      “He’s a clean-living lad – never bets on the fillies”

  8. 14
    Timmy Pea says:

    He’s hitting .351 in part time play, at this point in the season he’s saved Philadelphia’s day.

    • 19
      John Autin says:

      Move over, “Talkin’ Baseball”!

      “Speedy Small-Head Kid” is zooming up the charts — it may challenge “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” for the top spot!

      I am inspired to try my own hand. But are there any epithets that rhyme with “Francisco”?

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