A few day-game notes and assorted leftovers, but first:
Happy 87th Birthday, Yogi! Number 8 usually enjoyed his day during his career, hitting .316 with .658 SLG and 3 HRs in 9 games. He struck out just once in 39 PAs — in his final birthday AB, against Frank “Yankee Killer” Lary. (By the way, Lary really deserved that nickname, going 28-13 against them from 1955-63. Against all other teams, Lary was under .500, at 100-103. In 1958, he beat the champs-to-be 7 times in 8 starts; no other pitcher beat them more than 3 times that year.)
Early Saturday games:
Angels 4, @Rangers 2: Starting the day after he took the loss in a rain-shortened start, C.J. Wilson (and 4 relievers) quelled the raging Ranger bats. Mark Trumbo went super-Sonic with a 2-run blast, and the margin of victory came in the 7th in a rare 2-sac-fly rally that featured 3 infield hits (with consecutive bunt singles) and a walk. Wilson even fanned Josh Hamilton twice before the inevitable HR, and recent acquisition Ernesto Frieri got him again in the 8th.
- Hamilton’s 18 HRs in the first 34 team games ties the mark set by Cy Williams in 1923. One of the four players with 17 HRs in the first 34 is today’s opposing #3 hitter, in 2006 when he hit a career-high 49 HRs.
- Didn’t he hit one just like this, just last night? He’s giving that insurance sign a lot of free play.
Mets 9, @Marlins 3: New York’s Swinging Singles rapped out 16 hits, with at least one in every inning but the 7th (when they had a walk). David Wright raised his BA to an NL-best .402 with 4 hits, including a HR to RF that snapped a 14-game “drought” (during which he hit .412 with 13 Runs).
- R.A. Dickey (2 R in 6 IP) had no strikeouts, but he was all over this game. He even made a fine fielding play after being hit on the wrist by a pitch. At 5-1, Dickey is making up for a bit of his poor W-L luck over the past 2 years.
- New York had 13 singles, 2 doubles and Wright’s HR. They began the day 3rd in the league in BA, but their percentage of hits that are extra-base hits (29%) is 3rd-worst. Milwaukee’s 40% is the highest.
- Wright’s HR was his 5th off Ricky Nolasco; he’s 24-60 against the righty.
- Watch this clip all the way through the replay looking in behind the first basemen, and see how close Ike Davis came to being brained by the throw. Speaking of throws, here’s a nice long toss by Wright.
@Brewers 8, Cubs 2: An intentional walk filled the bases for Edwin Maysonet, a 10-year minor leaguer batting in that situation for just the 3rd time in the majors (and the first in 3 years). Maysonet got the better of Chris Volstad on this 0-1 pitch, breaking open a 2-1 game in the 6th with Milwaukee’s first slam of the year and the first allowed by Chicago.
- The Crew had lost Shaun Marcum‘s last 5 starts, despite his 3.19 ERA.
- Chris Volstad has lost 10 straight decisions. His last win came just before the 2011 All-Star break. The Cubs have lost all 7 of his starts.
- I’ve never seen a run attributed to defensive indifference, but what else would you call this?
- “The squeeze is on!” (But so is the safety.)
Jesus Montero‘s rates per 162 games (through Friday 5/11):
- Yankee Stadium (10 games): .471 BA/1.462 OPS, 65 HRs, 194 RBI, 49 doubles, 97 walks, 113 Ks.
- Everywhere else (38 games): .245 BA/.658 OPS, 21 HRs, 71 RBI, 26 doubles, 17 walks, 145 Ks.
Cincinnati’s leadoff spot has hit .161 with a .203 OBP and 12 runs in 33 games, making Dee Gordon seem almost palatable. Drew Stubbs of the Reds and Gordon of LA already have nine 0-for-5’s between them; no other player has more than 3. NL leadoff men as a group are getting on at a putrid .313 clip.
Chris Capuano is the 5th pitcher this year with 4 straight starts of 6+ IP and 1 run or less.
Adam Jones (.911 OPS) and Matt Wieters (.890) could be the first qualified Oriole teammates to both top .900 since 1998. From 2000-11, only 4 of the 136 AL batter-seasons of .900+ OPS were by an Oriole.
Lost in the gloom of Minnesota’s bad start is a fine one by Josh Willingham: .313/.424/.646. The Twins essentially traded Michael Cuddyer (wooed to Denver for 3 years and $32 million) for Willingham (3/$21mm). Both are 33-year-old RHB outfielders, and by almost any measure Willingham has been the better both for career and in the past 3 years. The only arguable edge Cuddyer has over Willingham is versatility; he has substantial experience at 1B and 3B, and some at 2B. That versatility was cited by many commentators after Cuddyer signed, but he has yet to start a game anywhere but RF and has just 1 inning elsewhere (1B).
Joey Bats had his first multi-HR game since last July 9. He’s hitting .186 (.171 on balls in play), but he’s drawing his usual walks and striking out less often than in 2010-11.
Dexter Fowler, co-leader in triples for the past 3 years combined (averaging 13), hit his first of the year Friday to end a career-long 46-game drought.
He’ll be in Vegas next month: Kyle Drabek has been lucky so far in keeping his ERA to 3.66 despite a 1.50 WHIP and 6 HRs in 39 IP. But the walks and bad starts are adding up for the 24-year-old, who’s had no sustained success above AA. He’s averaging 5.5 BB/9, about the same as his career rate. And losing 4 straight starts, including the Twins and Angels, won’t help his cause.
Clay Buchholz won without a strikeout for the first time ever. Thanks to 7.46 R/G of run support, he’s 4-1 despite an 8.31 ERA and 1.97 WHIP. He’s allowed 4+ runs in all 7 starts.