Saturday Precap

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.


Saturday Precap — 47 Comments

  1. “•I’ve never seen a run attributed to defensive indifference, but what else would you call this?”

    John, am I missing something here?

    I looked at the video (thanks for the quick link) and thought it was a botched play by the Cubs. They weren’t indifferent to Braun getting a jump toward second base, they just screwed up defensively.

    I am really interested in the official scoring on the play. The box shows Ryan Braun being charged with both being picked off and caught stealing. Was this on the one play or a separate play later in the game?

    And I am interested so see if Braun’s WPA in B-Ref for the baserunning “gaffe” is mitigated by the fact a run scored on the play.

    • Neil, what I was trying to get across (too quippily) was that, after one brief look from the pitcher, the Cubs seemed to forget about the man on third base.

      As to the scoring on Braun, “picked off” and “caught stealing” are not mutually exclusive. When a guy is tagged out going back to first base on the pitcher’s throw, that’s a pure pick-off. But when he breaks for second, as Braun did, and then is put out, it’s a pick-off/caught stealing.

      • But, JA, you never included a “sappy” face with that part of your blog. :-)

        You were the king of sappy faces a few nights ago.

        Hmmm …. thanks for the clarification on Ryan Braun’s “decoy?”.

        So how do the Cub’s pitcher and catcher both get an assist on the play? Weird.

        • Under the scoring rules, when one player gets CS, no other player gets a SB on the same play.

          I think the way WPA is figured the lead runner gets all the credit/blame on a play where 2 or more baserunners are involved but the batter is not. So Morgan gets .057 (from Fangraphs) and Braun is not involved.

          I see the play scored 1-3-4, catcher not involved.

  2. This is not a blatent attempt to bring Met’s lurkers out of the closet on HHS, but, Mr. Autin, and others, how can you not be giddy about the Metropolitans’ prospects this year?

    4.5 games in front of the hated Phillies this late in the season. A reasonably balanced lineup and pitching staff. David Wright lurking in the weeds as an NL MVP candidate if Matt Kemp goes into the tank. :-)

    I know, I know….. but you guys can’t see that the NL East is up for grabs this year because of emotions.

    Thw Washington Nationals are the Baltimore Orioles of the NL East. They will remember their history and revert to form. Baltimore is hitting its way out of all pitching sins right now. I believe they will revert to form.

    • I disagree about the Orioles.

      Baltimore is 5th in the league in Runs
      And 6th in the league in Runs Allowed.

      They have had two starters be lights-out, one hot/cold, and two crappy.

      What they DO have is five relievers who have given up 11 earned runs in 80 innings of work.

      • Voomo, I agree about the O’s pen so far.

        But they are already three wins ahead of their Pythagorean projection. Actual record 21-12, Pythagorean projection, 18-15. Stats through Friday’s games, not including their win tonight. (Saturday)

        I know the Pythagorean crystal ball is not perfect, but the Orioles cannot cheat it indefintely. They will drop back to the pack, in my opinion.

        They have been lucky so far and will not be in the running come September.

        Anybody out there to arbitrate between Voomo and myself regarding the Orioles 2012 prospects for a wild-card berth?

      • Voomo, I agree with you about the quality of the O’s pen this year. They have been unreal!

        However, Baltimore has exceeded their Pythagorean percentage this year by three wins. Actual record 21-12, Pythagorean projection 18-15. Data current through last night (Friday) and not including tonight’s (Saturday’s) win over Tampa Bay.

        I know the Pythagorean crystal ball is not perfect, but the Orioles cannot cheat it indefinitely. They will not be around in September, in my opinion.

        They have been “lucky” so far, probably with a high BA with RISP, which cannot be sustained at current levels. Also the bullpen will wear down.

        Anyone out there to arbitrate between Voomo and myself concerning the O’s prospects for an AL wild-card berth?

        • Sorry for the double post, Voomo.

          I am having refresh problems with High Heat Stats on my browser and thought my first comment had been dropped.

          • I’m not saying that they are going to the playoff, just disagreeing that their hitting is saving their pitching.

            If I had to predict the AL East, I’d say


            And Bal doesn’t get that 2nd WC.
            And the apocalypse happens about three months early, in the streets of Boston.

        • Voomo @14. Sorry for mis-interpreting your post.

          If you have the Orioles third in the AL East but missing the playoffs, who are you awarding the new W-C to? Detroit? Los Angeles? Chicago White Sox? Cleveland?

          • Well, now that I look at it, the only AL teams that look like complete teams, meaning, whatever holes they have can conceivably be fixed, are:


            So, okay,
            Tex is the 1 seed
            TB is 2
            Minnesota is 3
            NY 4
            Bal 5

          • @16 Voomo, do you really mean Minnesota at #3? Or Detroit? I think they’ll be the #1 seed by Sept.

          • Just seeing if anybody is paying attention.

            But, actually, why not?
            They just needs their entire infield and their Rightfielder to start hitting.
            That and five starting pitchers.

          • What, no respect for my Indians???!!! Somehow we’re in first even though we’re getting almost no production from our first baseman or our outfielders, our bench is horrible, only one starter has an ERA+ above 100 and our bullpen only has 3-4 useful arms. It’s complete smoke and mirrors but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

          • Thanks to interleague play, the Twins picthers will actually get to start hitting soon. :) I know, i don’t think that’s what you meant, but it might actually help.

            Meanwhile, it is fun to see the O’s be competitive again — so far.

          • Ed @20 — Apologies; I know I’ve neglected your Indians. It’s not intentional.

            I see a bit of my Mets in your team, who are near the bottom in HRs but #3 in OBP (#1 in walks). And similar issues in the rotation after the frontline guy(s).

            Vinnie Pestano has been fantastic.

          • John – You have? I haven’t really noticed that. Anyway, I don’t really know what to make of the team. They’re such an odd mixture. They COULD win 90+ games if their front line talent (Masterson, Jiminez, Hafner, Choo, Santana, Cabrera, Kipnis and Sizemore) all stayed healthy and played up to their potential. But that seems highly unlikely. And when certain players struggle/get hurt, there’s just no one to plug in the gaps. The minors are very depleted of front line talent.

          • Ed @26 — I see now how I misinterpreted your “no respect” comment.

            Now that I know you weren’t complaining about coverage, I can go back to neglecting all AL Central teams except Detroit….

    • Waxing philosophical, Mike L?

      Hope springs eternal every Grapefruit/Cactus League season.

      I don’t quite follow your comment. The dry place is the recent performance of the Mets and the rivers of waters are the hopes of Mets’ fans?

      The allegory (is that the right literary device, JA) is escaping me.

      • I think you’ve got the literary aspects right, Neil. It would sound best as a Mickey Rivers quote though. :)

        As for the 2nd AL Wildcard and my 2 cents worth, i gotta say the Angels (Detroit will win central)

        There also seems to be unspoken theme here about NEastern teams off to surprisingly good starts: O’s, Mets, Nationals. Which team has a better chance of contending in Sept? I say the Nats.

        • I agree with that, Shping.

          Neil, of course I’m very pleased with the Mets so far. But David Wright isn’t going to hit .400, Kirk Nieuwenhuis isn’t going to be the Rookie of the Year, Mike Baxter won’t pinch-hit .438 all year.

          Their lack of power and speed will catch up to them. Their rotation is solid up front (though Santana is averaging just 5-1/3 IP), but the #3-4 spots currently have ERA+ of 89 and 75, and the #5 is yet to be found. The bullpen will finish in the lower half of the league table.

          You cited Pythag for the Orioles. Well, the Mets began Saturday 4 games ahead of their projection; they were 18-14 with the run differential of a 14-18 team. And if they were 14-18 (or 15-18 after Saturday), we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          Not that I don’t enjoy your enthusiasm. [sappy face]

  3. “•Hamilton’s 18 HRs in the first 34 team games ties the mark set by Cy Williams in 1923.”

    When Williams hit that 18th HR, it tied him with Sam Thompson (last played in 1898) for the NL career HR lead at 126. Williams ended up with 41 HR that season, his only season (at age 35) over 30 (he hit exactly 30 and led league at age 39 in 1927).

    After taking the career NL lead, Williams and Hornsby ran #1 and #2 for several years, with Williams always keeping just ahead until Hornsby finally passed him in 1929. In a 1927 game, those two became the first pair of players both over 200 career HR to play in the same game.

  4. BTW, according to Sportsline, CJ Wilson was the first pitcher to start back to back games since 2002. Had he lost he would have been the first starter since 1973 to lose back to back games. They don’t mention who the 2002 or and 1973 pitchers were but I’m sure one of the High Heat sleuths can supply the names.

      • The 1973 pitcher may have been Wilbur Wood. I remember that he started the first game of a double-header, was knocked out and then started the second game.

      • Alas, Aaron Myette does not meet the criteria. He got no decision in the game he was ejected from after 2 pitches.
        And he never otherwise started and lost on 0, 1 or 2 days’ rest.

        BTW, I don’t think the Play Index can pinpoint the answers. Game Finder can find those who started and lost a game with no days’ rest, but that would only find the 2nd game of the “streaks” in question.

        The Streak Finder is of no use because there’s no “consecutive team games” option, and there’s no characteristic sure to be true of both games in such a streak (e.g., “0 days’ rest”).

        Also, we can’t even say for sure that the 2nd game in such a streak came on 0 days’ rest. There could have been a team off day in between.

        Since 1973, there are 197 games that were started and lost by a guy with 0-1 days’ rest. Here’s a link, if anyone wants to check them by hand:

        • John – the 2002 criteria is simply about starting 2 straight games, nothing about decisions. Myette started on Sept. 3rd and 4th 2002.

          • Thanks, Ed. I see my error — I didn’t realize there were two separate claims.

            What about my finding on Rick Langford ’81, though? (see #34 below)

          • Now I see in the ESPN recap that Myette is the answer.

            As for your Rick Langford claim, I’m not sure that’s really within the “rules” of the game. :)

    • In 1981, Rick Langford started and lost consecutive team games. They were interrupted by the strike, but they’re still consecutive games.

      I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one other that involved a disruption of the schedule, whether from 1981, September 2001, or something else on a smaller scale.

      And what about all the All-Star breaks? — sometimes a team gets an extra day off and doesn’t resume play until Friday, so a pitcher who started on Sunday could start the next team game on regular rest.

      • Another possibility for consec starts would be the three/four (?) opening series in Japan of the past decade, with the long layoff afterwards. I don’t think any of those pithcers did it, but they might have.

  5. It was Wood. In the first game of the DH on 7-20-73 he never made it past the first inning when the Yankees scored 8 runs. He did not retire a batter. Well actually he struck out Horace Clarke who then made it first on a pased ball. He did a litle better in the second game making it to the 6th inning but he still lost. I even remember that it was a twi-night DH and I heard the first inning of the first game while driving home from work on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. There was a guy named Jeter playing for the Chisox. (That I did not remember).

    • I kind of assumed it was Wood given the general time frame, plus I believe he’s the last pitcher to start both ends of a double header.

      • I was at that double header. My last at Yankee Stadium for several years, having been banished to the old Memorial Stadium and forced to watch the O’s. We couldn’t figure out why they trotted Wood out for the second game-if he didn’t have it (and he didn’t) for the first, why would his knuckler knuckle for the second?

          • Last comment on this, and I’d love to hear from some of the more senior people on this site. My impression of the late sixties early seventies was that baseball was really in decline. Attendance wasn’t great, football was starting to emerge as much more of a national pass-time and to compete for athletic talent-as was basketball on a lesser scale. There was a disconnect between the games and the news-newspapers were still assembled the old way, but baseball had moved to a much more night-game schedule, so often it was hard to follow your team the following day (and especially the West Coast games. Lack of hitting also played a role-lots of low scoring games took some of the sizzle out of well pitched ones.

          • The whole country was in turmoil, Mike L. It wasn’t just baseball. War protests, police brutality, feminism out of its shell, the break-up of a fairly coherent society into sub-cultures, etc., etc., and god help us Richard Milhous Nixon at the helm.

          • Mike L, My own recollection is that there was not a perceptible decline during that period. There were a number of dramatic pennants/series in the late ’60s (the Sox in ’67, Tigers with McLain – lord help him – in ’68, and some team in ’69). And the ’75 series drew enormous attention. But your comment about the post-merger rise of the NFL is certainly on target. (The problem of incomplete newspaper results was, so to speak, old news by then; the low scoring games of the mid-’60s actually coincided with very high profile years and, of course, that effect ended abruptly in ’69.)

            No-statistician-but’s comments certainly resonate, but I recall one Times report of a building occupation in the ’68-’69 winter which degenerated into a debate pitting the young protesters against the old managerial type whose building was being occupied, as they argued about whether Hodges should have brought the Mets up to .500 the season before – so baseball and radical politics weren’t all that incompatible.

            After the ’75 series, I was out of the country for the rest of the decade (dropping in for a game now and then). I did feel a change when I returned – certainly football was becoming dominant – I have no real perspective, since I had changed more. And then, everything did change – I think people tend to underestimate the damage done by the ’81 strike, just an unthinkable event at the time (like dunes of desert flowing on to fertile soil, if you get my drift).

          • e pluribus @45, your comment was just an excuse to mention the ’69 Mets. :-)

            So what is America’s game right now, the NFL or baseball?

          • I’m no authority, but taking press obsession, rabid fans, and length of preseason as measures, I’d say politics.

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