Sunday summary

Rays 4, @Red Sox 3: Back at ya, BoSox — The day after Salty‘s come-from-behind 2-run walk-off that broke up Fernando Rodney‘s perfect record, Sean Rodriguez returned the favor (more or less), with a Monster mash in the top of the 9th off Alfredo Aceves, on a 3-1 pitch after a leadoff walk by Ben Zobrist (who’s 2nd in the league in that area). Aceves had converted 9 straight save opps after his rocky start, and hadn’t allowed a HR since the opening series. Rodney then got back in the saddle, protecting the 1-run lead with 3 straight outs, starting with a little hair o’ the dog, and finishing with his club back in a first-place tie.

  • Something had to give: Boston was averaging 6.85 R/G behind Clay Buchholz (how else do you get a 4-2 record with a 7.84 ERA?). But they faced Jeremy Hellickson, owner of the best career ERA among active AL starters (200+ IP).
  • Rodriguez’s other hit was a much closer encounter, both with the LF wall and with the tag at 2nd.

Nationals 7, @Braves 2: How competitive is the NL East? Atlanta began the week in 1st place, and had Philly won today, would have ended the week in last place after 7 straight losses. Gio Gonzalez (10 Ks, 2 R, 1 H in 7 IP) has at least 6 Ks in all 10 starts, the longest streak this season; no one else has more than 6. His 4 straight starts with 9+ Ks matches the longest such streak since 2006, when Johan Santana had 5 straight. He’s the first National to win 5 straight starts since Ramon Ortiz in 2006. And his first career RBI brought in the tying run on a sac fly in the 4th.

  • Brandon Beachy was charged with only 1 ER in 5 IP; Washington’s 2 runs in the 4th were unearned due to a dropped throw by Tyler Pastornicky on a force play at 2nd base. But Beachy laid the kindling himself by walking 2 of the first 3 men in the inning.
  • Bryce Harper — he’s still 19, by the way — had a HR and 2 hits for the 2nd straight day. He’s hit in 7 straight, going 12 for 27 with 5 walks and 3 Ks. He’s scored 20 Runs in 27 games, leading the Nats since his arrival.

@Reds 7, Rockies 5: Someone still digs the long ball: 11 of the 12 runs came from 9 HRs, 5 by the Rockies (who had no other hits), and all off the starters, Mat Latos and Jamie Moyer. It’s the 4th time in MLB history (and 2nd this year) that a team had 5 HRs on exactly 5 hits.

  • It’s the second game since the park opened in 2003 in which both teams hit 4+ HRs. There never was such a game in 32+ years in Riverfront Stadium.
  • Second game in Rockies history with 5 HRs and HRs=Runs; both were road losses.
  • Aroldis Chapman picked up a long save after cleaning up a jam in the 8th, getting 2 outs there while stranding a man at 3rd.
  • Moyer’s 209th career loss moved him past Pete Alexander and into a tie with Jerry Koosman for #37 on the career list.

@Mets 2, Padres 0: R.A. Dickey had 10 Ks, 3 hits, a walk and a HBP through 7.1 scoreless innings, but left after putting the tying runs aboard, dashing the Mets fans’ hopes of a second straight individual shutout. The last consecutive CG shutouts by Mets pitchers were in 2010, a 4-hitter by Santana and a 1-hitter by Dickey. R.A. leads the majors with 9 Quality Starts in 10 outings and is tied for the lead with 7 wins, all in QS. He’s also among the leaders with 7 strong starts (6 IP, no more than 2 runs of either flavor).

  • After setting season highs in the series opener with 11 runs and 18 hits, the Padres totaled 1 run and 11 hits in the next 3 games.
  • Nothing wrong with Yonder trying for second here, with 2 out and none on in the top of the 1st. But Jesus Guzman trying to steal 3rd, down by 2 with 1 out in the 7th and your leading HR hitter at bat? Not smart.
  • Mike Baxter‘s 20th hit was his 10th double (what else?). He’s slugging .561, without a homer. Just for laughs … The highest qualifying SLG in a homerless season was Nap Lajoie‘s .465 in 1906 (.355 BA, 48 doubles, 9 triples); he also owns the #2 mark, .462 in 1912. The highest proportion of total hits that were doubles was 42.3% by Eric Hinske in 2003 — 45 doubles out of 109 hits in 514 ABs (.243 BA).
  • Both Mets runs were set up by pitches that got past the catcher, including a WP/PB sequence that brought Baxter in from 2nd.
  • Look who suddenly holds the #1 Wild Card spot in the NL?
  • Mets record for consecutive games allowing 4 hits or less is 5, in July 2008. In that streak, all 9-inning wins, by a combined score of 24-4 with 3 shutouts, they somehow used 22 pitchers. You tell me.

Giants 3, @Marlins 2: The Melk is mighty and shall prevail. He did today, going 4-4 with a HR and 2 steals, and scoring all 3 SF runs. It was just enough for Matt Cain to win his 4th straight start (first time since 2010), with the help of 3 relievers, and give the Giants a split of the series and a winning road trip.

  • No one is surprised to see #3 hitter “M.Cabrera” at .365/.409/.553. But the precise identity of that hitter is a bit shocking — along with the fact that he leads the other guy in all three categories.
  • In his last 131 games, the Melk Man is hitting .347 (188 for 542) with 96 Runs, 41 doubles, 8 triples and 13 HRs. In his last 25 games — starting when he moved into the #3 spot to replace the injured Panda — he’s 46 for 104 (.442). And so, for the year, SF’s #3 spot is hitting a cool .390, tops in MLB.
  • Santiago Casilla is 12 for 13 in save tries as Brian Wilson’s replacement.
  • Wish I could link to a clip of Angel Pagan trying to steal home after tripling in the 9th, but MLB doesn’t have it.
  • Marlins are 18-8 in May; they need 2 wins in 3 games for the most wins in any month in club history.

Royals 4, @Orioles 2: Second straight series loss for Baltimore, who now share 1st with Tampa. Jeff Francoeur‘s HR broke a tie in the 6th, and 5 KC relievers held the O’s scoreless for the last 4.2 IP.

  • Equal time: Mocked in these pages for his slow start and lifelong refusal to take a walk, Francoeur has caught fire in the last week, going 15 for 29 with 4 HRs. (No walks, though.)
  • Billy Butler hit his 11th HR in KC’s 46th game, easily his fastest start ever; he’d never hit more than 4 by this point. His 34 RBI are also a personal best for this stage of a season.
  • Baltimore failed to homer for just the 8th time (1-7) and went 1 for 11 with RISP.
  • The O’s & Royals combined are 19-30 at home, 29-16 away. I have no ideas.

@White Sox 12, Indians 6: When is a bludgeon also a broom? The Southsiders swept the division leaders by a combined 35-16 and closed to a half-game back with their 5th straight win and 9th in 10. Today’s snot-beaten victim was Ubaldo Jimenez (7 R, 7 H, 4 BB in 4 IP), whose 21st start for the Tribe provided no further clues as to what ails him — beyond the proven fact that a pitcher who averages 6.8 walks and 5.3 SO per 9 IP simply cannot succeed.

  • Paul Konerko put the Sox ahead for good with a 3-run HR in the 4th. He’s 23 for his last 36, and his slashes — .399/.476/.681/1.157 — would all be 1st (BA) or 2nd in club history.
  • Another red-hot Pale Hose is Dayan Viciedo. His last 13 games: 7 HRs, 20 RBI, .420 BA (21 for 50). His first 31 games were horrid: .196/.530, 5 RBI and 7 Runs in 106 PAs, and just 3 walks. The hot streak hasn’t made him any more selective; he now has 4 walks in 158 PAs. He’s on pace for 34 HRs and 14 walks. No 30-HR season has ever come with less than 19 walks (Andres Galarraga, 31 HRs, 1994), and that was a strike-shortened year. As for his Viciedo’s baserunning … not for nothing is he known as The Tank; he has taken zero extra bases on others’ hits — and sometimes he can’t even keep the base he’s entitled to.
  • Triple-double: Orlando Hudson and Alejandro de Aza hit back-to-back triples in the 5th, though de Aza pulled a Meat Loaf. (You know — thrown out trying to go all the way.) Out of 30 hits, Hudson has 6 triples, 1 double and 1 HR. You know I love odd ratios, especially with three-baggers, so humor me for a moment … The highest proportion of hits that were triples in a qualifying season was 20.6% by Chief Wilson, of course, in 1912 (36 triples, 175 hits). The live-ball record is 14.3% by Craig Reynolds in 1981 (12, 84). The highest proportion of extra-base hits that were triples is 75% by Zip Collins in 1916, with the exact same distribution as Hudson (1-6-1). The highest was 60% by Craig Robinson in 1974: 6 triples, 4 doubles, no HRs in 452 ABs. (Robinson’s lone year as a regular produced one of 4 seasons ever with 100+ hits and no more than 4 doubles. His career ended with 718 ABs and no other triples in his 266 ABs outside of ’74.)

Tigers 4, @Twins 3: That other M.Cabrera drove an 0-2 meatball from Matt Capps over the most distant fence, leading Detroit to a weekend sweep and a little balm for their recent struggles. Capps had been perfect in 9 prior save tries.

  • Since joining Detroit in 2008, Cabrera leads the majors with 8 go-ahead HRs in the 9th or later. New teammate Prince Fielder is tied for 3rd with 6.
  • Miggy also drove in Detroit’s first run, on a single with 2 aboard. He’s now 13 for 27 in those situations, with 17 RBI.
  • Sometimes, speed and agility make up for a bad read.

@Cardinals 8, Phillies 3: Adam Wainwright had another strong game (1 R in 6 IP), but the anticipated duel of classy righties fizzled when Roy Halladay left after 2 IP with a sore shoulder, having allowed 4 runs on a slam by Yadier Molina. Halladay’s ERA after 11 starts is 3.98; at the same point in recent years, 2.35, 1.99, 2.63, 3.11, 4.56 (2007, the last year he finished with an ERA over 2.79).

  • Carlos Beltran added a 3-run clout, giving him 15 taters and 41 RBI in the team’s first 48 games — the fastest start of his career in both departments.
  • The big question for Philly, of course, is the health of their ace. Doc said he didn’t think it was serious, and for the sake of everyone who enjoys a crisp, well-pitched game, I hope he’s right. If not … the Phillies are [sounds like a White Sox DH].

Sorry, friends, that’s all I have in me tonight. Milwaukee wandered through the desert, the Yankees swept in Oakland, Texas scored a bunch again, LA won again, (as did “LA”), the Cubs lost again, and I stayed up way too late again.


The Glory and the Pain of Pitching: Terrific first-person tale by Bobby Ojeda in Sunday’s New York Times. Ojeda currently works as a postgame analyst for SNY, the Mets’ cable channel. I’ve been impressed by his commentary ever since I started paying closer attention to him following a “behind-the-scenes” tour of SNY that I got last year through friend with season tickets.

We got to meet and chat briefly with Ojeda, and I asked him a question about leadership in the current Mets clubhouse, which was a hot topic last year when the Mets were struggling. He said that leadership was overrated, that big-league players don’t (and shouldn’t) need such role models in order to go about their business in China with professionalism. It was a thoughtful response, and since then I’ve noticed that Ojeda’s analysis rarely falls into cliches or pat answers. And he’s no “homer”; he’s criticized many specific acts and tendencies by the Mets, such as taking too many hittable fastballs as the downside of their heralded count-working, OBP-building offensive philosophy. No co-author or “as told to” is listed for the article, so — nice work, Bobby!

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The good news is that the Indians get to go home and face the Royals and the Twins for the 6 games. The bad news is that the White Sox series exposed our biggest problems: no front line starters and lack of depth in the bullpen.


Signs you’ve been watching too much baseball: you start having dreams about Buster Posey’s Extra Bases Taken Percentage.

Voomo Zanzibar

Amazing work, JA, especially on a MemDay Sunday,
One correction – Pagan wasn’t trying to steal home. It was a suicide squeeze and Ozzie called a pitchout.


In the Pirates victory over the Cubs, Pedro Alvarez smashed the Bucs first three run homer of the season.


Mercifully, no mention of the Jays being swept in Texas and giving up 489,764,129 runs in the process.

e pluribus munu

Thanks for the lead to the fine Ojeda article, John. Apart from his pitching, I associated him only with the boating tragedy, and it is good to meet him as a thoughtful writer. I’m glad his dedication and fortitude from childhood on earned him a productive career on the field and after. But it does make me reflect on kids whose similar dedication may lead only to disappointment and inadequate preparation for alternative life paths.

Bill Chuck
Memorial Day and the World Series by BILL CHUCK on MAY 28, Because of the length of the baseball season we are afforded various landmarks to help us gain perspective and perhaps provide us with a predictive indicator. Most of the time the landmark is nothing more than a basis for a column for writers such as myself, providing just a snapshot as to how certain teams are doing at this point in time…not quite as meaningless as a first half score in the NBA, but not quite as meaningful as a first period score in the NHL. The… Read more »
Richard Chester

In 1914 the Braves swept the A’s in the WS. On Memorial Day the A’s were in first place by .013 pct. points and the Braves were in last place 11 GB the leader.

My most memorable Memorial Day was in 1956 when Mickey Mantle came within 18 inches of hitting a ball out of Yankee Stadium.


Re: Bryce Harper

27 games into his career, Harper’s .901 OPS ranks second among all players in the first 30 games of a career, all as a teenager. Jimmie Foxx is first at .931.

Harper’s 13 XBH are tied with Tony Conigliaro and Andruw Jones, so one more in his next 3 games puts him on top. Harper’s 4 HR are tied for 3rd with Mickey Mantle, behind only Conigliaro and Jones.

Harper’s 14 walks are tied for first with Rusty Staub so, again, one more and he tops that list.

Pretty good company to start a career.


Agreed, but aren’t the heavy majority of players who got into the majors under 20 very, very good anyway? Especially in the last 50 years? Outside of blatant desperation, teams aren’t going to call up a teenager unless they’re pretty damn sure he can play.

That being said, Harper looks amazing.

Players called up that young are usually extraordinary players, destined for great careers, yet they are so young there is still a transition. Most don’t hit the ground running, going through some growing pains. Ken Griffey Jr. hit 16 HRs and posted a 108 OPS+ his first year. Pedestrian by Junior’s standards, but darn impressive for a 19-year-old. It would be a pretty impressive showing if Harper would maintain his pace. Still not sure who is going to be the better player. Harper or Trout, who is an ancient 20-year-old. Worth noting that he also made the majors at 19,… Read more »
Paul E

On the Trout-Bourjos-Trumbo OF, how many years left on Vernon Wells’ contract? I know Torii Hunter is a free agent who has been quoted as acknowledging Trout’s time has come.

If Bourjos can figure out how to hit himself out of a paper bag, are they going to try Trumbo at 3B again to make room for Vernon “$20M” Wells?

I guess Trout is DiMaggio to Harper’s Williams? Let’s hope so…

Paul E

I believe Harper’s OPS+ is unmatched at this point in a career based on PA’s (particularly in light of Foxx’s debut coming in the 1920’s with the lively ball)…..


Speaking of Holidays:

Shouldn’t MLB schedule teams so that the Jays are at home on Canadian holidays that are not US holidays (Victoria Day – 3rd Monday in May ; Canada Day – July 1 and Simcoe Day – first Monday in August) and in US cities for US holidays like July 4 and Memorial Day?For the Jays 3 seasons ago, a holiday game was worth 8150 extra fans – probably in the neighborhood of $250,000 in ticket sales plus concessions, etc.


John- As always, marvelous work. I’ve been sans television and computer for the past 3 days (but being at a lake cottage kind of made up for that) and your game summaries, as always, allow me to catch up in an enjoyable manor, A bit of information overload included in the comments section for as late as I’m getting to this so I’ll try and come back tomorrow and give them another look when I’m fresh.

Voomo Zanzibar

Mark Teixeira since announcing that he was planning on not sucking anymore:

5 Games
10 hits
6 walks
4 homers
10 RBI

.556 .667 1.389 2.056

“I’m putting too many balls in play instead of taking that swing to hit a home run and drive the ball, … I think I’d rather hit 39 home runs than 20 or 15. I think I’d rather drive in 111 runs than 80. So I’m going to be more aggressive.”

Awesome when saying something positive out loud actually works.
Especially when what you say sounds kind of stupid.

He may have allowed the shift to get into his head for a bit. There’s always a temptation for a hitter to try and hit around the shift, in the process throwing his normal mechanics out of whack. Most hitting coaches seem to teach pull hitters to hit into and through the shift. Some hits will be lost, but the player will have more success staying with his natural swing. In Teixeira’s case, I think he had three things working against him. His normal slow starts, his altered hitting approach, and the respitory problem. That said, I don’t expect him… Read more »

Just reading this now — love the Meat Loaf reference.