Thursday recap: Colby=>Jack

[No, not this guy.]

In Baltimore Thursday, the Orioles hit 5 HRs in the first game of a doubleheader, accounting for all their runs in a 6-5 win over . All the runs and HRs came in 7 innings’ work by Colby Lewis, who allowed no other hits. Afterwards, Lewis said, “It seemed like one of those days where you have really good stuff and then you miss your spot or something and it’s just not a hit, it’s a homer. You can’t really look at it any other way. It was just kind of a weird game.”

I’ll say. This was one of the oddest pitching performances you’ll ever see.

The first 3 Orioles homered off Lewis in the bottom of the 1st, on 1-0, 1-1 and 0-2 counts. The first out came on a flyball, then he fanned the next 6. He had 9 Ks after 4 IP, and 11 through the 6th, trailing 3-1. He might have had more: Of the 7 outs in play to that point, 5 came with 2 strikes; the other 2 hit the first pitch.

In the 7th, another flare-up: HR, 5-pitch walk, first-pitch HR, 1-2 HBP, 3-0 count to Mark Reynolds. And then it went quiet again: Lewis came back with 2 strikes and Reynolds hit into a DP. After an infield error (on another 2-strike count), he whiffed Ryan Flaherty, who earlier connected for his first career HR, with his last 3 pitches.

Lewis finished with 12 Ks and 1 walk. Two-thirds of his 114 pitches were strikes, including 20 of 28 first pitches.

Five HRs allowed has been done 93 other times since 1918, with 2 each by 5 pitchers (including teammates Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, who are the others to do it this year). Eight of those pitchers even got a win; one was Mike Mussina in ’94, the first to allow 5 HRs in Oriole Park/Camden Yards. (More than half these games came since 1994.)

But none of those guys had more than 9 strikeouts. Lewis extended that record by 33%. The best previous Game Score in such an outing was 52 by Charlie Hough; Lewis scored a 54.

To turn it around, only 3 other pitchers ever allowed 4 HRs while fanning 12 or more; the only one since 1963 was this crazy game by Curt Schilling. Twenty others allowed 3 HRs with 12+ Ks.

Lewis has given up plenty of HRs in the past, as Texas pitchers often do. He led the AL last year with 35, and he began tonight’s game with the 8th-highest HR/9 since 2010 out of 96 pitchers with 300+ IP. The 62 HRs Lewis yielded in that span were distributed 38 at home (61%) and 24 on the road.

For the year to date, Lewis has served up 11 HRs in 46.1 IP — 8 solo shots and 3 with a man aboard — but he’s allowed just 5 other runs, keeping his ERA to a respectable 3.69. His SO/BB ratio, which has been a strong 3.0 each of the last 2 years, is a neat 7.0 (42:6).

In the nightcap, a 7-3 Rangers win, Josh Hamilton (remember him?) opened the scoring in the 1st with his 15th HR; naturally, Elvis Andrus was on 1st base at the time. The O’s came back with 3 unearned runs after Andrus’s error, but he atoned with a pair of RBI hits, including the go-ahead. Mike Napoli, who came in with 7 HRs but just 1 double, tied the game with his first triple in more than 2 years.

Texas took 3 of 4 in the series, and their 21-11 record is the best in baseball. Today’s split, coupled with Tampa’s 5-3 loss in the Bronx, knotted the O’s and Rays atop the AL East at 20-12. Toronto won 6-2 and is 18-14 (Minnesota fell to 8-23), and the Yanks are 4th at 17-14. (A game worse than the idle Mets, but who’s counting?) The Red Sox, now 12-19, were beaten in Boston by old friend Derek Lowe, while Josh Beckett did nothing to quell his recent firestorm, allowing 7 ER in 2.1 IP.

Finally, even with a light schedule, Colby Lewis had neither the night’s high in strikeouts nor the longest K streak. Stephen Strasburg tallied 13 Bucs7 straight — and held them to 2 runs (1 ER) in 6 IP, adding his 3rd double in his only official AB. Phenom, Sr. is 4-13 at bat, and 3-0, 1.64 on the slab, with 51 Ks and 10 walks in 44 IP. He’s gone at least 6 IP in all 7 starts and just once allowed as many as 3 runs. (Phenom, Jr. made a futile throw home that let the batter take second and was charged with his first error, a scoring decision I can’t recall seeing on this sort of play before. The runner then scored from 2nd on a single for the unearned run.)

I cant do a full recap tonight, but I look forward to your findings of other “firsts” and oddities involving the Lewis game or others.

30 thoughts on “Thursday recap: Colby=>Jack

  1. 1

    Are you saying that Harper’s error should have gone to the catcher?
    Somebody gets an error there, and the throw was a 90 mph short-hop.
    I’d say E9.

    Or are you saying that there should have been no error because McCutchen would have gone to 2nd there on any throw home, and he didn’t advance any further because of the mishandling?

    • 7
      John Autin says:

      Voomo — I meant the latter. When I watched the clip the first time, I thought McCutchen would have taken second on the throw regardless, and thus I thought the scorer essentially had ruled an error of judgment on Harper, who had absolutely no chance at the runner scoring.

      Watching it again, I’m not so sure that McCutchen would have advanced if the throw didn’t get away. In which case … never mind!

  2. 2
    Paul E says:

    If you click on the “Schilling” boxscore, he threw 67 strikes and struck out 12. Seems a little odd – light on the strikes for 12 K’s? Also, that was one helluva powerhouse Phillies squad that was on pace for 49 wins – wooooo hooooo!! For the love of Braulio Castillo…..

  3. 3
    Jeff B says:

    Brandon Inge hit his 2nd Grand Slam in 3 games and 4 RBIs with only 1 hit in 3 of his last 4 games. Combine this with the fact that he has only played 9 games with Oakland, I wonder 2 things: Has anybody ever hit 2 grand slams within their first 9 games with a team and how often is it for a player to have 3 (4 RBI, 1 hit) games in a 4 game span? I am sure 1 of the great stats guys will be able to help me out. Thanks and great work by everyone on this blog.

    • 14
      John Autin says:

      Jeff B — The Play Index is not currently equipped to directly answer queries about “most times in an N-game span.”

      I can tell you two things, though:

      (1) Inge is the only one so far this year with more than one game of 4+ RBI on 1 hit or less.

      (2) Since 1918, only two players have ever had more than 3 such games in a season: Wally Berger in 1935, and Lou Gehrig in 1931, both with 4 such games.

      P.S. In one of Gehrig’s games, he had only a single and a walk, no sac flies. The Yanks scored 22 runs, so maybe he had a couple of RBI outs.

      • 15
        John Autin says:

        Also, since 2000, the only other player to do 4+ RBI & 1 hit or less in consecutive games was Chad Tracy in 2006, May 2-3.

      • 16
        Richard Chester says:

        That Lou Gehrig game was one of Jekyll and Hyde pitcher Pat Caraway’s 16 DS in 1931. He gave up 13 runs with 2 IP.

    • 24
      John Autin says:

      Another HR and 4 RBI for Inge Friday!?!?! The HR was “merely” a 3-run shot, and he spoiled the symmetry by adding a single.

      It’s only the 6th inning, though; he may get that salami yet.

  4. 4
    kds says:

    Should have been no error on Harper. They don’t charge errors for mental mistakes, such as throwing to the wrong base. This is the second time Harper has done this. Just about the only obvious mental mistakes he has made. He will probably mostly play RF until Werth gets back, (2-3 months?), so he needs to improve in this area.

    The 3 homers to start the game set an AL record, it has been done 3 times in the NL. Could have been more; the first pitch to the 4th batter was a fastball, right down the middle.

  5. 5
    Mark in Sydney says:

    The Jays-Twins game was a funny one. Lots of errors, the best of which was seeing a little conference of P (Marquis), 3B (Plouffe) and C (Doumis) all stand around and wait for a pop-fly from Encarnacion to drop between them. Funnily enough, it wasn’t called an error (perhaps because no-one made a play for the ball?)

    The Twins almost made the Jays look good defensively. But not really…

    • 6
      Mike L says:

      It’s bizarre what’s happened to the Twins. Obviously Mauer and Morneau are major losses, but going from a 94 win team to 63-99 and then 8-23. Every part of their game has come undone.

      • 8
        Paul E says:

        Mike L:
        Las Vegas had the Twins at over/under 73 1/2 wins. Even Ron Gardenhire and all the “play the fundamentally correct way” can’t help this team…..

        • 9
          John Autin says:

          Wow — Vegas expected a 10-win *improvement* from the Twins this year? I’m stunned.

          • 10
            Paul E says:

            And they only had the WC Cards at 84….but the Padres at 74 kind of explains the conservative nature of their over/under numbers in trying to attract $$$.

            By the same token, a healthy Mauer is supposed to be good for 5+ WAR and a healthy Morneau another 4 – 5 ? Who knows? But, that being said, they are ultimately attempting to attract wagers

          • 11
            Mike L says:

            Presumably they were thinking Mauer and Mourneau would return to productivity. You wonder how they can possibly put this team back together. Bad everywhere

          • 20
            Nash Bruce says:

            True story: I bet a friend $1 that the Twins would lose more than 110 games this year.

            At least I’m going to get something out of this season.

            Worse yet, I heard a prognosticator before the season (ESPN Radio) say that the Twins had a realistic chance to….wait for it……make the playoffs. Really. Ugh.

            I guess sportswriters will say anything for a story.(No offense to anyone on this site, lol)

      • 17
        Doug says:

        Only 12 teams in the game-searchable era have had fewer wins than the Twins after 31 games. None of them were the 1960s Mets (although the 1981 Mets also started 8-23).

        The cumulative season record of those 12 teams was 582-1215, .324. Records in games after game 31 range from .458 (1981 Cubs) and .443 (1987 Padres) to .301 (1952 Pirates) and .282 (2003 Tigers).

        • 19
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          I distinctly remember the 2005 Royals start as historically awful; people were talking a lot about it by mid-May. They also started out 8-23, bottoming out at 13-37, when they were being compared to the 2003 Tigers. They “improved” to 43-69 the rest of the year, to finish at 56-106.

          I’m sure that Twins fans are hoping that they don’t follow the same path as the Royals.

  6. 12
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    #10/Paul E makes a great point – the MLB won/lost records that Las Vegas puts out aren’t their predictions of what they believe will be the precise W/L record for each team, but what they believe will attract the largest amount of money for wagers.

    Remember, they are in the biz of making $$, not predicting exact Won/Lost records.

    • 13
      John Autin says:

      Absolutely, LA. I was using shorthand there.

      Giving it a little more thought, I’d guess their team win over/unders might always skew a little high, because of the tendency of fans of a team to be too optimistic.

      I don’t know if there’s a big cadre of cold-hearted gamblers placing those particular bets … but if I hadn’t sworn off gambling in 1995, I would have hammered the under-73.5 for Minny. Nothing personal, Twins fans. But I can’t see any reason to expect Morneau to return to his 2006-10 level of performance; I know of no cases of such prolonged concussion syndrome who ever made it all the way back.

      • 21
        Nash Bruce says:

        Yup. I should have left my above response as a response to this comment.

        BTW, yes Neil L., I did see your welcoming me back a few days ago…..:) I remember the one long thread last year sometime, regarding “big-market, small-market”. I was always in the minority, in thinking that decisions that front offices make, carry a lot more weight than people give it credit for…..sooooo, one year later, another year into the Mauer contract, and Target Field….hmmm.

        Toronto(!) and Tampa Bay seem to be handling ‘poverty’ fairly well though. As do Boston a….er, whoops.
        Money doesn’t fix everything, apparently.

        • 25
          Neil L. says:

          Nash, I rely on you for the real scoop on the Twins situation…. always.

          • 30
            Nash Bruce says:

            lol…….I am days late on this response, been busy! Anyway….ok, appreciate the thought, but, rely on me @ your peril :-p

  7. 22
    Timmy Pea says:

    Adam Dunn is hitting pretty good this year. He got a lot of crap about his bad year last year, good to see him come back like this.

    • 23
      John Autin says:

      Timmmy, it is really good to see Dunn cranking just like old times. With the HR tonight, he’s on pace for 54 HRs; no White Sox has ever hit 50.

      (And yes, I know it’s too soon to talk seriously about pace.)

  8. 26
    kds says:

    The Orioles had 5 hits, all of which were HR! Is that the record for most hits where H=HR? What about H=2B, H=3B, or H=1B?

    • 27
      Richard Chester says:

      On 6/24/89 the Indians had 6 hits all of which were HRs.

      On 8/18/98 the Braves had 8 hits all of which were doubles.

      On 7/26/2011 the Braves had 15 hits all of which were singles.

      There have been 5 occasions of 2 hits all of which were triples;

      Orioles 5/5/73
      Giants 5/2/72
      KC A’s 4/19/64
      Mets 6/23/63
      Yankees 4/20/51

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *