Tuesday tidbits

TUESDAY:

TEX 10, @BAL 3: Are you Joshing me? And who’s that HHS nut who called Hamilton “overrated”? (Well, if he was really all that, would he have settled for a double for his 5th hit? Shee-oot, the tattooed slacker didn’t even tie the record for total bases in a game!)

  • It’s obvious why Hamilton merely doubled in the 5th inning: Elvis Andrus didn’t get on base. All 4 HRs came with Andrus on 1st. (I’ll bet no other 4-HR game had a twist like that, but I’ll let someone else check it.)
  • It’s Hamilton’s first game of 3+ HRs. His four previous 2-HR games were at home.
  • Guess what? He’s now on a 75-HR pace.

@PIT 5, WSN 4: Last year, Andrew McCutchen homered on Opening Day and had 5 taters by the end of April. Tonight he hit his first of 2012 in his 26th game.

  • That wasn’t the last HR by the Pirates, and certainly not the biggest.
  • The bullpen spoiled A.J. Burnett’s 2nd high-quality start in 4 outings (8 IP, 2 R, 10 Ks, 1 walk). A.J. had just two 10-K games in his last two years with NYY.
  • Third career walk-off bomb for Rod Barajas, but his first of the turnaround kind. Also, his first HR in 21 games as a Buc; he was 8 for 63 before blasting off.
  • Do you suppose Henry Rodriguez lost a little focus after throwing two wild pitches that moved the tying run to 3rd base?

ATL 3, @CHC 1: Seeing them tied at 1 in the 7th inning of Ryan Dempster‘s 5th start, a question came to mind. Which will come first?

@NYY 5, TBR 3: The Grandy-Man is heating up. With 10 HRs in 29 games, he’s a game ahead of his 2011 pace.

  • Raul Ibanez now has a multi-HR game for each of the 4 teams he’s played for.
  • Data overload: David Robertson loaded the bases in the 9th for Carlos Pena (8 career slams in 136 chances, including one against C.C. in his first AB of the year). The new Yankee closer whiffed him on a 2-2 count. That’s 25 Ks in 50 bases-loaded PAs in Robertson’s career.

NYM 7, @PHI 4: Already leading the majors in 2-out runs, the Mets erupted for 4 more in the 7th to turn around a 4-1 deficit. Six of their 7 runs came with two away.

  • New York’s rally left the Phils with that ol’ rundown feeling.
  • The Mets have made Philly their own Phanatic Phun Zone, winning both early series this year to raise their record to 38-40 in C.B.P. since its 2004 opening. The Phils have returned the favor by going 14-13 in the Mets’ new home, but they won’t land in Flushing until May 28 this year.

@HOU 3, MIA 2: Omar Infante gave Miami the lead with his 6th HR, then let in the two tying runs on a double error.

  • Brian Bogusevic has hit just .244 as a starter in his young career, but pinch-hitting seems to suit him.
  • That’s 15-and-0 for Emilio.

@MIN 5, LAA 0: The 7th shutout loss for the Halos in 31 games. They’re also tied for the MLB high with 4 shutout wins.

  • Seven ovals for Scott Diamond in his season debut (4 hits, 1 walk, 6 Ks). He’s the second MLB player born in Guelph, Ontario, and the first since the 1880s. Even if turns out to be a multifaceted gem, he’ll never win 32 in a season like the last Guelphian.
  • That’s funny — I didn’t I-90 went as far north as Minneapolis.

@KCR 6, BOS 4: I’ve eaten many meals at Bobby V’s restaurant, but I never knew they served Country Breakfast at this hour.

@MIL 8, CIN 3: Cleanup man Aramis Ramirez did just that with a 2-out, base-clearing triple — but he spoiled his 4-year streak of exactly 1 triple.

DET 6, @SEA 4 (9th): What percentage of the game is half mental, again? Papa Grande, back in a save situation after a one-game hiatus that must’ve made Jim Leyland repent his ways, has walked the first 2 men in the 9th. (No, I daren’t look again….)

@OAK 7, TOR 3: Jays’ closing woes continue. Nobody likes cold Coco; he’s blown his last 3 save opps.

  • With HRs in his last 2 games, Brandon Inge‘s 2012 total has equaled the 3 he hit in 102 games last year. (Sorry, no video available yet on his game-winning GS.)
  • Toronto still has just one singleton result in 30 games so far: WWLLWWLLWWLLWWWWLLLLWWLWWWWLLL.
  • Surprising A’s have won 5 of 6 and improved to 16-14.

@SDP 2, COL 1: One of these struggling NL West teams gets to win. Rox have dropped 7 of 9, including the opener of this 8-game road trip (mustering only 2 runs despite a HR from the pitcher). A Pads victory would make them even in their last 16 games, which is progress after a 3-12 start.

  • Something’s gotta give: San Diego had scored just 97 runs as the evening began. Colorado had allowed 156, which — I know you’ll never believe this — is the most in the NL.

CHW 5, @CLE 3: After successful SP Chris Sale failed in his first try at closing, Robin Ventura announced that Sale will platoon with 3B Brent Morel until one of them learns to hit better than Aurelio Rodriguez. That player will then be released.

STL 6, @ARI 1 (9th): Hypothetical question for Cards fans: Say you could wave a magic wand and get Albert back at the club’s last offer price, but you had to void the deal for Carlos Beltran. Have you moved on already?

_______________

… and a little canned hash from MONDAY:

Lance Lynn has won 6 straight starts to open the season. Last Cardinal to do that was Bob Tewksbury (1994), who finished the season 12-10, 5.32.

Jordany Valdespin, whose first and last names are unique in MLB history, notched 0.454 Win Probability Added for his 9th-inning tie-breaking 3-run HR as a pinch-hitter in his 8th career game. Just one other Met has had such a big PH impact within his first 10 games.

_______________

Remember the dates:

April 11-12 — The only consecutive Twins wins this year. Their 7-21 start is the worst in franchise history, on the heels of the 2nd-worst season in their 51 years up north.

April 19Albert’s last multi-hit game. In 17 games since then, he’s 7-67 … but, you know, with a HR.

Sorry if I didn’t cover your team. I live on the East Coast and work in the morning, so it’s hard to get to the late shows.


Comments

Tuesday tidbits — 53 Comments

  1. Last year on the B-Ref blog I said Hamilton was the best player in baseball and I was roundly made fun of. I stand by my words.

    • (But still not quite the same as Andrus being the only runner on, and always on the same base. My theory: Adam Jones’s frustration at not catching Hamilton’s first HR triggered a Groundhog Day event….)

  2. Tomorrow, Mets vs. Phils in an Ogden Nash special: Dillon Gee and Clifton Lee. That’s a game you’ll want to see. Don’t dare get up to take a [break].

  3. I finally got up the nerve to check out the last of the 9th in Seattle. It’s a good thing I didn’t watch; I would have had an aneurysm when Valverde intentionally walked Ichiro (the winning run) to load the bases for Montero.

  4. Dempster’s 5-start winless streak with 6+ IP and 2 R or less is the first such streak since John Lannan in 2008.

    But Dempster’s performance over the streak (35.1 IP, 6 runs) is far better than Lannan’s (31 IP, 10 R).

    Cal Eldred’s 5-game streak spanning 1997-98 had 33.2 IP, 8 R.

    In 1985, Steve Bedrosian had a 5-start streak with 32 IP, 8 R.

    And that’s all I can find, going all the way back to 1918.

    • Clay Buchholz is the anti Dempster. Six straight starts with 5+ earned runs to start the season, tying a record set by Carl Doyle 76 years ago.

    • Wednesday in Philly, Pierre struck out 3 times in a game for just the 4th time in his career.

      On the plus side, he had a couple of hits and was the only Phils outfielder who didn’t utterly humiliate himself in the field.

  5. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the Giants beat Clayton Kershaw for “the first time in 100 years” – Duane Kuiper.

    Meawhile, four Giants starting pitchers have ERAs in the 2.00-3.00 range, yet only one has a winning record. Sounds familiar.

      • Let’s face it, Santana has hardly been stellar, regardless of the frankly hilarious “run support”. But Dempster… crikey. 1.02 ERA, 0-1 is positively Cain-esque.

        • There’s never been a losing record in a qualifying season with an ERA+ over 195.

          Dempster’s ERA+ after 5 games is [ahem] 372.
          And Big Z is 1-2 with a 194 ERA+ in 6 games.

          • What pray tell, is the highest ERA+ in a qualifying season with a losing record?

          • RJ @32 — I’ll link to my search at the end of this comment for anyone with a P-I subscription.

            — Since 1901, the highest ERA+ for a qualified season with a losing record is 195, by Ed Siever in 1902.

            — In the live-ball era, it’s 162, by Hal Newhouser in 1942 and Ben Sheets in 2004.

            Incidentally, both Siever and Newhouser allowed a very high proportion of unearned runs, even considering their eras. Siever yielded 40 ER but another 33 unearned.

            Link to search

  6. Jeter’s hit last night gave him 49 hits in the Yankees first 29 games of the season. That is a team record breaking the one held by Alphonse Soriano.

    • It’s tempting for me to embrace the notion of Alphonse Soriano, since my father, brother and a nephew all share that given name.

      But with no HRs, 4 runs and a 60 OPS+, he’ll have to remain Alfonso for now. :)

      • Thanks for the correction. I should have mentioned that it is a record dating back to 1918. The record for the most hits in his team’s first 30 games is 60 by Hank Aaron in 1959, again dating back to 1918.

        • Thanks for the motivation to look up Hank’s 30 game stats back in 1959.

          The Braves had six regulars over .300 as of this date.
          The highest besides the Hammer was at .327.

          Hank was an otherworldly .484 with an OPS of 1.390.

          He added his 11th homer this day off Don Drysdale.

          Hank would finish the year at .355

          He even stole 8 bases that year without being caught.

        • This is Hank Aaron’s 1959 batting record after his first 30 games:

          12 2B, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 24 runs, 106 Total Bases(!)
          .477/.507/.867 // 1.374 OPS

          He had just one game with no hits, and only seven other games with one hit. He didn’t fall below a .400 BA until June 16th. He set personal single-season highs that year in hits (223), doubles (46), and (not surprisingly) total bases (400).

          This was the only time anyone had 400 TB between 1948 and 1978.

          • Lawrence:
            And even the 400 TB’s by Jim Rice may have been a product of the “juiced” Rawlings baseball introduced in 1977. In later years we have Larry Walker and Helton crushing at Coors and, of course, all the steroided guys going ape feces….

  7. JA:
    How about Carlos “El Nuevo Majina” Beltran with 10 HRs and only 11 extra base hits so far? Obviously, this ratio is pretty much a mere statistical oddity through May 8th, however, I believe it also to be further evidence of a player’s hitting skills evolving to the point where he just waits for and crushes “his pitch”….again, kind of like Henry Aaron from age 35 – 39.

    Timmy Pea et all:
    Pierre is batting about .340…where, barring injury, does he end up on September 30th?

    • Paul — This wouldn’t be the first time Beltran winds up with an absurdly low doubles total. In 2003, he had 160 hits, 26 HRs, 10 triples — but only 14 doubles. In general, that sort of ratio — doubles less than 10% of hits — is only achieved by two classes of players, mega-sluggers like Maris & Mantle in ’61, and flyweight slappers like our friend Juan Pierre last year.

      2003 was just a fluke year for Beltran, whose career rate of doubles = 20% of hits is perfectly normal.

      • JA:
        I guess my point was, despite the fact he still runs fairly well, those doubles are now HR’s and his ratio of HR’s to doubles is *^$@&%# absurd – perhaps, because he is crushing his pitch.
        I’m not a PI subscriber (shame on me) but I’ll attempt to manipulate the thing to the point of a 3:1 ratio with a minimum of 24 HR’s. In the example you give, beltran’s 2003, he is less than 2:1 for HR:2b
        Thanks!

      • JA:
        I’m piling on here….One major leaguer in history has a ratio of 6:1 HR:2B or greater while having hit 4 doubles (24+ homers). Not a subscriber to PI on baseball reference, so I’d be guessing a bench/platoon type slugger who either hit the ball a mile on contact and/or just didn’t run well. Jerry Lynch? Ken Phelps? Quien sabe?

        • Yep, McGwire’s final season, 2001 — 29 HRs and 4 doubles (a 7.25 ratio). He also batted .187, the lowest ever with more than 25 HRs.

          • Paul – Big Mac is the career HR:2B ratio leader among all players with 40+ HRs, with a ratio of 2.31 (583:252).

            His ratio for his Cardinals tenure was nearly 4 (220:57).

        • Paul: By a method that’s cumbersome to explain it is possble to find out who had that 6:1 ratio without being a PI subscriber. If you fool around with PI long enough you may be able to do it.

  8. #24/Paul E,

    Well, I wouldn’t discount Rice’s 406 total bases in 1978 _too_ much, as he was the only player in the AL to have even 300 TB’s (2nd: Eddie Murray, 293). The NL leader was 340. If the Rawlings baseball was juiced, it seems that he was the only AL player to take a large advantage of it that year.

    I’d discount the 406 TB’s more because Rice made 490 outs in 1978 (4th in the AL). His Adjusted Batting Wins of 4.9 is in a many-way tie for 439th all time, it did lead the AL that year (Dave Parker had 5.0). Hank Aaron’s 6.8 ABW in 1959 is 88th all-time.

    • Lawrence:
      I do vaguely recall Rice on the cover of either SI or the Sporting News with the caption “Power Plant” around late season 1977 or ’78. He sure did GIDP an awful lot as well as have a relatively low BB rate for such an imposing hitter.

      Was Pesky his hitting instructor? I seem to recall Walt Hriniak (challenging Doug Gwosdz for highest all-time “eyechart surname” similarity score) around that time and Curt Gowdy talking about him as if he were God. Maybe not

      • Apparently the Red Sox had no formal hitting coach till Johhny Pesky was appointed in 1980, but Walt Hriniak, the Sox bullpen coach since 1977, served informally as a hitting coach after several Sox players, notably Dewey Evans and Rich Gedman, approached Hriniak and started working with him. He took over the formal title after Pesky retired from that in 1984.

        Rice’s hitting approach was pretty well established from his rookie year in 1975; I don’t think Rice worked much with Walt Hriniak, it was mainly Evans and Gedman that were his prize pupils.

        I know Jim Rice gets knocked around here, and I don’t think he belongs in the HOF* (he’s pretty much the poster-boy for “Fenway Park advantage”), but that 1978 season was pretty awesome.

        * a big part of that being the low walk rate and high GIDP rate that you mentioned

    • Lawrence:
      Yep, August 13, 1977 issue of the one-time baseball-centric Sporting News…”Power Plant Jim Rice Boston Red Sox”.

      Billy Dee Williams mustache and all

  9. The Red Sox of this era had a number of players with fine mustaches, not only Rice but also Dwight Evans, Luis Tiant, and Dennis Eckersley and later Carney Lansford, Steve Crawford, Wade Boggs, Tony Armas and Bill Buckner.

      • Yes, but Dwight Evans’ mustache had a higher WAR-M (Wins Above Replacement-level Mustache) than Rice’s. It did more of the little things well.

        …And I do prefer “LA” over “Lawrence”.

  10. I find it amusing that as of right now the two teams that would sneak into the post-season because of the new, second wild card spot are the two New York teams. Do you think that was what Bud Selig and MLB were going for?

    • birtlecom:
      “Do you think that was what Bud Selig and MLB were going for?”

      Revenue – in any form. You know, you play 162 games-the most in any sport, and you invite everybody and their ancestors to the playoffs anyway

    • Even though I completely get your point, pride requires me to point out that the METS are on a 92-win pace, which would mean playoffs most years under the old system.

  11. Weird stat of the day: With last night’s win, the KC Royals tied up the all time series with the Boston Red Sox at 216 to 216. The only AL team with a better record against the BoSox since the Royals’ inception in 1969 was some team from New York. Considering the Red Sox .543 winning percentage in that time and the Royals .480 winning percentage, that seems pretty remarkable.

    • This is a great stat, Brent, and calls to mind a way of looking at seasons that has seemed very hard to track since divisional play began in 1969. Before that time, the daily standings chart in many papers was presented as a grid that showed team-vs-team season series totals, allowing you to track at a glance how each team was compiling its record. (During some parts of the season, careful analysis was a disciplined way to delay homework by as much as a half-hour beyond box score study.) The most interesting were always the series rivalries that ran counter to expectations – like yours – and the ones that threatened to be clean 22-0 (later 18-0) sweeps. I don’t know if there is an online presentation of that data – season-by-season or historical totals – but if there is, I’d love to know of it.

  12. Some Snapshots from the Tigers @ Mariners game referenced in the above post.

    http://phungo.blogspot.com/2012/05/game-report-2012-05-08-tigers-6.html

    Notes: 1)They let you get really close to the bullpen in SafeCo. 2)The MLB.Com box sez the wind was 2mph – that is totally inaccurate – 25mph would have been a lot closer. 3)Fielder’s Dinger was among the hardest balls I have seen hit live. Seattle Beat writer Larry LaRue mentioned Jupiter in his game coverage.

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