The evening’s theme was dominant starters:
@Cardinals 4, Padres 0: Adam Wainwright went the distance just like old times, racking up 9 Ks mainly with the curveball that’s been known as one of the best around ever since he froze Carlos Beltran to clinch the 2006 NLCS. Beltran was his benefactor Tuesday, driving in the game’s first 2 runs in the 1st and 6th innings.
- In 25 times up, San Diego’s #1-7 hitters had a single and a walk, both by Yonder.
- St. Louis pitching leads the majors with 13 games allowing exactly one run — but this was their first shutout.
- Colorado, you’re on the clock: every other team has at least one shutout.
- Beltran is on pace for 49 HRs and 132 RBI; his career highs are 41 and 116, in 2006. How is it possible that Johnny Damon has more HOF buzz than Beltran? Would any team, at any point in their careers, have preferred Johnny over Carlos? Damon’s main calling card is scoring runs, but he doesn’t even best Beltran in that area; both have averaged 109 R/162 G.
Angels 5, @Athletics 0: Bouncing back from his wildest start of the year (6 walks and a HBP in 3.1 IP), C.J. Wilson held Oakland to a single (erased on a DP) and two walks over 8 stellar innings; another man reached on an escaped 3rd strike.
- The good news: Angels lead the majors with 6 shutouts. The bad news: When they allow any runs, they’re 13-25. The worst news: They’ve been shut out 8 times and rank next-to-last in AL scoring at 3.61 R/G, 12th with a .305 OBP and 13th in walks. No Angel is on pace for even 50 walks; Albert has never drawn less than 61 but is on track for 37.
- Our man Godfrey: A’s starter Graham Godfrey is the first in MLB history with Godfrey as either a last name or first name.
@Orioles 4, Red Sox 1: Baltimore answered a Monday spanking with a gem by Tooz and the A Team: 2 hits, 2 walks, 12 Ks. Holding a wafer-thin lead in the top of the 7th, Matusz ended his night by sending off Adrian Gonzalez on a swinging 3rd strike, tying his career high with #9; then Darren O’Day likewise dismissed Youk (who homered in his return from a 22-game absence) and Middy. In the last of the 8th, they bought breathing room with a 2-out lightning rally — Wieters walked, Betemit bonked one.
- The O’s are 3-2 in so far in a three-week trial that will go some ways towards answering the question on everyone’s lips. It started with their 3-game Beltway Battle in Washington; then 3 with red-hot Boston; next, 3 with the Royals’ road cast (they’re 12-8 away); then 3 each at Toronto, Tampa and Boston again; and finally, 3 with the iconic (if struggling) Phillies.
- Jim Johnson (16 for 16) is on pace for 59 saves. Bet you didn’t know … There’s been just one 40-save season in Orioles history; that’s out of 135 MLB seasons of 40+ saves. Toronto and Colorado also have one apiece; every other team has at least 2.
- Daddy never did that: Steven Tolleson provided the early lead with a 2-run HR. Papa Wayne Tolleson spent 10 years in the AL and hit 9 HRs in 2,614 PAs, but he never hit one against the BoSox.
Twins 9, @White Sox 2: In 6 career starts, P.J. Walters had never gone past the 7th. But with a big early lead, he poured on the strikes and let his fielders and Chicago’s hackers do the rest. Walters went all the way, with enough gas left to strike out the side in the 8th on 10 pitches (all strikes).
- Minnesota has won 7 of 11 since their 8-23 nadir, while averaging 5.5 R/G — or 2.1 runs more than their average in their first 31 games.
- Justin Morneau has driven home 9 runs in 6 games since his DL stint, and has already surpassed last year’s HR total. Five of his six HRs are on the road; he has 5 HRs in 85 career games at his new home park, or 1 per 17 games — in all other parks combined, 1 HR per 5.2 games.
- A.J. Pierzynski, Alex Rios, Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez — all in the AL’s bottom 25 in Pitches/PA — combined to see 36 pitches in 12 PAs, reaching base once.
Rangers 3, @Mariners 1: Held to a season-low 4 hits, Texas still won, scoring all their runs with 2 outs in the 3rd. Just 2 other Rangers reached base, and none got past 1st. Mike Adams got out of a jam left by Matt Harrison, retiring Montero, Smoak and Seager (Seattle’s leading power threats) with the tying runs on base.
- Hector Noesi walked only 2 in 8 strong innings, but he bunched them in the 3rd and then he got stung by Elvis for a 2-run triple.
- Texas is 21-6 against the M’s since the start of last year, including 8-4 in Safeco.
Dodgers 8, @Diamondbacks 7: In just his 20th career game, Ivan de Jesus, Jr. notched a bigger WPA than his dad ever did in more than 1,300 games. The backup 2B with 1 RBI and no extra-base hits in 19 career games stepped in as a pinch-hitter to drive in the tying run with a sac fly in the 7th, then came up again with 2 out and 2 on in the 9th, LA trailing by 1, and drove the first pitch from J.J. Putz over the head of a shallow Chris Young for a turnaround 2-run double.
- De Jesus had a game WPA of 0.706, the 2nd-highest this year off the bench. Here’s #1.
- There are really just two modes for Putz: dominant, or injured. His ERA is 7.20, with 12.0 H/9 and 4 HRs in 15 IP. You know where to forward his mail.
- Arizona had very strange offensive totals: (a) 15 hits with 7 extra-base hits including 2 HRs, but (b) no walks and 12 strikeouts. In the searchable era, that exact combination has never happened before. Teams with exactly 15 hits and 7 XBH have gone 576-89 (.866). Teams with no walks and exactly 12 Ks have gone 27-135 (.167). No wonder the game went right down to the wire.
- What’s the record for most sons of big-leaguers in one team’s lineup? The Dodgers finished the game with de Jesus, Tony Gwynn, Jr., Dee Gordon and Scott Van Slyke all on the field. (Arizona started Josh Bell at 3B, but no luck.)
Mets 3, @Pirates 2: R.A. Dickey: 7 IP, 1 R, career-high 11 Ks, no walks. Second Mets start this century with 11+ strikeouts and no passes. Twenty-second such game in club history; 7 by Seaver, 3 apiece by Doc and El Sid, 2 each for Coney and Koos.
- David Wright failed to get on for just the 3rd time this year. The man who’s reached safely in the most games is Adam Jones, 41 out of 44 — but with a modest .349 OBP. The normally streaky Dan Uggla has been a model of consistency, getting on in 40 of 44 games (but
- Seen some good things from Josh Harrison in this series, including a double and a hustle triple tonight. But he is lapping the field in swinging away: 4 walks in 268 career PAs, one per 67 trips. No other active hitter with 200+ PAs has averaged less than 1 in 40. The career record for nonpitchers with 1,000 PAs is held by Rob Picciolo, 1 walk per 68.8 PAs.
- Who’s the LOOGiest of them all? This year, it’s Tim Byrdak: 17 of his MLB-high 26 appearances have lasted just 1 batter. Totals for those games: 15 outs (7 Ks), 2 hits, no walks. No other pitcher has more than 10 one-man outings; the season record is 35 by Scott Eyre in 2004. Byrdak has 12.1 IP, averaging 0.47 IP per game; last year Trever Miller set the all-time low for 30+ games, averaging 0.44 IP (48 G, 21.1 IP). Lefties against Byrdak this year: 3-26, 1 walk, 14 Ks. (The one HR was a doozy, but the Mets still managed to win.)
— Toronto is 3rd in AL scoring, but only 10th in OBP and 7th in OPS. One factor: their runners on base have taken 51% of possible extra bases on batter hits, best in the majors; no other AL team is above 44%. On singles, the Jays have gone first-to-third at a 37% clip (AL average 27%), and second-to-home at a 72% rate (avg. is 59%). Yet their 13 baserunning outs is just the league average.
— Mets batting splits by leverage, etc.:
- Low leverage: .247 BA (NL .251), .312 OBP (NL .315)
- Medium leverage: .259 BA (NL .244), .344 OBP (NL .309)
- High leverage: .285 BA (NL .252), .372 OBP (NL .329)
- 2 outs, RISP: .280 BA (NL .224, #2 team .251), .385 OBP (NL .338)
- When ahead, the Mets have walked once per 12.0 PAs, a little worse than the NL average (1 BB/11.6 PA). But when trailing this year, most teams walk less often, once per 13.0 PAs. The Mets walk rate goes up to once per 9.2 PAs. Their ultimate deciding run tonight began when Kirk Nieuwenhuis fought back from an 0-2 count to earn a seemingly benign walk off fireballer Juan Cruz in the 8th; they would score twice with 2 out to take a 3-1 lead, but that insurance run proved vital when Pittsburgh plated one in their half.