A smattering of Wednesday games

Wish I had more time for this. Here I try to cover some of the teams that don’t always make it into the roundup.

@Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 1Paul Goldschmidt hit RBI doubles in his first 2 ABs, then closed the scoring with his 7th HR in the 7th. Wade Miley (7-2, 2.53) has won 4 of his last 5 starts, averaging 7 IP and 1 walk; here he set a new personal best with a 77 Game Score.

  • Goldschmidt weathered a rough April that had some folks saying he needed more seasoning. His bat woke up on April 30 and hasn’t slept since, lifting his BA/OPS from .185/.540 to a healthy .288/.872. He leads the team’s regulars in BA, SLG and OPS, as well as doubles and HRs.
  • Since scoring at least 11 runs in 3 straight games last week, the Rox have scored a total of 10 in their next 5 games.

Cardinals 4, @Astros 3: How do you get 24 RBI in 71 ABs, without even one bases-loaded hit? Yesterday, Allen Craig homered and had an RBI single, raising his average with RISP to .476 (10 for 21). He has also driven in a man from 1st base with 4 of his 6 doubles; drawn a bases-loaded walk; hit 2 sac flies; and plated 1 run on a groundout. His 1.166 OPS leads all MLB players with 50+ PAs, and has at least 1 RBI in 13 of his 18 games this year.

  • 12 Ks by Bud Norris matched the MLB season high for strikeouts in a loss, shared by 3 others including Cliff Lee the day before; Lee was the 2011 leader in this department with a 16-K loss. Norris fanned exactly 2 in each of his 6 innings before leaving for a pinch-hitter. He allowed 5 straight hits in the 1st inning, which has been his toughest frame this year (.321 BA, .509 SLG).
  • Houston fell to 18-13 at home. St. Louis improved to 5-10 in one-run games.

@Brewers 8, Cubs 0: Zack Greinke (12 Ks, 2 hits in 7 IP) doesn’t seem like an ogre … so why is he taking candy from a baby?

  • After tormenting the Cubs with 3 hits, including 2 doubles that started the Crew’s first two scoring thrusts, Norichika Aoki was honored with his first intentional walk.
  • On his 100th PA, Taylor Green finally connected for his first career HR.
  • Through Monday, Tony Campana had only one 3-K game in 51 career starts. But Yovani & Co. got him 3 times Tuesday, and Greinke wove 3/4 of the golden sombrero Campana wore last night.
  • The last 2 games are the first time Milwaukee has recorded 14+ strikeouts in back-to-back games. It’s the 3rd time that was ever done to the Cubs, the previous 2 both coming in 2003.

@Athletics 2, Rangers 0: Nobody has allowed more hits this year than Bartolo Colon, but he held the Rangers to 5 singles over 8 scoreless innings and moved into a 3-way tie for #8 on the active Wins list with no. 166. Yoenis Cespedes led the offense with 3 hits, half of Oakland’s total.

  • Colon’s walk rate of 1.4 BB/9 is a career low.
  • Texas has dropped 6 of 8, but they still have the largest division lead, 4.5 games.
  • Only 3 teams now remain in the ranks of the great un-whitewashed: Cleveland, Detroit, and … San Francisco?!? Although the Giants rank 22nd in MLB at just under 4 runs per game, they have scored exactly 4 runs 15 times, 4 more than any other team, and won 10 of those games.

Braves 2, Marlins 1Randall Delgado pitched (career-best 7 Ks) and hit the Braves to their 3rd straight win. He foiled Miami’s strategy in the 4th, grounding a single through the left side after a 2-out intentional walk, for his first career RBI and the ultimate winning run. The Marlins got just 2 hits against Delgado and the usual trio of finishers.

  • Walks have been the biggest downfall in Delgado’s young career, averaging 4.3 BB/9 through his first 17 starts. But the only pass he issued here was to Giancarlo Stanton with one out and nobody on base.
  • Since I last mentioned Jose Reyes, he has not scored a run in 7 straight games, despite a .419 OBP (13 times on base). Earlier this year, he had a career-long 9 straight starts without scoring. Miami’s hitting just .229 with men in scoring position, with their most frequent no. 2-3 hitters both at .200.
  • Randy Choate got his man, as usual. I’m not a fan of the LOOGY phenomenon unless they’re this effective: lefties are 3 for 40 against Choate this year, with 2 walks for a .116 OBP. Choate’s win probability added is 3rd among all high-use, short-outing relievers.
  • Logjam in the middle of the NL East, with these teams tied at 31-25, 2 games back of Washington, and the Mets a half-game further out.

Blue Jays 4, @White Sox 2: After bludgeoning Chicago with runs on Tuesday, Toronto performed a surgical dissection yesterday — a 2-hitter by the Dr. Jekyll version of Brandon Morrow. The offense produced 13 hits again, but most of the scoring came (as usual) from home runs — a solo shot by Jose Bautista (his 15th), and a 2-run drive in the 9th by Rajai Davis, who also scored the other run (after a 2-out steal) on a Colby Rasmus single.

  • A.J. Pierzynski had both hits, continuing to relish his role as the Woody Woodpecker of baseball.
  • Morrow leads the majors with 3 shutouts, all in his last 7 starts, and he had 2 other starts of no earned runs in 6+ IP. But “Mr. Hyde” allowed 6 runs in each of his 3 losses.
  • Until last month, Morrow had just 1 career shutout — his 1-hit, 17-K masterpiece in 2010. That remains the highest strikeout total since 2004, and the highest Game Score (100) since Kerry Wood‘s 20-K 1-hitter in 1998.
  • Davis is 6th player this year with a HR and 2 SBs in a game, including teammate Edwin Encarnacion, who has been sidelined for 2 days after playing every inning until a HBP forced him out of game #54.
  • Young David Cooper has started 10 straight games and gotten 2 or more hits in 6, going 15 for 41 over all with 2 HRs and 3 doubles. He had 51 doubles in his one full year at AAA, with the Las Vegas 51s.

Indians 9, @Tigers 6: Chicago’s loss (3 of 4) — and Detroit’s crapitude — is Cleveland’s gain. The Tribe pummeled Max Scherzer for 8 runs behind the unlikely longball firm of Kotchman & Brantley, and closed within a half-game of first place. The junior partner’s 3-run drive in the 1st followed a 2-out dropped popup, and ended his string of 58 straight homerless games — one game and one PA less than his longest HR drought.

  • Jeanmar Gomez was cruising with an 8-2 lead into the 5th, having allowed just 2 hits (both HRs). He gave up 5 hits and 4 runs in the 5th, but got the last out on a liner and thus earned one of the ugliest wins of the year. His 28 Game Score was 1 off the lowest of any winning pitcher this season, and he’s just the 3rd to win while allowing more runs than innings. It was also the fewest pitches by a winning starter (66).
  • This is the 3rd year Gomez has been given a shot in the rotation, and the results have been uncannily consistent. Not good, but consistent: 11 games each year; IP “ranging” from 57.2 to 58.1; ER between 29 and 32; ERA from 4.47 to 4.97; ERA+ from 78 to 88.
  • Chris Perez got a low-leverage 19th save, maintaining his MLB lead in that department. He has not allowed a HR this year.
  • Shin-Soo Choo‘s power is still M.I.A. (3 HRs in 49 games). But Manny Acta has made lemonade by moving Choo into the leadoff role, where he’s scored 20 runs in 21 games thanks to a .412 OBP.
  • Cleveland leads the majors with 214 walks drawn, but have also issued 200 passes, 3rd-worst in the AL. How meaningful are all these passes? Here’s their record broken out by walks drawn vs. walks allowed: More/15-8; Less/10-13; Same/5-4.

Giants 6, @Padres 5: Speaking of great leadoff performances, Gregor Blanco scored the opening run after singling in the 1st, homered, and plated SF’s last pair on a grounder missed by a second baseman perhaps worried about Blanco’s speed. He has scored 28 runs in 31 leadoff starts this year. Blanco can fly, but the main factor here is his .390 OBP, including a pace of 106 walks per 700 PAs. Blanco has always had a good OBP in the majors — at least 30 points above the league in each of the 3 seasons he’s had more than 50 PAs. But for some reason, he’s with his 4th organization in the past 2 calendar years; he spent all of 2011 in the minors, despite batting .283 with a .360 OBP in 85 games in 2010. The Giants grabbed him as a free agent, and along with the other unheralded pickups Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, have put together one of the best outfields in baseball at a relative bargain price. There are 21 outfielders with an OPS+ of at least 130 and 150+ PAs; San Francisco has 3, Colorado 2, no other team more than 1.

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Paul E
Paul E
11 years ago

Thanks again JA for all the hard work. Great points and observations.

Without trying to start an argument or a debate here, isn’t it great that since the D-Backs have played with a purpose and endeavor of such fervent mediocrity, we don’t have to hear all the broadcasters/announcers/media talk about how Gibby, Trammell, Williams, and the rest of the staff have instilled such a hard work ethic and winning attitude? I mean, do they really miss the shortstop that much?

Timmy Pea
Timmy Pea
11 years ago

Rickey Weeks 0 for 4 today, .160 for the season. He’s bad.

Paul E
Paul E
11 years ago

Regarding Gregor Blanco, it seems an awful lot of organizations prefer to focus on a guy’s shortcomings. FCS, not everybody can hit 20 HR’s, but if he gets on base, runs well, and can field, WTF are we missing here. It’s not like leadoff hitters who actually get on base are growing on trees

11 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Yes, Blanco has always had a nice OBP; the problem in the past has been that his SLG% has been lower over his entire career than his OBP. He was performing well for the Braves in 2010 in a limited role but the Braves severely needed more pop in the outfield so they essetially flipped Blanco to KC for Rick Ankiel. It’s good to see Blanco having a nice season.

11 years ago

Good to see no immediate jinx on the Giants outfield from JA. The trio tonight went a combined 14-6-5-3 with 2 HRs and 2 SB.

Voomo Zanzibar
Voomo Zanzibar
11 years ago

David Price just threw 38 pitches in the 5th inning against the Yankees… without giving up a run.