Friday performance notes, etc.
Friday’s best and worst in Win Probability Added (WPA):
Brian Fuentes had 2 outs, none on and a 2-run lead in the 9th. Then he walked Chris Young on 5 pitches, allowed a hit on an 0-2 count, and gave up a walk-off HR to Ryan Roberts. It was the 2nd game-winning HR of Roberts’ career, each coming with 2 outs and his team down at least 2, each earning 0.91 WPA. He’s the only player since 2009 with two 2-out, walk-off-when-trailing HRs.
It was the 2nd time in 10 days that Fuentes served up a 2-out, 3-run, just-enough-to-end-it HR. Only 2 others have allowed 2 game-winning HRs this year, including the guy who got the win on Roberts’s blow, J.J. Putz.
Ryan Cook struck out 3 in the 8th against his former team, but he did allow a hit for the 2nd time in 3 games. That’s 7 hits in 26 IP — 7 for 82, .085. No pitcher with 20+ IP has ever held opponents below a .108 average; the record for 40+ IP is .133.
Joey Votto‘s on-base percentage has been .414 or better the past 3 seasons, and he’s led the NL in OBP the last 2 years. Friday, he raised his 2012 mark to .480. The Barry Bonds run from 2001-04 (averaging a .559 OBP) may have dulled our sense of the rarity of such a mark. Only 11 players have had a qualifying season at .480 or higher — 8 who are in the Hall, plus Bonds and Frank Thomas, and Norm Cash in his one great year.
Votto’s slash combo — .360 BA, .480 OBP and .640 slugging — is even rarer. I knocked 10 points off each and ran the search: Only 9 players have ever had a qualifying season at .350/.470/.630 — again, 6 HOFers, plus Bonds, Thomas and Cash.
Stephen Strasburg whiffed 13 BoSox in 6 IP, allowing 2 runs while throwing 119 pitches, 11 more than his previous high. It was the 25th time in 29 career starts that he allowed 3 runs or less. Only one other pitcher has done that in searchable history: Sid Fernandez, 1983-85.
To keep things in perspective, though, let’s add that Strasburg is also the 10th pitcher ever to go no more than 7 IP in each of his first 29 starts. That group includes his teammate, Jordan Zimmermann, who took the streak to 39 games — apparently the record, shared by 11 others — before finally going 8 IP. (Zimmermann has made 60 starts; he had a 4.55 ERA in his first 30, but 2.84 in his next 30.)
Bryce Harper had a HR, double and single, raising his OPS to .899. The highest qualifying teenage season ever (there have been just 15) was .921 by Mel Ott; next highest was .761 by Freddie Lindstrom.
From 1918 through 1980, there were only 10 games in which the starter went at least 6 IP and did not allow a hit, but did not complete the game. From 1981 to the present, there have been 28 such games. After adjusting for the number of teams and length of schedule, such games have been 3.6 times as common in the current period.
The Seattle-LA game was just the 5th this year in which both starters went at least 6 scoreless innings. The previous 5 seasons saw an average of 21 such games.
The AL now leads the NL 4-2 in interleague no-hitters … 5-2 if you include Larsen. On the other hand, the NL still leads 33-28 in 1-0 wins (regular season only).
The last 2 no-hitters against the Dodgers were of the combined variety. The last individual no-hitter vs. LAD was in 1994 by Kent Mercker. (That’s also the last no-hitter by the Braves, individual or combined.)
Matt Harrison has 3 shutouts in 74 career starts. Only 6 active pitchers have a higher ratio.
Dan Uggla had his second 4-walk game this year and third of his career. He’s on pace for personal bests of 112 walks, 117 runs and a .384 OBP.
Kyle Drabek had his second K-free start, a year and a day since his first one. He now leads the majors with 45 walks, averaging 6.0 BB/9 this year and 5.8 for his career. If only there were some other training ground for him to work on his one-to-one SO/BB ratio….
Atlanta hit no HRs and went 0-12 with RISP. They scored their 4 runs on a bases-full walk, a double after a walk, a balk by a guy named Beck, and finally an overthrow on a steal of third. Francisco Cordero used to be pretty good at containing base thieves, but since 2010 they’re 24 and 3 against him.
Toronto didn’t get a hit with RISP, either (0-6). They scored their 3 runs on a solo HR, a groundout after a bunt that advanced 2 runners, and a pair of groundouts after a double.
Have big-league brothers ever slumped so deeply in the same year as Jemile and Rickie Weeks? Last year, the fraternal second basemen hit .303 and .269, respectively, with OPS+ of 109 and 121. This year, Jemile is at .219/73, and big brother Rickie at .157/56 while leading the NL in strikeouts.
The Padres got 2 HRs, 2 triples and 3 doubles, but scored just 5 runs and lost. Since 2007, teams with at least 2 of each XBH are 67-8 while averaging 10 runs; none has scored less than 5 runs. It’s the 10th time the Padres have ever notched at least 2 of each variety, but the first time they scored less than 8 runs.
At 19-40, the Padres are on pace to tie their franchise high of 110 losses, set in their maiden year. They’ve not lost more than 102 since then, and haven’t lost 100 since 1993.
Remember when Dale Thayer was San Diego’s closer? He got 5 straight saves in mid-May, and didn’t allow a run in his first 10 games. Since then, 10 runs in 4.2 IP, including 3 Friday — in the 7th inning.
Milwaukee is 14th in NL batting, 11th in OBP, but 2nd in HRs and 4th in Runs.
If it seems like a lot of teams are struggling with the bases loaded, it’s not your imagination. Over the past 3 years, the MLB average with the sacks full was .277 (.279 in 2009, .281 in 2010, .270 last year). This year, it’s .249. By comparison, this year’s BA compared to 2011 is just 2 points lower with none on, and 3 points lower with RISP over all.
Batting average with the bases loaded is virtually always higher than in any situation that doesn’t have a man on 3rd, because sac flies don’t count as ABs. But bases-loaded sac flies are in decline: 373 in 2009, 347 in 2010 and 310 last year. This year’s pace is about 275.
And yet … if you’re thinking that Boston’s “step down” from Lowrie to Mike Aviles is part of their problems, consider that Aviles currently ranks 8th in the AL with 2.2 WAR, a little higher than Lowrie, mainly on the strength of his defense.
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