Belated return of Game Notes, with Saturday plus


@Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 1: The 5th straight scoreless start by Ryan Dempster matched the longest since Orel Hershiser‘s record run of 6 in 1988; only Brandon Webb has had 5 in a row in any season since.

  • Dempster has won all 5 starts in the streak, after going winless in his first 9 outings with a 2.90 ERA. He’s allowed 2 runs or less in 11 of his 14 starts. His ERA is 1.86; no qualifying Cub has been under 2 since Pete Alexander in 1920. From 1993-2011, they had just one qualifying season under 2.75 (Mark Prior, 2003).
  • Dempster has just 3 CG shutouts in 308 career starts, the 6th-lowest SHO rate among all pitchers with 300+ starts. Before this run, just once had he gone even 2 straight starts without allowing a run.
  • Chicago’s 3-game streak allowing 1 run or less is their first since May 2008, when Dempster, Sean Gallagher and Carlos Zambrano suppressed the Dodgers for a series.

@Giants 3, Astros 2 (12): It took 33% longer than it should have, but the Giants came out on top and moved back in front in the NL West. Hector Sanchez capped a big night with his 2nd game-winning RBI this year. Houston has lost 12 of 13 and are 9-34 on the road (24-21 at home).

  • A wild pitch on a potential game-ending strikeout brought in the tying run, as Santiago Casilla blew his 4th save in his last 6 chances. The 2-run inning was fueled by a walk to Scott Moore with the bases empty — the first walk accepted by Moore this year in 40 PAs.
  • Comfort food always goes down easy, and for 8 innings Houston was grilled cheese to Tim Lincecum. He’s 5-0, 0.99 in 9 career starts against them, with 1 ER over his last 4 games.
  • With 11 Ks, Lincecum topped 8 for the first time since last Aug. 13. He had a 5.29 ERA during that 26-game stretch.
  • Lincecum drew a walk leading off the 5th and scored the game’s first run. How does a career .121 hitter without a HR manage to walk 30% more often than Starlin Castro? For that matter, Lincecum has more walks (3) in just 31 PAs this year than his batterymate Sanchez has in 131 PAs.

@Mariners 7, Rangers 0: The 2nd shutout in the last 4 starts by Felix Hernandez was also his 2nd domination of the AL’s best offense, and 2nd time dwarfing Yu Darvish, in as many meetings this year. Three singles, no walks and 12 Ks added up to a career-best 93 Game Score for King Felix, who also took over the MLB lead in strikeouts and IP. He faced two over the minimum and allowed one man past 1st base.

  • Darvish has no Quality Starts in 3 tries against Seattle, allowing 16 ER and 36 baserunners in just 16 IP. Here he gave up 4 runs in the 1st, fanning the flames with 2 walks, a HBP and a wild pitch; he’s in the AL top 10 in those 3 negative categories.
  • Last year, Hernandez lost all 4 starts to Texas, with a 5.04 ERA.
  • Texas has split 12 decisions with the M’s this year, despite outscoring them by 21 runs. The Rangers are 14-14 within their division. They have 13 more games with the Angels, and will play their last 19 games against division foes.

@Orioles 8, Tigers 6 (13): Despite a 3-run rally against Jim Johnson — just his 2nd blown save in 28 tries — this turned into another game to make a Tigers fan think it’s just not gonna be our year. That rally ended when the go-ahead run was thrown out at home by Endy Chavez. Jose Valverde couldn’t protect a lead in the 11th, giving up a 2-out hit on the first pitch to Adam Jones after intentionally walking Jim Thome. And another 1-run edge in the 13th slipped through the hands of Joaquin Benoit, who surrendered a HR to J.J. Hardy (in a 3-for-49 funk at that moment) and then, after hitting Jones with 2 outs, a walk-off job on a 1-and-2 pitch to just-promoted Taylor Teagarden, his first HR in almost 2 years and first-ever game-ending RBI.

  • Quintin Berry had the tying hit in the 9th and the go-ahead in the 13th.
  • The last win by an established member of Baltimore’s rotation was on June 22, 16 games ago. Their only SP wins since then were the season starting debuts of Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez.

@Reds 3, Cardinals 2Rafael Furcal tied it in the 7th with a safety-squeeze single, but Ryan Ludwick sent the fans home happy with a low liner that had just enough.

  • Joey Votto went a 2nd straight hitless game for just the 3rd time this year. He has no HRs and 1 RBI in his last 14 games … but the Reds are 9-5. In related news, Votto and Superman were seen in the same place at the same time.
  • Starters Kyle Lohse and Mike Leake each gave 2 runs in 6 IP despite allowing more than a hit per inning. Each threw at least 67% strikes and walked just 1.
  • Sean Marshall was charged with a Blown Save after coming in with no outs, men on 3rd and 2nd and a 1-run lead in the 7th, and getting 2 outs with only 1 run scoring (strikeout, bunt single, groundout). As we’ve recently discussed absurd readings from Win Probability Added, let’s acknowledge that Marshall’s positive 0.09 WPA for this effort gives a far better account of his game impact than the traditional measures.

Pirates 6, @Brewers 4: Pittsburgh’s 7th: Single plus error, sacrifice plus error (tied it), and later, a passed-ball-four to Andrew McCutchen put them ahead. McCutchen had earlier tied the game with a 2-run HR in the 2nd.

@Blue Jays 11, Indians 9: Toronto answered their first 1-0 loss in 2 years with 10 runs in the first 3 innings, mostly off Ubaldo Jimenez (season high 8 ER) and mainly with their chief weapon, the longball. Edwin Encarnacion smacked two, his first since agreeing to a 3-year, $27-million extension (his 25 are one off his career high), and Adam Lind drove in 4 with a season-high 4 hits to continue his post-exile resurgence (.347, 4 HRs and 13 RBI in 13 starts since a 6-week demotion).

  • Aaron Laffey earned his first starting win in 2 years, beating his original team.
  • Toronto’s 8-run 3rd set their season high for any inning.
  • Casey Janssen got 4 outs for his 13th save, allowing an inherited run but stemming the tide of Cleveland’s 5-run 8th. His ratio of 7.4 SO/BB is impressive, but ranks just 3rd among closers with 10+ saves (Joe Nathan 9.2, Fernando Rodney 7.6).

@Yankees 5, Angels 3: Two-run HRs from their leading yardmen and 4 innings of scoreless relief gave New York another win.

  • Mike Trout raised his BA to .348 with 3-for-5 and swiped a pair for the 2nd straight game, making him the youngest Angel ever with 30 SB and just the 5th player since 1920 with a 30-SB season by age 20.
  • Albert Pujols (0-4, walk) struck out to end the game, and went 0-2 with RISP (4 runners on).



A’s 6, @Twins 3Francisco Liriano was brilliant in 7 of his 8 innings, blowing away his previous high with 15 strikeouts and just one walk. He fanned 8 of the first 10 men, and got his 9th K for the first out of the 4th inning after an infield single. But Denard Span dropped one, and an 0-and-2 count became the lone walk to load the bases. Then Jonny Gomes, who had waved at 3 pitches in his first AB, was 0 for 6 career against Liriano, and owned just 10 hits in 69 sacks-full at-bats, slammed the first pitch, and the A’s were never headed.

Had Liriano’s night ended after the 4th — a groundout and his 10th strikeout shut the barn door — it would have been the first appearance since at least 1918 with at least 10 Ks in 4 IP or less. Using batters faced instead of IP, there’s been just one instance of 10 Ks in no more than the 17 batters Liriano had faced: a 1964 game by Dan Osinski in relief of eventual CYA winner Dean Chance. (It would be the only 10-K game ever for Osinski, who was not a big strikeout pitcher except for that one year based in brand-new Dodger Stadium.)

But Liriano pitched on; his count was low, and he faced little danger thereafter. After a 2-out double in the 5th, he set down the last 10 men he faced. His former high in Ks was 12, done twice way back in his breakthrough 2006.

  • Josh Willingham was the Minnesota offense with his first multi-HR game of the year, crossing the 20-HR plateau for the 5th time in his 7 full years. But he also whiffed with the go-ahead runs on base to end the 5th, and couldn’t score the tying run from 1st with 2 out in the 8th (he’s come around from 1st on a double just twice in 10 chances this year).

White Sox 9, @Royals 8 (14): The go-ahead sac fly by Kevin Youkilis gave him 8 straight games with an RBI (2nd-longest streak this year) and 6 in a row with an RBI and a walk (twice as long as the next best). Since changing his sox, Youk has 2 extra-inning go-ahead RBI.

  • Late-inning reversals: KC went from 1 down to 1 up in the 8th on a 2-out triple by Alcides Escobar. But Jonathan Broxton couldn’t find the zone, walking Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko on 8 pitches to fill the bases with 1 out, and A.J. Pierzynski tied it with a 2-out hit. (Nothing new for A.J., who has 24 tying or go-ahead RBI in the 9th or later since 2001.)
  • It’s been that kind of a year for the O-Dog: Pinch-running for Dunn as the potential lead run in the 9th, Orlando Hudson was gunned down at the plate — the first time this year he’s been out advancing.
  • A HR and a single for Dunn, who has 26 of each.
  • A HR and a double by Alex Rios gave him 38 extra-base hits, one more than last year’s total.
  • No decision for Bruce Chen, but his 3rd straight game allowing 6 ER in less than 6 IP.



Belated return of Game Notes, with Saturday plus — 17 Comments

  1. Can’t the Cubs get at least three No.1 draft picks for Dempster the way he’s pitching? Hamels is certainly the prime pitcher to pick up at the trading deadline, but Dempster has to be darn close and not a bad consolation prize.

    John, you didn’t mention Bruce Bochy’s managerial wizardry in the Giants’ win on the 14th of July. Okay, so he’s not really French, but he was born there, and some kind of Gallic voodoo had to be responsible for that wild pitch.

    On a personal note, had some excellent wine (a classic peaches-and-diesel Riesling and a succulent Muscat) and chevre while on a bike ride on Satuday. No baseball but caught some of the Tour on the radio – not that I can understand very much of it in the romance language.

    • The Cubs have been on an absolute tear lately… which is mystifying. I wouldn’t want to be Hoyer/Epstein right now. Obviously CHC isn’t winning squat this year but you’d hate to see the progress they’ve been making lately be for naught if the wrong pieces are moved. It can’t just be the Rizzo effect.

      In any case three #1s for Dempster still sounds great!

      • Well, if Darwin Barney keeps getting extra base hits they’re gonna be tough to beat :-)

        On the front office front, I’d hate to see them trade Garza, but getting some young talent for Dempster would be great. They could theoretically even re-sign him next year.

  2. He started out like wildfire this year, and then went through a bit of a rough stretch, but what Aroldis Chapman has been doing lately borders on ridiculous.

    In his last 7 games he has pitched 7 innings, allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, no runs of any kind… and struck out 18 batters.

    • Chapman struck out the side to close out the Sunday-niter, his 3rd one-inning stint in as many days. Cardinal hitters were reduced to flailing helplessly at whatever Chapman threw, seemingly starting to swing almost as the ball was released. For the series, Chapman struck out 8 of 11 Cards he faced.

    • Chapman’s 8 straight relief outings with 2+ strikeouts is the longest streak this year.

      If we cap the innings at 2 per game, the longest relief streak with 2+ Ks since 2000 is 13, by Eric Gagne in 2003. Octavio Dotel did 11 straight in 2001; 10 straight by Kenley Jansen last year and by Craig Kimbrel in both 2010 and 2011.

  3. “@Orioles 8, Tigers 6 (13): Despite a 3-run rally against Jim Johnson … that rally ended when the go-ahead run was thrown out at home by Endy Chavez.”

    The bonehead play of the day award goes to the Tigers 3rd base coach. The TV replays show him waving the runner home despite Chavez having fielded the ball cleanly and having his arm cocked and ready to release the throw from short left field, all BEFORE the runner, Brennan Boesch, had reached 3rd base. On deck was the Tigers lead-off hitter, Austin Jackson, he of the .401 OBP and 151 OPS+.

    • Still, it was the pitching of Tigers bullpen and Valverde in particular, that had me rummaging around under the kitchen sink looking for a bottle of drain cleaner to drink when the game ended.

      I’m all better now tho since Verlander has resumed his march to a second consecutive Cy Young.

  4. In Saturday’s Indians-Blue Jays game. Casey Janssen became the first pitcher since the Marlins’ Antonio Alfonseca in 2000 to record consecutive saves in games in which his team scored 11 or more runs. Interestingly, Alfonseca also turned this trick on either side of the All-Star game.

    Don’t know how (or if) this can be checked but Toronto had a 4 game run scoring 0, 11, 0 and 11 runs, the first two on the road and the next two at home. Four straight games NOT scoring 1 to 10 runs in a game has to be exceptionally rare.

    • Doug – I know this isn’t quite what you’re getting at but there are 8 teams which have been shut out 4 times in a row. Likewise, there are 8 teams that have scored 11 or more runs in a game 4 or more times in a row. The 1929 Giants hold the record with 6 games in a row, all against the Phillies. No idea about streaks that include both 0 and 11+ runs. I agree those would be difficult to find.

      • Those 6 games were all at Baker Bowl. In 10 games there that year the Giants scored 11 or more runs in 9 of them.

  5. Perhaps Lincecum’s moderate walk rate is a result of his tiny frame, à la Eddie Gaedel…and Adam Dunn’s exceptional walk rate is a result of his keen eye, à la an oversized eagle.

    • In that case José Altuve and his 5′ 5″ frame have a lot of answering to do.

      Incidentally, my abiding memory of Altuve this year was him striking out in all three plate appearances in Matt Cain’s perfect game. This is the only three strikeout game of his career thus far.

  6. No mention of the Padres-Dodgers game? Runner steals home while Kenley Jansen contemplates quantum theories or where to go after he strikes out the last two San Diego batters or whatever was on his mind, then Jansen throws it away and allows the go-ahead run to score. I’ve never seen that before, but probably Vin Scully’s seen it about 15 times.

    • Best part about that play is the umpire calling Cabrera out at the plate. Cabrera pops up from his slide and says, “No!” The umpire replies (emphatically) “Yes! You’re out!” Then everyone realizes the ball has skipped off the catcher’s (AJ Ellis’) glove and is at the backstop, enabling Venable to also “steal” home on the same play.

      Just an absolutely crazy play. Loved it.

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