@Rangers 4, Twins 3 (13): Ian Kinsler‘s game-winning gapper was his 2nd career walk-off, both against Minnesota. The other one was a home run off R.A. Dickey.

  • Michael Young started the winning rally with a leadoff double in the 13th, completing his 23rd 4-hit game (but his first without scoring a run). He also tied it in the 9th with a 2-out, 2-run single on an 0-and-2 pitch from Glen Perkins (who allowed 4 hits and 3 runs in an inning for the 2nd straight Sunday). Young has had the tying or go-ahead RBI in the 9th or extras 21 times since 2004, tied for 5th in that span. (Albert Pujols is 1st with 24; Miguel CabreraAlex Rodriguez and Orlando Cabrera are 2nd with 22.)
  • The Rangers’ 3 runs in the 9th were all unearned after a leadoff error by rookie SS Brian Dozier, his 13th — 3 more than any other AL shortstop, and in just 54 games. Coincidentally, it was his sac bunt in the top half that Joe Nathan threw away, scoring 1 run and setting up another.
  • Minnesota had 44 ABs, 9 singles, no extra-base hits. That’s the most ABs without an XBH this year.
  • Tanner Scheppers bailed out Roy Oswalt in the 6th by striking out Ryan Doumit on 3 pitches. It was just the 6th time in 13 games that the rookie Scheppers, a late-1st-round pick in the famous 2009 draft, has not been scored upon; opponents are 20 for 53 against him, with 4 HRs.
  • Robbie Ross bailed out Scheppers the next inning, extending his scoreless streak to 23 IP — tied for the 2nd-longest by a reliever this year. (Ernesto Frieri has a 27.1-IP streak going.) His streak of 30.1 IP without an earned run is the longest in relief. Ross’s 0.95 ERA would be the lowest in franchise history with 40+ IP; only Alexi Ogando (1.30 in 2010) has ever been under 1.50.
  • Young’s 0.579 WPA was the 2nd-highest by a Ranger this year; Craig Gentry owns the highest (0.629) and now the lowest as well, -0.463 in this very game. Gentry went 0 for 6 and twice made outs with the winning run on 3rd base.
  • Sunday was the 3rd day this year with 2 games of at least 13 innings; there were two 15-inning games on 2012-06-17, and the day before had a 15 & a 14. There was just one such day last year.

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@Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 1: Arizona snapped out of a 6-game swoon over the weekend to take the last 3 of a 4-game set and reach the break just 4 games back in the suddenly egalitarian NL West — the only division in MLB whose leader would not qualify as a wild card. (LA trails Atlanta by a percentage point.)

  • Paul Goldschmidt broke it open with a 2-out, 3-run jack in the 5th; he was cause for concern in late May, but has an 1.146 OPS in his last 35 games to reach .920, and now ranks 2nd in that category among 14 NL first-sackers with 200+ PAs.
  • Trevor Bauer‘s 2nd game produced his first career win at age 21 years, 173 days. He’s the 2nd-youngest winning starter in MLB this year (Martin Perez, 21.087) and the 2nd-youngest in D-backs history (Edgar Gonzalez, 20.098, 2003). (Gonzalez finished his career 14-25 with a 5.90 ERA.) Only 2 other D-backs have ever won a start before turning 23; one of those, Patrick Corbin, pitched the last 3 innings in relief of Bauer for his first save.
  • Arizona home games have averaged 10.1 total R/G; their road games, 7.2. But the splits are about the same for hosts & guests.

@Athletics 2, Mariners 1 (13): Eighth walk-off win for the A’s, 2 more than any other team. Eight different players have the RBI. Oakland’s won 6 of 7 to reach .500 for the first time since May 22. They’ve allowed 2 runs or less in their last 12 wins (winning 5 in a row at that level tied Washington for the longest streak this year), and 2.85 R/G in their last 20 contests. Their 34 games allowing 2 runs or less are the most in the AL. Seattle has lost 8 games when allowing 2 or less, the most in MLB.

  • No walks issued by Oakland pitchers: Longest walk-free game this year, with just 1 longer since 1997. Oakland also gave Seattle no walks in their 11-inning opener on the other side of the world, losing 1-0.
  • Say, this Oliver Perez fellow has 9.2 IP and just 2 walks, throwing strikes at a 75% clip — far above the 63% AL average. I’m sure he can’t the chap I’m remembering.
  • Since 2005, most starts of 7+ IP and 1 run or less without a decision: (1) Felix Hernandez 19, (2) Cliff Lee 15.
  • King Felix recently crossed the 1,500 inning plateau, the 30th to get there by age 26 since 1920. He’ll likely finish this season right in the middle of that group in terms of IP. Of the previous 29 to do this, 6 logged at least 2,000 IP from 27 onward; 13 had 1,500+ IP, and 10 had less than 1,000. Only Robin Roberts added 3,000 IP from age 27. Four finished with over 4,000 career innings, and the median was just under 3,000.

Braves 4, @Phillies 3Craig Kimbrel‘s last 22 games: 22 IP, 1 run, 4 hits, 2 walks, 37 Ks. Opposing batters are hitting .116 off him this year — 13 for 112, 1 HR, 1 double.

  • Carlos Ruiz hits the break at .350/.995. Only 7 catchers have had a qualifying season with OPS that high, while 8 have reached that level in BA (none more than once).

Yankees 7, @Red Sox 3: As far as I’m concerned, the Bombers deliberately muted their attack in the opening stanza in order to complete the “5-4-3-2″ cycle for the series. And nothing you say will convince me otherwise.

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Behind the numbers: Ivan Nova‘s career record as a starter is 27-7, 3.90 ERA in 51 games, with a 2.71 ERA in his wins, suggesting that he has a lot cheap wins. But that’s not really true; he has just 2 wins allowing 5+ runs, and 4 wins allowing 4+ runs. The percentage of his wins in which he allowed 2 runs or less is close to the 2012 MLB average (Nova 70.4%, MLB 73.9%), and the same for 3 runs or less (Nova 85.2%, MLB 87.9%). And his average of 6.64 IP/Win is near the MLB average of 6.77.

The discrepancy between his high wins rate and high W% on the one hand, and his middling ERA on the other, is mainly due to consistent run support that helps turn more of his good starts into wins, and more of his not-so-good starts into no-decisions. The Yankees have scored 3 runs or more in all but 5 of his 51 starts, and 4+ runs in 39/51. Thus, in Quality Starts, his percentages of wins, losses and no-decisions are much better than average (MLB 55/19/26; Nova 74/7/19), as are his W/L/ND percentages when allowing 4 runs or more (MLB 11/65/23; Nova 24/35/41).

The bottom line: Nova is a good pitcher, and he’s improving. His K rate was 5.4 SO/9 in his first 2 years, but 8.2 this year. His walk rate is down from 3.2 BB/9 to 2.7. He’s not hit-lucky, with a career .299 BAbip. His career HR rate (1.0 HR/9) comes largely from his home park, where his HR frequency is 50% higher, and 80% of his HRs allowed are solo shots. He’s going deeper into games each year (5.2 IP/GS, then 6.1, now 6.5). He pitches well with runners on. I hate to say it, but … he’s good.

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Derek Jeter is batting .308, so why do the Yanks have more runs scored by their nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 spots in the order than they have from the Captain’s leadoff post? (1) He’s walked in just 6.2% of his PAs, a career low (prior career average 8.9%). (2) Just 21% of his hits are for extra bases, far below the league average of 34%.  (3) As a baserunner, Jeter is now much less likely to take the extra base on others’ hits than he used to be (and than other leadoff men). His 33% rate of XBT is down from his prior career mark of 46%. These changes are perfectly natural for a 38-year-old; I’m just addressing the discrepancy between New York’s #4 rank in runs and their #9 rank in runs from the leadoff spot. At their present pace, the Yanks will get 89 Runs from the leadoff spot, compared to 109, 128, 121 and 110 for the past 4 years. Even in their low-scoring 2008 season (789 runs — about their current pace), their leadoff men scored 110.

One more note: Last year, Jeter split the leadoff duties with Brett Gardner. Even though Jetes had a better OBP in those games (.337-.322) and a little more power (SLG .380-.330), Gardner scored far more often — 0.74 R/G to Jeter’s 0.60 — at least partly from a big edge in steals and baserunning. Gardner’s career OBP when leading off is an ordinary .341, but he’s scored 80 runs in 105 starts (123 R/162 G) with a spectacular SB rate (49-5, avg. of 75 SB/162 G). But Jeter’s here, Gardner’s not, and the Yanks aren’t exactly hurting.

 

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