Angels 13, @Tigers 0: I’ve always said, if you absolutely must end a franchise-record 159-game non-shutout streak, you might as well get crushed:

  • Detroit’s worst shutout loss since this 1996 game (note the cleanup hitter).
  • First time Detroit allowed 5+ HRs since 2008. Angels tied a club mark with HRs from 5 different players, done eight times previously, including one in Detroit almost 50 years ago — and if you don’t relish the thought of Little Albie Pearson connecting off Toothpick Sam Jones, or Steve Bilko cracking one off Don (Ugly to All Fields) Mossi, well, we’re just on different wavelengths.
  • 2nd-biggest margin ever for the Angels over the Tigers.
  • Moving on … If you were expecting a 2nd-half regression from the All-Star rookie, you’ll have to bide your time. Mike Trout has hit and scored in all 5 games (12 for 24, 7 runs, 4 RBI, 4 SB) to raise his AL-best BA to .355 with a .990 OPS.
  • Trout’s HR was the second of three off Detroit’s Jacob Turner (2 IP, 7 R), who got much the worse of the all-rookie matchup with Garrett Richards (3 singles in 7 IP).
  • Reliever Duane Below, who in April put up 6 zeroes against Texas in one of the best long-relief outings this year, managed 3 scoreless frames despite 6 hits and 2 walks, helped by 2 DPs. But the charm wore off in the 6th, when the Halos tagged him for 4 runs on 4 hits. Below thus became the 5th pitcher this year with a relief outing of 3+ IP and R>IP.

@Yankees 6, Blue Jays 1: The rest agreed with CC Sabathia, who threw 66 strikes and 21 balls in 6 shutdown stanzas, his first scoreless game in just over a year. Andruw Jones supplied the juice with a 3-prong jack off Brett Cecil – Andruw’s 5th HR in his last 5 starts, and 8th in 94 ABs against a lefty.

  • Of Andruw’s 25 HRs in pinstripes, this was just the 2nd worth 3 runs or more. Cecil has allowed 7 HRs in 33.2 IP; his career rate of 1.36 HR/9 is 4th highest of any pitcher with 400+ IP since 2009.
  • CC has started 16 games, and the Yanks have scored exactly 6 runs in half of them, including the last 4. They’ve backed him with 2 runs twice and 3 once, all resulting in CC losses. His other 13 starts have all come with 5+ run support (CC 10-0, Yanks 12-1).

@Reds 4, Diamondbacks 0: Last time out, the rookie Trevor Bauer dominated the Dodgers for his first career win. Tonight he buried himself with mistakes: A run in the 1st came on a leadoff walk, an infield error, a double steal and a wild pitch; further damage was averted by a line-drive DP after another walk. With 2 outs and none on in the 3rd, he imploded — a walk, an errant pickoff throw and a wild pitch sent a man to 3rd, then another walk and a 3-run shot by Ryan Ludwick on a 1-0 pitch — the first actual hit off Bauer.

  • The dangers of falling behind Ludwick were covered recently here; over his career, the difference in results following a 1-0 and an 0-1 count is a .900/.642 OPS split.

White Sox 7, @Red Sox 5: Back from the DL, Philip Humber nudged his ERA to the good side of 6 for the season, and 7.02 in 11 starts since the perfect game. Not coincidentally, this was the first time since the perfecto that he didn’t walk anyone.

  • Now that the table-setters are healthy, Hub fans can redirect their agita to “What’s wrong with Jon Lester?” The erstwhile ace is 5-7 with a 4.80 ERA, and his K rate is 29% below his 2009-11 average.
  • Kelly Shoppach homered off a lefty, ho-hum, ho-hum. Career vs. LHP: .368 OBP/.541 SLG/.908 OPS. Closest active comparables (overall stats): Carlos Gonzalez (.358/.531/.889), Mark Teixeira (.371/.529/.900), Josh Hamilton (.367/.552/.919).
  • What’s more impressive: Carl Crawford swiping 3 in his 2nd game of the year, or Adam Dunn bagging his first steal in almost 4 years? (Yeah, I’ve gotta go with the Big Donkey there.)
  • Youk arrived in the nick of time: Paul Konerko has been free-falling for a month, hitting .219 with 8 RBI and 8 Runs in his last 27 games, and as many GIDP as XBH (5).

Giants 9, @Braves 0: When the Jints’ rotati0n gets rolling downhill, all other winning streaks have to stand down. In 4 games since the break, SF SPs have allowed 2 ER on 15 hits in 28.1 IP, with 26 Ks and 5 walks.

  • So, is this Barry Zito‘s best year on the ocean side of the Bay? Get past the W-L and the ERA, my friend. His apparent improvement is a run-support/BAbip/park-effect mirage. His underlying rates are at or near career nadirs: 5.0 SO/9 (worst), 4.2 BB/9 (2nd-worst qualifying), 93 ERA+ (2nd-worst qualifying).
  • Number of times SF has scored from 0 to 9 runs for Zito this year: 1, 2, 3, 1, 3, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1. He’s won all 6 starts getting 6+ runs (with a 0.97 WHIP), but when backed by 0-5 runs he’s 2-6 with a 1.61 WHIP.
  • About ATL rookie Luis Avilan, the main thing I want to turn you on to is that he fills the space between the starter and the late-inning guys; did I claim more than this, it would not ring true to life.
  • Last year, Jair Jurrjens borrowed against his BAbip account to notch a 2.96 ERA despite a career-low 5.3 SO/9 (in the bottom quartile of NL starters) along with a career-low 8 GDPs. But the loan has been called: not only has his K dropped out of his sight, but his BAbip has soared to .344, higher than all but 1 NL qualifier.

__________

When Milwaukee picked up Francisco Rodriguez from the Flushing (salary) dump just over a year ago, he seemed like a good addition as a setup man and backup closer, and he did a nice job down the stretch and in the playoffs. But the news that he will take over the loser closer job from John Axford, at least temporarily, comes during a season when K-Rod so far has the worst rates of his career — 1.42 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9 and 8.4 SO/9. Even while lowering his season ERA by a run in the last 5 weeks, Rodriguez has a 1.32 WHIP and 2 HRs in 16.2 IP. That he’s pitched better than Axford this year is obvious; whether he’ll do a good job in his place is by no means certain. But it may give him a shot at the 8 saves he needs to become the 24th pitcher with 300. And if he does get reestablished as a credible closer, he could move quickly up the career saves list; Rollie Fingers is 10th with 341 saves.

P.S. In his first game in his old role, Rodriguez stacked the odds against himself, starting the 9th with a double and single while holding a 1-run lead — yet somehow came through in the end. But avert thine eyes (as Ron Roenicke must) from the numbers put up by the first batters K-Rod has faced this year: 19 for 43, 2 HRs, 5 doubles, 1.176 OPS.

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