Friday game notes

Yeah, I know. I wish I could have gotten this out sooner — say, before Saturday’s games. But as the saying goes, life is what happens while you’re busy trying to follow pennant races….

@Angels 3, Tigers 2Ernesto Frieri turned aside Detroit’s 9th-inning threat, retiring the side (with 2 Ks) after letting the go-ahead run reach second. Octavio Dotel couldn’t match the bat-missing feats of Frieri, Angels starter Ervin Santana (10 Ks and 1 walk out of 25 batters), or Max Scherzer (8th pitcher ever to notch 8+ Ks in 10 straight starts). Dotel faced 5 batters and whiffed none, allowing two 2-out hits including Alberto Callaspo‘s 2nd career game-winner.

  • An intriguing aspect of Callaspo’s feat: He was pinch-hitting for erstwhile cleanup man Mark Trumbo, who is 1 for 19 in September and hitting .215 since the Break. Trumbo was batting 7th for the first time since early May.
  • Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout each went 1 for 4, leaving their batting race at .330-.329.
  • Through 20 starts, Scherzer and teammate Justin Verlander were tied with 142 Ks. They’ve played leapfrog in each of their last 8 starts, with first Verlander and then Scherzer taking over the SO lead.
  • Status quo for both teams’ playoff hopes: Detroit remained a game behind the ChiSox, and Anaheim 2.5 behind Oakland.

@Giants 5, Dodgers 2: Marco Scutaro foiled LA’s intentional walk strategy with a 2-run single off Josh Beckett that broke a tie in the 7th, sending the Dodgers to their 3rd straight loss and the Giants to their biggest lead of the season, 5.5 games. LA went 0 for 10 with RISP, and their nos. 2 through 5 hitters — the 3 big acquisitions and the 2 holdover stars — were a combined 0 for 20.

  • Scutaro has an RBI inn 5 of his last 6 games and is hitting .331 with 26 RBI in 39 games for SF.
  • Tim Lincecum worked around a career-high 7 walks in 6.1 IP.
  • Adrian Gonzalez hasn’t homered since his first AB with LA, and the club is 5-8 since that trade.

Astros 5, @Reds 3: The first career HR by Matt Dominguez came last Friday in a blowout loss to Cincinnati. Number two was a different story — a game-changing 3-run shot on a rib-high fastball from Aroldis Chapman, snapping the closer’s streak of 27 straight saves.

  • Chapman allowed 4 hits, a new career high and twice his previous season high. In 13 games (10 IP) against Houston, he’s allowed 9 runs and 23 baserunners.
  • On Hispanic Heritage night in Cincinnati, the homer by Dominguez (California) off Chapman (Cuba) followed a pinch-hit by J.D. Martinez (Florida) and made a first-time winner of Hector Ambriz (CA), with the save by Wilton Lopez (Nicaragua). Houston’s lineup included Jose Altuve (Venezuela), Jimmy Paredes and Fernando Martinez (Dominican Republic), and Jason Castro (?) (out of Castro Valley HS in Castro Valley, CA). The Reds countered with Dioner Navarro and Miguel Cairo (Venezuela), and Wilson Valdez (D.R.)
  • The Astros won a 2nd game on a road trip for the first time since June 14th. Their previous trips went 1-5, 1-2, 1-5, 1-9, 0-7.

Marlins 9, Nationals 7 (10): A dramatic finish in the capital. Washington’s late rally — 3 runs off the $18 million mop-up man Carlos Zambrano, and Mike Morse‘s tying HR off rookie A.J. Ramos — forced extras and got Stephen Strasburg off the hook for a rare clunker (5 ER in 3 IP). Miami forged ahead with 3 in the 10th off Tyler Clippard, but the Nats answered with 3 quick hits off Marlins closer Steve Cishek (including this double-deflection shot by Morse) to put the tying run on 2nd. But Cishek got the final say, putting down Danny EspinosaRoger Bernadina and Jayson Werth on swinging strikeouts. It was the first time Cishek ever had 3 Ks in a 1-inning stint.

  • Throwing Home, for Fun and Profit,” by Bryce Harper.
  • Like many sophomore novels, Harper’s follow-up was not a critical smash. The ill-advised dive (he wasn’t close to the catch) cost his team the 2 decisive runs, assuming no change in subsequent events.
  • Strasburg’s 2 Ks in 3 IP were a career low, and left him 3 shy of both 200 Ks and of the IP needed to qualify for the ERA title. The club announced Saturday that the phenom’s season is over.
  • Zach Duke made his 2012 debut with 4 innings of 1-run ball for the Nats. He was 15-5, 3.51 at AAA Syracuse.
  • Adam LaRoche‘s HR streak ended at 4 games, but he started the last-ditch uprising with a leadoff double off Cishek.
  • Jose Reyes had his first 2-triple game for Miami and tied for the MLB lead with 11. Reyes has 10+ triples in 7 of the last 8 years; since WWII, only one player has more such years.
  • In two meetings with Strasburg this year, Giancarlo Stanton is 4 for 5 with 3 doubles and this HR.
  • Is it my imagination, or did the fan in the middle deliberately miss this easy catch? At the 0:47 mark, the ball clangs off his closed glove.

Athletics 6, @Mariners 1: Oakland got back on the winning track behind unbeaten rookie A.J. Griffin (5-0, 2.21 in 10 starts) and a flurry of 11 hits off Felix Hernandez, who lost his 2nd straight start. George Kottaras broke a tie with this 3-run shot in the 4th, giving him 11 RBI in his last 4 games. Oakland has the AL’s 3rd-best record and has a 1.5-game lead over Tampa in the WC chase.

  • Only 11 pitchers have gone undefeated in a season with at least 10 starts. The record is 14 starts, shared by Noah Lowry in 2004 (6-0, 3.82), Jason Bere in 1999 (5-0, 6.08) and Kirk Rueter in 1993 (8-0, 2.73).
  • Griffin’s 0.93 WHIP would be the lowest by a first-year pitcher with 8+ starts, tied with Pat Jarvis of the ’66 Braves.
  • I don’t have to like it, but I have to report it: Oliver Perez has not allowed a run in 18 games (13.1 IP) since the Break, and for the year has a 1.57 ERA in 23 IP, with 23 Ks and 8 walks.

@Rays 3, Rangers 1: After 29 strikeouts and just 9 hits by the two teams, Ben Zobrist won it by parking a 2-0 pitch from Mark Lowe in the RF seats.

  • I’m sure Lowe didn’t mean to groove it, but he might have been expecting Zobrist to take a strike; he’s put a 2-0 pitch in play just 9% of the time in his career, about half the AL average.
  • Derek Holland set a career high with 11 Ks and allowed just 2 hits over 8 IP, but one was a HR by Evan Longoria. So what else is new? — Longo is 11 for 26 with 4 HRs and 5 doubles against Holland. Just one other man reached 2nd base against Holland — B.J. Upton swiped his 28th bag in the 1st — and the Dutch Oven fanned Zobrist and Longoria to end that threat.
  • Wade Davis earned the win by striking out 5 of the 6 men he faced. As a SP the past 2 years, Davis had a 4.27 ERA and 5.6 SO/9, but working solely in relief this year he’s at 2.21 with 71 Ks in 61 IP.
  • It was the 2nd game this year wherein both teams had at least 13 strikeouts in 11 innings or less. There was just one such game in the decade of the ’80s, two in the ’70s, two in the ’60s. There were none from 1918 through 1963.

Brewers 5, @Cardinals 4: It might be too late for Milwaukee to get back in the race — despite a 16-6 stretch, they’re still 6 games out of the WC race with 3 teams to pass — but they can at least get a little payback for last year’s NLCS. Ryan Braun broke a deadlock in the 13th with his career-high 38th HR, becoming the first NL player to 100 RBI. The Crew have 8 games left against teams ahead of them in the WC hunt: 2 with STL, 3 with ATL and 3 with the fading Pirates.

Yankees 8, @Orioles 5: Three multi-run HRs, including a 3-run shot by surprise #5 hitter Russell Martin that broke a scoreless tie in the 4th, helped Phil Hughes snap a 5-start road losing streak, giving NY a one-game lead in the division. Hughes zeroed out the O’s until Adam Jones‘s HR in the 6th.

  • Alex Rodriguez hit his first HR in 5 games since coming off the DL, and his 300th as a Yankee, 6th on the franchise list. Hard to believe this is his 9th year in the Bronx….
  • Hughes (14-12) leads the majors with 26 decisions; appropriately for the up-and-down righty, his two no-decisions include one strong start and one disaster.

Cubs 12, @Pirates 2: If Pittsburgh’s flagging hopes were buoyed by two straight home wins against the worst team in baseball, they sank again with this all-phases failure against the 2nd-worst club. Chicago got an unearned run in the 1st; built a 4-0 lead before the Bucs’ first hit in the 5th; and reached their final cruising altitude of 12-0 before the second Pirate safety in the 8th. Seven errors led to 9 unearned runs, but even the remaining 3 runs were more than Pittsburgh could muster against Travis Wood (who was 0-8, 6.33 in his past 10 starts) and three relievers.

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11 years ago

As bad as Pittsburgh has been (12-21 since Aug 3), they can’t seem to fall out of the Wild Card derby, still just a game-and-a-half back.

This could become the nightmare scenario in the NL
– Washington starts to fade and Atlanta makes it close in a race that goes to the wire
– meanwhile, some stumble-bum (St. Louis, LA, Pittsburgh or whoever) gets the second wild-card, 8 or 10 games behind the NL East loser, and proceeds to knock out the latter in the one-game WC crapshoot


11 years ago

As JA noted, Lincecum walked 7 (career high). He walked one batter in every single inning he pitched.

11 years ago
Reply to  K&J

The Freak still has a shot at getting his ERA under 5 and notching 10 wins, both of which might make a horrible year year look a little better 10 years from now

11 years ago

I had no idea Oliver Perez was back in the majors.
Great write-up, John – as usual.

11 years ago
Reply to  Jacob

Anyone know how much the Mariners are paying Perez? His B-R page doesn’t say.

And just a minor point John- I suspect under your write-up of the Dodgers-Giants write up you meant to say “nos. 2 thru 6 hitters” instead of 2 thru 5.

And does this put a nail in the coffin of any Cy Young talk for Chapman? His numbers are still outstanding and his strikeout totals are eye-popping but his numbers this month are hardly anything special and he has blown 4 save opportunities.

Jonas Gumby
Jonas Gumby
11 years ago

Two thumbs up for posting some solid baseball analysis in the face of NFL adversity. Pittsburgh’s seven errors seems decidedly high. Is that the most this year in the majors?

Timmy Pea
Timmy Pea
11 years ago

Here come the Phillies!