Game Notes has not — repeat, not — been cleared to begin minor-league rehab. Sorry for any confusion. Now for some random day-late notes:
@Orioles 6, Indians 3: Adam Jones has started 36 straight games without a walk — the longest starting streak this year, the longest one-year streak in Baltimore Orioles history, and one shy of the searchable franchise record set in 1923 by Baby Doll Jacobson. The previous Baltimore record was 31, shared by Cal Ripken in 1999.
- Chris Tillman won his 5th straight start, first Oriole since 2007 (Erik Bedard). He’s allowed 17 HRs this year, but none with 2 or more on base (13 solos, 4 two-run). Just 3 of his 58 career HRs came with 2 men aboard (no slams). His HR rate is 4.5% with bases empty, 3.1% with one man on, and 1.7% with two or more on.
- Manny Machado has 35 doubles through 78 team games. He’s the 6th player to do that since 1916, and is 2 doubles behind Earl Webb‘s record pace, if you go by follow-the-leader; measured just by doubles per game, Machado’s on pace for 72.
- Chris Davis is on a 58-HR pace, and is 2 HRs ahead of Brady Anderson‘s pace in his club-record 50-HR season. This might be well known, but I just noticed it: Anderson benefited from a 163rd game that year: On June 17, the O’s and Rangers played a 6-inning tie. They made up that game on June 20, and Anderson homered. He also homered in the season finale, his 4th HR in 6 games to reach 50 on the nose.
- Burning up the 5-spot: Davis has hit 27 of his 28 HRs while batting 5th. Jimmie Foxx hit all 58 HRs in 1932 from that spot; next-best are 41 by Rafael Palmeiro, 1999, and 40 by Norm Cash, 1961. Davis is also on pace for 143 RBI while batting 5th; only Double X (with 169 in ’32 and 151 in 1930) has ever topped 131 RBI from the the 5-spot.
- Four trips for Jason Kipnis: walk, walk, 2-run HR (all on 3-1 counts), and single. Throw out the first 8 games of the year, he’s batting .311/.937. Seems time for him to be an All-Star; his career 162-game averages include a 117 OPS+, 57 extra-base hits, 20 HRs, 93 runs, 88 RBI, and 34/8 in steals.
@Rays 5, Blue Jays 1 — Buehrle vs. Moore: 11 Ks and 6 walks — a franchise-first combo — in Matt Moore’s 6 innings. Their highest such combos were 11 Ks with 4 walks (James Shields), and 6 walks with 10 Ks (Matt Garza).
- Moore’s was the 2nd game in the last 3 seasons with at least 10 Ks and 5 walks. Before recent times, high strikeouts and walks often went hand in hand. In 1983, 9 out of 59 ten-K games came with 5+ walks, with an average of 2.52. This year’s 92 ten-K outings have averaged 1.37 walks, with Moore the first to walk 5 or more. The overall walk rate is down a bit, but the main change is the trends in pitch limits and strikeout rates. Getting Ks is less pitch-intensive now, so even with lower pitch limits, there are more 10-K efforts — but if you walk folks while racking up Ks, that tends to drive up the pitch count to where you can’t reach both 10 and 5. Moore used a career-high 120 pitches in just 6 innings, with 2 Ks and a walk in his final frame. Just 1.2% of all starts this year have gone 120 pitches; that rate was 12 times as high in 1988 (the first year of pitch data) — 14.5% of all starts went 120 pitches.
- As a rookie, Mark Buehrle earned relief wins on consecutive days in Tropicana. But in 9 starts there, 5.62 ERA, 12.3 H/9.
- Adieu to Brett Cecil‘s no-hit and no-run streaks
- Juan Nicasio got 7 outs and allowed 12 hits. No searchable starter has ever allowed more hits in so short an outing. Just two yielded 13 hits in less than 3 innings, both in Coors Field.
Braves 4, @Royals 3 — Medlen vs. Santana: The lead given to Kris Medlen in the top of the 5th didn’t last the inning, as Eric Hosmer branded a high heater to tie the score — his 4th HR of the year, but 3rd in 2 weeks, as he’s showed signs this month of resembling the middle-order hitter KC so desperately needs. But Medlen, whose club has blessed him with just about 3 runs per game, would get a rare second chance to protect a lead, and he finished strong, whiffing the side in the 7th to match his longest start this year.
- And another one bites the dust: On April 16, Jason Heyward ended Kelvin Herrera‘s 75-game, 81-inning homerless streak, the longest of the past 2 seasons. Tuesday he tackled Herrera’s teammate, the compact lefty Tim Collins, who had not allowed a dinger this year nor in his last 36 games (30 IP). Both were tiebreakers. Heyward had gone 101 PAs without homering off a southpaw.
- The current homerless leaders are 44.2 IP and 182 batters by Tyler Chatwood (8 starts, 4 in Coors!), and 37 games by Matt Lindstrom (31.1 IP, 129 batters). Robbie Ross is the relief leader for IP and batters, 35.2 and 150.
- Despite Alex Gordon‘s recent free-fall (13 for 83), Craig Kimbrel still put him on after falling behind 2-and-0 with 2 outs in the 9th — Kimbrel’s first intentional walk when he had a lead, and the first time this year that he’s pitched with bases full. But who can resist, when you see Alcides Escobar on deck? Escobar’s career .264 BA is bad enough, coming without walks or power, but his .225 mark in late-and-close spots must look like bacon donuts to a hungry closer.
- Kimbrel allowed 3 baserunners (a hit and 2 walks) for the 3rd time this year. That happened just once last season, on April 14; he went 68 appearances and just over one calendar year between such events — not a record, but the six pitchers with longer streaks were all lefty specialists who didn’t approach Kimbrel’s total innings.
@Marlins 4, Twins 2 — Correia vs. Fernandez: Pregame, I saw one side of this as “the movable object vs. the stoppable force”: Kevin Correia’s among the leaders in HRs allowed, while Miami’s last in HRs and slugging. So what happens? Correia keeps ’em in the yard with 2 runs in 6 IP, but he still eats it.
Jose Fernandez hasn’t been dingered in his last 5 starts. His BA is 10th-best among qualifiers, but his ISO ranks 4th, along with his ratio of XBH to hits. The park helps, but his power rates are miles better than the other six Marlins who’ve started 7 or more games this year. He only went 5 here with 94 pitches, as Miami’s being wisely careful with him, but when you peruse his splits, there’s so much to like. And I notice some stat similarities with another recent 20-year-old, after a similar number of innings (I’m just pointing out the numbers, here):
- Old guy: 84.1 IP, 61 hits, 5 HRs, 23 walks, 77 Ks, 2.67 ERA
- New guy: 84.2 IP, 63 hits, 6 HRs, 32 walks, 84 Ks, 2.98 ERA
Fernandez could use a trim on that 3.4 BB/9, and he has been better since April; and hasn’t walked more than 3 in a game. And if you look at the walk rates for 19-20 year olds making 15+ starts in a live-ball season, Fernandez is right at the median.
- Steve Cishek‘s cashed in 8 straight saves, no runs, 3 baserunners. GMs, phone 976-BUY-FISH. (Of course it’s a toll call!)
- On the bright side for Minny … Our beloved Caleb Thielbar seems to have set a club record(?), starting his career with 13 consecutive scoreless appearances and 14.2 IP. (Surprised to find that, at least since 1916, no Twin/Senator opened with 2 straight scoreless starts.)
Angels 14, @Tigers 8: This surprised me: Before the blowout set in, 3rd inning, up a run with a man on 2nd and 1 out, C.J. Wilson fell behind 3-0 on Miguel Cabrera, and did not put him on … whereupon Miggy gave reason to rethink that decision. But maybe this was why: Prince Fielder came in 5 for 9 with a HR and 2 walks off Wilson, the HR coming in their very last meeting, this April.
- Wilson’s win was the 16th ever by an Angel with the minimum 5 IP and at least 5 runs allowed. Only John Lackey bagged 3 of those.
- Hits off Rick Porcello, by inning: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 — might’ve been more in the 5th, but he was pulled with 1 out in what would become an 8-run riot. Porcello had his K rate over 25% for a 9-game stretch, but in the last two he’s fanned 6 of 52 and suffered 19 hits and 13 runs.
@Yankees 4, Rangers 3 — Darvish vs. Kuroda: The marquee starters were long gone by the 9th, and Brett Gardner had just been caught stealing for the 2nd out (AL-high 6th CS), seeming to quash any hope of a result in regulation. But while the Japanese media pondered an angle for this double-no-decision, their once most-studied subject, Ichiro Suzuki, caught flush a 1-2 pitch from Tanner Scheppers and circled the bases with his second career walk-off HR. It was the game’s 6th solo HR — the other run (unearned) came on a groundout — and New York’s first game-ending hit since last October. Four taters matched the Yankees’ output for their prior 15 games, and was their first 4-HR game in the Bronx this year.
Ninth-place hitter Leonys Martin came in with 3 career HRs, then connected in his first two trips against Kuroda, each on a 2-2 count. The Yankee ace set down 8 in a row after the second one, and had thrown just 99 pitches with 2 outs in the 7th, but Joe Girardi took no chances and brought in Boone Logan to retire Martin. The young CF slugged .610 at AAA last year.
Darvish allowed HRs leading off the 4th, 5th and 6th — half his 14 HRs have started an inning — and used 110 pitches for his 16 outs (6 Ks, 2 walks). He worked through jams in the 1st, the 4th and the 5th, the last two fueled by Beltre errors — the first 2-E game as a Ranger for the 4-time Gold Glove winner. Twice Darvish fanned Lyle Overbay with a man on 3rd and 1 out. The Yanks are 13-61 with the bases loaded (.213), with one slam.
- Ichiro’s other walk-off bomb hung a blown save on Mariano with 2 outs, and turned a CG loss into a win for Felix.
- New York’s last game with at least 4 solo HRs no other runs came in 2005, when A-Rod and Giambi went deep in a 9th-inning comeback against ex-Yankee Bob Wickman.
- Darvish has already allowed 14 HRs in 107 IP, matching last year’s total for 191 IP, yet his ERA is almost a run lower. In each season, 10 of the 14 HRs were solos. The ERA difference is partly from improvement with RISP — fine last year (.222 BA, .625 OPS), but stifling this season (.159/.411). He’s also cut his walk rate by almost half with RISP and by 30% over all.
- Travis Hafner, hitting .163 since May began, had 2 hits, with the first HR off Darvish to start their comeback from the Martin blasts.
- Chris Stewart threw out both would-be Texas rustlers, including the daunting combo of Elvis Andrus (16-3 this year) running on David Robertson (40-10 career). Stewart’s nabbed 10 of 22 thievin’ varmints this year, while his backup, the rookie Austin Romine, has caught just 1 of 12.
- Zoilo‘s 4-game hit streak ended, but he bagged his first steal and made a rangy grab in left.
- Martin is just the 9th searchable #9 hitter to homer twice against the Yankees, with 4 of those coming in the new Stadium; the last was in 2010 by Reid Brignac, whom the Yankees released today. Martin also joins Mike Morse and Justin Morneau as those who’ve hit 2 in a game off Kuroda.
- Move over, Billy Martin! Your blunt assessment of Reggie & George (“One’s a born liar, the other’s convicted”) has company atop the one-liners that chronicle Yankee player/management spats. An unauthorized tweet by an injured star elicited a frank retort by an exasperated Brian Cashman, one which should stand as company policy for the rest of The Lightning Rod’s contract: “Alex needs to shut the f*** up.”
@White Sox 5, Mets 4 — Wheeler vs. Sale: A shocking gift at the last possible instant got Zack Wheeler off the hook of his first “L” and robbed Chris Sale of a well-earned win. But when New York doubled up on miscues in the home 9th, Alexei Ramirez sealed it with a hit for a face-saving ChiSox win and another trudge-off Mets loss, their 7th this year.
With one glaring exception, defense and fundamentals were Chicago’s keynotes. They didn’t hit Wheeler hard, but took what was there for free, manufacturing 3 runs with aggressive running and productive outs, and Sale’s mostly dominant outing (13 Ks, 2 walks) led them to the 9th ahead by one. David Wright opened with a single and swiped 2nd, but there he stood with 2 away, after a fine running catch in right-center by defensive replacement Jordan Danks. Daniel Murphy came off the bench swinging, and he popped the first pitch a mile high in front of the mound. With time enough for backroom politicking and multiple ballots, the conclave at last elected Conor Gillaspie to do the honors, and he had it all lined up. Suddenly, a dissenting vote: 2B Gordon Beckham came dashing in as if alone in all the world, and in an act of self-sabotage worthy of Gandil and Risberg, he slid/fell at Gillaspie’s legs, missing the full take-out but distracting him enough that the ball dropped free as Wright raced home to tie it. Welcome to the Castillo Zone, Mr. Beckham.
Ah, but the Mets hold clear title to that turf, and — like the Wilpons — they’re not selling. With the leadoff man aboard in the last half, Beckham made the most of his small chance to atone, laying down a good sac bunt, which LaTroy Hawkins (in his needless haste) dropped. Then 1B Josh Satin bobbled a hard one-hopper, turning an easy DP into a mere force. So everyone moved in close, but Alejandro De Aza popped to Wright for the 2nd out. Then, with an 0-1 count, Ramirez lined one fair over third for the game-winner, the 4th of his career and of Chicago’s season.
Wheeler walked only 3 this time and none scored, but wildness still cost him the go-ahead runs in the 5th: After a single came a HBP (on 1-and-2) and then a wild pitch, and two outs in play each brought one home. Wheeler’s first strikeout ended that inning; his first 11 two-strike counts had ended in 8 balls in play, 2 walks and that HBP. A 10-pitch, 6-foul batter with Gillaspie in the 6th ended in a walk and Wheeler’s exit, having gotten just 5 swing-and-misses out of 109 tosses.
Lightning struck early — literally — knocking out some lights and delaying the game briefly in the top of the 1st, when the Mets scored twice with the help of 2 steals; base thieves are 11-0 off Sale this year, and his 1st-inning ERA is 5.79. Sale retired 10 straight (8 Ks) from there to Brown’s HR, and after allowing his 4th and final hit in the 7th, he got Brown on a GDP to end that frame.
- Sale’s 13 Ks were by most since Smoltz ’05 by one pitcher against the Mets.
- I don’t know that Tyler Flowers heard Terry Collins speaking pregame of how Wheeler needed to throw more breaking balls, but he hit a slider for a tying HR leading off the 3rd.
- Three steals off Wheeler, with a couple of ridiculous jumps. That’s on him, but how about calling for a throw over? There might have been a couple, but I don’t remember any.
- Andrew Brown‘s 5th hit of the year was his 3rd HR in 20 ABs, breaking a 2-all tie in the 5th, and Sale’s first this year on the first pitch.
- After 5 games with the Mets, Eric Young, Jr. was already their leadoff RBI leader, with 5. His 6th game tied Mets leadoff highs of scoring in 2 straight games(!) and reaching safely twice in 4 straight. Young is really fast, or at least he fakes it well — scoring from 3rd on a pop to RF that the second baseman could have caught.
- Wheeler’s really fast, too, hitting 98 with his early FBs. But the tone of his outing was set when he couldn’t put away the very first batter after 0-2; he reached on a fisted humpback infield hit, stole 2nd, and scored on two groundouts to cut the early lead in half.
- Sale was drafted in 2010, a year after Wheeler, but the lanky lefty was a college man who barely said boo! to the bush leagues and debuted 2 months past the draft. The gangly Georgian was taken from the high school halls and didn’t throw a pitch as a pro until the following year, then logged almost 400 innings, with at least a dozen starts at every level and 9+ SO/9 at each.
- Hawkins has allowed 40 hits in 31.1 IP.
@Nationals 7, D-backs 5 — Cahill vs. Gonzalez: A meeting of the pitchers that netted the A’s Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and Ryan Cook, among others. Not that the big names haven’t helped their new teams, too….
Gio allowed 9 hits for the first time in 25 starts, but his clutch outs and a 5-run 3rd built enough cushion to withstand another shaky 9th by Rafael Soriano — one of 5 closers who’ve allowed more than a hit per inning. (Is that the Mariano on that list?)
- How convenient! Two clips from one game for our instructional video on why you don’t turn your head when racing for home. First Martin Prado, then Anthony Rendon, both nailed at the plate on bang-bang plays. All we need is Usain Bolt’s voiceover and we’re ready for marketing. (My, but we do love our Parra pegs; that’s 9 outfield assists, tied for the MLB lead, and just part of his 1.4 dWAR, ranked #2.)
- Through May, Trevor Cahill was a hard-luck pitcher: 3-5 record, 2.88 ERA. But June is his alone: 0-4, 9.30 ERA in 5 starts. He’s suffered poor run support (including 7 games with exactly 1 run), but he’s also pitched worst when given a chance: 6.49 ERA in 7 games backed by 3-5 runs.