Friday game notes
Pirates 3, @Giants 1 — Just two kinds of batters, I think, had any chance of homering on this pitch from Madison Bumgarner: (1) Miguel Cabrera (sui generis); and (2) open-stance, bucket-stepping RHBs like Clint Barmes. Charlie Morton’s 4th straight strong effort (totaling 7 runs in 27.2 IP) kept Pittsburgh a game up on St. Louis, and pulled them up to one behind the Braves for MLB’s best record.
@Cardinals 3, Braves 1 — Is it just a cliche that a pitcher who runs the bases loses his stuff thereafter? Kris Medlen had laid aside 12 straight Cards through the 5th inning, and he opened the 6th with a hit, then came around to tie the game on a sac, a groundout and Freddie Freeman’s single. But back on the hill, Medlen gave a leadoff walk to Matt Carpenter (the first pass of the game), and although a DP wiped out that mistake, Medlen couldn’t finish Matt Holliday from an 0-and-2 count — three fouls, a ball, and see ya. Two more hits to start the 7th knocked out Medlen, those by Yadier Molina and Jon Jay, who between them went 5-7 with 3 doubles.
Oh, and Adam Wainwright was involved in some fashion. We love this about Wainwright: In the 6th, leading 1-0 with 2 outs and a man on 3rd, full count to Freeman, Atlanta’s “RBI guy.” It would have been so easy to make a safety pitch, something Freeman could only chase or take for ball four. Even with Chris Johnson up next, a lot of pitchers would have taken that safe route, rationalizing it with the platoon edge gained and Johnson’s modest power.
But Wainwright doesn’t do that sort of thing. He tried to get Freeman out. Note the target for that slider; it says, “I want you swinging,” not “chase it if you want, but you’ll never drive this.” In fact, it was a risky pitch, and when Adam missed his spot, he was rather lucky that Freeman only tied the game. But with the top of his own order due up, he was willing to take that risk.
- This was no isolated incident. In 42 PAs this year with 2 outs and “first base open,” Wainwright has issued only three walks — two IBBs to face the pitcher, and one apparent accident on a full count. That’s a 7% walk rate, where the NL average is 16%.
@Dodgers 2, Red Sox 0 — What can you say when you throw your 1-and-2 pitch precisely on target, and Hanley kills it for a 2-out, 2-run homer? Maybe you second-guess that target; or maybe you just mutter: “Forget it, Jake; it’s Chinatown.”
- Yeah, I’ll kick myself for jumping the gun if something like that happens Sunday, with Peavy on the hill.
- Ricky Nolasco logged his best game of the year, his first scoreless start in the last 30. He’s 5-1, 2.53 for L.A., and they’ve won 7 of his 9 outings.
- 4th game this year with 3 hits or less for each side. Boston’s been in 4 of the last 9 such games.
- 5th time that L.A. has allowed 3 baserunners or less, out of 38 such games in MLB. Surprise: Two were started by Greinke, two by Ryu, none by MLB’s WHIP leader. The Reds also have five such games.
@Orioles 9, Athletics 7 – In a back-and-forth battle bearing wild-card weight, Eric Sogard muffed a sure DP in the 7th, fueling a 3-run inning, as the O’s climbed within 2 games of Oakland. A third straight loss dropped the A’s 3.5 games behind red-hot Texas (19-4), their worst standing since late May.
Oakland built an early 3-0 lead on homers off Bud Norris, but the Birds wiped that away with 6 runs in the 4th, capped by a Brian Roberts slam off Dan Straily. The A’s struck back in their next raps: Norris still clung to a 6-5 lead with 2 outs and none on, but walk-single-walk sent him packing, and Sogard’s base hit off Troy Patton put Oakland back on top. But the sure-handed Sogard misplayed the hard one-hopper just to his left off Chris Davis’s bat, seeming to begin his 270-degree DP pivot before the ball was secured. The tying run was scoring either way, but Baltimore added 2 more runs that never would have come if that DP had been turned, as it should have been.
- In 7 games since Davis leapfrogged him in the order, Adam Jones is 12 for 31, 3 HRs, 9 RBI. Three RBI events came right after a walk to Davis; and another HR followed Davis’s 2-out double. Davis has a .563 OBP and 8 runs scored since the switch.
Tigers 6, @Mets 1 — “Pitching and three-run homers,” quoth the Bard. Doug Fister worked into the 7th on one run, and the top three in Detroit’s order each went deep, spoiling Daisuke Matsuzaka’s NL debut and squaring this all-time series at eight apiece. Matsuzaka lasted 5 innings and allowed 5 early runs, but he set down his last 10 batters.
When Miguel Cabrera came up with 2 on and 1st base open in the 2nd, Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen had just time enough to read out his .453 average with 2 outs and RISP and add something about “the one guy you don’t want to beat you” before Miggy destroyed Dice-K’s first-pitch inside fastball for career HR #362. It was Detroit’s first this year with men on 2nd & 3rd — but their 30th HR worth 3+ runs, 7 more than any other team. They’re 5th in overall HRs, but 1st in those with anyone on.
- Coming into the game, two Tigers owned homers off Matsuzaka, Cabrera and Torii Hunter. Torii went deep in the 1st inning, then hit an RBI ground-rule double before Cabrera’s clout, beating CF Juan Lagares, who was (properly) stationed close enough to cut off the potential lead run then on 2nd base. Lagares has great range, but he couldn’t quite get there.
- With 2 outs, RISP and 1st base open, Miggy is 13 for 25 with 6 HRs.
- Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? When “Mrs. Robinson” was released in 1968, the Clipper stood at #18 on the career HR list. Cabrera is the 60th player to pass Joe since then.
- You perhaps noticed that I left out one piece of the Weaver motto. In my, um, defense, this is the Tigers I’m talking about.
@Rays 7, Yankees 2 – Hiroki Kuroda rode in on 8 homerless games, but he gave up 4 bombs in just the first 5 innings, and his worst game of the year coincided with Chris Archer’s third New York mastery in as many tries, leading Tampa to a 1st-place tie.
Kuroda’s rough treatment started with Jose Lobaton’s 2-out, 3-run pole-cat. Evan Longoria went back-to-back with Matt Joyce in the 3rd (the former plebeian, the latter majestic), and Ben Zobrist tacked on in the 5th. Fresh recruit David DeJesus preserved Archer’s quality start with a sweet sprinting catch, and Brett Gardner’s busy day on the bases crashed in a senseless pickoff for the 2nd out of the 8th, Yanks down 5 runs.
- Archer’s 3 starts against New York: 22 IP, 3 runs, 12 hits, 3 walks. He’s the only one with
- Kuroda had yielded just 3 HRs with a man on this year, and none worth 3+ runs in almost a calendar year. In 47 career ABs with the bases full, he has never allowed a grand slam or even an extra-base hit. Only 12 others with 40+ ABs in the searchable database can say that, including actives John Lannan (59 ABs) and Mat Latos (43).
Brewers 6, @Reds 4 – Khris Davis 2-run HRs in the 6th and 8th, each one putting the Crew in front, and together giving Davis 8 HRs in just 85 PAs. Scooter Gennett had 3 hits, with a double and his 5th HR, and Nori Aoki reached 4 times from the leadoff spot.
- HR percentages: Chris Davis, 8.7% of PAs; Khris Davis, 9.4%.
- Gennett’s batting .330 and slugging .567 in 106 PAs. He hit .297 in the minors, but he slugged just .409 in over 2,000 PAs, with declining numbers each year from low-A through AAA.
- Yovani Gallardo and Homer Bailey each allowed 3 runs in 6 IP, with 6 hits, 2 walks, 5 Ks and a homer. Even without the home run, it’s the first searchable match in one game for those exact totals.
- Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo, the NL’s #1-2 in OBP, each went 0 for 5. For Votto, it’s the first time in almost 2 years that he failed to reach safely in 5+ trips (breaking a string of 95 such games in which he did reach base). It’s the 5th time this year that neither Votto nor Choo reached safely; the Reds have lost all five.
Rangers 11, @White Sox 5 – Chris Sale can’t blame this on run support. He allowed 4 home runs (first time more than two), including a disputed inside-the-park job, and tied his worst effort with 8 runs allowed. Sale had beaten Texas in all three prior starts. The Rangers have won 4 in a row and 19 of 23 since falling 6 games behind Oakland in late July.
- Jeff Baker hit his 10th home run — 9 HRs in 82 ABs off southpaws.
- Every Texas starter scored a run. They have 4 of 16 such games in MLB this year.
- Martin Perez gave up 3 early runs, but lasted 7 IP to win his 4th straight start. He’s the 4th lefty in franchise history with a 7-win season by age 22, and the 3rd within the last six years (Derek Holland, Matt Harrison).
Nationals 11, Royals 10 – Bruce Chen couldn’t hold an early 6-0 lead, spitting up 7 runs in the 4th for his second disaster start following six straight stellar ones. Washington just survived K.C.’s 3-run 9th, claiming their 4th straight win to reach .500 for the first time since just after the Break, while the Royals dropped their 6th in a row by a margin of 3 runs or less. Bryce Harper knocked out Chen with a tying 3-run double, after two straight 10-pitch walks forced in the inning’s second run, and Jayson Werth followed with a full-count HR, ending Louis Coleman’s year-long scoreless streak at 21 innings.
- Rookie Tanner Roark was the game’s pitching star, bailing out Gio Gonzalez with 2 on, 1 out in the 4th to hold a one-run lead. He got 14 outs in all with just 2 men reaching, to earn his 4th win this month. Roark joins Robbie Ross as the only pitchers with 4 searchable relief wins among their first 6 games.
- Really, Mr. Yost, you’re letting Chen face Harper as the go-ahead run after he’s thrown 37 pitches in the inning and walked the last two men? Chen had faced 7 men the previous inning, escaping with the bases full and just one run in. You play with fire….
- Justin Maxwell’s game was high on both ends, but low in the middle: He homered in the 1st, killed rallies in the 2nd and 4th with 2-aboard DPs, then brought K.C. within a run with a single in the 9th.
- Eric Hosmer reached in all 5 trips (3-3-3-3, 2 walks), with a HR and a double, raising his OPS to .800 for the first time since game 8. Most impressively, he’s bashed lefties at a .337 clip, after struggling under .230 over his first two years.
Twins 5, @Indians 1 — Chris Herrmann doubled twice for the 2nd game in a row, including a 2-out tiebreaker, and the Twins improved to 12-11 in August, seeking their first winning month since last June. Ubaldo Jimenez fanned 10 for the first time in over a year, and he whiffed his way out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 1st. But three of the five hits he allowed were doubles in the 2nd inning, wiping out his 1-0 lead.
@Phillies 4, D-backs 3 — Can we call it a managerial style yet? Ryne Sandberg’s Phillies walked off winners for the 3rd straight game and 4th in their last six. This time they took the phrase literally, as Chase Utley drew a bases-loaded walk on a full count from the freshly inserted Eury De La Rosa, who’s had a bad week in just the last two nights. Utley, who notched his first game-ending RBI since 2007, had scored the tying run in the 6th on a Carlos Ruiz double, after being hit by a pitch for the 156th time — 4th among active players, and 68 more than any other Philly. Darin Ruf hit his 10th HR, and has a .914 OPS in 40 games.
- The Phillies and BoSox lead all others with 11 walk-off wins.
- Three of the 9 game-losing walks in Arizona history have gone to Phillies, comprising all but two of their winning walks since 1998.
@Padres 8, Cubs 6 — Sometimes, the most thrilling and fascinating game of the day happens far from the pennant chases. This one found Donnie Murphy batting as the tying run with 2 outs in the 9th, just as he had the day before….
Angels 2, @Mariners 0 — Garrett Richards held Seattle to 4 singles over 7.1 innings, and Chris Nelson shook off a week’s frustration by putting the Halos on the scoreboard and helping keep the M’s off of it. The Angels turned DPs to end the 6th and 7th, and Ernesto Frieri whiffed Raul Ibanez as the tying run to end the game. Ibanez has 1 HR, 3 RBI since the All-Star Break.
- Seattle’s been shut out in 18 of Hernandez’s 83 career losses, and scored one or none in 40 of them. They’re scored two or less in 36% of his career starts (Felix 19-52, 2.81).
- Hernandez has 147 starts allowing 2 runs or less, or 55% of his starts. Since 2005, only Matt Cain has more (148 and 57%). Bet you won’t guess #3.
@Astros 12, Blue Jays 4 — Jonathan Villar is the first with two triples and a GDP in any Houston game, for or against. Jordan Lyles gave up 3 HRs among 10 hits, but only 4 runs — the first time this year for that odd combo.
Random flashback — Thinking about starting pitchers giving up late tying or go-ahead HRs led me to this game. I wonder if Bob Gibson is still ticked off, 34 years later:
May 30, 1969: Looking for his 3rd straight shutout and a stop to Cincinnati’s 7-win streak, Gibby led 3-0 in the 7th, but Johnny Bench hit a 3-run HR.
- Hitting a 3-run jack off Gibson between 1967 and ’72 didn’t automatically make you a Hall of Famer, but 9 out of 10 were hit by such legends. (The other by Al Oliver, no slouch.)
In the home half, Gibson struck out with a man on 2nd and 1 out.
- A .206 career hitter, Gibby raised it to .248 with RISP, or .235 if you count sac flies as ABs.
The Cards didn’t work up another threat against relievers Wayne Granger or Clay Carroll, and they went to extra innings. With 2 outs and none on in the 10th, Dave Bristol let Carroll go to the plate. To that point, Carroll was 12 for 87, all singles. But, well, Jim Maloney left injured in the 1st, and Carroll was already the 3rd reliever used, so the bullpen was getting thin. So Clay hit away — and cracked a home run off Gibson.
- Gibby had faced a pitcher 667 times before and never allowed a home run. He would give up one more before he was through, to Roric Harrison in 1974. But at least Harrison had some real power, with 6 HRs in 124 career ABs. Clay Carroll would never hit another home run, nor any other extra-base hit.
Gibson got the last out of the 10th, and was due to lead off the home half. I don’t know for sure, but he might have been seeking revenge. He had batted twice against Carroll in previous years, a flyout and a sac bunt. But Bristol went to his bench, and came up with Joe Hague — a rookie then hitting .175 (10-57) with no homers.
- Hague had finished 2nd in HRs in his two prior years in the minors, and as a lefty he’d have the platoon edge against Carroll. But I doubt that placated Mr. Gibson.
Hague popped out, the Cards didn’t score, and Gibson took the loss. It was the 14th time that he had gotten more than 27 outs; he’d wind up his career with 25 such games, a 9-11 record and 1.78 ERA.
Gibson finished 1969 with a record of 20-13, a 2.18 ERA and career-high 314 innings. He led the majors in WAR for the second of three straight years — not just pitchers, but all players — and he bested Tom Seaver in most measures. But Seaver (25-7, 2.21) won the Cy Young Award, almost unanimously, and Phil Niekro got the one other vote. Gibby did score 2 points in the MVP vote, tying for 30th.
Subscribe to: RSS feed