Monday game notes (black armband edition)
(No crying in baseball; so then, what is this salty discharge?)
@Cardinals 8, Reds 6 – Allen Craig filled a blank column on the back of his RISP Superheroes trading card, his first grand slam building an 8-5 lead with 2 outs in the 7th to finish a comeback from 4-0 down.
Cincy scored 4 in the 2nd on two 2-run triples, 3 runs unearned after Daniel Descalso’s 13th error. Matt Holliday’s 3-run blast made it close, but Zack Cozart backed up his triple with a 2-out RBI double, on a 2-2 count in front of the pitcher. But Mike Leake turned over a mess in the 7th, one out and the tying runs in scoring position after Carlos Beltran’s double. Manny Parra got one out and handed to J.J. Hoover, who walked Holliday on a full count to re-load. Craig vectored the next pitch to RF, raising his bags-full BA to .451 (14-31), with 4 walks and 2 whiffs.
- The Cards began a 13-game blitz against the Reds and Pirates. They’re now 9-4 vs. Cincinnati.
- Jay Bruce’s 25th home run joined him with Cabrera, Beltre and Bautista in reaching that level the last four years in a row.
- Descalso has been taking some SS time away from Pete Kozma, whose bat has died — 3 for his last 48.
- Craig’s career BA with RISP is .392 (132/337); next-best among those with 300 ABs in that split is Tony Gwynn’s .349. With 2+ on base overall, Craig’s at .425 (82-193).
Athletics 8, @Tigers 6 – Oakland scored 4 in 5 laborious innings by Anibal Sanchez, and 4 more off 3 different secondary relievers, taking the first of four in Detroit. Coco Crisp’s big night included a leadoff double and run, a go-ahead HR (his 100th career and 4th in 5 games), and 2-out RBI hit in the 6th when the A’s went on top for good. Crisp’s HR was just the 2nd in 8 post-Break starts off Sanchez, who had a 1.51 ERA in his last 7 games. But he burned 112 pitches in just 5 innings, a career high for an outing that short.
A.J. Griffin caught Miguel Cabrera looking at three strikes in the 1st. Miggy was looking again with 2 outs in the 5th — looking away on a 3-1 count, and guessing right with a man on, to tie the the game. That’s #43, three behind Chris Davis, and 130 RBI for the 2nd straight year. But Oakland jumped on Jose Alvarez with 4 hits in the 6th, including Daric Barton’s 2nd RBI knock (his 5th hit of the year). Al Albuquerque got out of that jam with one pitch and a DP, but (surprise!) he walked 2 in the next frame, and one came home.
Miggy came up with 2 outs in the 7th, down by 3 and men on the corners. But they gave him a half-IBB, and why not; on counts starting 2-0, he’s 20-40 with 5 HRs, 4 doubles, and with 2-outs/RISP, his OPS is 1.576 (9 HRs in 55 ABs). Fielder flied out; and when Detroit filled ‘em again with 2 outs in the 8th, Torii Hunter whiffed on 3 pitches, Cabrera on deck. They got the tying run to the plate with 1 out in the 9th, on the 4th hit by Victor Martinez, but Grant Balfour summoned 2 groundouts to end it.
- Oakland accepted 8 walks, reclaiming the MLB lead
- On a 3-1 count this year, Cabrera’s now 8 for 12, 3 HRs, 3 doubles. 25 of his 43 HRs have built a lead or a tie. Davis has 21, Pedro Alvarez 20. Cabrera’s number last year was 16 of 44, and Adam Jones & Chase Headley tied for that lead with 20.
- With 2 HRs tonight, Griffin’s surrendered 32 bombs in 169 IP. That’s the most HRs off an Athletic since 1987; the franchise record is 40, by Orlando Pena in 1964, in K.C.’s cozy Municipal Stadium. But he doesn’t allow many hits, other than HRs; his HRs as a percentage of hits (21.2%) is 10th-highest out of 433 seasons with 30+ HRs.
- Miggy has one of the lowest percentages of strikes looking (out of all strikes). What it means, I can’t grasp, but here are the bottom ten: Freddie Freeman, Pablo Sandoval, Josh Hamilton, A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Jones, Carlos Gomez, Cabrera, Chris Davis, Wilin Rosario and Brandon Phillips. Most of them don’t walk much; out of the bottom 20 in that rate, the top walk totals are Miggy 75, Davis 58, Freeman 51 and Matt Holliday 50. Ten of the 20 have 30 walks or less. Interpretation?
@Royals 11, Rays 1 — K.C. attacked the weak link in Tampa’s rotation, punching out Jeremy Hellickson in the 3rd inning. Billy Butler reached 5 times with a balanced 3-3-3-3 and his 13th HR.
- Butler’s hit .366 in August, but at age 27, his production’s still well shy of last year’s 29 HRs and 107 RBI.
- In 2011, Hellickson had a 2.95 ERA and microscopic .224 BAbip, the lowest qualified mark in 23 years. The pundits foretold regression. Hellickson met them halfway last year, his BAbip “soaring” to .264, still tied for 5th-lowest, and his ERA stayed down at 3.10. The pundits said, patience; 366 innings isn’t all that much. And guess what? This year, his BAbip is up around .310, and his ERA’s 5.21.
@Blue Jays 5, Yankees 2 — The Captain’s return fell flat. Derek Jeter was 0-3 with a walk and a GDP, and the Yankees went 0-7 in RBI spots as they fell to R.A. Dickey. A-Rod’s HR tied it at 2 in the top of the 5th (#650 career, 305 for New York, and 35 in 104 Skydome games). But Robinson Cano flied out with the bags full to end that inning, and Phil Hughes coughed up a 3-spot in the bottom half, 2 unearned on Ichiro’s error(!). Edwin Encarnacion twice drove in the go-ahead run. A-Rod fanned twice with RISP, including a man on 3rd and 1 out in the 6th.
- Cano in his career has hit .251 with 2 outs and RISP (163/649). Compared to his overall .308 BA, Cano’s deficit of -.057 is the largest of any player with 600+ ABs in that split (429 players).
- David Huff retired 10 of 11, stranding 2 after Hughes left in the 5th, in his second straight stellar job against Toronto, totaling 1 hit in 8.1 IP.
Astros 10, @White Sox 8 — Houston hit 5 homers for the 3rd time this year, with the 19th by Matt Dominguez breaking a 9th-inning tie off Addison Reed, backed up by Chris Carter’s 2nd of the game and 25th for the season. Chicago’s Andre Rienzo gave up 7 runs in 6 IP, but was in line for the win until Carter’s 2-out RBI single in the 7th.
- Houston had no 5-HR games from 2010-12. Their longest drought was 17 years, 1978-94.
- Already holding the extra-base hits mark for a Houston catcher, Jason Castro’s HR and single gave him a share of their catcher total bases record, tied with Craig Biggio.
- Adam Dunn hit his 30th this year, #436 career. His .239 BA ranks next-to-last of the 136 players with 300+ HRs (thanks, Kong!) — but his .368 OBP is in the top half (#58).
@Dodgers 5, Cubs 0 (7th) — Zack Greinke had the first RBI hit in L.A.’s 2-run 4th, after Nick Punto fought for a 10-pitch walk. Zack’s faced one plus the minimum through 7 innings.
- Greinke also walked starting the 3rd, and furthered their 4th run with a key sacrifice. At this writing, he’s 16 for 46, with 6 walks and 6 Ks, for a .434 OBP; with men in scoring position, he’s 5 for 13 with no whiffs. He began the year with a .170 career average (18 for 106), with 3 walks and 23 Ks.
- This would be Greinke’s 5th scoreless start in his last 10, with a 1.27 ERA in that span (through 7 IP here).
- Before tonight, Nicasio had allowed a career .295 BA on the road, but just .250 in Coors Field (122/488) — the most beneficial gap of the 68 pitchers with 300+ ABs at that altitude. Teammates Jorge De La Rosa (#8) and Jhoulys Chacin (#17) also have fared better than the average bear.
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