Sunday game notes, selectively
@Orioles 7, Rockies 2 – Adam Jones and Chris Davis had big days, with a homer and a double each, and Scott Feldman bested Jhoulys Chacin, as Baltimore took the rubber game and kept pace with both wild-card leaders.
Chacin has the majors’ lowest HR rate, coming in with 5 in 23 starts, and none in 8 road games since Opening Day. But Jones connected on a pretty good slider in the 3rd, after Davis hit a 2-out double. Davis capped the scoring with his 45th HR, a 2-run drive off Edgmer Escalona.
- Davis has 7 HRs in 15 August games, Miguel Cabrera 8 in 16 games. Davis scored 3 runs, tying Cabrera for the AL lead at 89, and also tied him with 306 total bases. Miggy leads in RBI, 120-115.
- Chacin allowed 3 runs but was lifted in the 6th, ending his string of quality starts at 7, 4th-best in Rockies history.
- This won’t crack Manny Machado’s top-20, but it’s a nice play.
@Rays 2, Blue Jays 1 (10 inn.) — A tale of three homers, and one that might have been: Evan Longoria went just deep enough in the home 1st, but Todd Redmond gave no more through 6 innings, dodging a double in each of his last 3 frames and inducing a DP from Wil Myers with his final pitch, after passing Longo. Chris Archer set down 20 of the first 21 Jays, but with 2 outs in the 7th, Edwin Encarnacion fouled off three 1-and-2 pitches and then launched his 31st HR. After the stretch, two Rays reached 3rd and 1st with no outs, but Jason Bourgeois missed a squeeze attempt, the runner was hung out, and the inning crashed.
Top-9th, 2 outs, Double-E sent another screamer towards Miracle Corner, missing by perhaps a quarter-inch the vector needed to carom through, instead of back, and Fernando Rodney got the last out with Encarnacion on 3rd. So, to the 10th, and Jose Lobaton against Brad Lincoln. Lobaton had whiffed on 2-and-2 his first 3 trips (twice in ribby spots), and had his bell rung by a foul tip in the 2nd. But Lincoln fell behind, 2-and-1, and when he came in, Lobaton was ready, stroking a walk-off hit in his 2nd straight game.
- Neither side got a hit with men in scoring position, 0-13 combined.
- Lincoln has suffered two walk-off losses in his 4-year career, both to Tampa this season, in the 10th inning.
- During “Baseball Tonight,” Lobaton’s two game-winning hits were referenced by their Win Probability Added — the first time I’ve heard that term on ESPN.
@Athletics 7, Indians 3 — Chris Young’s homer off Scott Kazmir broke a 3-all tie in the 5th, and Alberto Callaspo followed soon with his first for Oakland, as the A’s edged within a game of Texas in the West. Kazmir had beaten Oakland with 10 Ks back in May, but the A’s strafed him for 10 hits in 5 IP this time, striking quickly with 2 runs in the 1st. Callaspo’s error led to Cleveland’s tying runs in the 5th, which knocked out Tommy Milone short of 5 IP for the 2nd straight game. But four relievers kept the Tribe at bay from that point on. Yoenis Cespedes caught Nick Swisher stretching in the 7th, with 1 out and the heart of the order coming up.
- Michael Brantley is an outstanding bunter — in 21 career tries, he has 11 hits and 9 sacrifices. So I have no problem with him bunting in the 6th, down by 2 runs with a man on 1st and no outs. But while I haven’t seen the play, scoring it a sacrifice seems sketchy, unless he gave himself up, which seems unlikely in the situation. Brantley has some power against a RHP, and he’s rarely doubled up; a sacrifice was certainly not indicated.
@Tigers 6, Royals 3 — Detroit’s top producers, Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera, led the way to victory and a 3-2 series win. Cabrera followed up Saturday’s game-winning blast with a first-pitch laser off Bruce Chen, his 40th, snapping Chen’s scoreless skein at 18 IP and staking Scherzer to a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning. A 2-out Miggy ribby helped build the lead to 4-0 before K.C.’s first RISP chance, in the 6th, and Chen was tagged twice more before the Royals finally got on the board.
Scherzer (8 IP, 2 R) booked his 18th win in his 25th start, and Detroit’s 124th game. In 2011, Justin Verlander got his 18th win (en route to 24) in his 27th start, but Detroit’s 122nd game. Scherzer will start 7 more times, most likely.
- At 18-1, Scherzer is in range of two records for winning percentage. Greg Maddux owns the standard for 20+ decisions (19-2, .905 W% in 1995), while Ron Guidry holds the mark for 20+ wins (25-3, .893 W% in 1978). A final Scherzer mark of at least 20 wins and no more than 2 losses would bag both records.
- Scherzer hasn’t gone past 8 innings this year, but his 6.89 IP/G ranks 6th among those with 20 starts. He’s gone 8 innings 7 times (5th), 7 IP or more 16 times (4th), and 6+ IP 23 times (3rd). With 20 quality starts in 25 outings, his QS% is tied for 5th.
- Cabrera had homered on his previous pitch in this series, and also on the last pitch he saw from Chen, Oct. 1, 2012. His updated stats in that matchup: 15 for 34, 5 HRs, 9 walks. Which makes you wonder about the decision not to walk him in the 3rd inning, man on 2nd and 2 outs. Chen did pass him in a similar spot in the 5th.
- Miggy in 2-out RISP chances: 23 for 51, 8 HRs.
- On the replay of Alex Gordon’s terrific catch, you see a lot of “give” from the left-field fence, which might have saved him from concussion.
Cardinals 6, @Cubs 1 — Adam Wainwright dominated Chicago with 11 Ks in 7 innings, beating them for the first time in 7 starts since 2010. Jon Jay drove in 4 with a double and a HR, and Yadier Molina doubled twice and scored on both of Jay’s hits. Wainwright walked just one, but it cost him a run on Junior Lake’s 2-out double in the 6th, which cut the lead to 3-1. But Jay opened it up again with a 3-run shot in the 7th, a left-on-left assault of freshly entered James Russell.
- Kevin Siegrist allowed a hit in 4 ABs, raising his opponents’ BA to .101 (8 for 79).
- Lake went 3-for-4, but he also made his 3rd outfield error in just 28 games, leading to a pair of unearned runs.
Reds 9, @Brewers 1 — Homer Bailey allowed 3 hits over 8 innings for just his 2nd win in 14 career starts against Milwaukee (2-8, 5.55). Shin-Soo Choo reached in all 5 trips, boosting his OBP to .415 (trailing only Joey Votto in the NL), and Bailey’s batterymate Ryan Hanigan drove in 3 with a pair of singles. The Reds, who lead the NL in walks drawn, accepted 9 passes for the 2nd time this year, both against the Brewers, and scored 9 runs without an extra-base hit for the 5th time in searchable history and just the 2nd since 1944.
- Khris Davis broke up Bailey’s shutout with his 6th HR in 59 ABs.
@Phillies 3, Dodgers 2 — Two 9th-inning errors by Hanley Ramirez gave the game to Philly, ending L.A.’s 10-win streak and giving Ryne Sandberg his first win as a big-league skipper. Carlos Ruiz’s 4th hit was the only one in the winning frame, sending Casper Wells to 3rd with 1 out. Cole Hamels held L.A. to 2 runs in 7 innings; they’d scored 4 or more in each game of the streak.
- Ramirez also went 0-4 with a GDP, as the Dodgers fell to 36-15 in his starts.
- Yasiel Puig was caught stealing for the 6th time in 13 attempts. He has great speed and an excellent rate of taking extra bases on teammates’ hits, but the outs he’s run into have erased all of his baserunning WAR value.
@Braves 2, Nationals 1 — Atlanta scored twice in the 1st off Gio Gonzalez, and Julio Teheran blanked the Nats for 6 innings despite letting the first 2 men reach base in each of the first 3 frames. Washington went 1-13 with men in scoring position. Craig Kimbrel got the last 3 outs on strikes, giving him 29 straight saves converted, with 1 run in 37 IP in that span. The Braves moved to 12-4 against the Nats, and restored their season-high 15.5-game lead.
- Phil Gosselin’s first MLB hit was a bunt single in the middle of Atlanta’s rally.
- Teheran is the 9th modern Braves SP with 10 wins at age 22 or under.
Mariners 4, @Rangers 3 — Kyle Seager’s double off Joe Nathan scored Endy Chavez with 2 outs in the visitors’ 9th, and unlike their singletons in the 5th, 6th and 8th innings, there was no Texas two-step.
Seattle took an 8th-inning lead on Dustin Ackley’s single off Yu Darvish, but Kendrys Morales seemed to think it won the game or something, and his leadfoot gait carried him past 2nd base to his doom and the inning’s end. (An awful move –the run was scoring easily, the play was right in front of him, and as a sometimes first baseman, the presence of a cutoff man should not have surprised Morales.) And Texas tied it in their 8th, on an Elvis Andrus double (and Ackley’s bobble) after Craig Gentry walked. But Andrus was cut down stealing 3rd for the 2nd out, on an 0-2 count to Ian Kinsler, who then whiffed.
- The winning hit by Seager, and Humberto Quintero’s CS of Andrus and his sac bunt in the 9th, redeemed their errors in the 6th that built the Rangers’ second tying tally.
- Michael Saunders went 3-4 with a 2-out RBI in the 6th, and a steal of 3rd that let him score the first run on a Chavez groundout.
- Seattle SP Erasmo Ramirez had gone 4-0 in 5 starts despite a 7.16 ERA. Then he turned in his best outing, 2 runs (1 ER) in 7 IP, and got nothing.
- Darvish hit the 120-pitch mark for the 4th time this year, tied for the MLB lead (with C.J. Wilson). He ranks 5th among qualifiers with an average of 4.10 pitches per batter.
On Sunday Night Baseball, Curt Schilling told a Bob Gibson story: Gibby once told Curt that, despite his reputation, most of his HBPs were unintentional. He rarely threw at the best hitters, such as Frank Robinson, because every time he did hit Robinson (goes the tale), Robby came back and hit a home run next time up.
Well, I had to check, and there’s no literal truth in this one. Gibson faced Robinson 98 times from 1959-65, and clipped him just once, on May 19, 1963. Robinson hit 4 HRs off Gibson; two were before the HBP, and two were more than a year afterwards.
But while the cause-and-effect notion doesn’t hold up, the one HBP does tend to confirm Gibson’s central point. Robinson got plunked a lot — he led the league six times, and averaged 1 HBP per 49 PAs against right-handers during the years he and Gibson were both in the NL. But Gibson hit him only once in 98 meetings.
Of the 7 men whom Gibby hit more than twice, only Johnny Callison was a very good hitter. In truth, Gibson really didn’t hit a lot of men, period. He never plunked more than 13 in a season, never led the league. Out of 91 pitchers with 1,500+ innings during his career, Gibson ranked 23rd in HBP rate (1 per 158 batters).
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