Thursday game notes: Central insurgency

Royals 7, @Twins 2 — Justin Maxwell left a team that went 11-29 in games he played this year and lent an instant hand to the hottest club around, with a hit, a walk, a run and a ribby. Two sac flies and three RBI groundouts punctuated K.C.’s 9th straight win, matching their best since 1994. This streak and that one both began on July 23, with a labor-management cloud hanging over baseball.

 

  • The dWAR wizard Lorenzo Cain evoked the Zeppelin refrain: “Bring it back … bring it back!
  • I’ve no clue when K.C. last scored in 5 straight innings, but it’s not an every-day thing.
  • Post-game, the Twins sent down starter Scott Diamond (5-10, 5.52) and CF Aaron Hicks (.192 BA). Despite a low K rate last year, Diamond succeeded with a solid HR/9 and league-best walk rate. All three rates slipped this year, and his ERA went up 2 runs.

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@Indians 6, White Sox 1 — Ryan Raburn drove in 4 with 2 home runs and a single, pacing an unusually placid 8th straight win for Cleveland. Justin Masterson’s 13th victory set a new career mark, and matched the Tribe’s best since Cliff Lee’s Cy Young year. They pulled within 2 games of idle Detroit, and kept pace with their pursuers for the 2nd wild card.

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@Rangers 7, D-backs 1 — Yu Darvish dashed all hopes of a 4th straight walk-off win. Coming in with 172 Ks, he set out as though to reach 200 all at once, fanning 14 through 6 innings (with 2 or more each frame). No walks kept his pitch count healthy, but Yu gave up 2 hits in the 7th, no Ks, and he let the bullpen bring it home from there.

  • Darvish now has 4 games of 14 Ks or more this year, the most in franchise history. Two others in MLB have one such game apiece this season.
  • Nolan Ryan’s 1989 club record of 301 strikeouts seems safe, but the #2 mark is in reach — Ryan’s 232 in ’90.
  • Not with a bang, but with a quad strain? Nelson Cruz left in the 7th, creating a new link between himself and the biggest name (if not the biggest bat) awaiting Biodiscipline.

__________

Cardinals 13, @Pirates 0Dawn of the Dead Bats. Joe Kelly blanked the Bucs for six, and a 17-hit torrent (none longer than a double) washed away the Redbirds’ tortures of the dammed. And yes, they went 8 for 20 with RISP.

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@Orioles 6, Astros 3 — New hire Bud Norris paid quick returns against his last employer with a Baltimore-style quality start (6 IP, 2 solo HRs), and Nate McLouth’s 2 scoring hits paced a comeback win. Chris Davis swatted #39 to win the 100-ribby dash, edging out the stalled Miguel Cabrera.

  • Among third basemen, guess who has the longest active streak without a double? It’s MannyMac, 21 games and counting. But he snapped his 0-for-14 slide with 2 hits and drove in the tying run.
  • Davis is 4th-fastest to 100 RBI in franchise history, trailing Miguel Tejada (2004) and two years by ’20s slugger Kenny Williams with the Browns. His 39 HRs are already tied for 5th; Brady Anderson holds their record with 50 in 1996.
  • Houston’s Travis Blackley has served up 10 HRs in 34 IP, the highest rate among actives with 30+ IP.
  • Tommy Hunter gave up a run that started with a double by a lefty. His ratio of OPS by LHBs to overall OPS is currently 6th-highest among searchable seasons with 50+ innings and 100 ABs vs. LHBs.

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@Braves 11, Rockies 2 — Julio Teheran tied his best with 11 strikeouts in just 5 innings and chipped in a ribby double, and Atlanta piled on late to close a 7-0 homestand. Justin Upton popped his 2nd HR in 38 games (and then another), and Jason Heyward had both run and RBI for the 5th straight day. Their next 17 games, like their last 4, are against teams now below .500.

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Giants 2, @Phillies 1 — Cole Hamels to the Papelbonehead: “I didn’t sign up for that, either.” The untraded closer showed why deadline demand was slim with his 6th blown save in 6 weeks, letting in 2 runs quicker than you can say “waiver deal” on 4 straight hits by stars like Brett Pill, Roger Kieschnick and Joaquin Arias. Hamels had stiffed San Fran for 8 innings, and drove in the run off Matt Cain with a single in the 5th. Michael Young, another stay-put guy, went 0-4 and couldn’t deliver an insurance run from 3rd with 1 out in the 8th. Philly lost another chance in the 7th, when pinch-runner Michael Martinez stole 2nd and headed home on a single, but was cut down by Jeff Francoeur.

  • The Phils have batted .208 while dropping 10 of 11, scoring 2.2 runs per game.
  • Roger Kieschnick is nephew to Brooks, but he hasn’t found his way to the mound as yet.

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@Red Sox 8, Mariners 7 — Oh, dear. And how’d the carnage start? A 4-pitch walk.

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@Angels 7, Blue Jays 0 (3rd) — Which news would be worse: that Josh Johnson’s injured, or that he isn’t? A 4th straight disaster (26 runs in 13 innings) left him with a 6.60 ERA and 100 hits allowed in 76 IP.

The Jays haven’t seen a pitcher implode like this since … Ricky Romero, last summer.

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Late Wednesday

Yankees 3, @Dodgers 0 — The 9th game this year wherein both starters went 7+ scoreless innings with no decision. Only the Astros(?) have been in two such games. (And here’s the one game where both starters did that and one of them won.)

  • For a Yankee post-1978 (Guidry’s Cy Young), the most scoreless starts of 7+ innings in one season:
    — 7, Hiroki Kuroda 2013 & Mike Mussina 2001.
    — 6, Hiroki Kuroda 2012 & Tommy John 1980.
  • Out of this year’s 7, Kuroda has 3 no-decisions — the most ever by a searchable Yankee, and one shy of the searchable record for any club.
  • Kuroda’s 2.38 ERA would be the 2nd-lowest for a qualified Yankee in the DH era. (And if you run the search, note the faulty return of Righetti ’81 — he did not qualify for the ERA title.)

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Royals 4, @Twins 3 — “Eight straight” has a nice ring, as does “K.C.’s best streak since Tony Pena’s 2003 band kicked off the club’s last winning season.” It’s also eight straight for quality starts (9 ER over 53.1 IP), and for games allowing 3 runs or less.

  • The Royals have just 35 runs themselves in the streak, almost nailing the AL average of 4.36 R/G.

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@Red Sox 5, Mariners 4 (15 inn.) — Here’s Boston’s last walk-off in the 15th or later, tied for their longest in searchable history (and the last time a non-Bonds got 4 intentional walks). And here’s the one it’s tied with.

  • I can watch the Michael Saunders throw again and again. Thank goodness Humberto Quintero was able to catch it and turn before contact, ’cause he was about to get Poseyed.
  • Congrats to Drake Britton on his first win. Let’s hope he celebrated responsibly.
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Austyn
Austyn
8 years ago

I am totally confused about multiple sources claiming the last time the Royals won 9 in a row was in 1994 when in 2003 they won their first 9 games to start the season.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Austyn

They also had a 9-game winning streak in July, 2002.

e pluribus munu
e pluribus munu
8 years ago
Reply to  Austyn

Don’t know about other sources, but John wrote, “matching their best since 1994,” implying that the Royals have had 9-0 streaks one or more other times since then, but had more than 9 (14) in ’94.

Ed
Ed
8 years ago

I was actually at the game when the Royals ended their infamous streak of 19 straight losses by beating the A’s 2-1. Looking back at the boxscore, it’s amazing how many chances the A’s had to score runs. If I’ve counted correctly, they went 0-14 with runners in scoring position.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK200508200.shtml

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

I agree, Puig is not that likely to reduce his number of baserunning gaffes. Everything’s fine with the Dodgers right now, they’re flying high, so I seriously doubt anyone has pulled him aside to help him correct these mistakes. And I hate it. I bet I’ve witnessed 10 attempted steals of third this year with two outs, and probably 30 instances of guys sliding into first base on a close play (15 of those by Jason Heyward). What is so hard to understand about why that is an idiotic play? Wouldn’t a simple “Don’t do that again” do wonders here?… Read more »

Raphy
Raphy
8 years ago

If I did my search correctly, Kuroda’s July ERA was the lowest by a pitcher 38 or older (min. 30 IP) in any calendar month since 1916.

http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/FqKkd

Raphy
Raphy
8 years ago
Reply to  Raphy

He is also the fifth pitcher since 1916 age 38 or older, to post 7 games of 7+IP, 0R. No one of that age group has done more.

1 Warren Spahn 1963 (age 42)
2 Jamie Moyer 2002 (age 39)
3 Hiroki Kuroda 2013 (age 38)
4 Bert Blyleven 1989 (age 38)
5 Babe Adams 1920 (age 38)

http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/WaG6n

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  Raphy

Speaking of Yankees pitchers, Kuroda is currently 2nd to King Felix in AL ERA.

Any of you Bombers fans want to guess who was the last Yankee to win an ERA title? It’s not Righetti as JA said, and there’s no Louisiana Lightning in the answer either. (No cheating!)

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Rudy May is the guy.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago

Forgot the Trivia Master was a Yanks fan. That was right down the pipe for you. Good call.

GrandyMan
GrandyMan
8 years ago

Big props to you, JA, for referencing one of the lesser-known songs on one of the greatest (if not the greatest) albums of all time.

RJ
RJ
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

And now *I* have just learnt that it’s not only Plant singing on that track. I’d never even heard of Sandy Denny; turns out she was born down the road from me.

RJ
RJ
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

“Who Knows Where the Time Goes” is a song title very much applicable to reading High Heat Stats.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
8 years ago

I think it’s now safe to say:

– Manny Machado won’t challenge Earl Webb’s 1931 doubles record
– Miguel Cabrera won’t come close to coming close to Hack’s 1930 RBI record
– Chris Davis won’t break Roger Maris’ 1961 AL HR record

It was fun while it lasted, right?

In other breaking news, the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West. Cold water tastes good on a hot day.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
8 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

@9/JA,

Yeah, you’re right. The first two in #9 aren’t going to happen (OMG, Cabrera might not get even 150 RBI…), but Davis still has an outside chance of getting hot again. But – he’ll have to maintain it _again_ for a third of a season, which seems somewhat unlikely.

I was hoping Cabrera and Davis would get 400 total bases, but that also seems somewhat unlikely now. No one had had 400 TB in the AL since Jim Rice in 1978 (while seven AL players have since then).

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

And all seven of those NL 400+ total-base-seasons happened between 1997-2001.

The only three seasons that *probably* weren’t steroid-fueled were the three done by Colorado Rockies, two by Todd Helton and one by Larry Walker (Walker’s 409-TB ’97 was the year he had no home/road split to speak of, so a pretty legitimate one there).

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

Machado may be reminiscent of Jose Reyes in 2011. Reyes had 16 triples as of July 21, then 0 for the remainder of the season. (I am not implying that Machado will have 0 doubles for the rest of the season, he might have a big drop-off.)

MikeD
MikeD
8 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

I think I’d have been more interested in seeing the doubles record fall.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
8 years ago
Reply to  MikeD

Speaking of Earl Webb, he has to have the worst career of any player has holds a positive long-standing single-season offensive record (67 2Bs in 1931). Well, maybe Owen (‘Chief’) Wilson and his 36 3Bs in 1912, but Wilson played nearly twice as many games, and I think he was a little better.

Brent
Brent
8 years ago

John, I haven’t finished looking yet, but with regard to the Royals scoring in 5 consecutive innings, I immediately thought: The Phillies trip. Yes, April 5, 2013, the Royals scored 2 in the 5th, 3 in the 6th, 4 in the 7th, 2 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th to total 13 runs for the game. They also did it on May 13 vs. the Angels. (3rd through 7th innings) It is a sad commentary on the Royals’ offense as to how depressingly easy it was to look this up (since I could skip literally weeks at a… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Brent

On 9-14-98 the Royals scored in all 8 innings of a 16-6 victory over the A’s at home.