Game Notes from Thursday, April 24
Yankees 14, @Red Sox 5 — “Mike Carp now pitching for Boston” wasn’t on John Farrell’s chalkboard as he mapped out the rubber game, but sometimes you just have to get through the night. Carp almost went unscathed, with a DP after a leadoff walk, and a full count to Brett Gardner. But that payoff missed, and three more passes ensued before Kelly Johnson fouled out on a 3-2 pitch. That brought Boston’s totals to a very un-2014 12 walks, 2 strikeouts, a standard not seen since 2000, and not by the BoSox since 1950. (Now, that’s the right era.)
New York knocked out Felix Doubront in the 3rd after 7 runs, making 23 runs in 18 IP in his last four vs. the Bombers. CC labored a bit, walking the leadoff man in the 2nd and 3rd despite the big lead, but he got the big outs and settled in for six solid stanzas.
- Brett Gardner’s the first Yankee to score 4 runs without a hit, at least since 1914, and the first to do it for any team while batting 7th or lower. He reached on three walks and an error, and swiped a pair; came in with 7 runs and 2 steals in 20 games.
- Brian Roberts scored 4 runs, his first time with 3 or more since 2009.
- Teix poked his first HR. He had 314 through age 31, #30 for that age group, but has slowed.
- Last Red Sox pitcher with 5 unintentional walks in one inning or less was Pedro’s big bro, in a 2000 start; Boston came back to win that one. Three prior pitching debuts met that standard: Dizzy Sutherland, 1949, and two wartime replacements, Frank Wurm and (the one you guessed) Joe Nuxhall. Only Nuxie ever got back to the bigs, and it took him eight years.
- Speaking of wild debuts … “Come back!,” crooned the Fenway faithful, as Shane Greene’s first outing ended mid-batter with 3 walks and one out.
- I just don’t think Jeet will get through the year at shortstop. Only three have played 90+ SS games at his age.
Cleveland 5, @Royals 1 — Cleveland scored all 5 in the 5th, and Corey Kluber joined the “Ten-Oh” contingent with his first complete game. Four singles and no walks off Kluber, with a career-best 11 strikeouts. It’s the 9th start of 10+ Ks and no walks this year, second-most at this stage since 1914.
- Kluber’s 88 Game Score matched the team’s best since Cliff Lee left.
- The ol’ 3-3-2 DP, a pitcher’s most unexpected friend.
Twins 9, @Rays 7 — Teams keep farting around with Erik Bedard, for some reason. Five walks in the first two frames, four of them scored; 67 pitches in two innings. We all respect Tampa’s organizational record, but if they pull this rabbit out of the hat….
@Mets 4, Cardinals 1 — Some days, it seems as if “Buddha” Colon really does pitch from a rocking chair. He set down the first 10 today, using just seven pitches in both the 2nd & 3rd. Just one swing-and-miss in the first four innings, but he caught three a-gazin’, including Matt Carpenter after a 3-and-0 start. Then he fanned the side swinging in the 5th, surrounding his only rough patch. Three New York runs resulted from defensive shortfalls (olé!), with one long drive. Lance Lynn lost his 6-start win streak and pristine April record despite a quality start and 9 Ks out of 19 outs.
- Four QS in five tries for Colon, 3 walks and 26 Ks in 32 IP. Of course, pitching is all Bartolo does on a ballfield. He’s booted two of four fielding chances so far, and whiffed bunting in three of four tries. And talk about your “inability to run 90 feet” … darn, no video of his shamble toward first on a tap-out.
- Mets’ first team cycle this year. They’re last in XBH, slugging and OPS, and hitting just .232 with RISP — but close to average in runs per game. They do run the bases well….
- Double #566 for Bobby Abreu, the active leader now approaching the all-time top 20. Yet I almost believe he was signed so Colon wouldn’t feel quite so paunchy.
- Attention, pitchers! If you were released between August 7th and 20th, 2013, you may qualify for financial compensation under the Mets’ Bootstrap Closer Program. Papa Grande, Kyle Farnsworth and now Dice-K have all logged a save this year.
- 8th straight homerless game for St. Loo, last in the league with 12 dingers. Not a real shock, as they were 13th last year, but their OBP’s down 18 points from last year, and their BA with RISP is down 96.
- Lynn was 12-0, 2.60 in 13 April starts.
@Tigers 7, White Sox 4 — Max Scherzer whiffed 10, edging into the AL lead — but he walked a man. Bum! Scherzer’s still chasing a strikeout title; he was #2 in the majors the past two years, losing out to ALers Verlander and Darvish.
- The Tank is not built for speed, but he ran out this routine fly, and wound up with a triple.
- ‘Twas said that Detroit had a bad ‘pen last year, but no; they had a shallow ‘pen, with two of the AL’s top 6 in reliever WAR. This year, ugh — 29th in relief ERA, not one man with an ERA under 3.50 in 5+ innings.
Reds 2, @Pirates 1 — It wasn’t a bad pitch Brandon Cumpton threw with 2 outs in the 6th, but even with his rump in rebellion, Ryan Ludwick still found a seam in the defense, scoring two who were plunked and putting the Reds on the path to a three-of-four series win to reach 11-11. Pittsburgh’s dropped 6 of 7, 11 of 13, falling 5 games under .500, their low point since 2011.
- Sluggish starts by the Central contenders have been a boon to the blistering Brewers, whose 4-win bulge is the biggest in baseball.
Padres 4, @Nationals 3 (12 inn.) — Way back before we put on our jammies, the Nats fought to even on solo blasts in the 6th and 7th by Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche. But the rest of the game, they just couldn’t come through with ducks on the pond — like, 0 for 16, by 10 different batters — while the Pads rarely even paddled out there. At last, with 2 gone in the 12th, Jedd Gyorko swiped second and moved up on an overthrow, and the X-Man chopped one through the middle. The ending was brutally beautiful: After a leadoff double and a pinch-whiff, Jose Lobaton’s liner was snared by Everth Cabrera, who doubled off Bryce Harper. Washington also wasted a man on second with no outs in the 8th, bags full with 2 outs in the 9th, and Lobaton’s leadoff double in the 10th.
- All told, the Nats had 16 hits, 2 HRs, and 3 runs. Just four other searchable games meet that min/max.
Orioles 11, @Blue Jays 4 — Boo-birds as the Blue Jay bullpen laid eggs in this avian skirmish. Drew Hutchison turned over a 3-2 lead after six, but Baltimore feathered its nest with a fleet five-spot. A double-theft sparked that uprising, followed by a (“ach, nein!“) intentional walk. They wet their beaks again in the 8th, pecking out four hits after a leadoff plunk.
- Rifle relay by J.J. Hardy cut off a run in the 1st.
Athletics 10, @Astros 1 — Scott Kazmir’s tall order was staying engaged between trips to the hill. Oakland scored in their first three rounds and five out of seven, as Houston again proved elixir to all ailments, kicking in five boots. The A’s are 24-5 all-time vs. the Astros, 11-2 in the JuiceDome, and they’ve captured all five Kaz starts this year.
- Not many pitchers use an open stance.
@Dodgers 5, Phillies 2 — 40 Ks and 5 walks for Zack Greinke so far. Since joining LA last year, he’s 19-4, 2.61 in 33 starts, with the 4th-best RA/9 among all with 100 IP. And he’s batted .309 (21 for 68) with a .390 OBP, 5 doubles and 2 steals. Pitching WAR 4.7, batting 1.5.
Kyle Seager’s two late home runs gave him a .906 WPA, best of the year so far and 3rd-best in Seattle history. Their top WPA, .959, was by Rod Craig in a 1980 loss. Craig, in his 18th career game (and his one year as a semi-regular), hit a go-ahead single in the 3rd, a go-ahead 2-run double in the 7th, and a tying 2-run HR in the 9th, all with 2 outs. But Toronto went ahead in the 11th, and Craig wound up making the last out.
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