One to chew on, then back to the series format:
Angels 5, @Rays 3 (Fri.) — An interesting exchange as the MLB Tonight crew watched Tampa load the bases with no outs in the 9th:
- Greg Amsinger, with a doubtful tone on Huston Street: “In the postseason, strikeout stuff plays.“
- Harold Reynolds countered: “Strikeout stuff plays when they’re in a jam. But usually, they’re not in a jam.“
Putting aside the postseason angle, I thought that Harold’s point captured the folly of closing with the best strikeout pitchers, which often puts them in situations of medium to low leverage. And with some fairly low-K closers having good years, I thought there might be little difference in conversion rates between the high- and low-strikeout closers. But I was wrong.
Through Friday, 44 pitchers had at least 15 saves in the last two years. I took their stats from save chances only, and split them into two groups based on strikeouts per 9 innings. Here are their averages per 50 save opportunities:
- Higher-K: 44.0 Saves … 2.1 Losses … 1.86 WPA … 2.52 ERA … 1.03 WHIP … 12.5 K/9 … 3.0 W/9 … 0.8 HR/9
- Lower-K: 42.2 saves … 2.6 Losses … 0.66 WPA … 3.18 ERA … 1.16 WHIP … 7.9 K/9 … 2.6 W/9 … 0.9 HR/9
Rerunning the exercise on the most frequent closers from that group — the 24 pitchers with at least 35 saves since 2013 — yields these averages per 50 save chances:
- Higher-K: 44.6 Saves … 1.9 Losses … 2.13 WPA … 2.27 ERA … 0.99 WHIP … 12.8 K/9 … 2.9 W/9 … 0.8 HR/9
- Lower-K: 43.7 saves … 2.4 Losses … 1.25 WPA … 2.81 ERA … 1.09 WHIP … 8.3 K/9 … 2.4 W/9 … 0.8 HR/9
When you step back, it’s obvious that “strikeouts play” in any situation, even if it’s not the optimal use of that resource.
But getting back to the original exchange, I think both commentators missed the point on Huston Street: Although he falls into the lower-K group in those two-year studies, he’s not way down the list. And his K rate is up this year, to 28% of batters faced — right in the middle of the 25 guys with 15+ saves. Street has had some bad postseason games, but he’s a better pitcher now than in 2006 and ’09. His San Diego stats were no Petco mirage: He actually fared much better on the road over those two-plus years, and he did just fine against AL teams (12-1 in save opps, 2.55 ERA in 19 games).
So, what happened after Tampa loaded up with none out? Street got Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist to swing through 1-2 pitches, then popped up Matt Joyce on 0-2, for his 29th save in 30 tries. I think his stuff will play.
Thursday’s Series Finales
@Dodgers 2, Bravos 1 (Thurs.) — That happened fast: At May’s end, about 80 pitchers had more wins than Clayton Kershaw. Two months later, none do. Tonight, Kershaw ran out of whitewash with two out in the 9th, when Justin Upton won a bang-bang call at first base — the 9th Atlanta hit, all singles. But he retired Evan Gattis (now hitting a mere .383/1.174 off southpaws) for his 4th full-length complete game this year, all in his last 11 outings — 10-0, 9 runs in 86 IP, 104 Ks/8 walks, 0.66 WHIP.
I tried to remember the best sustained stretch by a pitcher since the heyday of Pedro and the Big Unit. Seemed like there was something from Johan’s first Cy Young season….
- Over his last 22 starts in 2004, Johan Santana allowed 26 runs (24 ER) in 159.1 IP, going 18-2 with a 1.36 ERA, 31 walks and 204 Ks (12 double-digit games, including five in a row), 0.70 WHIP, .148 BA. He yielded a high of 3 runs, twice. The first 21 of those lasted at least 6 innings — the longest one-year streak with 6+ IP and 3 runs or less since at least 1914. (Pedro and Maddux both had 21-game streaks that spanned two seasons.)
Angels 1, @Orioles 0 (Thurs., 13 inn.) — Kole Calhoun drew a leadoff walk, took third on Mike Trout’s single to left, and scored on Albert’s right-back-at-ya, as the Halos stopped Baltimore’s overtime win streak at seven.
- The last 1-0 game longer than 13 innings was also the last with one total extra-base among two teams with 40+ ABs.
- This was the Angels’ longest 1-0 win (and Baltimore’s longest such loss) since this 1978 classic, with 11 scoreless innings by Dennis Martinez against Nolan Ryan.
- Angels have gone first-to-third on 83 singles this year, 11 more than any other team, and the highest rate per chance (37%). They’ve also made the most outs on base, both at third (16) and overall (48).
- It’s the 4th time Albert’s driven home the game’s lone run, including once in Coors Field. His career line when tied or trailing in extra innings: a mere .280 BA, but 11 HRs in 117 ABs.
- These Manny throws from foul ground never get old.
White Sox 7, @Tigers 4 (Thurs.) — The big trade went down in the 7th inning, just when the bullpen let in the first of 3 runs that produced the final margin. More than one-third of the Tigers’s runs allowed have come in the 7th or later — 37.5%, the 2nd-highest ratio of the last 20 years.
- Out of 16 teams at .500 or above, 14 have bullpen ERAs of 3.81 or better. Then there’s Toronto (4.26) and Detroit (4.52).
Cubs 8, @Dodgers 2 (Fri.) — Kyle Hendricks allowed one earned run in 7 IP, his third time in four games going at least 6 IP with no more than one ER. One other Cub since 1914 had three such games among his first four; 53 in all have done three (Raleigh Aitchison?), but only Wayne Simpson and Jarrod Cosart had four.
(Sat.) @Dodgers 5, Cubs 2 — Although Hanley Ramirez never hit a walk-off home run before, he did have 7 go-ahead or tying HRs in the 9th or later. He’s batted .405/1.124 in 136 PAs when tied in the 9th or extras.
(Sun.) Cubs 7, @Dodgers 3 — Chicago’s 3-2 lead grew by three runs after Brandon League walked the bases full on 13 pitches in the 8th.
- I won’t bother citing Arismendy Alcantara’s dWAR after just 20 big-league games, but he does cover some ground out there.
Giants 5, @Mets 1 (Fri.) — Ryan Vogelsong’s one complete game in 132 prior starts was a 6-inning affair.
(Sat.) @Mets 4, Giants 2 — Dual no-hitters were both busted in the 7th, and Jake Peavy saw his perfection crumble to a 4-0 deficit in the span of nine pitches. After one catchable fly landed behind Mike Morse and one in front, Peavy’s command slipped a bit. He plunked Lucas Duda to load the bases, and the next three hit hard scoring drives. Jacob deGrom logged his first-ever out in the 8th inning, but 3 hits cut the lead in half and knocked him out.
- deGrom’s won five straight starts, yielding 4 runs over 34.2 IP, with 37 Ks and 6 walks. He leads NL rookie hurlers with 94 IP and 2.2 WAR.
(Sun.) Giants 9, @Mets 0 — Ancient Bartolo Colon went for his 200th win, but Madison Bumgarner stole the rocking chair. After a leadoff walk, he threw just 15 more balls all day, finishing a 2-hit gem with 10 Ks and just 94 pitches. Hunter Pence homered twice, combining with Buster Posey for 7 hits and 7 RBI. Outside of Saturday’s 7th inning, the Giants yielded just 4 hits and 2 walks in 25 IP.
- There are just four other 10-K shutouts known to have used no more than 94 pitches: Roy Oswalt, Curt Schilling, and the perfect games by David Cone and Jim Bunning.
- One 10-K game with a better ball/strike ratio.
- In one series against the Mets, two CGs on 2 hits or less has been done twice before: Koufax and Drysdale, 1963; Koufax and Osteen, 1965 (they beat Osteen).
Brewers 7, @Cardinals 4 (Fri.) — Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-4 off Adam Wainwright with a homer and a ribby double, tying for 7th all-time in both doubles and extra-base hits by a career third baseman. No one has more hits off Wainwright than Aramis’ 22 for 54, with 11 XBH.
- The Cards’ deadline deals left me flat. Yes, Allen Craig had not produced at all this year, and maybe no bats could have been gotten for what they had to offer. Lackey (and maybe Masterson) should help protect against regression in their rotation’s 3.37 ERA. But the Cards needed to get better, and especially on offense. Is Oscar Taveras really more likely to boost their next-to-last scoring down the stretch than was Craig, who hit .312 and slugged .500 in the past three years? Craig’s BAbip was .281 this year, down from .345 in his prior career. Maybe his RISP hitting in 2012-13 was flukey, but not his overall performance: his minor-league stats are just as good as those of Taveras. Their hope now seems to lie in winning 3-2 games, but I don’t see a bullpen ready to pull that off.
(Sun.) @Cardinals 3, Brewers 2 — St. Louis struck as soon as Matt Garza left, scoring three in the 7th on five straight hits off Zach Duke and Jeremy Jeffress. Garza retired 18 of 20 Cards with just 71 pitches, but departed with a rib-cage strain.
- Johnny Cueto’s ERA has never risen past 2.18 this year, now 2.05. The last Reds to come in at 2.30 or below were Gary Nolan, 1972, and Elmer Riddle, 1941.
(Fri.) Reds 5, @Marlins 2 — One game captures the good and bad of Jarred Cosart, showing both how he rose from 38th-round draft pick to the majors, and why the Astros found him expendable. Cosart generates ground balls (3rd in GB/FB ratio among this year’s qualifiers), which fuels his 8th-best HR rate over the last two years. But he walks too many (3rd-highest BB/9 this year) to offset his 12th-lowest K rate. Friday, Cosart got grounders from half the 22 men he faced, including all four hits. But a pair of one-out walks in the 6th loaded the bases, and they all came home, as the Reds broke a 1-1 tie and matched their biggest inning since July 12.
(Sat., 10 inn.) @Marlins 2, Reds 1 — Do you suppose that Cincinnati’s .192 BA and .244 OBP since the Break might spark second thoughts from those who’ve railed at Joey Votto’s RBI totals and discounted his career .417 OBP, best among active players? No, you’re right: They’ll seize on the team’s .151 BA with RISP during this 4-11 skid.
- Paul Goldschmidt’s broken hand is a darn shame. But he does crowd the plate, and that pitch looked no more than eight inches inside.
(Sat.) Pirates 8, @D-backs 3 — Harrison doubled to start the game, homered for Pittsburgh’s only run through seven, and again started big rallies in the 8th and 9th. Andrew McCutchen survived a suspicious HBP, and the Bucs improved to 10-5 since the Break, solidifying their hold on second place while tying for the top wild-card spot.
- Harrison has gone deep in five of his last seven games. He’s 14 for 31 with 9 XBH in that span, to reach .303 BA and .498 SLG, both second to McCutchen on the Pirates.
(Sun., 10 inn.) @D-backs 3, Pirates 2 — Idea for story: Suppose Josh Harrison began a tying rally in the 8th … No, that’s been done to death. What if a sliding baserunner knocked down a DP relay with his curiously upraised hand, as the winning run scored? And if that was the first-ever game-winning RBI for Andy Marte — yes, the Andy Marte, late of the York Revolution?
- The Bucs went 0-10 with RISP, including two whiffs in the 10th with Harrison on third.
(Fri.) Phillies 2, @Nationals 1 — Two of the many veterans Philly didn’t deal led their second straight win over first-place Washington. Roberto Hernandez (8 IP, UER) has two starts this year with no earned runs, both against the Nats. Marlon Byrd’s 21st home run broke a tie with two out in the 6th against Doug Fister, who had won five straight decisions. The Nats scored in the 2nd and had men on the corners with none out, but Asdrubal Cabrera’s screamer went straight to Ryan Howard’s glove for an easy double play. Cabrera went 0-4 in his NL debut and fanned on three pitches from Jonathan Papelbon to end the game with the winning runs aboard.
(Sat.) @Nationals 11, Phillies 0 — The second-biggest shutout margin in Washington Nationals history, less than a month after the biggest.
(Sun.) @Nationals 4, Phillies 0 — Stephen Strasburg’s 10 Ks in 7 IP drove Washington’s 13th shutout win and Philly’s 13th shutout loss, both 2nd in the NL. Cody Asche had two of the Phils’ 3 hits, but his error in the 3rd led to the Nats’ lone run against Cole Hamels, who’s yielded 3 runs (2 ER) over his last four starts (0.60 ERA).
- Washington scored three in the 8th off Ken Giles, who’d allowed just 2 runs in his first 20.2 IP while fanning 30 of 74. Giles hurt himself with a leadoff walk to Denard Span, before Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth hit scoring doubles.
- Since starting his year with three bad games, Hamels has a 1.79 ERA in his last 17, but the Phils are only 9-8.
@Padres 10, Bravos 1 (Fri.) — Tommy Medica paced SD’s first 20-hit game since 2012, and the first in Petco Park by any team in regulation. Since limping to the Break with two straight 1-0 losses and a .214 BA, the Pads have hit .281 and scored 5 runs per game.
- Mike Minor’s BA on batted balls was .302 in 2012-13, .397 this year. He’s an extreme flyball pitcher, and those flies are escaping more than ever before.
- One other Padre has ever had 5 hits and 2 HRs in a game. (Does anyone really miss those 16-14 affairs?)
(Sat., 12 inn.) @Padres 3, Bravos 2 — Craig Kimbrel had gone 175 appearances and almost three years since he last issued 3 walks in a game, but Atlanta fans probably still remember that one. This one followed the Friars’ epic escape from bags full and none out in the top of the 12th — not to mention Chris Johnson’s 10th-inning whiff with a man on third and one out, and Emilio Bonifacio’s misread that ended the 11th with Freddie Freeman on deck.
(Sun., 10 inn.) @Padres 4, Bravos 3 —
- Evan Gattis tied the game with a 7th-inning double. Not pictured: On second with no outs, Gattis somehow held at third on Chris Johnson’s double to deep center. A walk filled the sacks, but pinch-hitter Bonifacio went down on three strikes, and B.J. Upton banged into a 5-2-3 double play.
- Atlanta’s lost six in a row over all, seven straight in Petco. They’re 4-18 in West Coast parks the last two years, including playoffs.
Royals 1, @Athletics 0 (Fri.) — Into each pitcher’s life, a 1-0 loss must fall. Sonny Gray tasted that sawdust for the first time, thanks to a Raul Ibanez homer, Jeremy Guthrie’s first scoreless start this year, and typical shut-down frames by Kelvin Herrera (1.72 ERA), Wade Davis (0.95) and Greg Holland (1.73). Gray hadn’t lost in eight prior games yielding exactly one run, nor in his five games with two runs allowed.
- 305th career homer for Ibanez, and first in a 1-0 win. His 278th HR since age 30 tied Manny Ramirez for #22.
- KC’s last 1-0 winning homer came from Felix Jose in 1993, backing Kevin Appier’s 3-hitter. Their last 1-0 win over Oakland was in 1982.
- Only the Royals have three relievers with 40+ IP and sub-2 ERA.
(Sat.) @Athletics 8, Royals 3 — Jon Lester’s Oakland debut got the “silent treatment” early on, as the first 12 A’s went down against Jason Vargas, and KC held a 1-0 lead. Then came an 8-run 5th (7 singles, one double), matching Lester’s best-backed start in more than a year. Oakland got just one other man on base all game.
(Sun.) Royals 4, @Athletics 2 — James Shields reached 10 wins for the 8th straight year, holding the A’s to two singles and two Josh Reddick solos over 8 innings, while Omar Infante hit a 2-run double in KC’s 4-run 5th against Scott Kazmir.
- Reddick was also the last to homer twice in an A’s loss, not quite a year ago (and one day after his 3-HR game).
@Tigers 4, Rockies 2 (Fri.) — Justin Verlander continued his historic interleague success, if not his mastery. Third time through the order has become a slog for JV, and after the Rox went 3 for 18 in two turns, they bunched hits in the 7th to chop his 3-0 lead down to one. But he punched through by summoning two of his 5 Ks to strand the go-ahead runs.
- Verlander’s 32 interleague starts are about one season’s work, and what a season: 25-2, 2.73 in 217 IP. Only Mark Buehrle has more interleague wins (27-8, 3.16 in 45 GS). Five others have at least 20 wins in AL-vs.-NL starts; no NLer has 20 interleague wins, and the active leader is A.J. Burnett with 13.
- JV came in with a .253 BA allowed in a batter’s first two trips, .318 the third time.
- J.D. Martinez made a home-run ball seem like a can of corn.
- No fault is implied, but Tulo and CarGo sure do find ways to get hurt.
(Sat.) @Tigers 11, Rockies 5 — Detroit led 5-2 in the 5th when lefty Tyler Matzek passed Miguel Cabrera, to face Victor Martinez with two on and none out. Mistake, and mistake. V-Mart leads the majors in slugging and OPS against southpaws this year.
(Sun.) @Tigers 4, Rockies 0 — Anibal Sanchez allowed one baserunner in the first 5 innings, which is nothing new; he has a 2.14 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in the first five frames this year. But instead of faltering as he’s often done (9.14 ERA in the 6th or later), Sanchez fanned five of eight men in the 6th and 7th, finishing his day with 12 Ks and no walks, as the Bengals polished off a sweep. Jorge De La Rosa was outstanding but for a two-out squall in the 3rd. After Rajai Davis doubled, Ian Kinsler was hit by a 1-2 pitch, Miggy singled one home, and V-Mart cracked another 3-run homer off a lefty.
- Detroit leads the AL at 6-1/3 IP per start, with their top four all averaging 6+ (among the AL’s top 30). I still wonder if moving Drew Smyly back to the bullpen and trying a Triple-A guy in the 5th spot would have been better than going all-in for David Price. But, enough of my negativity.
- Other Tigers with 12 Ks and no walks in a game: Scherzer 2012, Verlander ’09 (13 Ks), Morris ’83, Lolich ’68 and ’71 (both 14 Ks), McLain ’65, and … Eric Erickson, 1918, a 16-inning mano a mano draw with Harry Harper.
@Cleveland 12, Texas 2 (Fri.) —
(Sat.) @Cleveland 2, Texas 0 — No one expects Terry Francona’s troops to pack it in.
(Sun., 12 inn.) @Cleveland 4, Texas 3 –Michael Brantley had the walk-off blow, but David Murphy got them there with a tying 2-run shot in the 9th. Chris Dickerson had worked a walk after starting 0-and-2, and Murphy whacked the next pitch from Neftali Feliz.
- Murphy, who also doubled home the lone run off Yu Darvish, has tormented his former team to the tune of 12 for 25 with 7 extra-base hits.
- Cleveland moved within 3 games of a wild-card spot, but those hopes are hampered by just one remaining game against the top three in that race. They trail Detroit by 6.5, with 7 left in that series.
- Wins by Rangers starting pitchers: Yu Darvish 10, all others 19.
@White Sox 10, Twins 8 (Fri.) — Ten straight times on base have lifted Jose Abreu’s OPS over 1.000 for the first time since early April. Just three qualified first-years have done that — Ted Williams, Albert Pujols and George Watkins (30-year-old rook in 1930). Abreu’s OPS+ (around 175) would be 2nd to Shoeless Joe among rookies.
- Through Friday, Jose Abreu has a 21-game hitting streak. Just for fun, hit streaks of 30+ in a 30-HR season:
— 43 HRs, Albert Pujols, 2003 (hit in 30 straight, 8 HRs in the streak)
— 42 HRs, Rogers Hornsby, 1922 (33 G, 9 HRs); Vlad Guerrero, 1999 (31 G, 11 HRs)
— 36 HRs, Dan Uggla, 2011 (30 G, 15 HRs)
— 32 HRs, Chase Utley, 2006 (35 G, 9 HRs)
— 30 HRs, Joe DiMaggio, 1941 (56 G, 15 HRs)
— 30 HRs, Nomar Garciaparra, 1997 (30 G, 9 HRs)
(Sat.) Twins 8, @White Sox 6 — Chi fans didn’t need to worry about conflicting emotions after Abreu drew an IBB in the home 7th with the Sox ahead, 6-4: The best hope to keep his streak alive would be if Minny tied it up — but with Chicago’s hapless bullpen, that was almost a given. Another Abreu at-bat would just be a silver lining, not to mention a chance to pull out the win. As it happened, they got the worst of both worlds: The Twins scored three in the 8th, capped by Oswaldo Arcia’s two-out, 2-run double. Adam Eaton turned his 4th hit into a baserunning blunderland that ended the 8th with the tying run on third; Danny Santana puffed the lead with a solo home run; and Abreu grounded out to end his streak, as the ChiSox came up short.
- Compounding Eaton’s gaffe in taking any risk to stretch for second when the man ahead of him mattered more, he also didn’t run as soon as he hit the ball, apparently thinking it would be caught. The lost challenge was simply cosmic justice.
- ChiSox have lost 8 of 51 games they led starting the 8th, more than twice the AL average.
(Sun.) Twins 16, @White Sox 3 — Given a head start by Jose Quintana’s high pitch count, Chicago’s bullpen showed its singular versatility. In four frames, five pitchers combined to let in 15 runs on 18 hits and 5 walks, turning a 3-1 lead into batting practice, and setting all sorts of pseudo-records:
- First ever with three homers and three strikeouts in a stint of one inning or less (Andre Rienzo).
- Four ChiSox relievers were charged with at least 3 runs — first time in club history (at least, since 1914), first time in MLB since this 2003 classic. One other searchable game with at least four such relief stints of one inning or less.
- Most runs allowed since at least 2000 in a team loss with the starter going at least 5 IP on one run or less. The most runs allowed in such a loss this year had been nine, set by Arizona just two days ago. Last year’s high was 10 runs, another late flurry by the Twins. A 2012 game ended 15-9, with two late Yankee touchdowns.
- 23 hits for the Twins against Chicago set a new high, out of 1,871 searchable games since 1914. Enough.
- Danny Santana had 5 hits, including a go-ahead double in the 6th and two ribby hits in the 9-run 8th.
@Orioles 2, Mariners 1 (Fri.) — With his start start pushed back a few days, Wei-Yin Chen wound up dominating Seattle for the second straight turn — his only two this year going past the 7th. Rookie SS Chris Taylor’s first error left the door open for J.J. Hardy’s two-out tiebreaker in the 6th.
- Before this season, Zach Britton had relieved in just two of 48 games in the majors (four of 187 as a pro), and had pitched in the 9th inning exactly once. He wasn’t meant to be the closer this year, but when Tommy Hunter faltered, Zach got his chance and ran with it. Do you think in-season closer designations are more successful than those announced in advance? The former group usually get to ease into the role after establishing a base of success.
- Jonathan Schoop might never hit much more than he has so far, but he completes Baltimore’s formidable defensive infield. A shortstop’s arm at 2B helps in turning DPs.
(Sun.) @Orioles 1, Mariners 0 — Nick Markakis homered leading off the home 1st, and Chris Tillman got it to the late men, who sealed Baltimore’s first 1-0 win since 2012. Two of Tillman’s 6 Ks came after M’s reached first and third with one out in the 2nd. Markakis had three of the 5 hits in Hisashi Iwakuma’s 7.2 IP, including his 1,500th.
- Two Ks in a clean 8th pushed Andrew Miller’s K rate over 38% in the last two years, ranking 4th (behind Chapman, Holland and Kimbrel) among those facing at least 300 batters. I thought he was the most underrated deadline pick-up, especially with O’s starters averaging 5.8 IP.
- Nelson Cruz has landed: 6 for 57 since the Break, one homer, one RBI. Ditto Steve Pearce, 7 for 41, no RBI, and no change from Chris Davis.
- Balto’s gone 10-6 since the Break despite hitting just .202. Eight of their last nine games have been decided by one run, six won by the O’s.
- Seattle’s 14 games without an extra-base hit are three more than any other AL team.
@Astros 3, Blue Jays 1 (Fri.) — Gregorio Petit broke a 1-1 tie in the 8th by hitting Aaron Loup’s first pitch for his first big-league homer, as the Astros stopped Toronto’s streak at six wins. Collin McHugh pitched through Jays on third and second with none out in the 2nd.
(Sat.) @Astros 8, Blue Jays 2 — Not that I want to deprive Jon Singleton of his first inside-the-park job … but if the throw beat him so clearly that the ump was fooled, isn’t whiffing the tag an error?
(Sun.) @Astros 6, Blue Jays 1 — Scott Feldman proved the “comfortable one-for-four,” as the Jays’ road trip that started 6-1 skidded to an 0-3 end. Feldman went the distance with a line last seen in 1991: 8 hits, a run, 2 walks and 2 whiffs. Two of his three DPs wiped out serious threats, turning the tide after Toronto went ahead 1-0 in the 2nd. Marcus Stroman hummed through two innings, but a flurry of two-strike counts that he couldn’t close out led to 5 runs in the next two frames. Stroman had two strikes on 11 of 17 batters, but only one fanned while five reached base.
- Will Feldman be fined for catching a pop-up? (See 1:36.) I thought that was strictly verboten.
- With 50 games left, Jose Altuve holds a 9-point lead in the AL batting race over Robinson Cano. No Astro has won a batting crown.
@Red Sox 4, Yankees 3 (Fri.) — Anthony Ranaudo (6 IP, 2 R) became the 6th BoSox since 1914 to win a debut start against the Bombers. New Yanks Stephen Drew and Martin Prado went 0-6 combined, but the most damaging zero was Mark Teixeira’s 0-3 with RISP.
- Savor your night, Anthony. The other five guys in your club had career records of 3-3, 6-8, 15-9, 22-27 and 97-96.
- Derek Jeter started his 140th regular-season game in Fenway, tying Mickey Mantle for 12th on the visitors’ list (#1 in the expansion era).
(Sat.) Yankees 6, @Red Sox 4 — Given a 3-0 lead in the home 2nd, Allen Webster went out and walked the first three Yanks, foreshadowing his early exit. He’s walked 11 in two starts this year, two more than Hisashi Iwakuma in 17 outings.
- Jeter’s double lifted him past Honus Wagner to #2 in total bases by a career shortstop (per B-R). Derek’s had more at-bats than Honus in a much friendlier context, but still — number two.
(Sun.) Yankees 8, @Red Sox 7 — Gardy keeps going yardy, up to #15, but he’s still a long way from the Yanks’ batting-first leaders. Alfonso Soriano hit 38 from the top spot in 2002, and 35 in ’03; Rickey hit 24 and 28 in 1985-86; Bobby Bonds hit 25 in ’75, and Johnny Damon 24 in ’06. (Sori also holds the MLB season mark, 39 HRs from the leadoff hole for the Nats in ’06, while Rickey of course holds the career mark of 293, or 96 more than #2 Soriano.)