Marquee Matchup – Cubs vs. Brewers

The front runners in the NL Central squared off last weekend in Milwaukee. The Brewers had held down top spot for 60 straight days until the Cubs caught them last week, with the Baby Bears holding a 1½ game lead entering this series. The Northsiders were riding high with an 11-2 run since the All-Star break while Milwaukee had hit the skids with a 2-9 swoon.

Game 1 matched newly acquired Jose Quintana for the Cubs against Milwaukee southpaw Brent Suter. This was a pitchers’ duel with just 9 hits between the clubs. The Brewers tallied singleton runs in the second and fourth frames, both scoring on infield outs. Suter pitched an ultra-efficient 7 shutout innings on just 82 pitches, so it was a bit of a surprise to see setup man Anthony Swarzak take the mound for the 8th inning. Swarzak surrendered a one-out bomb to Javier Baez to cut the lead in half, setting the stage for a tension-packed 9th inning with Brewer closer Corey Knebel on the hill. Knebel walked Anthony Rizzo to start the frame, with Rizzo making it to third base with two outs and pinch-hitter Kyle Schwarber at bat. Alas, no heroics for the defending champs as Schwarber went down swinging. Final score: Brewers 2, Cubs 1

Jose Quintana took the loss for the visitors, the first by a Cub starter since the All-Star break; the same starters (minus Quintana) had posted a 1-8 record over 12 games heading into the break. Brent Suter is a rookie who will turn 28 later this month. Since moving to the rotation at the beginning of July, Suter has yet to allow more than two runs or two walks in any start, with a 1.50 ERA over that stretch. Suter is the Brewers’ 6th rookie pitcher in the last 6 years to record 5 such starts, after only 13 over the 43 prior seasons; the franchise record is 12 such games by Steve Woodard in 1998, the only double-digit total by a Brewer rookie.

Game 2 matched veteran Kyle Hendricks for Chicago against the Brewers’ Junior Guerra. Milwaukee got the early jump, plating a first inning run on Ryan Braun‘s RBI double. The Cubs threatened in the second and third frames, with a pair of walks in each, but Guerra wriggled off the hook, before getting the early hook himself, pulled for a pinch-hitter leading off the home third. The Cubs tied it on a Kris Bryant RBI single in the 7th, then held off Brewer threats in the 8th and 10th innings, setting the stage for Jason Heyward‘s one out blast in the 11th to even the series. Final score: Cubs 2, Brewers 1

This was the 20th searchable game, all in this century, with both teams allowing two runs or less but using at least 7 pitchers. Junior Guerra was Milwaukee’s opening day starter but was optioned to the minors after this game; walks were the issue with three or more in 11 of 13 starts, none longer than 6 innings. Mike Montgomery carded the win for Chicago; he is the only pitcher in the past 5 years with 25 starts and 25 games finished over his first 3 seasons. Quiz: which two HOF pitchers did the same and, like Montgomery, posted losing records over their first three seasons?

Game 3 would be a another tight game dominated by the pitchers. The Cubs started veteran John Lackey against youngster Zach Davies for the Brewers. The game was scoreless through 5 innings until, with the first two batters retired in the 6th inning, the Cubs ran off four straight hits to plate a pair. But, in the bottom of the frame, the Brewers leveled the match with a two run blast from outfielder Domingo Santana. With Davies having been roughed up a bit the previous inning and with a pitch count of 87, Brewer manager Craig Counsell might have considered going to his bullpen to start the 7th inning. But, with the bottom of the Cub order coming up, he decided to try to get another inning from Davies. Alas, it didn’t work out as Cub rookie Victor Caratini ended Davies’ day with a one out solo shot, the first blast of his career. Kris Bryant added an insurance bomb in the 8th to give Chicago the game and series. Final score: Cubs 4, Brewers 2

Domingo Santana, in his first season as an everyday player, is developing into a potent offensive force, currently sporting a .374 OBP to go with .484 SLG. Santana needs just four more homers to reach 22 for the season, a mark that would eclipse Sixto Lezcano (1977) for the Brewer franchise record for under-25 right-fielders. Zach Davies took the loss in this game but his 26-14 (.650) career mark is easily the best winning percentage of any under-25 Brewer in 40+ decisions over the first 3 seasons of a career, almost 100 points higher than Juan Nieves‘ .561 mark (32-25) in 1986-88.

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Dr. Doom
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The worst part for the Brewers is that they have a pretty decent offense, and yet they scored only five runs in three crucial games. It was hard to watch, as a fan.

Daniel Longmire
Guest

Is Gaylord Perry one of the answers to your quiz question, Doug?

Doug
Guest

Not Perry, though one of the pitchers specialized in the pitch that Gaylord never threw (or, maybe he did).

Richard Chester
Guest

Quiz answer: Burleigh Grimes and Rollie Fingers.

David P
Guest

Well’s there something I don’t think I’ve seen before. In tonight’s Indians-Yankees game, the first two Indians’ batters reached on a error. The third batter singled and then went all the way around to third on yet another error.

Odder still that it happened to Sonny Gray given that he just came over from the A’s, by far the worst fielding team in the majors. He must have brought some of the A’s gloves with him!

David P
Guest

Sorry, a light correction. It was two of the first three that reached on errors.

Paul E
Guest

David,
Saw that….it didn’t help that the NYY were facing Kluber, either. The first two errors (Headley, Wade) were almost little league-ish and then the RF decides to hose it out and airmails the throw. Pretty bizarre….but, someone with a PI subscription could probably find something worse.
I believe the announcers said something along the order of “1st time the Yankees made three errors since a 2010 game at Fenway”?

no statistician but
Guest

On June 6 the Dodgers were 35-25. Since then through tonight, August 3, the’ve gone 41-7. That’s .854 for you percentage buffs, more like what a champion basketball team plays at.

Dr. Doom
Guest
nsb, only two NBA teams in history have had a regular season winning percentage of .854 or better – the ’96 Bulls and the ’16 Warriors. If you factor in postseason, as well, only the Bulls team stays above that level. In the 16-game regular season era, very few NFL teams even manage that level, if you include postseason (you’d have to go 14-2 and then 3-0 in the playoffs). It’s extremely difficult to win at that clip in other sports, even where there’s less regression to the mean than baseball. It’s a ludicrously good record. In fact, even factoring… Read more »
David P
Guest

Am I missing something? Dodgers project to have 56 WAR (33.3 hitting, 22.7 pitching). That’s far below the ’01 Mariners (67.7 total WAR) and the ’98 Yankees (62.9 Total WAR). So how can they be on pace for a similar record?

Dr. Doom
Guest

I really don’t know. That’s a super fascinating question. Baseball-reference replacement level is .294, which is 47.6 wins. That means, implicitly, they are projecting the Dodgers for about 104 wins, the Mariners for 115 and the Yankees or 110.5. It led me to ask if the Dodgers were outperforming their Pythagorean – they are, but not by much. So I really don’t know. It will be interesting to watch this the rest of the year.

David P
Guest

By way of comparison, last year’s Cubs team had 57.3 WAR which led to 103 real wins and 107 pythagorean wins. Which fits.

Seems like the Dodgers should definitely have more BR WAR than they do. Fangraphs has them on pace for 62.6 WAR, which better fits their record.

no statistician but
Guest

Actually, Doom, I was thinking of College and High School as much as Pro basketball, although those seasons stop at about 30-40 games including playoffs. But .850+ winning percentages appear regularly for the best teams.

e pluribus munu
Guest
That .854 percentage is amazing enough, but I also like the comparison if you consider that the Dodgers actually got off to a slow start and were 10-12 on April 26. That makes them 66-20 since, or .767. That percentage exceeds the 1906 Cubs by .004, and it covers more than half a season (or 57% of the 152 game W-L record of the Cubs). The only teams I can spot with a better record over an 86-game stretch are those Cubs, who finished with a 70-16 stretch (.814), and the 1998 Yankees, who had an amazing 103-game stretch of… Read more »
Daniel Longmire
Guest

Interesting stuff, epm. Now the Dodgers are running at a .770 clip, including last night’s win.

That Yankees run (slight correction: it was 113 games) was unbelievably consistent, because the stretch you singled out is barely more impressive than the secondary part, which still clocks in at .777 (21-6). Even as a lifelong antagonist of the Evil Empire, I still have to tip my cap to that year’s version of the team.

David P
Guest

CBS Sports reports that Corey Kluber is just the 4th pitcher to srike out 8 or more batters in 12 consecutive starts. He joins Randy, Pedro, and Nolan as the only pitchers to accomplish that feat. Randy did it 4 times in his career and holds the record for the longest such streak at 17 games.

e pluribus munu
Guest

By the way, Doug, although your marquee post is quickly playing its regular role as a placeholder for general comments as the season unfolds, your narration of the Cubs-Brewers series got me to focus more on that pivotal matchup, and I enjoyed reading it.

Doug
Guest

Thanks epm. Glad you like it.

Daniel Longmire
Guest

A Charlie Blackmon update: he now has 21 doubles, 13 triples and 25 home runs.

Number of player-seasons with 25+ doubles, 15+ triples and 30+ homers? Fifteen, with Lou Gehrig (3x) and Jim Rice (1977-78) the only ones who managed it more than once.

Seasons with 30+ 2B, 15+ 3B and 30+ homers? Only eleven: 9 times between 1921 and 1937, then just Stan Musial in 1948 and Jimmy Rollins in ’07.

no statistician but
Guest

Twelve of Blackmon’s triples have come at home, one away. The thing I find more phenomenal is his 98 runs scored, putting him on a pace to break 140, something never accomplished by a Colorado player despite all the heavy hitting the team has experienced over the years.

Daniel Longmire
Guest

Indeed, nsb. What also caught my eye was that Nolan Arenado is on pace for 143 runs batted in. I can not find another pair of teammates (other than Ruth and Gehrig) where one scored 140+ runs and the other had 140+ RBI in the same season. Did I miss anyone, fellow denizens of HHS?

David P
Guest

Henderson and Mattingly in 1985. Not sure if there are others.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Some others (perhaps not exhaustive): 1930 Cubs – Kiki Cuyler (155) and Woody English (152), Hack Wilson (191) [Wilson also scored 146 R] 1929 Phillies – Lefty O’Doul (152) and Chuck Klein (145) 1949 Red Sox – Ted Williams (150) and Vern Stephens (159) [Williams also had 159 RBI] 1930 A’s – Al Simmons (152) and Jimmie Foxx (156) [Simmons also had 165 RBI] 1932 A’s – [my favorite] Simmons (144/151) and Foxx (151/169) both did it 1932 Yankees – Earle Combs (143) and Lou Gehrig (151) 1937 Yankees – Joe DiMaggio (151) and Lou Gehrig (158) [DiMaggio also had… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Also:
1929 Cubs – Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson
1932 Cubs – Don Hurst Chuck Klein
1996 Mariners – Ken Grifffey, A-Rod

And you can add Red Rolfe (143 R) to the 1937 Yankees

Daniel Longmire
Guest

Thanks, David and Doom. I couldn’t put all of the pieces together, since I’m not a Play Index subscriber, but I did notice Gehrig dominating all of my searches and The Splendid Splinter having a streak of outstanding seasons in terms of runs scored.

I was sure that at least Walker would have scored 140, if not Helton; thanks for digging deep.

Dr. Doom
Guest

I’m not a PI subscriber, either. I just looked at the all-time leaders for runs scored. There are just over 100 seasons of 140+. Ignoring the 1800s eliminates most of those. Then I just manually checked the season when i recognized there was probably a big RBI guy. Obviously, I missed a couple, but I wasn’t being systematic.

Daniel Longmire
Guest

Good to know, Doctor! With my work, sometimes I don’t have enough time to do all the research in a comprehensive way; just enough to lob the question out there and check back later for the responses. This community always seems to have the answers, and I’ve even learned new ways of finding the info that I’m looking for, as you so helpfully illustrated. Big love for High Heat Stats. 🙂

Richard Chester
Guest

You don’t even have to use the PI to retrieve these results. Data can be retrieved from Fangraphs, placed into spreadsheets and then sorted.

David P
Guest

Aaron Judge has now struck out in a Yankees team record 23 games during which he’s put up a triple slash line of .188/.340/.338.

Not sure what the all-time record is for most straight games with a strikeout,

Richard Chester
Guest

Since 1913 the record for position players is 36 consecutive games by Adam Dunn in 2011-2012. The overall record is 37 by Bill Stoneman in 1971-1972.

David P
Guest

Thanks Richard! Looks like Judge has a ways to go though he’s already struck out twice today to make it 24 in a row.

Oddly Dunn’s streak didn’t seem to effect his overal numbers. 32 of the games were at the beginning of 2012. During that time he hit .243/.384/.586.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

He had nothing but the TTO today (3 SO, 1 BB, and a 3-run bomb).
That’s
35 HR
79 BB
144 SO in
462 PA
= 56 percent

David P
Guest

Joey Gallo and his 58.8% TTO scoffs at Judge’s meager 56%. 🙂

Seriously, here’s a good article from a couple of days ago about TTO and how younger players like Gallo and Judge don’t care how much they strike out:

https://theringer.com/inefficiency-week-sports-mlb-end-of-baseball-aaron-judge-three-true-outcomes-855405c6d5b7

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Here’s where Judge’s season ranks thusfar from a couple of angles. Going into tonight’s game, he had 457 PA and 5.2 WAR For seasons of less than 470 PA, Aaron’s Judge’s WAR ranks as a tie for 25th all-time, with Roger Hornsby, 1931. Judge also woke up this morning with 141 SO. WAR leaders, less than 470 PA, more than 140 SO: (I know this is odd, because less than 470 PA is an unusual total, and Judge’s season isn’t done, but still…) 5.2 … The Judge 2.5 … Giancarlo 2.4 … Incaviglia 2.3 … Tyler Flowers 2.2 … Miguel… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

He is on-pace for
217 SO
8.0 WAR

WAR leaders, more than 195 whiffaroos:

5.7 … Kris Bryant
5.2 … Chris Davis
4.7 … Adam Dunn
3.3 … Mark Reynolds
3.0 … Chris Davis
3.0 … Curtis Granderson
2.9 … Ryan Howard
2.7 … Jack Cust
2.4 … Dunn

no statistician but
Guest
It’s premature to judge Judge, I think. He might just be in a slump, and that can happen to any player, or it’s possible that, having been around the league a couple of times, the chinks in his armor have become apparent to the other teams’ pitching staffs, in which case, if he’s the talent he seems, he’ll compensate. If he’s a giant flash in the pan, he won’t. Mike Trout slumped for a while in August of his first full season, although not so markedly, and there was a lot of discussion here about what was going on. Not… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Seems like they figured out sliders away are a challenge for him if he gets out of the good habit of going with the pitch.
That line drive he hit yesterday… I can’t ever recall seeing a ball like that go over a wall.

David P
Guest

Honestly, I think Judge is just regressing to what he was projected to be – an Adam Dunn type. No one ever predicted that he’d hit for average.

And while his start to this season was impressive, there are dozens and dozens of players who have had that sort of 50-70 game stretch in their careers. And then never did anything like that again. The Mike Trouts of the world are much rarer.

no statistician but
Guest

I just saw a news brief stating that Don Baylor had died at age 68. In the 1980s he was a traveller from competing team to competing team, it seemed, the DH who would make a difference, and maybe he did, since he appeared in three consecutive World Series for three different teams. What surprises me is how ordinary his stats are viewed in retrospect. Take away the MVP season, and he’s Chili Davis, only not quite as consistent.

He went on to a managing career that, like his playing career, had one highlight.

Still, a good ballplayer who passed too young.

David P
Guest

Thanks for sharing the news NSB. I was born in ’69 so I remember his MVP season. Still hard to picture him as a guy who once stole 52 bases in a season.

BTW, Darren Daulton pased away yesterday as well.

Richard Chester
Guest

Baylor had 139 RBI in 1979 but never had 100+ in any other season. Only 3 other players have had more than 139 RBI in a season without any other seasons of 100+, Tommy Davis (153), Walt Dropo (144) and Jim Gentile (141).

Mike L
Guest

Baylor and Bobby Grich essentially came up at the same time. 1973-1975 both established themselves as the next generation of Orioles stars–Grich the bigger one. Baylor gained weight, gained power, lost some speed. Baylor was traded to Oakland in 1976 (for among others, Reggie) and he and Grich both went as free agents to California in 1977.

Paul E
Guest

Mike L
And, on the NBC Game of the Week, Curt Gowdy used to talk about Grich and Baylor when they were still at Rochester…how they were being held up, overdue to come up, and make a difference. It’s kind of funny how he never spoke of Roger Freed in those same tones

Daniel Longmire
Guest
As a general note to everyone: there is a quirk in the Play Index when you conduct searches; on occasion, you may miss a player or season due to rounding that is not taken into account. For example, when I was doing some research for the thread on Adrián Beltré, I was looking for the most seasons with an OPS+ of at least 130 by a player between the ages of 31 and 39. Bob Johnson’s page shows 7 seasons that fit this criteria, with two of them at exactly 130. However, only 6 of those years show up if… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

I have been aware of it for years.

Richard Chester
Guest

Just read on Twitter that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have each hit HR #150 at the same age, 24 years, 295 days.

ReliefMan
Guest

And Giancarlo Stanton was only 5 days quicker at getting to the milestone.

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