Indians 4, @White Sox 0: He might not have known it, but while Justin Masterson was finishing the shutout, the door to 1st place swung open when Detroit lost in Tampa. Masterson fanned the first two in the 9th, then two got aboard, and suddenly the insurance run Cleveland got in the top of the frame loomed large, at least for his chance to finish. When Alex Rios looked at strike three, the Indians slipped into the big chair along with the stuttering Tigers atop the AL Central.
This wasn’t how things were supposed to be for the New York Yankees. The All-Star cavalry was supposed to return to buoy what is an otherwise uninspiring roster of 30-something misfits. Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira were supposed to return to spell the likes of Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay in a spirited 2nd half sprint to the playoffs. But that’s not exactly how things have worked out in the Bronx. Teixeira’s now done for the year thanks to surgery, Granderson played in 8 whole games before hitting the DL again, and the entire left side of the infield has fewer at-bats than All-Star appearances.
I’m done sulking, so here’s a few updates on Friday’s games:
@Rockies 4, Giants 1: Jhoulys Chacin was the latest to stymie the tumbling Giants, yielding just 3 hits in 8 innings for his 2nd straight scoreless start, handing the champs their 5th straight loss and 10th in 12. A 2-run shot off Barry Zito in the 3rd ran the lead to 3-0 lead and Michael Cuddyer‘s club-record hit streak to 25 games; and before that buzz had quite passed, Wilin Rosario‘s wall-scraper pumped it up again.
This quiz concerns a career (min. 5000 PA) batting feat accomplished since 1901 by only a handful of the all-time greats … plus a few other guys who have each played their entire careers within the past 25 seasons.
So, who are these other guys hobnobbing with baseball’s elite? That’s for you to find out based on the list below, conveniently ordered by the career batting feat that only these players have achieved.
Congrats to Insert Name Here, aweb and Josh who identified the mystery players bolded above. Congratulations to Howard who identified that these players have the 10 highest career RBI per game rates of all players with 5000+ PAs, and are the only players with a rate of more than 0.8 RBI per game.
Ryan Howard joined the group just yesterday – he currently has exactly 5000 PAs. Will be interesting to see if he can stay on the list. Some players (Greenberg, Gonzalez, Belle) benefited from a short career and/or retiring at an early age before their decline phase dragged down their career rate stats. Williams may have the most impressive accomplishment with missing a large chunk of his prime years to military service and thereby compiling almost one-third of his career PAs in his age 35 season or later.
For the better part of the past 6 years, Josh Hamilton has been an absolute force for pitchers to deal with. Just look at his list of accomplishments: one MVP award, 5 All-Star appearances, a majestic power display in the ’08 Home Run Derby, 2 AL pennants, and a .304/.363/.549 slash line with 161 homers to boot. Pitchers just couldn’t figure this guy out and thanks in part to Hamilton, the Rangers were able to have more success over the past 5 years than at any other point in the franchise’s history.
But the shine started to fade on Hamilton sometime around midseason last year. The then-Ranger struggled mightily during the 2nd half of 2012, hitting .259 (compared to .308 before the break), while dealing with a myriad of personal and health issues. As the offseason rolled around the Rangers decided that Hamilton’s baggage outweighed his production. Instead, the division rival Los Angeles Angels swooped in to nab Hamilton in the hopes that they could form a modern day Murderer’s Row.
Game Notes has not — repeat, not — been cleared to begin minor-league rehab. Sorry for any confusion. Now for some random day-late notes:
@Orioles 6, Indians 3: Adam Jones has started 36 straight games without a walk — the longest starting streak this year, the longest one-year streak in Baltimore Orioles history, and one shy of the searchable franchise record set in 1923 by Baby Doll Jacobson. The previous Baltimore record was 31, shared by Cal Ripken in 1999.
In case you missed it (like me), last week (on June 16, to be precise), Torii Hunter cranked home run number 300 to become the 136th member of that club. What was once a momentous feat now just attracts a kind of … ho hum … “Good for him!” type of recognition. Sort of like the attention paid to Ryan Howard‘s 300th at the end of last season (unless you missed that one too).
Once akin to a pitcher reaching 300 wins, 300 homers no longer has anything like that luster. After the jump, I’ll take a closer look at the 300 home run milestone, and preview a possible coming change in its significance.
In 1896, Hall of Fame shortstop Hughie Jennings batted .401 and scored 125 runs while driving in 121. That’s a pretty great season, of course, but not that unusual, particularly during the era when hitting .400 was reasonably feasible. Read the rest of this entry