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COG Round 61 Results: Sandy Sure, But No Big Wave

The right time, the right place and the left arm combined to place Sandy Koufax among the most famous and popular baseball players ever. High Heat Stats voters were a bit skeptical, but he’s now been elected, in his 19th round on the ballot, as the 61st inductee into the High Heat Stats Circle of Greats. More on Sandy and the voting, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Quiz – Penultimate Pitchers (solved)

The players in this quiz are the only live ball era pitchers with an unusual game accomplishment. What is it?

Congratulations to RJ! He knew that these pitchers didn’t finish their careers until after they had stroked their first career extra-base hit, at age 40 or older. Those career first games are after the jump.

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Sunday Game Notes (June 22)

Red Sox 7, @Athletics 6 (10 inn.) – As I said, Jon Lester is off to his best start ever. Clearly. (Now, pardon me while I bow towards Buster Olney.)

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Game Notes from Friday: Ozuna’s ‘Walk-Off’ Dart

Some called it “Comeback Friday” — but the best dramatic finish was a rally that fell short.

@Marlins 3, Mets 2 – Voice of the Marlins on Marcell Ozuna’s late heroics: “The best arm out of the bullpen tonight was the left fielder!” Twice in the last two innings, Ozuna nailed the would-be tying run at home with pegs as pretty as a picture.

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Game Notes from Wednesday, 6/18: Kershaw Gets His

@Dodgers 8, Rockies 0 – Clayton Kershaw had all his breaking pitches dancing to their master’s tune. The perfecto died on Hanley’s throwing error in the 7th, but two whiffs and a nice play by Miguel Rojas, deep behind third base, kept the no-no going. Two more strikeouts in the 8th made fourteen, a new career high, and seven of the last ten Rockies.

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Quiz – Tony Gwynn (solved)

As we remember Tony, here’s a quiz that highlights his remarkable talents, sharing with only these elite players a certain batting feat. What is this most unusual career accomplishment?

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Jose Canseco
  3. Will Clark
  4. Tony Gwynn
  5. Chipper Jones
  6. Mickey Mantle
  7. Johnny Mize
  8. Stan Musial
  9. Frank Robinson
  10. Ted Williams

Congratulations to BryanM (mostly) and to RJ! They teamed up to identify that only these players have never had a season with OPS+ below 100 in a 15 year or longer career. Thanks also to Richard Chester for the idea for this quiz. More on 100 OPS+ seasons after the jump.

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Game Notes, Mon. 6/16: This 1-0 Just Not Meant to Be

Philly 6, @Atlanta 1 (13 inn.) — Atlanta rallied to force extras, but Freddie Freeman flubbed a DP ball, and the floodgates fell open. After Ryan Howard soloed in the 2nd, Cole Hamels and the Phils nursed that 1-0 lead to the 9th. But the weight of history was against them:

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Tony Gwynn 1960-2014

Tony GwynnHall of Famer and Circle of Greats inductee Tony Gwynn passed away today after a lengthy battle with cancer. Gwynn retired in 2001 after a 20-year career, all with the Padres. Gwynn’s 3141 hits are the most in the NL since 1970, and his career .338 batting average is second only to Ted Williams’ .344  among players whose careers began after 1923.

More on the career of Mr. Padre after the jump.

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Pitching In When the Starter Goes Down … (plus G.N.)

(To avoid front-page clutter, I’m packaging this essay with some weekend game notes. Enjoy!)

On Sunday, June 15, Daisuke Matsuzaka started for the Mets against the Padres, but had to leave after one scoreless inning with an upset stomach. New York went on to win, 3-1, with three relievers covering the last eight innings.

Is that a surprising result? What would you guess is the winning percentage of teams whose starter lasted one inning or less without yielding a run?

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Friday game notes: Polanco to the Rescue

Pirates 8, @Marlins 6 (13 inn.) – Someone pinch Gregory Polanco. The wunderkind’s first home run not only gave him five hits in the game, but also saved the Bucs from a potential loss that would have haunted Clint Hurdle all year. They led by 6-2 after eight, behind Jeff Locke’s career-long outing and the big nights by Polanco and Starling Marte at the top of the order. And then the roof collapsed:

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