@Blue Jays 7, Brewers 4 — Just like old times in Toronto … like, May 1 through June 6, when they averaged 1.6 HRs and 5.5 runs, going 26-9 with three walk-off wins. But something new, too: The long-ball leaders owned none of this year’s 39 walk-off blasts — until Edwin Encarnacion worked a 3-and-1 count against Brad Kintzler, and then lifted off.
The players in this quiz are the only catchers with a particular season accomplishment since 1961. What is it?
- Brian McCann
- Jason Kendall
- Einar Diaz
- Mike Piazza
- Terry Kennedy
- Rich Gedman
- Ted Simmons
- Bill Freehan
- Randy Hundley
- Clay Dalrymple
- John Romano
Hint #1: McCann and Kendall accomplished this feat in the same season, the first time since 1955 that two catchers had done so in the same year.
Hint #2: A player is currently on pace to join this group in 2014.
Congratulations to Gary Bateman! He correctly identified the quiz players as the only catchers since 1961 to lead their league in the same season in most successful steal attempts against and also most unsuccessful steal attempts against, the latter being an artifact of the former. More after the jump.
So, what would you have done, if Arrieta had gotten Drew out with pitch #120, to complete eight no-hit innings?
A lotta stuff happened in a long day of baseball. Let’s dig in!
Red Sox 2, @Yankees 1 – An epic duel between Jon Lester and Masahiro Tanaka, with a big twist at the finish. Tanaka was one strike away from nursing a 1-1 tie through the top of the 9th. But he was also living on borrowed time; he wasn’t finishing all his pitches. The first two batters hit liners, but the one by Big Papi turned into a double play. Tanaka then hung one to Mike Napoli, but the slugger swung through it. On one-and-two, everyone looked for the knockout splitter.
Athletics 9, @Marlins 5 – Oakland blew a big lead in the 6th, but pulled even in the 8th on Josh Reddick’s two-out triple, then scored four in the 9th on five singles off Steve Cishek. A clean closeout by Sean Doolittle — 12 strikes, one ball — ran his season line to 55 Ks and one walk in 38 IP. Oakland’s won NINE games that they trailed after seven innings …
Thus far in 2014, the recent trend towards lower scoring continues. That trend is now more than 15 years in the making and has resulted in another, that of a higher incidence of shutouts (at least those of the team variety). So far in 2014, more than 15% of games have resulted in a goose egg for the losers, a proportion not seen since 1981, and not seen in a full-length season since 1976.
After the jump, more on declining offense and why it’s been happening.
@Giants 4, Padres 0 — With his second complete game in the last three seasons, Tim Lincecum became the 23rd* pitcher since 1914 with two or more no-hitters, and the first with two against one opponent. (One guy double-dipped before the searchable era.) Lincecum walked only one, despite just 12 first-pitch strikes out of 28 batters.
Yesterday, an HHS reader asked Andy this question:
“Is it possible to determine the greatest triples hitter in history, factoring in era/park, etc.? Wild guess is Willie Wilson.”
Andy passed it on to me, and because the reader is Josh Wilker, author of Cardboard Gods, perhaps my favorite baseball book of the last decade, I thought I’d take a stab at answering the question. With an assist from @Braves_Paul, I attempted to create Triples+, a metric comparing a player’s seasonal triples total to the league average and adjusting for park factors.
@Cubs 7, Reds 3 – Jake Arrieta’s six perfect innings ended when he just missed gloving Billy Hamilton’s grounder. Two hits with two outs halved his 4-0 lead, but Arrieta rose to the challenge with his 9th strikeout, getting Ryan Ludwick as the tying run. Rick Renteria ran through four arms in five batters to hold Cincy at bay in the 8th, and Joey Votto’s whiff of leather widened the lead. Anthony Rizzo’s 3 hits and 17th home run led Chicago, which got just three other knocks.