Our West division report runs a day late, as usual:
Athletics 10, @Brewers 2: No matter the weather, Oakland loves hot Coco. The leadoff man never known as Covelli watched the first pitch as a courtesy, then crunched the next over the right-field wall, providing Milwaukee their customary early deficit. Oakland scored 6 more in the 5th, starting with 5 straight hits and adorned with the first of Tommy Milone‘s two bingles, and the rout was on. Crisp had 4 hits and a walk, raising his slashes to that happy land, .300/.401/.513.
The first World Series between the American and National League champions was played in 1903 and the most recent in 2012. The era of World Series play thus covers a total of 110 baseball seasons from 1903 through 2012, although two seasons, 1904 and 1994, did not actually include a World Series.
One way to evaluate a franchise’s success over that long historical period would be to count up its total World Series championships — the Yankees with 27, the Cardinals with 11 and so on down the line. But the vividness of historical memory, like that of individual human memory, fades to some extent over time. It somehow doesn’t seem accurate to say that we think today, from our contemporary perspective, of the Cubs, Indians and Phillies franchises having had equal championship success because they have each won two World Series. That the Cubs’ championships are both over 100 years old while the Phillies’ World Series victories are more recent, colors our view of these team’s respective World Series success in a way that simply saying they’ve each won two world championships fails to reflect. Read the rest of this entry
“One of these days in your travels a guy is going to come up to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of the deck and squirt cider in you ear. But son, do not bet this man, for sure as you stand there, you are going to wind up with an earful of cider.”
– Damon Runyon
Rough day for the Centrals, 1-7 in intradivisional contests. So we’ll start with an NLC showdown. (And if you read far enough, you’ll find something never seen before.)
@Pirates 5, Reds 4: Time and tide were sweeping away from the Bucs as they came to bat in the 8th. Down 4-2, with Chapman looming, they were about to fall farther into 3rd place in the NL Central. Jonathan Broxton hit Starling Marte with a 1-and-2 pitch leading off (he’s been plunked 12 times this year), but Neil Walker rapped the next for a 6-4-3. Andrew McCutchen beat out an infield hit on a full count, and up came Garrett Jones. Broxton fell behind, 2-and-1 —
Pausing the divisional plan for a day, here’s what I got from around the majors:
@Cards 7, Giants 1 (nightcap): No walks, 10 Ks in a CG for Adam Wainwright, now at 6 and 84 for the year. The qualified record SO/BB ratio is 11.00 by Bret Saberhagen, 1994 (143/13, in 177 IP). The best by a 200-K pitcher was 9.58 by Curt Schilling in 2002 (316/33). The highest with 150+ Ks was 10.28 by Cliff Lee, 2010 (185/18).
We are now exactly one-third through the 2013 regular season (811 MLB games played, out of 2,430 scheduled for the season). That also means we are one-third through the decade of baseball that began with the 2010 season and runs through the 2019 season. After the jump are the Top 10 everyday player WAR totals accumulated from 2010 through last night, the first one-third of the “teens” decade. Read the rest of this entry
Just a few for me tonight; you can help fill in the blanks. We’re back to the Central divisions.
Reds 6, @Pirates 0 (box): Two of May’s hottest teams, and only one could go out a winner. For the 3rd time in 4 nights, a righty’s assault knocked the Bucs for a loop, and this time they couldn’t get off the canvas. Johnny Cueto faced the minimum in the 2nd through 8th, after working out personal issues in the 1st, and Sam LeCure finished off the combined 1-hitter. Cueto has owned them as no other since 2008, now 13-4, 2.44 ERA in 21 starts — 21% of his career wins, in 14% of his starts — and 13 straight with 3 runs or less.
On May 4, 2010, the Red Sox beat the Angels 5-1 on the strength of a 2-out, 4-run rally in the 8th inning that broke open what had been a tight pitchers’ duel between Ervin Santana and Jon Lester. Boston won that day despite a -0.418 WPA turned in by designated hitter David Ortiz, his fourth worst WPA score ever (his worst WPA game was also against Ervin Santana, in this 2009 contest). Here’s how David’s day went:
- 1st inning: ended inning striking out with runners at 2nd and 3rd
- 3rd inning: ended inning on double play groundout with runners at 1st and 2nd
- 6th inning: led off inning striking out, on 3 pitches
- 8th inning: grounded into double play with nobody out and bases loaded; no runs scored
At the conclusion of that debacle, Ortiz was riding a 4 for 34 skid, with a season slash of .149/.240/.358. Hardly the start he was looking for after a disappointing 2009 campaign that saw Ortiz hit just .238, his first full season since joining Boston in 2003 that he failed to hit 30 homers or drive in 100 runs. Whispers were that Big Papi was done – it was only a matter of time before the Sox cut him loose. Remember.
As with Mark Twain, rumors of Big Papi’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, Ortiz’s turnaround since that nadir just over 3 years ago has been nothing short of spectacular. More on the Ortiz miracle after the jump.
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Did the Mets play tonight? I was busy…. Anyway, our divisional hopscotch continues with the big uglies. Oh, and the very best wishes to KC’s new hitting coach.
Red Sox 9, @Phillies 2 (box): Like records, streaks are made to be broken. Jonathan Pettibone‘s career began with 7 starts of 5+ innings and 3 runs or less. A modest threshold, perhaps, but he’s the only Philly rook who can say that since at least 1916, and the club had won 6 of those 7. But the BoSox have roughed up righties this year (.818/.684 OPS split for RHP/LHP), and they wasted no time in their quest for a series split. Four Sox made the four-cornered pilgrimage to the pentagon in the top of the 1st, two on a big 2-out double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.