Today’s Trivia: The Mets and Phillies square off on Friday with first place in the NL East on the line. Who are the only two pitchers with 20 career wins for both franchises?
Quick Hits: A player’s history in a given month isn’t always a harbinger of things to come. Just ask Adam LaRoche, a .195 career hitter in April, who is hitting .299 thus far. Or how about Troy Tulowitzki? He came into the season with a .194 April batting average, but is currently hitting at a .318 clip. But for every surprise, there are several players who are true to form. Jhonny Peralta and Gavin Floyd are characteristically starting slow, while Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome are off to traditionally hot starts. So what does history tell us that May has in store?
* Even though it’s his worst month from a batting average perspective, an incredible 40 of Howard’s 97 hits have been home runs.
* Ichiro Suzuki is a .365 hitter in May, best among active players and his highest average in any month.
* Hunter Pence is a .358 hitter in May and a .270 hitter in every other month.
* Brian McCann has a .350 May average and just .283 otherwise.
* May is when it usually all falls apart for Howie Kendrick. A .321 hitter in April, Kendrick has hit just .171 in the second month of the season. No non-pitcher with 100 plate appearances in May has a lower average.
* Jason Bay loves May. He has 45 home runs in the month, 10 more than he has in any other month. His 1.008 May OPS is behind only Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman among those with 200 plate appearances.
* Troy Tulowitzki only has two home runs in 55 career games in May.
* Felix Hernandez is just 6-12 in May with a 5.25 ERA. It’s his only month with a losing record or an ERA over 3.50.
* Mike Pelfrey is just 2-9 in the month and 30-23 otherwise.
* Hideki Okajima has a mind-blowing 0.68 ERA in 40.0 career May innings.
* Pitching in the majors for the first time since 2007, Colby Lewis is 3-0 with a 3.80 ERA. Let’s see how he fares in May though. Lewis has a 12.69 career ERA in the month.
* With 164 wins, the Red Sox were the winningest team of last decade in May. They had nine more wins than the Yankees.
Today’s Leaderboard: Tim Lincecum, a perfect 7-0 in May, is the only active pitcher with 10 starts in the month that has never lost.
Highest career win pct in May among active pitchers with at least 10 starts.
Key Matchups: Alex Rodriguez is hitless in his last 19 at-bats. Good thing Freddy Garcia is coming to town. Rodriguez has reached base in six consecutive plate appearances against the White Sox starter. In his career, A-Rod has five home runs and a 1.485 OPS against Garcia. That is the second highest OPS against Garcia among those with 20 plate appearances and Bobby Higginson is the only other player with five homers.
Jeff Niemann simply dominated the Royals last season. He went 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA, striking out 16 and walking only one in 17 innings. The lone blemish was a solo home run by David DeJesus. In fact, current members of the Royals have hit just .089 against Niemann. As a staff, the Rays were 9-1 with a 2.40 ERA against Kansas City last season.
Trivia Answer: Tug McGraw won 47 for the Mets and then was traded to Philadelphia where he won 49 games. Meanwhile, Jerry Koosman is one of the only three Mets pitchers with 100 wins. He finished his career off with the Phillies, winning 20 games over two seasons.