1st pitch: Think it’s easy for Indians?

August, 9, 2010
8/09/10
12:58
PM ET
Today’s Trivia: Derek Jeter ripped two hits on Sunday to pass George Herman Ruth on the career hits list. Poor Babe is now down to 40th all-time with 2,873 while Jeter is 39th with 2,875. When Ruth finished his career in 1935, where did he rank on the all-time hits list? Ok, I’ll give it away – he wasn’t first. But how many of the players in front of him can you name?

Quick Hits: On schedule difficulty the rest of the season (courtesy of Elias), since each team is on or near the 50-games-to-play countdown...

- Much talk has been made about the Cardinals and Reds having the easiest strength of schedule (measured by opponents win pct) the rest of the way. But believe it or not, the Indians have actually jumped on top of the list:

Lowest Combined Win Pct, Remaining Opponents This Season


- In the White Sox-Twins battle for the AL Central (they play each other starting Tuesday), the scheduling edge is essentially a draw. Their opponents win pct are close (White Sox: .493, Twins: .498) and both have the same number of home games remaining (28). The White Sox have 23 road games left and the Twins have 22, so both teams will be at home more often than not the rest of the way.

- Among teams in division battles (3 games back or less), here are the ones with more road games left than home games: Yankees, Rays, Rangers and Cardinals.

- Despite Buck Showalter’s hot start as Orioles manager, expect a cool-off. The O’s have the toughest strength of schedule the rest of the way (.541 opp win pct). Blame it on the AL East: the Blue Jays have the second-toughest schedule (.529).

- A word of caution for the Padres, Cardinals and Yankees: make sure your rotations are healthy. Those 3 teams each have 52 games to squeeze in over the rest of the season, meaning fewer off days for rest than some of their peers. No team has more than 52 games left, while most have 51 or 50 and one, the Angels, has 49.

Today’s Leaderboard:
Brandon Morrow made history on Sunday with a 17-strikeout, 1-hitter that ranked as one of the most dominant starts of all-time by one statistic. Morrow’s outing earned a score of 100 according to Bill James’ “Game Score” formula, which is a one number-summary of how good a pitcher's single-game performance is. Morrow’s 100 is tied for the 4th-best single-game pitching performance since 1920.



Key Matchups:
- No one has more hits against Jon Lester than the aforementioned Derek Jeter. Jeter is 10-30 in his career against Lester (.333 BA) and the Yankees might need to lean on him heavily today. He’s the only Yankee batter with at least 10 AB’s against Lester that is batting more than .300 against him.

- It’s not usually true for pitchers, but David Price is actually tougher pitching with runners in scoring position. He’s allowing a .234 BA with the bases empty this season but just a .159 BA with RISP. That would seem to tell the Tiger batters tonight to...just hit home runs. Problem is, no active Tiger batter has homered off of Price in his career.

- The Cubs will learn as they go tonight; only one Cubs batter has ever faced Giants starter Madison Bumgarner. That would be Blake DeWitt, who came to the Cubs in a trade from the Dodgers. And in DeWitt’s only AB against Bumgarner, he rolled a groundout to the first baseman. In Bumgarner’s only other start against an NL Central team this season, he threw 8 shutout innings against the Brewers.

Trivia Answer:The Babe was 13th on the list after his last season, behind Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Cap Anson, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins, Nap Lajoie, Sam Rice, Sam Crawford, Jake Beckley, Willie Keeler, Rogers Hornsby and Zack Wheat.

Of course, the closest any of the above batters came to the Babe’s 714 home runs was Rogers Hornsby’s 301.

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