Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Baseball futility and Butler basketball
By Jeremy Lundblad
Today’s Trivia: The Connecticut Huskies now are 3-0 in the men’s basketball championship games. Can you name the only two MLB franchises with multiple appearances that have never lost the World Series?
In the spirit of last night’s national championship game, let’s look at the topics du jour: Low scoring and lots of misses.
• Consider former Houston Astros outfielder Cory Sullivan the Butler of baseball. Last season, he went 12-for-64 at the plate, just like the Bulldogs did from the field on Monday night. Sullivan is one of 22 players to go exactly 12-for-64 in a season, a list that includes Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel, Greg Maddux and Hall-of-Famer Bill Mazeroski
• In four games, the entire Seattle Mariners pitching staff has had only 22 swings-and-misses, three more than Jonathan Sanchez had in his lone start.
• The Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro has taken 25 swings this season and doesn’t have a single swing-and-miss.
• The Oakland Athletics have an MLB-low 10.7 swing-and-miss percentage thus far. With only 16 swing-and-misses, Oakland has only two more than Miguel Olivo’s 14 in 14 plate appearances.
• Fun fact: The Minnesota Twins had more doubles (4) on Monday than Butler had two-point field goals (3).
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the St. Louis Cardinals have been held to three runs or fewer in each of their first four games of a season for the first time since 1980.
• The Tampa Bay Rays, according to Elias, are the first team since the 2007 Cardinals and the first American League team since the 2003 Detroit Tigers to score one run or fewer in each of their first three games to open the season.
Birds, Bucs and Barbecue
The Baltimore Orioles (4-0) and Kansas City Royals (3-1) currently are in first place in their divisions, while the Pittsburgh Pirates (3-1) are a half-game out of first in the National League Central. From 2005-2010, the Pirates had the fewest wins in the majors (388) followed by the Royals (394) and Orioles (411). All three of the Royals’ wins have come in their last at bat. They’re the fifth team in the last 10 seasons to have at least their first three wins come in their last at-bat, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Last season, the Royals were 3-86 when trailing at the beginning of the 9th inning. They are already 1-1 in that situation in 2011.
The Pirates are 3-1, and haven’t even had their home opener. Last season the Pirates were 17-64 in road games, matching the 1963 Mets for the worst such record in the past 65 years. Pittsburgh had separate road losing streaks of 17 and 14 games.
The last time the Orioles allowed one or fewer runs in four consecutive games at any point in the season was 1995. That was a string of five consecutive shutouts. The O’s are one win shy of last season’s April win total (5-18).
Trivia Answer: The Florida Marlins (2-0) and Toronto Blue Jays (2-0) are the only franchises that have been the World Series multiple times but never lost.