Wednesday, July 6, 2011
An historic night around MLB
Tuesday saw several notable historic achievements around Major League Baseball. Below is a series of notes and tidbits from Tuesday's slate of action.
1. Throwback night for the New York Yankees
In the Yankees' 9-2 win over the Cleveland Indians, both Curtis Granderson and CC Sabathia joined the ranks of history. Granderson hit two home runs, giving him 25 on the season. Not only does that already exceed his total from all of 2010, but it gives both he and Mark Teixeira 25 HR on the season.
The Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that the only other time in which the Yankees had two players with at least 25 HR before the All-Star break came in 1961. That season, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle did so en route to Maris' then-record-setting 61 home run season.
On the pitching side of the ledger, Sabathia became the fifth pitcher in the last 20 seasons to win at least 12 games before the All-Star break in consecutive seasons. Sabathia also firmly established himself in Yankees history, as he and Ron Guidry in 1978 are now the only Yankees pitchers with 2 straight starts of 10 or more strikeouts and zero runs allowed. Some additional details on how Sabathia won on Tuesday:
• Once again, Sabathia had his slider working. He had nine strikeouts with the pitch, his most since July 13, 2008. The Indians swung at 16 Sabathia sliders, missing on 13, the most misses by a team against Sabathia's starter since that start in 2008. The Indians missed on 81.5 percent of their swings against Sabathia's slider, highest by a team against Sabathia since 2006 in a start in which he threw at least 12 sliders.
• Sabathia went to his slider with two strikes more than in any of his starts in the last three seasons. Sixteen of his 27 two-strike pitches were sliders (59.3 percent), his highest percentage of two-strike sliders in the last three seasons. Indians hitters were 0 for 12 in at-bats ending with a slider; all of those at-bats ended in two-strike counts. The 12 outs with his slider are the most in a start by Sabathia since July 13, 2008.
• He had even more success with his slider when he kept it down. Twenty of Sabathia's 28 sliders were down in the zone or below it, and Sabathia got eight of his nine slider strikeouts on those low pitches. Indians hitters missed on 11 of 12 swings against Sabathia's slider when it was low.
• Sabathia had more velocity on his fastball than in any start this season. His fastball Tuesday averaged 95.6 MPH, almost a full mile per hour more than in any previous start this season. Sabathia's fastball has averaged more than 94.1 MPH three times this season, all in the last three starts.
2. The Good and the Bad in Reds-Cardinals
With his 23rd home run of the season, Lance Berkman now has 350 career home runs. That ties him with Chili Davis for fourth all-time among switch hitters. On the flip side, the starter for the Cincinnati Reds -- Edinson Volquez -- once again struggled in the first inning.
He entered Tuesday with a 12.00 first-inning ERA and six first-inning home runs allowed. On Tuesday, Volquez yielded two more first-inning home runs. His road ERA now stands at 6.35 for the season.
3. Pirates Up, Brewers Down in NL Central
The Pittsburgh Pirates won their 45th game this season and, consequently, moved four games above .500. Last season, Pittsburgh did not get win No. 45 until September 3. It's the first time since April 26, 2009 that the Pirates are four games above .500.
The Milwaukee Brewers' loss Tuesday was their second straight home loss. They hadn't lost two straight home games all season. They had been the only team this season not to lose consecutive home games.
4. Another night, more struggles for Adam Dunn
In a season that has seen his OPS drop 282 points from 2010, Adam Dunn once again struggled on Tuesday. Dunn went 0-5 with three strikeouts in the Chicago White Sox loss to the Kansas City Royals. That marks Dunn's 75th game over the last 10 seasons where he went hitless with three or more strikeouts. That is easily the most such games during that span, a full 25 games ahead of second-place Jack Cust. It was Dunn's 12th such game this season.