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Thursday, April 15, 2010
1st pitch: Strangely still at zero

By Jeremy Lundblad, ESPN Stats & Info

Today’s Trivia: Who is the all-time home run king while wearing No. 42 on the back of his jersey?

** On the day where baseball honors Jackie Robinson, everyone will be wearing number 42. Mariano Rivera is the last remaining player to call that number his own. Using’s Oracle of Baseball, you can get from Jackie Robinson to Mariano Rivera in a mere 4 steps. Robinson played with Gil Hodges who played with Ed Kranepool who played with Jesse Orosco who was Rivera’s teammate ever so briefly in 2003.

Quick Hits: Inspired by Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira both being homerless after 38 plate appearances, here are some other players with an unexpected zero in a stat column:

* Taylor Teagarden is hitless in 18 plate appearances, which is seven more than the next player, Andres Torres.

* Pedro Feliz has nine hits but has not scored a run.

* Rafael Furcal has 12 hits but zero RBI.

* Fresh of a 100-RBI season, Nick Markakis does not have one in 39 plate appearances.

* Jason Giambi has 10 plate appearances, but hasn’t hit a ground ball.

* Albert Pujols finished second in the NL with 45 doubles this season, but doesn’t have one this year. Of course, he does have those 5 home runs.

* Carlos Pena is tied for the MLB lead with five infield hits. Denard Span, who had 40 infield hits last season, doesn’t have one.

* Ramon Troncoso has thrown 5 2/3 innings with a 1.59 ERA but has no strikeouts.

* Wilton Lopez has allowed five hits, but zero singles.

* John Danks has allowed 10 hits, but none for extra bases.

* In 2006, Jake Westbrook led the majors by inducing 35 double plays. In 14 GIDP situations this season, he hasn’t had one.

Today’s Leaderboard: April 15 is Tax Day, so let’s see which bullpens have been the most taxed this season. The Nationals have averaged 4.4 innings per game out of their pen, which is currently sporting a 5.86 ERA. The Mets have the second most used relief staff, but sport a 2.08 bullpen ERA.

Key Matchups: Notoriously difficult to strikeout, David Eckstein has yet to fan this season in 31 plate appearances. But that hasn’t traditionally been the case against Tim Hudson, who has struck out Eckstein 13 times in 66 at-bats. No other pitcher has struck out Eckstein even half as many times.

Scott Kazmir has a 2.67 lifetime ERA against the Yankees, and it’s easy to see why. Derek Jeter is a .111 (4-36) hitter against him, his worst average against any pitcher he has faced 20 times. Alex Rodriguez has hit just .125 (3-24) against Kazmir, his second worst average against any pitcher he’s faced at least 30 times. However, this might be the game where Mark Teixeira breaks out. He is 7-for-11 against Kazmir with five walks.

Trivia Answer: Mo Vaughn, who wore No. 42 for his entire career, hit 328 home runs, most of anyone wearing that number.