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Wednesday, April 28, 2010
1st pitch: Early win-loss trends

By Jeremy Lundblad, ESPN Stats & Info

Today’s Trivia: Who is the winningest active National League pitcher age 26 or under?

Quick Hits: The numbers don’t always hold great meaning, but there are some fascinating win-loss trends that have held true thus far. Thanks to both Baseball-Reference.com and BaseballMusings.com, here are some of those quirky records:

* The Braves are 8-2 when Jason Heyward gets a hit and 0-10 when he doesn’t.

* The Braves are 7-1 when they hit a home run and 1-11 when they don’t.

* Six of the Pirates' 12 losses have been by eight or more runs. Last season, it was only nine of their 99 losses.

* Last season, the Mariners rode a 35-20 record in one-run games, best in the majors. This season? Just 2-5. Only the Orioles have more losses.

* The Red Sox are 4-4 when allowing four or fewer runs. Last season, they were 70-17.

* Then again, Boston is 6-6 when allowing six or more runs, when they were just 11-37 last season.

* Scott Linebrink has a 1.13 ERA and 11 strikeouts in eight innings, but the White Sox are 0-6 when he makes an appearance and 8-6 when he doesn’t.

* The Reds are 9-7 when Scott Rolen appears in a game and 0-4 when he doesn’t.

* The Rockies are 2-6 when Chris Iannetta starts, compared to 9-4 with Miguel Olivo behind the plate. Iannetta was demoted to the minors on Tuesday.

* The Royals are 2-10 when Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister or Gil Meche start, and 6-2 otherwise.

* The Mets are now 8-1 with Ike Davis appearing in the game.

* The Mets are 0-7 when allowing a home run and 12-2 otherwise.

Today’s Leaderboard: The A’s and the Padres are two of the more surprising teams early in 2010. Even the Pirates, at 8-12, are probably exceeding expectations. A big reason for all three? Success in close games. The Pirates are 4-1 in one-run games, the best winning percentage in the majors. Last year, Pittsburgh was an MLB-worst 12-22. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have already played an amazing nine one-run games, including five straight going into Wednesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Red Sox haven’t played six straight one-run games since May 1964.

Key Matchups: Quite simply, Paul Maholm owns Prince Fielder. Fielder was hitless in his first 12 at-bats against the lefty, and is just 3-for-33 (.091) lifetime. That includes 10 strikeouts and just one walk. That .091 average is Fielder’s worst against any pitcher he has faced 20 times. No pitcher has fanned Fielder more than Maholm, who is not exactly known as a strikeout pitcher.

Very few pitchers make Chase Utley look bad. Very few pitchers are as good as Tim Lincecum. Utley is just 2-for-17 (.118) against Lincecum, but even that doesn’t tell the whole story. Utley’s two hits came in his first four at-bats against Lincecum, and they were in the future Cy Young winner’s first month in the majors. Since then, Utley is 0-for-13 with six strikeouts.

Trivia Answer: With 50 career wins, 26-year-old Cole Hamels has the most among NL pitcher 26 or under. Tim Lincecum, his opponent on Wednesday, is tied with teammate Matt Cain for third with 44 wins. Felix Hernandez, still only 24, has the most in the majors with 60 wins, closely followed by 26-year-old Scott Kazmir’s 59.