Thursday, September 9, 2010
1st Pitch: Dunn a modern Ernie Banks?
By Jeremy Lundblad
Today’s Trivia: Among active managers, who has managed the most games without making the postseason?
Quick Hits: As the playoff races heat up, several players have some added incentive to extend the season. Here’s a look at notable players with an eye on October, who have never played in the postseason.
• Randy Winn just can’t find himself a playoff team. He’s played 1,698 career games without appearing in the postseason. That’s the most for any active player, and 37th most all-time according to Baseball-Reference.com. Winn joined the Seattle Mariners just after their early-decade dominance. Then he found himself with the San Francisco Giants as they transitioned away from Barry Bonds. After 12 seasons in the bigs, Winn still hadn’t tasted the postseason. Signing with the New York Yankees in the offseason would change that, right? New York released him in May after he hit just .213. Again, Winn had his chance to sign with a contender. On June 5, he signed with the first-place St. Louis Cardinals – a team that is now six games out.
• Michael Young may finally see his long wait come to an end. Making his debut the season after the Texas Rangers' last playoff appearance, Young has the second-most career games among active players who haven’t made the postseason.
• The Giants’ Aubrey Huff, who is third behind Winn and Young, could also find himself playing late into October for the first time. Prior to this season, Huff’s teams were 546-776 in games in which he appeared.
• Among all active pitchers, Francisco Cordero has appeared in the most games without appearing in the postseason. Like Young, he made his Rangers debut the year after their last postseason appearance.
• Roy Halladay has a Cy Young Award and perfect game, but Boof Bonser, Jorge Sosa and Brian Duensing all have something he does not: A playoff start. No active pitcher has made more starts without appearing in the postseason.
Today’s Leaderboard: Adam Dunn, who will be a free agent at the end the season, actually has the fourth-most career homers for a player with no playoff experience. With another typical season for him, he’ll be second behind the all-time leader. Ernie Banks has both the most career games and home runs without making the postseason.
Key Matchups: With a pivotal series about to begin in San Diego, the Giants need their bats to come alive. San Francisco has posted a 2-9 record against the San Diego Padres this season, largely courtesy of a .219 batting average in those games. Thursday’s starter, Matt Cain, has certainly suffered. The Giants offense has managed a total of five runs in his three starts against San Diego. So who might step up Thursday? Jose Guillen, who has four hits in his last eight at-bats, might be the man to give San Francisco a spark. He is 9-for-19 in his career against Jon Garland, though it’s been two years since they met.
• After snapping their three-game losing streak on Wednesday, the Atlanta Braves host the Cardinals in a matchup of faltering contenders. Adam Wainwright has had a great deal of success against the team that drafted him 10 years ago. He is a perfect 5-0 in five starts against Atlanta, having never allowed more than three earned runs. Derrek Lee, hitting .400 in his last five games, has only four hits in his last 26 at-bats against Wainwright.
Trivia Answer: Ned Yost, who took over as Kansas City Royals manager in May, has managed 1,063 games in the majors, but never brought his team to the postseason. Of course, part of the reason for that was his 2008 season in Milwaukee. Yost was fired with 12 games to go and his team tied for the Wild Card lead. Dale Sveum took over and the Milwaukee Brewers went just 7-5 but made the postseason.