Stats & Info: Austin Jackson

Tigers maneuver through ALCS win

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
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The Detroit Tigers evened the ALCS with the Boston Red Sox with an offensive outburst previously unseen in this series.

It was a game in which the pitcher with a really good breaking ball pitched very well and one in which the pitcher with an uncontrollable breaking ball got hit hard.

The lineup changes work out fine
Tigers manager Jim Leyland juggled his lineup, putting Torii Hunter in the leadoff spot, Miguel Cabrera second, and Austin Jackson eighth.

Each of the three had two RBIs in the win.

Hunter had an RBI as a leadoff hitter for the first time since the 1999 season. It was the first time in his career that he had multiple RBIs when hitting leadoff.

Cabrera broke a tie with Hank Greenberg for sole possession of the Tigers’ postseason RBIs lead (he has 24, two more than Greenberg).

He also had his first stolen base since July 7. It was only the third time in his career that he batted in the No. 2 spot, the first time since June 2004.

Jackson was 2-for-2 with two walks. He was 3-for-33 with two walks in his first eight games this postseason.

This was the fourth time in Tigers history that they had at least three players with multiple RBI in the same postseason game. They previously did so in the 1940 World Series against the Reds, the 1968 World Series against the Cardinals and the 2006 ALDS against the Yankees.

Fister solid again
Tigers starter Doug Fister allowed one run in six innings to earn the win.

This was a game in which Fister had his good 12-to-6 curveball working and that proved to be a difference-maker.

Fister threw 27 pitches with two strikes, 16 of which were curveballs. It was the most often he’s thrown a two-strike curve in any start in his career.

The Red Sox went 1-for-8 against his hook in those situations, with four strikeouts.

Fister’s effort lowered his postseason ERA to 2.06 in seven career starts.

Peavy’s ugly outing
Jake Peavy became the first pitcher in Red Sox postseason history to allow seven runs in three or fewer innings of work.

Peavy had all sorts of trouble throwing strikes. His 54 percent strike rate was his third-worst in any game of his career, his worst since a 33-pitch start while pitching on an injured ankle against the Phillies in 2009.

Peavy’s breaking ball was what did him in. He threw only 10 of 25 curves and sliders for strikes. The Tigers got three hits against his slider, including Hunter’s two-run double.

Peavy has a 10.31 career postseason ERA in four appearances, all starts.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that is the highest postseason ERA for a pitcher in his first four appearances (with all of those appearances being starts).

The previous high was 8.15 by Charlie Root, who is best known as the pitcher against whom Babe Ruth hit his "called shot" home run in the 1932 World Series.

Top stats to know: Detroit Tigers

March, 8, 2013
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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesMiguel Cabrera became the 1st Triple Crown winner in baseball since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.


The Detroit Tigers started slow in 2012, posting a 26-32 record before finishing the year with 88 wins and a playoff berth. Their postseason run came to a sudden halt, however, at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. But the most memorable aspect of Detroit's season was the performance of Miguel Cabrera, who claimed the Triple Crown and the AL MVP.

Cabrera finished with 44 HR, 139 RBI and a .330 BA. Over the past 70 years, only two players had reached all three of those in a season: Manny Ramirez in 1999 and Todd Helton in 2001. Before that, other players to compile those numbers: Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Hack Wilson.

Born in Venezuela, Cabrera was the 1st Hispanic player ever to win the Triple Crown and also the 1st Triple Crown winner ever to be born outside of the U.S.

But Detroit will be relying on more than just his stellar play this season. A look at some others who should make an impact:

Austin Jackson

Outfielder Austin Jackson took a big step forward last season, posting an .856 OPS after recording a combined .718 OPS in 2010 and 2011. He's also striking out less frequently, with a strikeout rate of 21.7 percent last season compared to 26.1 in 2010 and 2011 combined.

He's also a considerable asset on defense. Among outfielders since 2010, Jackson's +47 in regards to defensive runs saved is behind only Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward in the majors.

Jackson had an all-around strong season, with a Wins Above Replacement of 5.2. As you can see by the table to the right, that was among the best at his position last year. At just 26 years old, he should be a major contributor for years to come.

Victor Martinez

DH Victor Martinez missed the entire 2012 season recovering from a knee injury, and his return this year could come as a huge boost. Martinez had six seasons with a .300 BA and .800 OPS from 2005-11, tied for the most in the majors during that span.

His 720 RBI between 2004 and 2011 also ranked 7th in the American League in that span.

Porcello tries to get 'right' vs Angels duo

July, 16, 2012
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AP Photo/Nick Wass
Rick Porcello will have to deal with young righties Mike Trout (right) and Mark Trumbo when the Tigers host the Angels on Monday Night Baseball.
Rick Porcello makes his first start after the All-Star break when the Detroit Tigers host the Los Angeles Angels on Monday Night Baseball (ESPN, 7 ET). He’s 3-1 lifetime against the Angels, but his 5.97 ERA is his highest against any team he’s faced at least five times.

He’ll be facing an Angels offense that has gotten nearly 75 percent of its plate appearances from right-handed hitters this season. That won’t do Porcello much good -- his platoon splits are nearly even across the board.

His defense may not be much help either -- his BABIP is a career-high .354 this season. The Tigers defense allows a .315 batting average on balls in play this season, fourth-worst in the majors.

As a result, his WHIP is at a career-high 1.57 this season, the third straight season it’s increased. The last thing the Tigers need is more baserunners in this game. They’ve allowed 73 stolen bases, tied for fourth-most in the big leagues, and the Angels have 70 steals, tied for the third-best total in baseball.

Two of the righties he’ll have to deal with are young All-Stars Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. Those two are carrying an offense that’s fourth in the league in hitting. In 631 plate appearances, they’ve combined for 8.0 Wins Above Replacement. That’s nearly the same total the rest of the team’s offense has managed (8.2) in more than four times as many plate appearances.

Trout has been a true difference maker -- with him in the lineup, the Angels have a .606 winning percentage (40-26), but just a .391 mark (9-14) without him. They’re scoring a half-run more per game when Trout plays and hitting nearly 20 points higher as a team.

Trout has gotten his fair share of attention this season, but a young Tigers outfielder is putting up some similar numbers with much less fanfare.

Austin Jackson and Trout are in the top 10 among AL outfielders in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and runs scored.

Despite not being called up until the end of April, Trout leads all AL players in Wins Above Replacement and Jackson is fifth among position players.

Both players put pressure on opposing defenses, ranking 1-2 among AL outfielders in BABIP.

Jackson will be facing Ervin Santana, who has seen things go downhill since his one-hit shutout on June 16.

His last time out was the first time he started a game and didn’t record a strikeout since August 28, 2007, snapping a streak of 141 straight starts with a strikeout.

What’s behind Santana’s struggles this season? His groundball rates are improved and his linedrive rate has gone down, but the numbers he has the most control over are down -- a recipe for disaster.

He’s struggled against lefties, something opposing managers have tried to exploit. He’s had the platoon advantage -- facing a right-handed hitter -- in only 42 percent of his plate appearances, the lowest of his career and the sixth straight season that rate has declined.

Nationals walk off with wild win over Reds

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
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Most frequent pitch locations for Gio Gonzalez vs Reds on Thursday.
Click here to create your own Gonzalez heat maps
Don’t look now, but the Washington Nationals have zoomed to the top of the NL East following their 3-2, extra-inning win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday afternoon.

The Nationals improved to 5-2, their best start since moving to Washington, and also win their first home opener since 2008. This is just the second time in the last 15 seasons the franchise has won five of its first seven games. In 2001, the Montreal Expos were 6-1 after seven games.

The Nats took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning but Brad Lidge blew the save, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks. Lidge had allowed just one run over his previous 16 appearances dating to August of last year.

The Nationals won it in the 10th inning thanks to a wild outing by Reds reliever Alfredo Simon. Simon hit Ryan Zimmerman to lead off the inning and Zimmerman eventually came around to score four batters later on Simon’s wild pitch with Roger Bernadina at the plate.

This was the Nationals’ fifth win on a game-ending wild pitch since moving to Washington in 2005. Entering Thursday, the Nats had lost their last six extra-inning games against the Reds and were 0-5 in one-run games versus Cincinnati over the last two season.

Gio Gonzalez got a no-decision but deserved the win, tossing seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and just two hits allowed.

Gonzalez had success going low as Reds hitters went 0-for-11 in at-bats ending with pitches down in the zone or below. Gonzalez also did a good job finishing off batters, allowing zero hits in 13 at-bats that reached a two-strike count.

Around The Diamond
• The Minnesota Twins came back from a six-run deficit against the Los Angeles Angels thanks to home runs from both Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. It was the first time that Morneau and Mauer homered in the same game since July 6, 2010.

Matt Garza
Garza
• Matt Garza fell one out short of a shutout when he was pulled after 119 pitches in the ninth inning of the Chicago Cubs 8-0 win. Garza had his slider working, throwing 31 of them, as the Milwaukee Brewers were hitless including five strikeouts in nine at-bats ending with the pitch.

• The Detroit Tigers improved to 5-1 this season with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Austin Jackson scored a run and has now crossed home plate in all six games this season, the longest streak to start the season by a Tiger since Darrell Evans scored in the first eight games in 1986.

• Madison Bumgarner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning as the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 4-2. Bumgarner recorded a career-high 14 ground-ball outs (including a double play) with eight of them coming in at-bats ending in sliders.

Tigers continue Game 3 success

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
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The Detroit Tigers won for the seventh time in their last nine postseason home games to cut their ALCS deficit against the Texas Rangers to two games to one.

The Tigers tied a team single-game postseason record with three home runs. They hadn’t hit that many home runs in a postseason game since Game 5 of the 1984 World Series. Victor Martinez (fourth career postseason homer), Jhonny Peralta (third career LCS home run) and Miguel Cabrera (sixth career postseason home run) all found the seats for the home team.

The Tigers have won eight of their last nine Game 3s, and are 5-0 all-time in Game 3 of the ALCS. They went on to win two of the previous four series, but they lost both series when they won Game 3 after losing the first two games of the series.

Colby Lewis entered the game with a 4-0 record in five postseason starts and hadn’t allowed more than two runs in a game. The Tigers handed Lewis his first postseason loss, as he allowed a postseason career high in runs (4) and hits (8).

Austin Jackson entered the game with three hits in 25 postseason at-bats. He went 3-for-5, matching the most by a Tigers centerfielder in a postseason game. The others were Hall of Famer Sam Crawford (twice), Doc Cramer (twice) and Curtis Granderson.

Yorvit Torrealba had just three at-bats in the Rangers first six postseason games, but replaced Mike Napoli behind the plate Tuesday. He became the first catcher to get three hits without recording an out in a postseason game since A.J. Pierzynski in 2005.

Doug Fister went 7⅓ innings to pick up his second win of the postseason. That’s an average day at the park for Fister. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he pitched at least seven innings and allowed two-or-fewer runs in seven of the 10 starts he made for the Tigers during the regular season after making his debut with the team on August 3rd.

The Tigers still have a tough road to climb. Only 13 of 71 teams that lost the first two games in a best-of-seven series have come back to win the series.

AP Photo/Mike Carlson
Coly Lewis is 4-0 in five career postseason starts over the last two postseasons. Only four other pitchers to debut in the last 80 years have gone 5-0 in their first six postseason starts.

The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers play Game 3 of the ALCS Tuesday night, with the Rangers leading the series 2-0. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, entering this year, teams up 2-0 in a best-of-seven postseason series have won 58 of the 71 series.

Inside the Series
Texas has won seven of its last nine road postseason games overall, and has won each of its last three Game 3’s. All-time, the Rangers are 6-2 in LCS games. Detroit has won seven of its last eight Game 3’s and in LCS Game 3’s, they are 4-0 (all four of those games were at home, too). Overall, the Tigers have won six of their last eight home postseason games.

On the Mound
Colby Lewis is scheduled to start for the Rangers. Lewis is 4-0 in five starts over the last two postseasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, among pitchers to debut in the last 80 years, only four – Juan Guzman, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hernandez and Cliff Lee – have gone 5-0 over their first six career starts in the postseason.

Lewis has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his first five career postseason starts. That’s tied for the second-longest streak to begin a postseason career, behind only the six starts of Sandy Koufax.

Against Detroit, Lewis is 2-2 with a 7.48 in six games (five starts) in his career. However, Lewis struggled with the Tigers this season, going 0-1 with a 15.95 ERA in two starts. One player Lewis has struggled with, especially this year, is Alex Avila, who is hitting .333 (3-for-9) in his career against the righty. Two of Avila’s three hits against Lewis are home runs, with both coming this season.

For Detroit, Doug Fister takes the mound for his second career postseason start. In his first start (Game 5 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees), Fister allowed only one earned run in five innings. Fister is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in two starts against the Rangers this season.

Players to Watch
The Rangers bullpen has not allowed a run in the ALCS so far. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Texas’s relievers combined for 12⅔ scoreless innings in its first two games against Detroit. No team has ever combined for more relief innings in the first two games of a postseason series without allowing a run. The previous best mark for a team’s bullpen had been the 1984 San Diego Padres, whose relievers pitched 12⅓ innings in the first two games of the 1984 World Series, which coincidentally was also against the Tigers.

For Detroit, Austin Jackson has struggled to begin his postseason career, striking out 14 times in 25 career at-bats. The only players with more K’s in their first 25 career at-bats are Reggie Sanders (17) and Darryl Strawberry (15).
Asdrubal Cabrera
Cabrera

The Cleveland Indians' Asdrubal Cabrera entered this season with 18 home runs in 387 career games.

Following his two-HR game on Monday against the Boston Red Sox, Cabrera now has 19 this season.

His second home run came in the eighth inning off Daniel Bard, who had not allowed a run in his last 25 appearances (26.1 innings). The last time Bard gave up a run was May 23 -- an RBI double by Cabrera that gave Cleveland a 3-2 lead and eventual win.

That second home run traveled a distance of just 320 feet, making it the shortest homer hit in 2011. The previous shortest home run was 323 by Sam Fuld of the Tampa Bay Rays back on April 11.

Cabrera also became the first Indians shortstop in 60 years to hit two home runs in one game at Fenway Park. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that had last been done in July 1951 by Ray Boone, whose grandson, Aaron, was part of ESPN’s broadcasting crew for Monday night’s game.

And while Indians' Josh Tomlin didn't pitch great (10 hits, five earned runs), he did go six innings. Tomlin now has pitched at least five innings in each of his first 34 starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only pitchers who debuted in 1900 or later with longer such streaks than Tomlin are Oscar Jones (51 straight starts from 1903-04) and George Winter (37, 1901-02).

AROUND THE REST OF MLB

Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against CC Sabathia, and now is hitting .039 this season against left-handed pitchers. Dunn has 18 games with at least three strikeouts this season twice as many more as Austin Jackson and Ryan Raburn of the Detroit Tigers have for second most.

Joey Votto’s double in the third inning on Monday night gave him an extra-base hit in each of his last 11 games at Minute Maid Park. The Elias Sports Bureau tells that in modern major-league history (that is, since 1900), only two other visiting players produced an extra-base hit in at least 11 consecutive games at a particular park: Jimmie Foxx in 12 straight games at Sportsman’s Park, over 1939 and 1940, and Jeff Bagwell at Candlestick (3Com) Park, from 1993 to 1995.

Derrek Lee hit two home runs in his Pirates debut on Monday night, but that was the extent of Pittsburgh’s scoring in a 5-3 loss to the Cubs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lee is only the second player in Pirates' history to belt two home runs in his first game with the team. The other was Shawon Dunston in September 1997, after he was traded, coincidentally, by the Cubs.
Today’s Trivia: Want to feel old? Los Angeles Angels starter Tyler Chatwood was born 16 days too soon to be the first pitcher born in the 1990s. Who was the first pitcher born in the 1980s to appear in an MLB game?

Quick Hits: Let’s take a look at some surprising league leaders so far this season.

• Howie Kendrick leads the majors with five HRs off of left-handed pitchers. That’s three more than he had last season.

Sean Rodriguez
Rodriguez
• Your MLB leader in triples? Sean Rodriguez with three. Though he’s hitting just .206, six of his seven hits this season have been for extra bases.

• Jonny Gomes leads the league with five home runs in day games, one more than he had last season.

• Juan Pierre has been caught stealing five times already. The last time an AL player was caught more in April? 1988, when both Rickey Henderson and Mark McLemore were caught six times.

• Billy Butler has already been intentionally walked five times, just three shy of his career high. Over the past 50 years, the most intentional walks for an AL player in April is seven (Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993 and Travis Hafner in 2007).

• Teammates Ryan Raburn (25) and Austin Jackson (24) have struck out more than any other hitters. Combined, those two have more strikeouts than 22 of the other 29 outfields in baseball.

A.J. Burnett
Burnett
• A.J. Burnett already has six wild pitches. Over the past 50 years, only three AL pitchers have had more in April: Ricky Romero in 2010, Jaime Navarro in 1997 and Bobby Witt in 1986.

• Clay Buchholz has allowed six home runs, after allowing seven all last season. But that’s not even the more surprising number in the AL. Erik Bedard’s seven home runs allowed are the most in the majors. He’s never allowed more than 19 in a season.

• David Price has already hit four batters, most in the majors and one shy of his career high.

• Brad Thomas has pitched just 6 2/3 innings, but has still allowed the most sac flies this season (5).

Trivia Answer: In April 2001, CC Sabathia became the first pitcher born in the 1980s to appear in a game.
Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz was named American League Rookie of the Year Tuesday. That makes it back-to-back years in which the AL Rookie of the Year is a relief pitcher.

Neftali Feliz
Feliz
Feliz finished third in the AL with 40 saves, setting the major league record for saves by a rookie. He tied for the fourth-most saves in a season in Rangers history and more than doubled the Baltimore Orioles’ Alfredo Simon, who was the next closest AL rookie with 17.

Feliz is the second Ranger to win the award, joining Mike Hargrove, who won it playing first base in 1974.

Detroit Tigers centerfielder Austin Jackson, who finished second, led AL rookies with 27 stolen bases and was second with a .293 batting average. He also played great defense, including a spectacular catch in the ninth inning of Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game.

Plus-Minus measures a fielder’s ability to turn batted balls into outs, comparing how he fared to others at his position. No outfielder had a better rating in 2010 than Jackson did. He rated a +18, meaning that had Jackson and an average major league centerfielder been hit the same balls to the same spots, Jackson would have made 18 more plays.

Jackson does join a pretty good list of AL rookies to score 100 runs and steal 20 bases since 1980. But Jackson struck out 170 times, the fourth-highest single-season total ever for a rookie.

The only rookie to hit for a higher average was Minnesota Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, who finished third in the voting. Valencia hit .311 in 85 games this season, and according to Baseball Reference, finished fifth in the league in fielding percentage at his position.

With Buster Posey winning in the National League, the Rookies of the Year faced each other in the World Series for just the third time in baseball history. In 1981, the New York Yankees and Dave Righetti faced Fernando Valenzuela and the Los Angeles Dodgers. And in 1951, Gil McDougald and the Yankees faced the New York Giants and Willie Mays.
Today’s Trivia: With all the talk of Triple Crown races, Rodrigo Lopez’s chase is flying under the radar. He’s allowed the most home runs (32) and runs (111) of any pitcher in the majors, while opponents are hitting .287 against him (ninth worst). Who was the last pitcher to achieve the MLB Triple Frown - being worst in the majors all three categories?

GONZALEZQuick Hits: Over his last nine games, Carlos Gonzalez is hitting .515 with five home runs, 13 runs batted in and 12 extra-base hits. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that nine-game stretch has only been equaled by three players over the last 40 years. Gonzalez is so hot he can just step up to the plate and get a hit. Consider this great note from Kenny Kendrena of Inside Edge: Gonzalez went 3-for-4 Wednesday night while seeing only five pitches. Elvis Andrus is the only other player in 2010 to pick up three hits on a night where he saw only five pitches. Here are some other fun notes on pitches seen via STATS LLC and Inside Edge:
• If Gonzalez and Andrus represent the successful end of the one-pitch spectrum, Alex Avila stands on the opposite side. On August 4, he went 0-for-3 on three pitches including a GIDP.

Vernon Wells leads the majors with 111 at-bats lasting only one pitch. He won’t reach Lance Johnson status though. In 1995 and 1996, Johnson had 168 AB ending on the first pitch, most of any player over the last 20 years.

• On the flip side is Daric Barton, who has seen 125 full counts this season. He has 50 walks compared to 20 strikeouts.

Rickie Weeks has been hit by the first pitch six times. That’s the most in the majors, but still just half of Craig Biggio’s total of 12.

Austin Jackson has seen 10 of his plate appearances last 10 pitches or more. That’s one more than Ichiro Suzuki for most in the majors. Amazingly for a player with 139 K, only one of those plate appearances ended in a strikeout.

• The league batting average is .259. But on a 0-0 count it jumps to .334 thanks in part to the impossibility of striking out. Just don’t tell that to Tigers rookies Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes. They are a combined 0-for-31 in one-pitch at-bats.

• How about Chris Snyder? He’s hitting .722 (13-for-18) on the first pitch, and just .181 on at-bats that go beyond a 0-0 count.

Mike Pelfrey has suffered through the most 10-pitch plate appearances with 10.

Jose Mijares has held opponents hitless in 17 full-count at-bats, issuing only two walks. Contrast that with Dustin Nippert, against whom hitters are 14-for-23 (.609) in full counts. They are hitting just .267 in all other counts.

Today’s Leaderboard: Skip Schumaker has 19 home runs, but enters September having never homered in that month. His 297 plate appearances without a homer in September are the most of any active player. Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa can probably sympathize. He never hit a home run in 1,566 September plate appearances.

Key Matchups: There are 102 players who have faced Johan Santana at least 20 times. With a .533 batting average against the Mets ace, no one can top Matt Diaz’s success. He has a hit in all 10 games in which he’s faced Santana, and is 16-for-30 overall. But is it possible Johan finally figured him out? He fanned Diaz in each of their last two meetings, after having done so just once in the first 29.

On the other side of that Braves-Mets matchup, we have David Wright and Tim Hudson. Wright has struck out about once every five at-bats over the course of his career. This season, it’s a career-worst one per 3.5 AB. The strikeouts haven’t been a problem against Hudson though. In 49 at-bats, he has just three strikeouts – or one per 16.3 AB. Hudson last struck him out in 2007. That’s not to say Wright’s had success against Hudson. He’s just a .204 hitter with only one extra-base hit against Hudson.

Trivia Answer: In 2000, Jose Lima allowed 48 home runs and 152 runs, while opponents hit .313. All three were worst in the majors, giving him the most recent Triple Frown.
In the 8th inning of the San Diego Padres loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, Matt Stairs hit his 21st career pinch-hit HR to establish an MLB record. Stairs previously shared the record with Cliff Johnson.

Jed Lowrie won it for the Boston Red Sox with a walk-off HR in the 11th inning against the Toronto Blue Jays. It is Lowrie's first career walk-off HR and the first walk-off HR for the Red Sox this season. The Red Sox entered the game as one of just six MLB teams without a walk-off HR this season. Lowrie now has three HR this season, all in his last five games.

The Kansas City Royals take Game One of their doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox on the strength of Yuniesky Betancourt's fifth career walk-off hit in the 11th inning. The Royals trailed 5-1 before Betancourt's grand slam tied it in the 7th inning. Betancourt has three grand slams this season, which matches a Royals single-season record and is tied for the most in MLB this season with Alex Rodriguez.

The Washington Nationals defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 8-1 at Citizens Bank Park. The Bank has a reputation as a hitter's haven, but the Phillies have now scored fewer than 2 runs at home 16 times this season. That is more than any other National League team and the most such games the Phillies have ever had since the park opened in 2004.

Stephen Strasburg left the game in the fifth inning with a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm. He will undergo an MRI on Sunday. If this is his last appearance of the season, his rate of 12.18 K per 9 IP would be pretty historic. Among rookies with at least 10 starts, only Kerry Wood (in 1998) struck batters out at a higher clip.

The New York Mets defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-1, in a rain-shortened game. This might sound insignificant. However, with the win the Mets clinch their FIRST road series win against an NL opponent all season! The Mets are the only team in MLB with 2 rain-shortened wins this season.

The Cardinals snap their five-game losing streak and hand Tim Lincecum his fourth straight loss. Lincecum allowed six hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings to fall to 0-4 with an 8.38 ERA this month. It's his first career loss to the Cardinals and the first time he's allowed 4+ ER in three straight starts. His eight losses this season are a career high and he's lost four straight starts for the first time in his career.

Brennan Boesch got his 100th hit of the season in the Detroit Tigers win over the Cleveland Indians. He and Austin Jackson are the first pair of Tigers rookies with 100+ hits in a season since Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell in 1978.



Sabathia has Whitey Ford in his sights

August, 17, 2010
8/17/10
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• The Detroit Tigers’ Austin Jackson hit a leadoff home run on the first pitch that CC Sabathia threw. It was the seventh leadoff HR allowed by Sabathia in his career and the first since 2007. However, it's the first time Sabathia has allowed a HR on the first pitch of the game.

• Sabathia (7 IP, 2 ER) extends his streak of pitching more than six innings and allowing three earned runs or fewer to 15 starts, the longest streak by a Yankee since Ron Guidry (also 15) in 1978.

• From the Elias Sports Bureau: Sabathia is now undefeated in his last 19 home starts. That’s tied for the second-longest streak without a loss at home by a Yankees starter in franchise history.

• The Minnesota Twins' Jim Thome hit a walk-off HR in the 10th inning to give the Twins a 7-6 win. It was his 12th career walk-off, which is tied for the most in major league history. The other players with a dozen walk-offs: Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Babe Ruth.

• The Tampa Bay Rays roughed up Texas Rangers starting pitcher Tommy Hunter early on Tuesday. In the 1st inning, the Rays scored three runs on three extra-base hits and drew two walks. In his previous 13 starts, Hunter had allowed just one run and three extra-base hits, holding opponents to a .156 batting average. Tuesday was also the third time in his last four starts that Hunter lasted just three innings.

• The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Torii Hunter robbed the Boston Red Sox’s Adrian Beltre of a home run in right field in the 2nd inning. According to Baseball Info Solutions, Hunter led the majors with five home run robberies from 2007 to 2009. This was his first of 2010.

• Ryan Kalish is the second Boston Red Sox rookie to hit a grand slam this season (Daniel Nava being the other). Boston is the first team since the 2008 Texas Rangers (Taylor Teagarden, David Murphy) with two rookies to hit a grand slam. The last time the Red Sox had two rookies hit a grand slam in the same season was 1992: John Valentin and Bob Zupcic.

• Paul Konerko hit his 30th home run, his sixth 30-HR season of his career (all with the Chicago White Sox). Only Frank Thomas (8) has more 30-HR seasons in franchise history.

• Jose Guillen hit his first home run as a member of the San Francisco Giants. Guillen now has hit a home run with 10 different teams (Pirates, Devil Rays, Diamondbacks, Reds, Athletics, Angels, Nationals, Mariners, Royals and Giants). Among active players, only the San Diego Padres’ Matt Stairs has hit a HR with more different teams (11).

• The San Diego Padres blanked the Chicago Cubs, 1-0. It’s their fifth 1-0 win of the season, matching the Dodgers for the most this season. As for the Cubs, they lose a 1-0 game for the first time since June 16, 2007 … against the Padres.
Two of the best young arms from the Sunshine State were bright on Thursday afternoon. Anibal Sanchez shook off his recent struggles to one-hit the Giants in a 5-0 Marlins win. David Price countered with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings as the Rays beat the Tigers, 4-2.

The two young hurlers were both very effective, doing so with a different arsenal of pitches.

How Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez one-hit the Giants:
" Threw 40 sliders out of 118 pitches (33.9 percent; second-highest this season); set season highs with 12 outs recorded, eight swinging strikes and six strikeouts.
" Despite season-low 11 first-pitch strikes (41.4 percent), threw 72.2 percent strikes when behind in the count and induced six groundball outs (seven total) when behind.
" Threw nearly a third of his pitches (30.5 percent) in the down-and-away zone, which yielded eight of his 14 swinging strikes and four of eight strikeouts; hitters were 0-10 in this zone and are 2-27 over his last six starts.

How Rays starter David Price defeated the Tigers for his 14th win:

" Dominated with fastball: Threw 98 of them out of 115 total pitches (85.2 percent), the second-highest rate of the season. Four of the Tigers' big hitters (Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Brennan Boesch) saw 53 fastballs and only five off-speed pitches between them.
" Threw 43 pitches on the outside edge of the plate, including 38 fastballs. Detroit hitters missed with 32.8 percent of all swings (a season-high for Price's opponents) and 30 percent against fastballs away.
" Went to only four 2-0 counts, and no 3-0 counts, the entire game. The Tigers managed only two singles with two strikes against them, and were 1-for-11 with runners on base.

1st pitch: Does Pujols have a weakness?

May, 11, 2010
5/11/10
2:35
PM ET
Today’s Trivia: The Braves announced that they will retire Tom Glavine’s No. 47 later this season. It will be the highest number retired by the Braves. Who owns the highest retired uniform number in the majors?

Quick Hits: Don’t look now, but Albert Pujols has a weakness. He’s batting just .172 against lefties this season, 12th worst in the majors by a right-handed hitter. Here’s a look at a few other righties struggling to hit their left-handed opponents.

* Matt LaPorta is batting .077 (2-26) against lefties this season, worst in the majors among right handers.

* Matt Kemp is batting .278 against lefties, well below his career average of .351. He also has just one extra-base hit, a double, in 39 plate appearances.

* Dustin Pedroia is batting .235 against lefties. His BA vs lefties has declined in each of his four full years in the majors - .348/.313/.277/.235.

* Austin Jackson, who is second in the AL in hitting, is batting just .143. All four of his hits against lefties have been singles.

* Alex Gonzalez has struck out 14 times in 35 plate appearances against lefties.

Today’s Leaderboard: Brad Penny, who starts tonight against the Astros, is off to one of the best starts of his career. A key reason for his early-season success has been keeping his pitch count down. Penny ranks among the league leaders in fewest pitches per inning.

Key Matchups: Manny Ramirez is a career .536 hitter against Dan Haren, who he’s scheduled to face tonight, and has taken him deep three times. Lately though, Haren has shied away from facing Ramirez. Haren has walked Ramirez in two of their last four meetings.

Prince Fielder continues to struggle to find his power stroke and it likely won’t end tonight. In his career against Tim Hudson, Fielder has just four hits in 17 at bats – all of them singles.

Trivia Answer: Carlton Fisk’s No. 72 is retired by the White Sox. The highest retired number – uniform or otherwise – is the Indians’ No. 455. It was dedicated to the fans to commemorate their 455 consecutive sellouts.

1st Pitch: A look at some unlikely leaders

May, 5, 2010
5/05/10
1:28
PM ET
Today’s Trivia: Who hit the most home runs for the Tigers during Ernie Harwell’s tenure with the team?

Quick Hits: Rod Barajas has four homers in his last four games and leads all catchers with seven home runs this season. Here’s a look at a few other unlikely players leading their position in a category:

* Alex Gonzalez leads all shortstops with 8 home runs
* Jose Guillen leads all DHs in homers (2) and RBI (21)
* No surprise that Juan Pierre leads a position in stolen bases, but who would’ve guessed that position would be DH? He has four stolen bases as a DH this year
* Austin Jackson leads all outfielders in multi-hit games with 14
* John Buck leads all catchers with 13 extra-base hits
* David Freese leads all third basemen with a .455 BA with RISP
* Adam LaRoche leads first basemen with a .400 BA against lefties
* Nate Schierholtz leads all outfielders with a .423 BA in the 7th inning or later

Today’s Leaderboard: Tigers rookie Austin Jackson is currently batting .376 and ranks among the major league leaders. While it’s an impressive start, it would seem unlikely that he’ll keep up that pace. Why? Jackson’s batting average on balls in play is .524 this season. The major league average is an even .300.

Key Matchups: It looks promising for Andy Pettitte to continue his hot start against the Orioles today. A number of Orioles have struggled against Pettitte including Miguel Tejada (5-25), Luke Scott (2-12), Ty Wigginton (2-21) and Nolan Reimold (0-8).

It’s been all or nothing for Carlos Pena in his career against Cliff Lee. Pena has 3 career homers against Lee, but has just 2 other hits in 22 at bats. His .227 career average against Lee isn’t nearly the worst among his teammates however. Carl Crawford (3-18), Evan Longoria (1-7) and Dioner Navarro (0-10) are among other Rays who have struggled.

Trivia Answer: Norm Cash, 373 home runs. Cash began his career in Detroit the same year as Harwell, in 1960, after being acquired in a trade from the Indians. Trailing Cash on the list are Al Kaline (274 HR) and Willie Horton (262).

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