Stats & Info: Barry Bonds

Top stats to know: Hall of Fame candidates

January, 7, 2014
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The Baseball Hall of Fame will be announcing the results of this year’s election on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. Here are the top statistical storylines.

• Though no players were elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) in 2013, multiple are expected to be inducted this year. The most notable newcomers are Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. The last time the BBWAA elected at least three players was in 1999 when George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount were selected.

• Maddux ranks in the Top 10 all-time in both wins and strikeouts and is a four-time Cy Young Award winner (tied for third-most all-time) and league ERA champ.

He holds the record for most Gold Gloves won for fielding excellence with 18. Maddux is expected to challenge Tom Seaver’s record (98.84 percent) for highest percentage of the vote received.

• Glavine, a teammate of Maddux’s from 1993 to 2003, was a five-time 20-game winner who won Cy Young Awards in 1991 and 1998. He is the fourth-winningest left-handed pitcher in major-league history with 305 wins. Glavine also has a signature postseason moment- eight scoreless innings of one-hit ball in the clinching game of the 1995 World Series (a series in which he won MVP honors).

• Thomas finished his career with 2,468 hits and 521 home runs, the latter of which ranks tied for 18th all-time. He won back-to-back AL MVPs in 1993 and 1994. Thomas ranks as the White Sox's all-time leader in home runs (448), RBIs (1,465) and OPS (.995).

Thomas was a discerning hitter—he’s one of five players with at least 500 home runs, 1,700 RBI and 1,500 walks, along with Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Mel Ott and Babe Ruth.

• The top returning vote getters from last year’s election are Craig Biggio, who garnered 68 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot and Jack Morris, who got nearly 67 percent of the vote in his 14th try.

Biggio is one of four players to finish his career with at least 2,500 hits, 250 home runs and 400 home runs. The others are Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson and Joe Morgan.

Morris was the winningest pitcher of the 1980s (162 victories) and finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting five times. His 3.90 career ERA would be the highest for any pitcher in the Hall of Fame. Morris is best remembered for his 10 scoreless innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, one of four World Series that Morris won. He is the last pitcher to pitch at least 10 innings in a postseason game.

• Neither Barry Bonds nor Roger Clemens is expected to be elected. Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run leader, received 36 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot last year. Clemens, who ranks third all-time in strikeouts and ninth all-time in wins, received nearly 38 percent of the vote (slightly more than half of what is needed for election).

Bonds, Clemens head Hall of Fame shutout

January, 9, 2013
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US Presswire
Barry Bonds (left) and Roger Clemens (right) fell short of induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers Association of America failed to elect a player to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. There were 37 players on the ballot, including 24 first-timers.

Craig Biggio was the highest vote-getter in his first appearance on the ballot, getting 388 of the 569 votes (68.2 percent). He fell just 39 votes shy of induction.

Two-time MVP winner Dale Murphy, in his 15th and final year on the ballot, received just 18.6 percent of the votes. Five-time All-Star Jack Morris, who finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting five times and famously threw a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, received 67.7 percent of the vote in his 14th season. He must get at least 75 percent of the vote next year or he’ll drop off the ballot.

Seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens, owner of 354 career wins, received just 37.6 percent of the votes, eighth-most among all players on this ballot. Among players voted on after retirement, only four members of the 300-win club received a lower percentage of the vote in their first year on the ballot than Clemens did this year.

Only two pitchers in major-league history -- Cy Young and Walter Johnson -- posted more Wins Above Replacement than Clemens. Young last pitched in 1911 and Johnson last appeared in 1927.

Just behind him on the ballot was seven-time MVP winner Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader, with 36.2 percent of the vote. Like Clemens, only five members of the 500-HR club received a lower percentage of the vote in their first year on the ballot than Bonds, among players voted on after retirement.

While Bonds’ accomplishments may seem inflated given the era in which he played, when his production is neutralized and compared to players of other generations, his greatness holds up. Bonds’ 182 adjusted OPS is the third-best in major-league history, behind only Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Bonds piled up 158.1 Wins Above Replacement in his career and Clemens accumulated 133.1.

Before this year, the most Wins Above Replacement by a player who didn’t make the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot was 91.9. That was Eddie Matthews’ career total and it took him until his fifth year to gain election.

Of the 37 players on the ballot, 17 will carry over to next year by receiving at least five percent of the vote (Murphy was in his 15th and final year on the ballot). But there will be more big names added to the next ballot, like 300-game winners Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and MVP winners Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent.

One season, one month, two cycles for Hill

June, 30, 2012
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Benny Sieu/US PresswireAaron Hill became the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle twice in the same season.
Barry Bonds, Tony Gwynn, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are among the great hitters who never did it even once in their careers.

Aaron Hill now has hit a cycle twice in 12 days.

He's the first player with two cycles in the same season since Babe Herman in 1931.

Hill is the fourth player in Major League Baseball history with two cycles in the same season, joining Herman (1931 Brooklyn Robins), Tip O'Neill (1887 St. Louis Browns) and John Reilly (1883 Cincinnati Red Stockings).

Hill, whose previous cycle was June 18, is the second player in MLB history with two cycles in the same calendar month and the first since Reilly in September 1883.

The concept that Reilly accomplished this feat in 1883 and nobody else did for almost 129 years is incredible. It’s a rare gap between feats.

Let’s consider what was happening in the United States back in 1883:

• The president was Chester A. Arthur and there was no vice president.

• There were only 38 states.

• Basketball hadn’t been invented yet.

• The Brooklyn Bridge opened to traffic in May.

• The first Metropolitan Opera House opened in October.

• The past 12 presidents weren’t even born yet, including Harry S. Truman, who was born in 1884.

• Airplanes had not yet been invented.

Hill now has as many cycles in the past 12 days as the entire Toronto Blue Jays franchise (his former team). He has more cycles in the past 12 days than the Tampa Bay Rays (1), San Diego Padres (0) and Miami Marlins (0) franchises combined.

How did Hill hit for the cycle Friday?

• In the first inning, he hit a ground-rule double off a fastball, his eighth double against a fastball this season.

• In the third inning, he singled to center off a slider. He was hitting .267 against sliders going into the game.

• In the fourth inning, he homered to left field off a curveball, his first home run off a curveball since June 19, 2011.

• In the sixth inning, he tripled to center field off a slider.

Hill is hitting .465 in his past 10 games with four home runs, 11 RBIs and a .953 slugging percentage. Eleven of his 20 hits are extra-base hits during that span.

No player in MLB history has had three cycles in the same season. The Arizona Diamondbacks still have 86 games left, so Hill has a chance to be the first to do so.

AP Photo/Jae C HongAlbert Pujols has five home runs and 10 RBI during the Angels eight-game win streak.
(The Los Angeles Angels host the New York Yankees, Wednesday at 10:05 ET on ESPN.)

There are many reasons we might see a number of home runs Wednesday in Anaheim.

Ivan Nova and Ervin Santana have combined to allow 25 HR this season, and both rank in the top five in the American League in HR allowed per nine innings.

Four Yankees have hit four HR off Santana: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. And, Jeter’s career 1.179 OPS against Santana is the highest of his career against any pitcher he has faced (minimum 50 plate appearances).

For the Angels, recent history says Albert Pujols will go deep. He has hit a home run on May 30 in each of the last five seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to hit a home run in five-or-more consecutive years on a specific date was Lance Berkman, who hit a home run on Sept. 21 in seven straight seasons, 2001-2007.

In 10 games played on this date, Pujols has hit 10 home runs with 17 RBI and has a batting average of .576 (19-33).

According to Elias, the record for most home runs on a single date is 12, shared by Barry Bonds (Aug. 18), Jimmie Foxx (June 8) and Gil Hodges (May 30).

Pujols played his 50th game of the season on Tuesday, and has set or matched career lows through 50 games in most statistical categories (see chart).

Whether it’s coincidence or not, ever since Mickey Hatcher was fired as Angels hitting coach after May 15, Pujols has bounced back. With Hatcher, Pujols was hitting .212 with one home run and a .536 OPS. Since Hatcher’s firing, Pujols has hit .304 with seven HR and an OPS over 1.000

With Pujols rounding into form, the Angels have won a season-high eight straight games and are above .500 for the first time since Opening Day. The Angels have not had a nine-game win streak since 2005, and are looking for their first home sweep of the Yankees since July 2009.

Game 4 has slugfest potential too

October, 23, 2011
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Left: Albert Pujols' power hot zones in 2011
Right: The 3 pitches Pujols hit for HR in Game 3 of the World Series (all were in his hot zones).
Click here to create your own Pujols heat maps and images.

The emphasis in the 2011 World Series shifted from pitching to hitting in Game 3 and the ramifications were such that both teams will have some fatigued relievers in Sunday night’s Game 4.

In the fourth through sixth innings, the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers combined for 17 runs, more than twice as many as were scored in the first two games. They had just five fewer hits over those three frames than in the 18 innings of Games 1 and 2.

This could play a major role not just in this game, but for the rest of the series.

With that in mind, here are a few things to watch for in Game 4

Mound Matchup
The last time Edwin Jackson was on the mound, the Cardinals celebrated a trip to the World Series following their 12-6 win in Game 6 of the NLCS. Jackson, who got just six outs in the game, became a historical footnote as the second starter in major-league history to allow three homers in two innings or fewer in a postseason game.

Two of the three longballs he allowed in that game came on inside pitches to right-handed batters, a spot that has given Jackson trouble all season. Righties are slugging .642 in at-bats ending with a pitch on the inner third of the zone or closer this season, a rate that is nearly 200 points higher than the league average.

The tailing fastball of Rangers starter Derek Holland against right-handed hitters could be worth watching on Sunday night. That pitch was among Holland’s most effective during the regular season. According to the data from Pitch F/X (the pitch-tracking system in major-league ballparks), his fastball averaged 11 inches of “tailing break,” the most among starting pitchers in baseball.

The Tigers were ready for it in Game 4 of the ALCS. Their right-handed hitters got four hits against it, including home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta in the first two innings. That’s as many hits as he allowed on fastballs away to right-handed hitters in his last seven regular-season appearances (spanning 119 pitches).

Pujols and Freese the perfect combo
Albert Pujols and David Freese each have 16 RBI this postseason, marking only the second time in postseason history that two teammates have had at least 16 RBI in a postseason. Three members of the 2002 San Francisco Giants did it- Rich Aurilia (17) Barry Bonds (16), and Benito Santiago (16).

Neither has faced Derek Holland in a major league game. But Pujols is 8-for-17 against left-handed pitching this postseason, including his home runs against Mike Gonzalez and Darren Oliver. Freese has been all-or-nothing against lefties. He’s 6-for-15, but with seven strikeouts.

Cruz Control Nelson Cruz is 2-for-10 in the World Series with a home run, but the Cardinals have done their best to limit his damage. He’s whiffed four times in the three games, twice on pitches at the very top of the strike zone, twice on pitches down around his toes.

The Cardinals approach has been virtually the opposite of how the Tigers pitched to Cruz in the ALCS. In that six-game series, Tigers right-handed pitchers threw Cruz 40 pitches (out of 90 total) on the inner-third of the plate, or that missed inside.

In the three World Series games, Cruz has seen 38 pitches from right-handers. Only four have been inner-third or missed inside.

Matt Kemp zeroes in on Triple Crown

September, 23, 2011
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Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Not only is Matt Kemp on the verge of winning the first Triple Crown since 1967, but he has a chance to become only the fifth 40-40 member (home runs and stolen bases) in baseball history.

Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp has thrust himself into the Triple Crown race by his recent hot hitting, batting .600 (15-for-25) with four doubles, three HR and eight RBI over his last six games. Kemp is trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski (.326 BA, 44 HR, 121 RBI) won it as a member of the Boston Red Sox in 1967. If he does win it, Kemp would be the first Triple Crown winner from a National League team since Joe Medwick of the 1937 St. Louis Cardinals.

To win the Triple Crown, a player must lead his league in batting average, home runs, and RBI. Kemp leads the NL in RBI (118) and is closing in on the lead in batting average (.326, four points behind Ryan Braun) and home runs (36, one behind Albert Pujols).

How rare is it for a player to be this close, this late in the season, to the Triple Crown? Since Yastrzemski won it in 1967, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kemp is the only player to date to be within five points of the league leader in batting average (or leading), within one HR of the league leader (or leading), and within one RBI of the league leader (or leading), in the last 15 days of the season, let alone the last week of the season.

In addition to the Triple Crown, with four more home runs, Kemp will become the fifth 40-40 player (home runs and stolen bases) in MLB history. The other four are Jose Canseco (1988 Oakland Athletics), Barry Bonds (1996 San Francisco Giants), Alex Rodriguez (1998 Seattle Mariners) and Alfonso Soriano (2006 Washington Nationals).

One reason Kemp is in the race for the Triple Crown has been his ability to handle pitches up in the zone, especially since the beginning of August. Pitchers were able to limit Kemp’s effectiveness early in the season by attacking up in the zone. However, since the beginning of August, Kemp has improved his eye on pitches up in the zone, walking more and striking out less. He’s getting better pitches to hit too, as he’s been chasing less (but swinging more), and has added 120 points to his average while doubling his home run percentage.

What are the chances for Kemp to become the 12th Triple Crown winner since 1920 (the previous 11 Triple Crown winners were by nine players, Ted Williams and Rogers Hornsby won it twice)? The Dodgers end the season with three games at the San Diego Padres and three at the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Since 2009, of the six potential starting pitchers Kemp will face to end the season (Wade LeBlanc, Aaron Harang, Cory Luebke, Daniel Hudson, Wade Miley and Joe Saunders), he’s had the most success against Saunders - .364 BA (8-for-22), three home runs, one double, three walks and two strikeouts.

Although he’s had success against Saunders, since 2009 Kemp is one-for-seven (a single) against Saunders in pitches up in the zone. However, you need to remember that Kemp has clearly made an adjustment late in the season against those types of pitches.
Nate Schierholtz
Schierholtz
In a game that featured a combined 36 strikeouts -- a modern-era record for a game lasting 14 innings or fewer -- the San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres on a walk-off home run by Nate Schierholtz in the 14th inning.

It was his second home run of the game, the first Giants player with a multi-homer game that included a walk-off home run since Bengie Molina did it in April of 2008, also against the Padres.

Schierholtz, who hit his first home run in the fourth inning, became the first Giants player to hit two homer 10 innings apart in the same game since Barry Bonds who did so in September of 2001.

It marked the latest walk-off home run in the history of AT&T Park. In fact you have to go back to 1996 for the last time a Giants player hit a walk-off home run in the 14th inning or later. That was Tom Lampkin, whose three-run home run in the bottom of the 15th inning lifted the Giants to a win over the Florida Marlins.

Speaking of the Marlins they notched a walk-off victory on Mike Stanton's solo home run in the 10th inning to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies. It was Stanton's first career walk-off home run, and a rather special one according to Elias.

At 21, Stanton was the third-youngest player since 1900 to hit a walk-off home run against the Phillies. Eddie Mathews was 20 years old in 1952 when he hit a game-ending homer for the Boston Braves, and Alex Gonzalez was a "younger 21" than Stanton when he did the same for the 1998 Marlins.

While these games provided some late heroics, no game was more exciting on Wednesday than the tilt between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds narrowly escaped with a 9-8 victory in 13 innings -- after holding an 8-0 lead through five innings.

Elias tells us it was the first time in 57 years that the Cardinals lost a game after erasing a deficit of eight or more runs. On July 17, 1954 at the old Busch Stadium, St. Louis rallied from down 9-0 to tie the Giants, but New York won in 11 innings, 10-9.

Elsewhere Around the Diamond:

Jair Jurrjens continued his stellar 2011 campaign with six innings of one-run ball as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Colorado Rockies. Jurrjens heads into the All-Star break with a 12-3 record and a 1.87 ERA. According to Elias he is the first Major League pitcher to head into the break with 12 or more wins and an ERA below 2.00 since Randy Johnson in 2000.

Perhaps more impressive, he is just the third Braves pitcher all-time to have accomplished the feat joining Greg Maddux in 1998 and Tom Glavine in the 1991 season.

Jurrjens is a strong possibility to start for the National League in the All-Star Game, something Maddux and Glavine each did that season.
(The Philadelphia Phillies host the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday at 7 ET on ESPN)

Combined they are one game under .500 (8-9), but left-handed starters Ted Lilly and Cliff Lee are two of the most efficient pitchers in the National League.

Lee already has walked one more batter this season (19) than he did in 212⅓ innings last season. More interesting is the fact that 18 of the 19 walks this season have come against right-handed hitters (in 256 plate appearances). Last season, Lee walked just 14 right-handed hitters in 645 plate appearances.

Despite his increased number of walks, Lee ranks first this season in strike percentage (69.6), and is on pace to have the highest strikeout rate of his career. He’s currently averaging a league-best 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

A lot of Lee’s strikes come without the batter even swinging. Almost 40 percent of all his pitches taken are called strikes, the third-highest called strike percentage among starters. (The league average is 32.8 percent.)

One area of concern is how much success hitters are having against Lee with runners are scoring position. Last year, they hit .270 against him, slightly above the league average of .256. This year, opponents with runners in scoring position are hitting .348 against Lee. That ranks him 62nd out of 67 National League starters.

Opposing Lee will be Lilly, whose strike percentage (68.9) and walk rate (1.5 per nine inning) both rank third in the National League. And although his average fastball isn’t very fast (86.6 mph), his fastball strike percentage of 73.5 is first among NL starters. Forty-five percent of all fastballs taken by hitters have been called strikes. That’s also the highest percentage among National League starting pitchers.

Since coming over to the National League in 2007, Lilly has the fourth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.43:1), tied for fourth with 90 quality starts, and tied for fifth in the league with 58 wins.

Lilly -- who has lost his last four decisions to the Phillies -- has walked just one batter in his last three starts, and has not walked more than two batters in 24 straight starts, the longest active streak in the majors.

Watch for the Phillies to try and jump on Lilly early in at-bats, as well as how their No. 7 and 8 hitters fare. Opponents are hitting .500 (14-28) this season against Lilly in at-bats ending on the first pitch — that’s tied for highest batting average allowed on the first pitch among NL starters. Also, the No. 7 and No. 8 hitters are 20-for-54 (.370) against Lilly.

Ryan Howard has two career home runs off Lilly. Only two left-handed hitters have more HR against Lilly: Barry Bonds and Carlos Gonzalez (three each).

Alex Rodriguez sly like a Foxx

September, 29, 2010
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RODRIGUEZWhen Alex Rodriguez went on the DL August 21 with a left calf strain, it seemed like his streak of 30 home runs and 100 RBI seasons would end at 12 straight. Upon his return September 5th, the New York Yankees slugger needed just three RBI to reach 100 RBI, but he had to hit nine HR to reach 30.

That seemed like a daunting task when you consider Rodriguez's track record. The last time he hit at least nine home runs from September 5th through the end of the regular season was in 2002. While with the Texas Rangers, he hit nine HR from that point on to finish the year with a career-high 57 HR.

But Rodriguez would go on a tear down the stretch this season, culminating with Wednesday's home run against the Toronto Blue Jays, which gave him nine since his return from the DL and 30 for the season. He became the first player since RBI became an official statistic in 1920 to have 13 straight seasons with at least 30 HR and 100 RBI, passing Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx.

It's the 14th season in which Rodriguez has hit at least 30 HR, one year shy of Hank Aaron's MLB record in that department. His 13 straight seasons of 30 HR alone is tied with Barry Bonds for the most all-time.

Elsewhere in MLB:

• With three home runs Wednesday, the Blue Jays set a single-season team record for home runs with 247. That total is good for fifth in MLB history. Their 146 home runs at Rogers Centre are the third-most at a home ballpark, trailing only the 2005 Texas Rangers (153) and 1996 Colorado Rockies (149).

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz collected his 1,000th career RBI as a designated hitter. Ortiz is the second player in MLB history to reach the 1,000 RBI mark as a DH, trailing only Edgar Martinez (1,003).

Derek Lowe improved to 5-0 this month with a 5-1 win over the Florida Marlins. Lowe is the first Atlanta Braves pitcher to go 5-0 in September since Dave Jolly in 1954.

Kevin Millwood improved to 4-16 as he helped the Baltimore Orioles shut out the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0. Millwood allowed a season-low one hit against his fastball and the Rays missed his slider 40 percent of the time, the best rate this year for the veteran.
PITCHER OF THE NIGHT
New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia can count to 20 after all. On Saturday, he allowed three runs over seven innings to win his 20th game of the season in the Yankees 11-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. It's the first time in his career he's reached the 20-win plateau and he's the first in MLB this season to reach the mark.

The historical significance is high for a Yankees pitcher to be the first to 20 wins. History says he will win the Cy Young award. Since the award was first given out in 1956, Yankees pitchers have been the first in MLB to 20 wins in a season now four times (Sabathia being the fourth). The previous three times, those Yankees pitchers went on to win the Cy Young that same year and the Yankees went on to win the World Series.



The lefty has now won 156 games in his career. Since 1900, that total is tied with Vida Blue for the 2nd-most wins by a lefty who began the season at age 29 or younger. Blue and Sabathia are well behind the leader in that department, which belongs to Baseball Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser with 185.

HITTER OF THE NIGHT
Nobody in baseball is as hot as Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. As mentioned earlier in this very spot, this month has the potential to be a historic month for Tulowitzki.

On Saturday, he tied some history when he homered twice in a 12-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. With 14 HR, he tied the modern-day record (since 1900) for the most HR in a 15-game span previously held by Albert Belle in 1995 and tied by Barry Bonds during his record-breaking 2001 season.

The two HR Tulowitzki hit on Saturday sets a Rockies record for a single month. The previous high was set at 12 done five previous times, first by Dante Bichette in 1995 and tied lastly by Tulowitzki's former teammate, Matt Holliday in September 2007.



Tulowitzki has the possibility of reaching other records over the final month of the regular season. One record in his grasp: the most HR in regular-season games played in September and October. The current record-holder belongs to Belle when he hit 17 in 1995. Tulowitzki is also averaging a HR every five at-bats. That rate would only be bested by Bonds' 2001 season at 4.81. His current OPS of 1.478 this month is 4th-best in MLB history for games played in September/October.

September is Cool, but Tulowitzki is Hot

September, 18, 2010
9/18/10
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Troy Tulowitzki has been on fire since the month of September began. On Friday night, Tulowitzki homered for the 12th time in just 16 games this month. He has tied Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista for the most home runs by a player in any month this season (Bautista homered 12 times in August and May this season). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player in major league history to hit 12 or more homers over the first 17 days of September.

He has plenty of time to move up into the list of most home runs in the final month-plus of games in major league history. Albert Belle owns the record for the most home runs in September/October games; he hit a whopping 17 in 1995 for the Cleveland Indians. Right now, Tulowitzki's rate of 5.42 at-bats per home runs in these games is currently bested only by Barry Bonds during his record-breaking 2001 season.

Entering this season, Tulowitzki had hit a total of 18 homers in September/October games. It's certainly conceivable that he could pass that total in the 15 remaining games the Colorado Rockies have left on their schedule. This infusion of power has raised his career slugging percentage in the final month of the season to .579, his highest career slugging percentage of any the six months played during the regular season.

Why has he been so successful? He's been taking advantage of fastballs and curveballs. This month, Tulowitzki has a .485 batting average on at-bats that end on the fastball, well above the league average of .285. When at-bats end on a curveball, Tulowitzki has a .375 average, also well above the league average of .230.

It might not be a surprise, but it's still worth noting that left-handed pitchers have struggled against him as well this month. He has a slugging percentage of 1.611 in 18 at-bats vs lefties. Right-handers haven't exactly had their way with him, either. Tulowitzki has a .745 slugging percentage against them, which is more than 300 percentage points higher than the league average.

So how do you get him out? Throw him sliders and changeups. According to Inside Edge, he has yet to get a hit in an at-bat that ends on a changeup (0-for-7) this month. And he's been barely above league average on at-bats that end on sliders, sporting a .235 average (league average is .225).

But then again, maybe it's just a September to remember for Tulowitzki and the Rockies.

Chasing history in the AL West

September, 15, 2010
9/15/10
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Today’s Trivia: Paul Maholm takes the hill for the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday holding the team-lead in strikeouts with 90 (Side note: 34 pitchers had more than that before the All-Star break). Not having a 100-K pitcher is a bit more common than you might think. In fact, it happened five times last decade, including last season to the Washington Nationals. Which brings us today’s trivia question: Which pitcher led the Nationals in strikeouts last season?

The standings might say otherwise, but there’s always something to play for – in this case, history. In the first of a series of divisional breakdowns, here’s some statistical minutiae to keep an eye on in the closing weeks. First the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels
    Bobby Abreu
  • Bobby Abreu needs one stolen base for 20 on the season. That would give him 12 straight seasons of 15 HR and 20 SB, extending his own record streak. Barry Bonds (10 straight) has the next longest such stretch.
  • Brandon Wood’s .397 OPS would be the lowest for a player with 200 plate appearances since Frank O’Rourke posted a .325 OPS for the 1912 Boston Braves. Wood is just below Tony Pena Jr.’s .398 for the Kansas City Royals in 2008. Wood’s .185 on-base percentage would be the seventh lowest since 1900 for players with 200 PA.
  • With 56 strikeouts and only four walks, Wood would have the most strikeouts for a player with fewer than five walks since Rob Picciolo (63 K, 2 BB) of the 1980 Oakland A’s.
Oakland A’s
  • Both the Seattle Mariners and A’s do not have a player with 15 home runs. The difference is that the A’s leader Kevin Kouzmanoff (14 HR) has been missing time with a back injury. The last AL team without a 15-HR player was the 1992 Angels, who were led by Gary Gaetti’s 12.
  • If Daric Barton (100 BB, 88 K) stays below 100 strikeouts, he’d be the first American League player since Rafael Palmeiro to do that in a season with over 100 walks. Since Palmeiro’s 2002 campaign, 16 players have done this, but all were in the National League. With only eight HR, Barton would be the first to do this with fewer than 10 HR since Rickey Henderson in 1996.
  • How does a pitcher with only 98 strikeouts have the lowest opponent OPS in the AL since Tim Hudson in 2003? There just might be some luck involved for Trevor Cahill. The .224 BABIP against Cahill is the lowest against a qualifying AL pitcher since opponents had a .212 BABIP against the Detroit Tigers Jeff Robinson in 1988. Not only was that Robinson’s only season with a sub-3.00 ERA, but his next best was 4.73.
Seattle Mariners
    Franklin Gutierrez
  • With Franklin Gutierrez currently leading the team with 56 RBI, the Mariners could become the first team since the 1983 Cincinnati Reds without a 60 RBI player in a non-strike shortened season. That Reds squad was led by Ron Oester’s 58 RBI.
  • Russell Branyan only has 56 RBI to go with the 24 home runs he’s hit between the Cleveland Indians and Mariners. He’s safe though. The fewest RBI for a player with 25+ HR is 54 by Ron Gant when he played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Angels in 2000. The AL “record” is shared by Fred Lynn (1988 Orioles/Tigers) and Marcus Thames (2008 Tigers) with 56.
  • Mariners designated hitters are batting just .190 at the plate this season. Over the last 35 years, the only AL team to hit below the Mendoza Line at DH was the Texas Rangers (.197) in 1988. Larry Parrish was the most frequent DH on that squad.
Texas Rangers
  • Left-handed hitters are batting just .136 against C.J. Wilson. That’s the second lowest for a qualifying AL starter over the last 35 years. In 1995, lefties hit just .129 against Randy Johnson. The difference is that Johnson only faced 92 lefties that season, while Wilson has done battle with 156.
  • If he doesn’t suit up again in the regular season, Josh Hamilton will finish with 21 home runs and .395 batting average at home. Over the last 50 years, the only other AL player to hit .390 with 20 HR at home was Albert Belle for the 1994 Indians.
  • Elvis Andrus has 145 hits, but only 17 have gone for extra bases. The last player with over 150 hits in a season with 17 of fewer extra base hits was Kirby Puckett in 1984. Only 17 of his 165 hits were no singles.
James Shields
Key Matchups: Alex Rodriguez (.208) and Mark Teixeira (.143) have been baffled by James Shields in the past. However, no one compares to Curtis Granderson. His .077 average is lowest for anyone that Shields has faced at least 20 times. Granderson’s struggles are notable for the fact that he usually struggles against right-handed pitchers. In fact, against righties not named James Shields, he has a .289 career average compared to .216 against southpaws.

Chad Billingsley has an 0.61 in 29 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, good enough for a 2-0 record in four starts. In fact, Billingsley has tossed 23 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings against San Francisco. Both Juan Uribe and Pablo Sandoval are 0-for-10 against him in 2010. Uribe was 5-for-10 entering the season.

Trivia Answer: With 92 strikeouts, Jordan Zimmermann led the 2009 Nationals, despite making only one appearance after the break. Washington’s Tyler Clippard (97) had already eclipsed that total while pitching solely in relief.

Bautista enters McGwire territory

September, 11, 2010
9/11/10
12:05
AM ET
BAUTISTA
Some notes from around baseball Friday night
Jose Bautista continued his ridiculous 2010 season. Bautista cracked two more home runs and now has 46 on the season, which is one shy of matching George Bell's single-season franchise record set in 1987.

• 30 of his home runs this season have come at home. That ties Carlos Delgado's franchise record for HR at home in a single season.

• Bautista had never hit more than 16 home runs in a season coming into this year and had just 13 last season. He is the fourth player in MLB history to hit at least 45 HR one season after hitting fewer than 15. The others are Carlos Pena, Cecil Fielder and Mark McGwire.

Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the New York Mets in Queens. Halladay picked up his 18th win of the season, becoming the first Phillies pitcher with 18 wins in a season since John Denny in 1983. Denny won the NL Cy Young Award that season and the Phillies advanced to the World Series.

• Four of Halladay's 18 wins this season have come against the Mets. He's the first Phillies pitcher with four wins in a season against the Metropolitans since Vicente Padilla in 2003.

• Halladay also reached 200 strikeouts for the third consecutive season. He's the first Phillies pitcher with 200 K in a season since Brett Myers in 2005.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard each went deep for the Phillies, which should come as no surprise. They each have five career home runs at Citi Field. That is tied for the most among visiting players at the stadium.

• Howard has now homered in three straight games for the first time this season and for the ninth time in his career. Five of these nine streaks have started in September or later. Howard has 57 home runs in September or later since joining the league in 2004, easily the most in baseball over that span.

• Howard's blast was his 251st career home run, all of them coming with the Phillies. That ties him with former teammate Pat Burrell for the third-most home runs in franchise history.

• In the Pittsburgh Pirates loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Andrew McCutchen swiped his 30th base of the season. He's the first Pirate with 30 SB in a season since Tony Womack back in 1998. Even better, he's the third Pirate 23 or younger with 30 steals in a season. Barry Bonds did it twice, in 1986 and 1987 (age 21 and 22), and Hall of Famer Max Carey also did it twice, in 1912 and 1913 (age 22 and 23).

• The Atlanta Braves picked up their first win of the season over the St. Louis Cardinals after St. Louis won the first five meetings. Chris Carpenter hit his second career home run, but allowed a season-high eight runs. Matt Holliday hit his 26th home run for the Cardinals, his most home runs since 2007.

• The Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins, 2-0. Fausto Carmona snapped his six-start losing streak with a shutout. He's the first pitcher to snap a losing streak of at least six starts with a shutout since the Oakland Athletics' Rick Langford in 1980.

• The game lasted just one hour and 57 minutes, which makes it the quickest nine-inning game in Cleveland since 2004.
MORRISON
Logan Morrison picked up a hit in the Florida Marlins victory over the Washington Nationals and has now reached base in 30 straight games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last rookie with a longer streak was his teammate Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez reached in 36 straight games as a rookie in 2006.

1st Pitch: Jays mashing for history

September, 8, 2010
9/08/10
3:09
PM ET
Today’s Trivia: Neither the Oakland Athletics nor the Seattle Mariners have a player with at least 15 home runs. Kevin Kouzmanoff’s 14 leads Oakland, while Russell Branyan paces Seattle with 13 (in just 50 games!). If either team ends up without a 15-HR player, it would the first time for an AL team since the 1992 Angels. Who led that team in home runs? (Hint: He has the third-most career HR for a player who homered in his first at-bat.)

Quick Hits: With their third straight game with at least three home runs, the Toronto Blue Jays now have 215 on the season. That’s tied for the third most in franchise history and 33 more than any other team. Let’s dive into Toronto’s torrid pace with help from STATS LLC.

• Toronto has hit at least three homers in each of its last three games. In 138 games this season, the Houston Astros have the same number of three-HR games.

• The Blue Jays now have 33 three-HR games, the mostby a team in a season since the 2005 Texas Rangers. Over the last 90 years, the 1997 Mariners had the most three-HR games with 43.

• Speaking of the Mariners, they’ve only hit a home run in 62 games this season. The Blue Jays have hit multiple home runs in 63 games this season.

• The Blue Jays have hit an incredible 181 home runs against right-handed pitchers, 54 more than any other team. In fact, only the Boston Red Sox (182) have more total HR than the Blue Jays have against righties alone.

• The Blue Jays are hitting just .218 against lefties this season, which would be the lowest season average over the last 35 years. Not surprisingly, only 34 of their homers have come against southpaws (tied for 17th in the majors).

• The Blue Jays are on pace for 150 home runs at home this season. That puts them just off the pace of 2005 Rangers, who hold the record with 153 HR at home.

Jose Bautista has already hit 27 home runs at home this season, the most by an AL player since Mark Teixeira’s 30 in Arlington back in 2005. The MLB record would be a task though. That belongs to Hank Greenberg, who hit 39 of his 58 home runs at home in 1938.

• At home, Bautista is averaging a home run every 7.93 at-bats. That would be the best in the American League over the last 50 years. In 1994, Frank Thomas averaged one per 8.14 at-bats at home. Over that span, Bautista’s rate would be the sixth best in the majors behind two seasons apiece for Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, and Hank Aaron’s 1971 campaign.

Today’s Leaderboard: Of Adam Lind’s 20 home runs, 14 have come in two-strike counts. Compare that to Baustista, who has 8 of his 43 HR coming with two strikes. Lind’s total is the most in the AL and trails only Albert Pujols, who has 15 more total home runs.

Key Matchups: Zack Greinke has not enjoyed facing the Minnesota Twins this season, going 0-3 with a 10.29 ERA. In fact, take out his starts against Minnesota and Greinke’s ERA would drop from 3.87 to 3.36, as noted in the Kansas City Star. Joe Mauer is 4-for-8 against Greinke this season, after entering 2010 just 6-for-27 against him.

After missing two years due to injury, Chris Capuano made it back to the big leagues in 2010. However, that means he will have to face Albert Pujols again for the first time since 2007. If Pujols wants to make a run at the Triple Crown, it will require a massive climb in batting average. Tonight is a good place to start. Albert is 15-for-27 against Capuano, a .556 average that is his third highest against anyone he’s faced 20 times.

Trivia Answer: Gary Gaetti led the 1992 Angels with 12 home runs. That’s the fewest HR to lead an AL team in a non-strike year since Bobby Bonds paced the 1976 Angels with 10.
Tuesday saw three pitchers come into games with extended amounts of success against the teams they were facing. Unfortunately, all three saw their notable streaks come to an end.
Sabathia
New York Yankees' CC Sabathia: lost for the first time in nine starts against the Baltimore Orioles. He also lost at Yankee Stadium for the first time since July 2, 2009. That was a stretch of 21 consecutive home starts without a loss, which tied Whitey Ford for longest streak in franchise history. As for the pitcher who has suffered the most home losses July 2, 2009? The Cleveland Indians' Fausto Carmona, who is 8-12 in 24 starts at Progressive Field.

Chicago White Sox's Freddy Garcia: lost for the first time as a visitor at Comerica Park since Aug. 20, 2002 when he was with the Seattle Mariners. The White Sox had won all nine previous starts of Garcia's in Detroit prior to Tuesday's defeat.

Atlanta Braves' Tim Hudson: entered Tuesday with a 3-0 record while giving up just one unearned run in his last three starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Tuesday, Hudson allowed four runs in 6⅓ innings and took the loss in the Braves 5-0 defeat in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday's notables:

• New York Mets' Dillon Gee took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his major-league debut against the Washington Nationals (he allowed two hits in seven innings). Gee is the third Mets pitcher to take a no-hitter through five innings in his major-league debut, joining Randy Sterling (Sept. 16, 1974: five innings at Montreal Expos) and Brian Bannister (April 5, 2006: 5⅓ innings vs Nationals). Gee also is the first Mets pitcher to drive in a run in his debut.

Staying with the Mets, Ike Davis hit his 18th home run. He's two shy of joining Darryl Strawberry (26 in 1983) as the only Mets to hit at least 20 HR in their rookie season.

• The Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez became the first player in the National League to 100 RBI on Tuesday. The last time a Rockies player was the first to 100 RBI in the NL in a season was Preston Wilson in 2003.

• The Toronto Blue Jays have now hit at least three HR in 33 games this season. That's the most such games by a team since the Texas Rangers had 35 such games in 2005.
Thome
• The Minnesota Twins' Jim Thome hit his 586th career HR, tying Frank Robinson for eighth on the all-time list. It's also the 40-year-old veteran's third straight game with a HR. He's the first 40-year-old to homer in three straight games since Barry Bonds in 2006. The last 40-year-old Twins player to hit an HR in three straight games was Dave Winfield in 1993.

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