Stats & Info: Bobby Higginson

Kernels of wisdom: MLB week in review

August, 12, 2013
The Blue Jays' Brett Lawrie went single-double-triple in Monday's 3-1 win over Seattle, becoming the first Toronto hitter this season to even have a triple and a double in one game. Had he also homered, Lawrie would have recorded the Jays' first cycle since Jeff Frye on August 17, 2001.

In Tuesday's game, the Astros didn't need to steal any bases (although they did have two). The Red Sox-- specifically catcher Ryan Lavarnway-- were giving away bases.

Handling knuckleballer Steven Wright's first career start, Lavarnway was charged with four passed balls in the first inning alone, tying the major league record for one inning. It's happened twice before in the modern era, and also with knuckleballers: On August 22, 1987, the Rangers' Geno Petralli committed four while catching Charlie Hough; and on September 10, 1954, the Giants' Ray Katt did it while trying to catch Hoyt Wilhelm.

AP Photo/ElsaMatt Harvey threw his 1st career shutout on Wednesday against the Rockies.

Matt Harvey, on the other hand, threw his first career shutout (and first complete game) on Wednesday, holding the Rockies to four singles as the Mets won 5-0. He also went through a start without walking a single batter, the eighth time this season he’s done that. Only Bartolo Colon and Hisashi Iwakuma (with 10 each) have more walk-less starts this season, of any length.

Harvey also threw nine scoreless innings with zero walks against the White Sox on May 7, but got neither a decision nor a complete game because the Mets didn't score either and the game went to extras. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Archer are the only other pitchers with multiple such games this season.

He's the first Mets pitcher to have multiple starts of 8+ scoreless, walk-less innings since Jason Isringhausen in 1995; and the first with a pair of NINE-inning games since Craig Swan in 1979.

Thursday's limited slate brought us a matchup between Detroit and Cleveland at Progressive Field. Although the outcome wasn't in much doubt when the Tigers took an 8-0 lead after 3 innings, the notable part of the boxscore was that both cleanup hitters (Prince Fielder and Asdrubal Cabrera) had two doubles and two runs driven in.

Strangely, it's only the second game in the past 20 years where BOTH cleanup hitters have had at least two doubles and two RBI. The other occurred when Fielder "teamed up" with the Rangers' Adrian Beltre to do it on May 19.

On Friday the Tigers had their 12-game winning streak (which matched their longest since 1934) on the line against the Yankees and Mariano Rivera. The Tigers, however, countered with Miguel Cabrera, who launched his 34th home run of the year - but first in the ninth inning or later - to tie the game.

It was only the second homer Rivera allowed to the Tigers in a save situation. Bobby Higginson hit the other way back on July 6, 1999.

In Sunday's finale between the Tigers and Yankees, the visitors from Motown trailed by two runs after eight innings. Enter Rivera. Enter Cabrera.

Same result as Friday as Cabrera hit his 36th home run of the season. By doing so, he became the first player ever to homer off Rivera in consecutive at-bats, and one of just five players to have multiple homers against Rivera.

Later that inning, Victor Martinez hit a solo homer to tie the game, handing Rivera his third consecutive blown save. Something he had never done in his career to that point.

Rivera was still officially the pitcher of record when Brett Gardner hit his first career walk-off home run in the bottom of the inning. This was the 18th time Rivera has won a game after blowing a save, and the first since August 13, 2007.
Another weekend day game between AL East foes at Rogers Centre, some more history for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Brandon Morrow struck out 17 Tampa Bay Rays and was just one ground ball away from one of the more dominating no-hitters in MLB history on Sunday. Alas, Evan Longoria's grounder bounched off of Aaron Hill's diving attempt at it and Morrow was forced to strike out Dan Johnson to secure the 1-0 win.

Morrow joins an elite club of Blue Jays pitchers to lose a no-hitter when they were just one out away. Roy Halladay gave up a hit to Bobby Higginson of the Detroit Tigers back in 1998 when he was one out away. But Morrow has nothing on Dave Stieb, who lost three no-hitters in a two-season span between 1988 and 1989, including two in back-to-back starts.

The only Blue Jays no-hitter ever thrown was by Stieb on September 2, 1990 at the Indians.

Maybe we should have seen an effort like this coming from Morrow. On September 5, 2008, Morrow threw 7.2 hitless innings against the New York Yankees in his first MLB start. It was broken up by a Wilson Betemit double that actually scored a run. Morrow is now the ONLY pitcher to take a no-hitter through five innings three times this season.

The Tampa Bay Rays seem to have no-hitters on their brain as they narrowly escape becoming the first team in MLB history to be no-hit three times in a season. In fact, of the last six no-hitters across the bigs, the Rays have been involved in four of them (one by Matt Garza while three have come against them).

Instead of wallowing in what might have been, we should celebrate what Morrow did achieve. 17 strikeouts is one shy of the club record that Roger Clemens set against the Royals back in 1998. The list of pitchers with a one-hit shutout along with 17 Ks in the live-ball era (since 1920) is just three names deep. Curt Schilling in 2002 with the Diamondbacks, Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game back in 1998 and now Morrow.

Some other crazy facts:

•Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg was also behind the dish for Anibal Sanchez and Ubaldo Jimenez's no-nos. The last umpire to have home plate for two no-hitters in a season was Drew Coble in 1990.

•On July 26 (two weeks ago tomorrow), Morrow turned 26 years old. Check out the ages of the pitchers who threw the five no-hitters this season: Ubaldo Jimenez (26), Dallas Braden (26), Roy Halladay (33), Edwin Jackson (26) and Garza (26). From July 30, 1973 until the end of last season, there were just five total no-hitters thrown by a pitcher who was exactly 26 years of age.

•According to Bill James' metric "Game Score," which is a one-number summary of how good a pitcher's single-game performance is, Brandon Morrow's 17-strikeout, 2-walk, one-hitter got a score of 100. That is tied for the 4th-best single-game pitching performance since 1920. It was the highest by any pitcher in a single game since Randy Johnson scored 100 in his perfect game back in 2004.