Stats & Info: Bronson Arroyo

Giants-Reds look to move past June

July, 1, 2013

Frank Victores/US PRESSWIRESan Fran and Cincy meet for the first time since the Giants came back from a 2-0 deficit in the 2012 NLDS.
The San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds meet on "Monday Night Baseball" (7 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN) for the first time since last season’s divisional playoffs, when the Giants eliminated the Reds. The Reds won the first two games of that series in San Francisco, but the Giants won three straight in Cincinnati to advance to the National League Championship Series.

Both of these teams are looking to put June behind them.

The Giants went 10-17 in the month, marking their first losing month since going 11-18 in August 2011. The Reds, meanwhile, went 12-15 in June and have won just 13 of their past 30 games. This was the Reds' first losing month since September 2011, when they went 12-14.

After years of dominating with starting pitching, the Giants have struggled in that department this season.

Giants starters led the majors last season in opponent batting average with runners in scoring position (.222). This season, Giants starters have allowed a .298 batting average, last in the NL and 28th in all of baseball.

In addition, after ranking in the top five in ERA in each of the previous four seasons, San Francisco has a 4.47 ERA so far this year. That includes a 5.30 ERA on the road, which ranks 28th in all of baseball (the Giants' 3.64 ERA at home is 12th in MLB).

For the Reds, the No. 2 spot in the batting order has been a weak link between Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto.

Zack Cozart has the most plate appearances for the Reds in the second spot, which has recorded a .647 OPS, 13th in the National League. In comparison, the first and third spots have recorded an .894 and .951 OPS, respectively. That leads the National League in both batting positions.

Quick hitters
• Buster Posey is hitting .403 in his past 18 games, with four home runs in his past five. He’s the first Giants catcher with 12 home runs before the All-Star break since Bob Brenly in 1985.

• The Giants' 16 wins since May 14 are tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the fewest in the majors.

• Pablo Sandoval is just 3-for-23 since returning from the DL. He hasn’t homered since May 21.

• The Reds are a season-high 5.5 games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates for first place in the NL Central. Their largest deficit in the standings last year was 5.0 games on April 18.

• Bronson Arroyo has been incredibly efficient with his pitches this season. He’s averaged just 13.9 pitches per inning, the fourth-lowest rate in the majors.

• Since 2010, Joey Votto has just two infield popups. In comparison, Albert Pujols has 87.
Five stats you’ll likely hear quite a bit more about on the matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds on "Sunday Night Baseball" at 8 ET (ESPN/WatchESPN).

1. The Cardinals enter the day with the best record in baseball (40-22) and are 21-10 on the road. The biggest key to the Cardinals' success is timely hitting.

The team is hitting .339 with runners in scoring position. The last NL team to hit at least .300 in those situations over a full season was the 2000 Rockies (.309).

No other NL team is even hitting .300.

The team has five of the NL's top 15 in hitting with runners in scoring position, including major league leader Carlos Beltran (22-for-47, .468).

2. The pitching matchup pits Lance Lynn against Bronson Arroyo. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Lynn is one of three pitchers in the past 20 seasons to win at least eight of his first nine decisions in back-to-back years, joining Curt Schilling and Kevin Brown.

Arroyo has a rough recent history against the Cardinals (1-7 in his last 11 starts) but has been great at home this season (5-1 with a 2.64 ERA). His 48 wins at Great American Ball Park are 11 more than any other pitcher.

3. The Cardinals have a couple of hot hitters. One of them is David Freese, who enters the game with the longest current hitting streak in the majors at 18 games. Should Freese get a hit tonight, he'd have the longest hitting streak by a Cardinals third baseman since Terry Pendleton hit in 19 straight games in 1987.

The last Cardinals third baseman with a 20-game hitting streak was Joe Torre, who hit in 22 straight games en route to the NL MVP in 1971.

Notable for Freese is that he's been able to get hits against pitches out of the strike zone (you can see the two red squares near the right-hand batter's box in our interactive heat map above).

Freese has seven hits on pitches out of the zone during the streak. He had only two all season prior to that.

4. The other red-hot Cardinals hitter is Matt Carpenter, whose hitting streak is currently 17 games. Carpenter has been a huge boost to the leadoff spot since taking it over on May 2. Prior to that, Cardinals leadoff hitters were batting .211 with a .295 on-base percentage. Since then, those numbers are a major league best .361 and .456.

Carpenter is among the NL's most disciplined hitters. His swing rate of 39 percent ranked second-lowest in the NL entering Sunday. His rate of missing swings was just 10 percent, ranking eighth in the league.

5. The Reds' lineup is keyed by Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo, who rank 1-2 in the NL in on-base percentage this season.

But one hitter who has been particularly valuable this year is cleanup batter Brandon Phillips.

Phillips is hitting .429 with runners in scoring position (fourth in the NL) and an NL-best .328 with two strikes. Phillips is on pace for the first 100-RBI season of his career.

For more notes, stats and trends on the game, follow along with the "Sunday Night Baseball" Gamecast, which can be found on the Scoreboard page.

Kyle Lohse succeeds without overpowering

March, 19, 2013

Sarah Glenn/Getty ImagesKyle Lohse has been one of baseball's best strike-throwers the last two seasons.
Kyle Lohse remains on the free agent market, with first-round compensation required if a team chooses to sign him.

What would the team that signs Lohse be getting?

Let’s run through a few of Lohse's areas of strength.

Lohse is not a power pitcher. His fastball averages 89 miles-per-hour and tops out at 92 on a good day. He gets his outs through getting contact and letting his defense turn outs behind him. His effectiveness over the last five seasons has coincided with a dip in two key stats: he’s cut his walks per nine innings from 2.8 (from 2001 to 2007) to 2.2, and his home runs per nine from 1.2 to 0.9.

In a 200-inning season, that equates to 13 fewer walks and seven fewer home runs allowed.

Lohse had his best season in terms of control in 2012. His 1.62 walks per nine innings ranked fifth-lowest among ERA qualifiers (six-hundredths of a point from Bronson Arroyo for second place).

Over the past two seasons, Lohse has excelled at throwing first-pitch strikes. His 68 percent first-pitch strike rate is tied with Cliff Lee for second-best among pitchers who have thrown at least 200 innings in that span.

He's also been terrific at getting called strikes. His called-strike rate of 39 percent ranks third, trailing only control artists Bartolo Colon and Lee.

In particular, Lohse excels at hitting the outside corner. Since 2011, his 38 percent called-strike rate on pitches to the outer-third of the plate (or off the outside corner) is the best in all of baseball.

What’s next for Lohse?
The five projection systems used by all have Lohse’s ERA increasing by at least half a run from 2012, from 3.39 by OLIVER to 4.28 from Steamer Projections. ESPN’s predictive system of choice, ZIPS, gives Lohse a 3.63 ERA.

Media reports have the Texas Rangers as the team with the most interest in Lohse. One thing to keep in mind that if Lohse goes to Texas, he would go from pitching in a park that is modestly pitcher-friendly (Busch Stadium ranked 18th in Park Factor for runs scored last season and 21st for home runs) to a park that is much more hitter-friendly. (Rangers Ballpark ranks fourth in Park Factor in runs scored and seventh in home runs.)

One other thing to keep in mind for Lohse. Over the past two seasons, Lohse has gone 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA in nearly 400 innings. In each of those seasons he has outpitched his peripheral numbers. In 2011, he had a 3.39 ERA, but his strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed produced a Fielding Independent Pitching (an estimator of what his ERA was likely to be) of 3.67. Last season, he had a 2.86 ERA and a FIP of 3.51.

The difference between Lohse’s ERA and FIP was .-65 (meaning his FIP was 65 points above his ERA). That was the fifth-worst negative differential among those who qualified for the ERA title last season.

In 2011, 10 ERA-title qualifiers had an ERA-FIP differential of -.65 or worse. Of those 10, nine saw their ERA increase in 2012.

Arroyo throws gem by thriving outside

October, 8, 2012

The Cincinnati Reds pounded the San Francisco Giants, and recorded their first postseason shutout since Game 1 of the 1990 World Series when they won 7-0 against the Oakland Athletics.

The Reds nine runs were the second-most in a postseason road game, and most since scoring 10 in Game 8 of the 1919 World Series.

That was the clinching game in a best-of-9 series best known for the "Black Sox Scandal" where eight Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball for allegedly throwing the World Series.

On Sunday, the Reds offense was led by Ryan Hanigan and his three RBI, which are tied for the second-most by a Reds catcher in a postseason game since Benito Santiago had three in the 1995 NLDS.

However the real story of the game was Bronson Arroyo.

Arroyo became the first Reds pitcher to throw at least seven scoreless innings allowing one hit or fewer in a postseason game.

How did Arroyo beat the Giants?

He threw 57 of 91 pitches (62.6 percent) on the outer third of the plate or further away. Giants hitters were 0-for-15 in at-bats ending with a pitch in that location.

Giants hitters were also 0-for-8 in at-bats ending with an offspeed pitch, including all four of Arroyo’s strikeouts.

Arroyo was also dominate with two strikes as Giants hitters were 0-for-11 in two-strike at-bats.

It was a rough day for the Giants who were shut out at home in a postseason game for second time since moving to San Francisco in 1958.

This was their largest shutout loss in postseason history.

The nine-run defeat was the Giants worst in a postseason game since losing 13-1 in Game 5 of the 1951 World Series.

Game 3 is Tuesday in Cincinnati where the Reds were tied for the best home record in the National League during the regular season.

Jim Cowsert/US PresswireRyan Dempster (right) has switched leagues, but will face a former rival in his Rangers' debut.

Ryan Dempster will make his debut for the Texas Rangers on Thursday as they wrap up their four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. Dempster switches leagues with the second-best ERA (2.25), trailing only the San Francisco Giants' Ryan Vogelsong.

Unfortunately for Dempster, the trade means he’s back in the same division as Albert Pujols, who is 18-for-55 with seven home runs in his career against Dempster. It's also the most home runs Dempster has allowed to any batter, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Pujols has had no trouble with Rangers pitching during this series, going 7-for-15 with four home runs and eight RBIs. Pujols has been crushing fastballs since the All-Star Break -- he has as many home runs off fastballs in the last three weeks (7) as he had in the entire first half of the season.

Pujols entered play on May 15 hitting below .200 (.197). Since then, he’s hit .332 with 21 HR and 59 RBI. In fact, Pujols' numbers are better through Aug. 1 with the Angels (.284, 22 HR, 71 RBI) than they were at this point last season with the St. Louis Cardinals (.280, 24 HR, 65 RBI).

Pujols' former teammate Matt Holliday has not been a welcome sight at his former home ballpark, Coors Field. In nine games at Coors Field since joining the Cardinals, Holliday is 13-for-30 with six home runs and 15 RBI. He’s been even better the last two games, going 5-for-9 with 3 HR and 9 RBI.

All three of Holliday's hits on Wednesday came on pitches outside the strike zone. He’s batting .279 on pitches outside the strike zone this season, and his .939 OPS on such pitches ranks third behind Melky Cabrera (.965) and Ryan Braun (.958).

Over in the National League, the Cincinnati Reds are a major-league best 16-3 since the All-Star Break, and have opened up a three-game lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.

The Reds have allowed 383 runs this season, the second-lowest total this season behind the Washington Nationals. One key has been the continued development of Johnny Cueto.

Cueto posted a 2.31 ERA in 156 innings in 2011. If he had not fallen six innings short of qualifying for the ERA title, Cueto would have finished second in the majors to Clayton Kershaw’s 2.28. Among qualified pitchers, Cueto has the lowest ERA since the start of last season.

Cueto’s home ballpark has ranked in the top six in number of home runs hit each of the past two seasons. Despite that, he has allowed only 13 HR since the start of last season, and none in his last 11 starts. The only other qualified starter to allow fewer than 20 in that span is Roy Halladay with 19.

In nine starts at Great American Ballpark this season, Cueto has allowed just two home runs in 223 at-bats, and only 3.3 percent of his flyballs allowed have left the ballpark. Every other Reds starter this season has allowed home runs on at least 10 percent of his flyballs.

Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesMatt Kemp is the fifth player in history to hit at least 12 home runs before May 1.

ESPN's Home Run Tracker analyzes video of each home run hit this season and as far back as 2006. Each month, the tracker will detail the best and worst home runs, as well as some other interesting statistics pertaining to the long ball. Below are the notable home runs for the month of April.

Power Surge: (Player with highest combined HR distance)
2011 Winner: Jose Bautista
March/April Winner: Matt Kemp
Kemp is off to a torrid start, with 12 home runs that have traveled a true distance of 4,802 feet. That’s a longer true distances than the Padres, who have hit 11 home runs, and the Cubs, who have hit the fewest HR (9) entering May. Kemp's 12 home runs are two shy of the record set by Albert Pujols in 2006 and Alex Rodriguez in 2007 for the most home runs by April 30.

No Doubter (Longest true distance)
2011 Winner: Prince Fielder (486 feet)
March/April Winner: Travis Hafner (481 feet)
On April 15, Cleveland’s DH hit a home run of the Royals Luis Mendoza, the longest HR of his career. Hafner’s previous long was 454 feet in 2006. The 481-foot shot is the longest HR by an Indian since the beginning of our database (2006).

Wall-Scraper (Shortest true distance)
2011 Winner: Asdrubal Cabrera (320 feet)
March/April Winner: B.J. Upton (323 feet)
On April 24, Upton hit a home run off Ervin Santana that hit off the left-field foul pole. Chris Iannetta hit a 324-foot HR off Phil Hughes, the only other player this season to hit a home run less than 345 feet.

Moonshot: (Highest Apex - maximum vertical height a ball reaches)
2011 Winner: Mark Reynolds (161 feet)
March/April Winner: Todd Helton (162 feet)
On April 14, Helton hit a walk-off home run off J.J. Putz. The ball hung in the air for 6.92 seconds, the highest apex HR since Alex Rodriguez reached 169 feet on Sept 11, 2009.

Liner: (Lowest Apex)
2011 Winner: Carlos Peguero (39 feet, twice)
March/April Winners: Curtis Granderson/Luke Scott (49 feet)
Ervin Santana, who gave up the shortest HR of the month, also gave up the lowest apex. On April 13, Santana served up a 349-foot solo shot to Granderson that had an apex of 49 feet. Scott matched Granderson with a 387-foot laser off Mark Lowe, which also never got higher than 49 feet off the ground.

Mother Nature: (Most climate-impacted HR)
2011 Winner: Luke Scott
March/April Winner: Miguel Cabrera
Even the best need help from time to time. On April 26, Cabrera hit a 382-foot home run off Hector Noesi, but a 15 mph wind gust helped the ball carry an extra 62 feet. Without the wind, it would have been a routine fly out.

Server: (Pitcher who allowed the greatest cumulative distance)
2011 Winner: Bronson Arroyo
March/April Winner: Ervin Santana
In addition to giving up the shortest and the lowest apex home runs, Santana’s 10 home runs allowed traveled a total distance of 3,844 feet.

Launching Pad: (Greatest cumulative distance in one stadium)
2011 Winner: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
March/April Winner: Rogers Centre
Thirty-eight HR have been hit in Rogers Centre thus far, with a total distance of 15,072 feet. Chase Field in Arizona finished second, totaling 12,803 feet. Conversely, only six HR were hit at AT&T Park in April.

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
Shaun Marcum held opponents to a .196 BA and .264 Slug pct against his cutter last season.
The Milwaukee Brewers head to the Windy City to open a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs tonight (ESPN, 7 ET). The Brewers went 10-6 against the Cubs last season, their first winning season against Chicago since 2005. The Cubs were 45-34 against Milwaukee from 2006-10.

Starting Pitchers
Shaun Marcum takes the mound for the Brewers in his first start of the season. Marcum is coming off a career year in 2011 – his first in the National League after starting his career with the Toronto Blue Jays - as he set career highs with 33 starts and 200⅔ IP, and tied his career high with 13 wins.

The cutter will be Marcum’s weapon, a pitch he improved and increased his use of last season. In 2011, he threw his cutter 17.7 percent of the time and has a miss percentage of 26.0, compared to throwing it 15.9 percent of the time with a 22.2 miss percentage in 2010. In addition, Marcum allowed only two HR off his cutter last season, compared to seven home runs in 2010.

Chris Volstad is 1-1 with a sparkling 1.71 ERA in four career starts against the Brewers. He’ll be excited to see Milwaukee without Prince Fielder in the lineup. Volstad’s opponents’ batting average against lefties was fifth-worst in the majors last season.

Volstad’s performance against lefties has gotten worse each of his four seasons in the majors. In 2008, he allowed lefties to hit .243 against him, but saw left-handed hitters become more comfortable in each of the subsequent years – hitting .255 in 2009; .292 in 2010; and a career-high .305 against him last season. Only four other pitchers (min. 300 AB) had a higher opponent batting average against left-handed batters last season.

Stat of the Game
Milwaukee entered the season without Prince Fielder for the first time since 2005 (signed a free-agent contract with the Detroit Tigers). It’s only three games, but they are feeling his loss as their first basemen (Mat Gamel and Travis Ishikawa) are a combined 2-for-12 with five strikeouts and no extra-base hits. Fielder is hitting .417 with two HR and two strikeouts in three games with the Tigers.

Key Matchup
Chicago second baseman Darwin Barney is 3-for-7 with three doubles against Marcum, but the rest of the Cubs are 5-for-53 (.094) with two extra-base hits combined. David DeJesus is 0-for-16 with four strikeouts against him.

John Fisher contributed to this post

Hitters teeing off on Arroyo this season

August, 1, 2011
The Cincinnati Reds’ Bronson Arroyo, who starts Monday against the Houston Astros, is having a tough year.

If his 7-9 record and 5.58 ERA in 21 starts weren’t alarming enough, the number of home runs that he has given up is certainly disconcerting.

Bronson Arroyo
Last season, Arroyo went 17-10 in 33 starts with a 3.88 ERA and surrendered 29 home runs. This season, he has given up a major-league leading 30 homers, and has had four starts in which he allowed three or more (that happened only once in 2010).

The breakdown of where the home runs have come against Arroyo also is something to consider.

Great American Ballpark, the home of the Reds and a known hitters’ park, has been the site of 20 of the 30 blasts Arroyo has allowed this year -- seven to left field, one to left-center, one to right-center and 11 to right. He has allowed 11 to left-handed hitters and nine to righties. Only one of those homers was to the opposite field, hit by Florida Marlins right-hander John Buck.

Twenty-two of the 30 home runs have come off Arroyo’s two staples: his fastball and his changeup, which combine for 68.7 percent of his total pitches (51 percent fastballs and 17.7 percent changeups). There have been 12 blasts off his changeup and 10 off his fastball, compared to seven off his changeup and 10 off his fastball in 2010.

Last season, Arroyo did a much better job at keeping his two main pitches out of the center of the strike zone, specifically by keeping it over the lower right corner of the plate. This season, he is leaving those pitches in the center of the zone, a far easier target for hitters.

Only eight of the blasts allowed by Arroyo were on hitters’ counts. Arroyo is getting ahead of most of these hitters and turning to these pitches because they have been his staples, when in reality, they have been poor in 2011.

Working in Arroyo’s favor is that he’s facing the Astros. He hasn't made a start against Houston this season, but since 2009 Arroyo is 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA in six starts against the Astros and has allowed just five home runs.

Arroyo's fastballs and changeups are catching more of the plate in 2011 (left) compared to 2010.
Jay Bruce dialed long-distance like no one else in the big leagues in May, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, and Mark Trumbo had the kind of mammoth blast that hadn't been seen in Kansas City in four years. What were some of the other home run oddities from the month of May?

Player Power Surge: HRs Totaling Most Distance (Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds)
Mike Stanton averaged more than 425 feet per home run in May, but no one totaled more total distance than Bruce. His 12 home runs tallied 4,776 feet, besting last month's winner, Ryan Braun, by nearly 700 feet. Jose Bautista, who leads the majors in home runs, has yet to win this award.

No Doubter: Longest True Distance (Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels)
Trumbo's Memorial Day blast off of Royals pitcher Louis Coleman at Kauffman Stadium traveled a true distance of 472 feet. It was the longest home run hit by an Angels player since Vladimir Guerrero's 473-foot shot off Zack Greinke at Kauffman on May 1, 2007.

Wall-Scraper: Shortest True Distance (Danny Valencia, Brennan Boesch)
On May 8, Valencia hit a 329-foot HR off Daisuke Matsuzaka. Eleven days later, Boesch hit a 329-foot shot off of Daniel Bard. Both home runs were hit at Fenway Park, which is not surprising. Of the 10 shortest home runs hit in 2011, six have been at Fenway Park.

Moonshot: Highest Apex* (Shelley Duncan, Cleveland Indians)
Duncan's 431-foot shot on Memorial Day off of Blue Jays pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes landed in the fifth deck at Rogers Centre, with an apex of 152 feet. Duncan became just the 15th player to reach the fifth deck at Rogers Centre, and the first since Jayson Werth on June 27, 2009 off of Brad Mills.

Line Drive: Lowest Apex (Carlos Peguero, Seattle Mariners)
Peguero’s May 16 shot came off Twins starter Scott Baker. With an apex of 39 feet, it was the lowest home run hit since Travis Snider’s 39-foot apex home run on May 3, 2010.

Fastball of the Month: Fastest Speed Off Bat (Juan Rivera, Toronto Blue Jays)
While his teammate Jose Bautista may steal all the attention, Rivera hit the fastest speed off bat in May. Rivera’s shot on May 22 off of Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez traveled 117.7 mph off the bat, and went 431 feet.

Server of the Month: Greatest Total Distance Allowed (Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds)
Arroyo allowed 10 home runs that traveled 3,981 feet. Last month's winner, Armando Galarraga, now finds himself in Triple-A Reno.

* Defined as the maximum vertical height a ball reaches during its flight
Chicago Cubs
From August 14 until the end of the season, Carlos Zambrano went 8-0 with a 1.24 ERA and allowed just one home run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only pitcher (minimum 50 innings) who had a lower ERA than Zambrano over that span was the American League Cy Young winner, Felix Hernandez (1.07 ERA).

Carlos Pena was one of four players last season (along with Mark Reynolds, Jim Thome and Russell Branyan) with at least 25 home runs despite having fewer than 100 hits.

Cincinnati Reds
There are only three pitchers who have thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last six seasons: Mark Buehrle, Dan Haren and the Reds' Bronson Arroyo. He's made 169 starts since coming to the Reds in 2006, tied with Haren for the most starts over the last five seasons.

In 2010, Joey Votto became just the fourth player in franchise history to hit .300 with 30 home runs and 100 RBI and the first since George Foster in 1977.

Houston Astros
Three pitchers tied for the major-league lead in starts of at least six innings pitched; Cy Young winners Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez and Houston's Brett Myers each made 32 such starts.

The Astros actually had a better record after the trades involving Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman (34-27) than when both were on the roster (42-59).

Milwaukee Brewers
Much has been made about their offseason additions of starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. But with Greinke came Yuniesky Betancourt, whose -21 Defensive Runs Saved ranked last among shortstops in 2010. Betancourt's an addition to an infield that already wasn't the best defensively: Rickie Weeks was -11 (tied for worst among second basemen) and Prince Fielder was -13 (third worst among first basemen).

One reason the Brewers offense -- which ranked in the top four of the National League in batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, runs and home runs – could improve is that Ryan Braun posted career lows in OPS, slugging percentage, home runs and stolen bases.

Pittsburgh Pirates
They have finished with a losing record every year since 1993. The 18 consecutive losing seasons is the longest streak ever among the four major sports.

Andrew McCutchen is widely considered to be one of the best young centerfielders in the game. However, he cannot escape the fact he was one of the worst "leading men" in baseball last year. Among position players who led their teams in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), McCutchen’s mark (3.3) was the fourth-lowest in the league.

St. Louis Cardinals
Not only was the combined 14.2 WAR of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday the best in baseball last season, but they were the only duo with a combined WAR above 12.5.

Pujols finished second in the 2010 National League MVP voting, the eighth time in his career that he's finished in the top three. The only player who has had more top-three finishes in MVP voting (since BBWAA voting began in 1931) is Barry Bonds with nine.

-- Justin Havens contributed to this report

Gold Glove for Pujols, CarGo but not Utley

November, 10, 2010
The National League Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced Wednesday; three players from the Cincinnati Reds, and two apiece from the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies were rewarded, along with centerfielders Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies and Michael Bourn of the Houston Astros.

Troy Tulowitzki

Bronson Arroyo won his first Gold Glove by tying for the lead among National League pitchers with six defensive runs saved. Troy Tulowitzki, another first-timer, was second among qualified NL shortstops with, according to Baseball Info Solutions, 16 defensive runs saved.

Scott Rolen made the second fewest errors and had the second best fielding percentage among NL third basemen en route to his eighth career award. And Yadier Molina won his third by leading NL catchers in assists (15 more than runner-up Brian McCann) and caught stealing percentage -- a whopping 48.5.

The biggest question in the National League comes in the outfield, where Victorino and Bourn are joined by Carlos Gonzalez. The first two won their third and second awards, respectively, in deserving fashion. Victorino tied for the NL lead with 11 outfield assists and tied for fifth among NL outfielders with 11 defensive runs saved. Bourn tied for second in that category with 16.

Carlos Gonzalez

Gonzalez did have five Web Gems and 17 Web Gem points, but he finished 23rd among qualified NL outfielders with -2 defensive runs saved. Another defensive metric from, Ultimate Zone Rating (per 150 defensive games played) had him 20th at -3.8 (behind teammate Dexter Fowler among others). In fact, we can’t find a stat that justifies his selection.

Baseball Info Solutions charts good plays and misplays by category. Gonzalez did not rank among the leaders in any significant good play defensive category by their measures. He did rate tied for first among outfielders in their category “Wasted Throw after Hit or Error” with five instances in which a Gonzalez throw led to another baserunner advancing on the play.

Reds rightfielder Jay Bruce made his case for a Gold Glove, leading all NL outfielders in defensive runs saved (17) and finishing second in UZR/150.

Brandon Phillips won the award at second base with the second fewest errors while leading all major league second basemen in Web Gems. But 27 NL second basemen had more defensive runs saved than Phillips did, including Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.
Chase Utley
Many believe Utley is long overdue for a Gold Glove, as he’s led NL second basemen in defensive runs saved in each of the past three seasons, including in 2008 when he nearly doubled the player who finished second. He was second in 2007, and third in 2006 and 2005 as well. And this season, Utley led NL second basemen in Plus/Minus, as well as Total Zone Runs as a 2B, Range Factor per 9 innings as a 2B and Range Factor per game as a 2B. The latter three came courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Notably, all four infield winners, including first baseman Albert Pujols, led the National League in Web Gems at their position. Tulowitzki was the overall Web Gem champion.

All rankings in defensive runs saved and UZR/150 are among qualified National League players at that position, and are taken from Fangraphs.
A quick look at Game 2 of the NLDS between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies.


The Reds take the field in Philadelphia tonight still looking for their first hit of this postseason. Cincinnati's 27 consecutive hitless at-bats in a postseason series is the second longest streak in franchise history. The Reds went 35 consecutive at-bats without a hit (spanning Games 1 and 2) in the 1939 World Series against the Yankees' Red Ruffing and Monte Pearson; that streak is the longest for any team in any postseason series in major-league history.

Roy Oswalt

Dating back to the regular season, the Reds have not scored in their last 30 innings at Citizens Bank Park. The Reds have now lost 7 straight road games at Philadelphia. They will look to snap that streak against Roy Oswalt, one of the National League's hottest pitchers. Several Cincinnati hitters have had success against Oswalt in their careers: Laynce Nix (9-17, 2 HR), Ramon Hernandez (5-11, HR) and MVP candidate Joey Votto (10-30, 2 HR).

Oswalt is 23-3 (.885) in his career against the Reds in the regular season, and his winning percentage is highest among active pitchers with at least 15 decisions against a particular opponent. The Yankees' CC Sabathia is next on the list with a 14-2 record (.875) against the Orioles. Meanwhile, Bronson Arroyo is 1-5 against the Phillies in the regular season with a 5.54 ERA, his highest earned run average against any National League team.

The Reds counter with Bronson Arroyo, who enters with a 7.41 career postseason ERA. Of the 462 pitchers to throw at least 15 postseason innings in their careers, Arroyo's ERA ranks ninth worst. One matchup to watch is when Arroyo faces Ryan Howard, how has two hits and four strikeouts in six career at-bats against the righty.

Umpire Bruce Dreckman will have the plate in Game 2, and both pitchers have pitched well in their careers with Dreckman calling balls and strikes. In five starts, Oswalt has a 2.30 ERA and 29 K vs three BB, but no wins to show for it. Arroyo has four starts, and is 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA, 20 K and 8 BB.

1st Pitch: History chasing Moyer Tuesday

June, 22, 2010
Quick Hits: Jamie Moyer gets the start against the Indians on Tuesday with history looming. The southpaw has allowed 504 home runs in his career, one shy of Robin Roberts' record. Using’s Home Run Log, let’s take a look at the 504 that got away:
  • The player that has faced Moyer the most times without a home run happens to be a likely future Hall of Famer. Roberto Alomar was homerless in 49 plate appearances.
  • Moyer has 478 career at-bats without hitting a home run himself. Only three active players have a longer career drought: Reggie Willits (863 PA), Ryan Dempster (548), and Ben Sheets (496).
  • Moyer has allowed 87 home runs in the first inning alone. Christy Mathewson allowed 89 over the course of a 17-year career.

  • Moyer is 149-67 in his career when not allowing a home run, and 116-134 when he does.
  • Moyer has allowed seven grand slams, which is not even the most among active players. Brad Penny, Kevin Millwood and Cliff Lee have all been victimized eight times. Lee has allowed 368 fewer home runs than Moyer, yet more grand slams.
  • Manny Ramirez has the most home runs against Moyer with 10, followed by Carlos Delgado’s eight.
  • The only player to homer in his lone plate appearance against Moyer? Kurt Abbott in 1993.
  • In part because of his extended time in the AL, Moyer has never allowed a home run to a pitcher. By contrast, Phil Niekro allowed 12.
  • The lone walk-off home run against Moyer belongs to Alfonso Soriano in the bottom of the 18th inning on June 24, 2004. Soriano also has one of the 18 home runs off of Moyer to lead off a game.
Today’s Trivia: Which current manager hit the first home run that Jamie Moyer gave up?

Today’s Leaderboard: The Indians, whom Moyer faces on Tuesday, have only managed nine home runs against lefties this season, tied for fourth fewest in the majors. The Dodgers are last with only seven, while the Red Sox and Yankees share the league lead with 28. The Indians’ nine have come in 739 at-bats. The rate of one HR per 82.1 AB vs lefties in second worst in the majors. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have one per 23.5 AB.

Key Matchups: So who is the most likely culprit to go deep against Moyer on Tuesday? A pair of Indians have a history of success against Moyer. Jhonny Peralta is the only current Indian with a home run against Moyer, and has a lifetime .500 average in 10 at-bats against him, while Austin Kearns is 7-for-16 (.438) against Moyer. If it’s anyone other than Peralta that takes Moyer deep, it would mark the 322nd different batter to homer off of him.

Kevin Kouzmanoff is swinging one the hottest bats in the majors at the moment, and Tuesday he gets to face the pitcher he does the most damage against. In June, Kouzmanoff is hitting .418 (4th in the AL) with five HR (t-4th in AL). In 16 career at-bats against Bronson Arroyo, he’s hit .688 with a pair of long balls. That batting average is by far his best against any pitcher he’s faced at least 10 times.

Trivia Answer: Juan Samuel, current interim manager of the Orioles, hit the first homer off of Jamie Moyer almost exactly 24 years ago today (June 23, 1986). He wasn’t the only current manager to appear in that game. Terry Francona came on as a defensive replacement for Moyer’s Cubs.

1st Pitch: Ubaldo on the road (to history)

June, 17, 2010
Quick Hits: Ubaldo Jimenez takes his mind-boggling road statistics (7-1, 0.76 ERA) over to Target Field on Thursday. He’s put himself on pace for numbers not seen since 1968, “The Year of the Pitcher.” Let’s take a closer look at Ubaldo’s road dominance:
  • Jimenez’s seven road wins equal the Orioles’ total number of road wins (7-27).
  • At his current pace, Jimenez is on track to win 17 games on the road alone. Over the last 50 years, that’s only been done twice according to STATS LLC, both in 1968: Juan Marichal (18-4) and Denny McLain (17-2).
  • The last pitcher to even win 14 on the road was Scott McGregor, who went 14-1 for the Orioles in 1983.
  • His 0.76 road ERA is nearly half Roy Oswalt’s 1.50, which ranks second in the majors.
  • The lowest qualifying road ERA over the last 50 years? Bob Gibson’s 0.81 in his historic 1968 season.
  • Jimenez has allowed just five earned runs in 59.1 innings on the road. There have been 393 starts this season in which a pitcher has allowed at least five runs.
  • Jeff Samardzija has pitched only a third of an inning on the road this season, and has allowed the same number of earned runs (5) as Jimenez has in over 59 innings of work.
  • Opponents are hitting just .152 against Jimenez in these games. The last pitcher to pull that off on the road was Luis Tiant (.145) in 1968.
  • Jimenez already has a pair of road shutouts. The last pitcher with more than three was Jack McDowell (4) in 1993.
Today’s Trivia: Arguably the top two active starters from the Dominican Republic face each other on Thursday, as Ubaldo Jimenez and Francisco Liriano will do battle. With neither Pedro Martinez or Bartolo Colon on a roster, who is the winningest active pitcher born in the Dominican Republic?

Today’s Leaderboard: Though opponents are hitting just .152 against Jimenez when he is on the road, he has issued 22 walks in those games. As a result, he ranks just fourth in the majors in opponents’ on-base percentage in road games. Roy Oswalt’s .217 opponents’ OBP is the best in the majors.

Key Matchups: Manny Ramirez has only faced his former teammate Bronson Arroyo once (a flyout). However, the other hitters in the heart of the Dodgers order are licking their chops. Andre Ethier (.368), Matt Kemp (.455) and James Loney (.471) have hit a combined .426 against the Reds’ veteran. For Loney, it’s his second highest average against a pitcher he has faced at least 15 times.

Adrian Beltre is a .410 career hitter against Dan Haren, having faced him extensively as AL West foes. However, the two have not squared off since 2007 and Beltre is hitless in his last five at-bats against him. Yet, Beltre may not be the Red Sox hitter most excited to see Haren. Victor Martinez is a .538 hitter against Haren, the highest average for anyone who has faced the Diamondbacks’ ace at least 15 times.

Trivia Answer: At 95-110, Nationals’ reliever Miguel Batista has more wins than any other pitcher from the Dominican currently on a roster. He ranks ninth all-time among pitchers born in that country.

The Closer: Strange day indeed

May, 17, 2010
Sunday proves once again why baseball is such a great game. You'll see things you either have never seen or haven't seen in some time. Here are just a few of the many rarities that occurred across MLB on Sunday:

Mariano Rivera
He allowed a grand slam in a home game for the first time since 1995 against the Athletics (Geronimo Berroa). His streak of 51 straight saves at home comes to an end and he also walked a runner with the bases loaded for the first time since 2005.

Marlins Sweep Mets
It was just the second time in team history in which the Marlins swept a four-game series from their division rivals and the first time since 2004 in New York.

Jake Westbrook Throws a Complete Game?
He allowed one run in a complete game for the first time since August 9, 2006. He's won consecutive starts for the first time since 2007.

Cardinals out, Reds in
The Reds defeated the Cardinals Sunday to move into first place. That's somewhere Cincinnati hasn't been this late into a season since the 2006 season.

Be Proud of Prado
Martin Prado had four hits, two of which were homers in the Braves' 13-1 thumping of the Diamondbacks. He became the first Braves leadoff hitter to have two homers and four hits in a single game since Felipe Alou on April 26, 1966, against the Giants.

Cliff Lee
He threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts in a hard-luck loss to the Rays. He's the first Mariners pitcher with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game loss since Freddy Garcia on August 7, 1999. But while it was rare in recent years, that was something Randy Johnson did eight times with the Mariners.

Wade LeBlanc
Another ho-hum strong start from a Padres pitcher. LeBlanc unfortunately took the loss when he allowed 1 ER in 7 IP against the Dodgers. But he did extend his streak of starts with 2 ER or fewer to 6 straight from the start of the season. That’s the longest streak by a Padres pitcher to begin a year since Jake Peavy had a team-record 10 straight to start the 2004 season.

You Complete Me

Five pitchers threw complete games on Sunday (Lee, Westbrook, Joel Pineiro, Brett Myers and Bronson Arroyo). Sounds rare right? Actually it happened on July 10, 2009, when Jeff Niemann, Dan Haren, Zach Duke, Arroyo and Jonathan Sanchez did so. Sanchez threw a no-hitter that day.