Stats & Info: Drew Smyly

Top stats to know: Rays at Tigers

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsVictor Martinez’s 21 home runs this season are only four short of his career high (25 in 2007).
The Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers play the second game of their four-game series tonight (7 ET, ESPN/WatchESPN). We take a look at some of the things the broadcast crew will talk about.

Rays' offense on the rebound?
Tampa Bay is averaging only 3.76 runs per game this season, which ranks 26th in MLB and 14th in the AL. Since scoring 4.96 runs per game in 2009, Tampa’s scoring has gone down every season.

Tampa Bay’s offense has been especially anemic on the road this season. But the Rays are 6-2 on their current road trip and the offense appears to be making some progress.

Pitching matchup
Alex Cobb takes the ball for the Rays. He started the season off strong with a 1.89 ERA over his first three starts but has been inconsistent since coming off the DL in late May (5.16 ERA in eight starts). While Cobb has been up and down at times, he has the fourth-highest ground-ball rate in the American League (56.5 percent).

Expect to see plenty of changeups from Cobb. He throws it 32 percent of the time, the second-highest rate in the majors (with a minimum of 10 starts). Miguel Cabrera is hitting .412 against changeups this season, the third-highest rate in the AL.

For the Tigers, Drew Smyly looks to bounce back from the shortest start of his career. He allowed four runs and eight hits in only 2 1/3 innings Sunday against the Astros. Smyly had pitched well before that with a 1.44 ERA in his previous four starts.

Hail to Victor
Since July 1 last season, Victor Martinez leads the majors in hitting (.347). He already has 21 home runs this season, just four short of his career high (25 in 2007).

Despite the power, Martinez has the lowest swing-and-miss rate in baseball this season (8.2 percent). He is one of five hitters to miss on less than 10 percent of swings this season, and the other four have combined for six home runs.

Longoria lacking power
Evan Longoria has seen his power numbers fall off this season. His 10 homers would be his fewest before the All-Star break in any first half in which he played at least 25 games.

His slugging percentage has dropped to a career-low .390, which ranks 108th among 167 qualified hitters. Notable players with a higher slugging percentage include light-hitting speedsters Dee Gordon (.412), Alcides Escobar (.410) and Billy Hamilton (.400).
Sunday’s pitchers lacked the flash or pizzazz of Saturday’s, when the top three vote getters in last year’s AL Cy Young race, and the top two finishers in the NL Cy Young race took the mound.

And there was no Philip Humber coming out of nowhere to pitch a perfect game.

But there were some pretty good pitching performances.

Let’s take a look at some of Sunday’s pitching highlights:

Redbirds soar with Lohse
Winning pitcher Kyle Lohse allowed one run in six innings. He has gone six innings and allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his first four starts this season.
Kyle Lohse

The last Cardinals starter to have four games in a row to start the season of at least six innings pitched and one earned run or fewer allowed was Larry Jaster in 1968.

Want to have a good game? Pitch against Pirates starter Erik Bedard. In four starts this season, the Pirates have scored just three runs for Bedard, managing one against the Cardinals on Sunday.

Magic Wandy
Wandy Rodriguez pitched seven scoreless innings, yielding just three hits to shut down the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers and Matt Kemp.
Wandy Rodriguez

Rodriguez’s curveball was sharp, netting him 10 outs. He had six strikeouts with the hook on Sunday, matching the total he had with the pitch in his first three starts of the season.

Of the 15 pitches Rodriguez threw Kemp, only two were fastballs. Kemp fouled out on a changeup, flied out on a curve, and then struck out swinging at a curve against Rodriguez. His 10-game hitting streak was snapped.

The 12-0 win marked the Astros largest margin of victory in a shutout win over the Dodgers in franchise history.

All Smyles, but no win
The Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that Drew Smyly is the first Detroit Tigers pitcher ever to start his first three career games and allow one run or fewer in each of them. Smyly got a no-decision in the Tigers loss to the Texas Rangers.

Josh Hamilton homered again for the Rangers, giving him seven in the team's first 16 games. He's the fifth player in Rangers history with that many home runs in that few team games, joining Pete Incaviglia, Alex Rodriguez, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz.

The Buck (and his team) stops Pujols
Albert Pujols was 0-for-4 and his homerless streak to start the season now sits at 65 at-bats after his Los Angeles Angels lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2.

Pujols was 0-for-11 in the series with three fly outs, three ground outs, three strikeouts, and a lineout. He did reach base once on an error.

Looking ahead to Monday
Bigger names take the mound Monday, with the most attention being paid to Tim Lincecum.
Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum will start for the San Francisco Giants against the New York Mets in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader at Citi Field. Lincecum is 0-2 with a 10.54 ERA in his first three starts of the season, but is 3-0 with three earned runs allowed in 28 innings in his last four starts against the Mets.

Lincecum’s fastball velocity has averaged 90.2 miles-per-hour in the first two starts of the season, down two miles-per-hour from his average in 2011. His strike percentage with his fastball is 58 percent. It has consistently been either 63 or 64 percent in each of the three previous seasons.

Hitters have also feasted on Lincecum’s breaking pitches, with 10 hits against them in the first three starts. Last season, in his first three starts, he allowed only two hits with his breaking balls.