Stats & Info: John Baker

Kernels: While you were sleeping

August, 3, 2014
In case you couldn't (or didn't) stay up, our weekly look at the interesting and unusual in MLB takes us on a roundup of some late-night and late-inning happenings.

• The Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies were tied 3-3 after four innings on Tuesday. Eleven innings later, it was still 3-3. After the Cubs loaded the bases in the 16th, Starlin Castro ended things with a sacrifice fly. By inning, it was the latest sac fly in Cubs history (flies were split from bunts in 1954), and the Cubs' longest victory since a 16-inning, 1-0 win over Houston on May 31, 2003.

John Baker
Catcher John Baker pitched the top of the 16th and ended up with the win. Depending on your definition, he's on a very short list of Cubs position players to be a winning pitcher. Hal Jeffcoat won 13 games in the mid-1950s after being converted from an outfielder. In the early days, it becomes a gray area between pitchers and other positions. The Cubs' last winning "pitcher" who played more games in the field than he pitched was Jock Menefee, who in 1902 played 41 games at other positions, but pitched in 22 (winning 12). Their last not-regular pitcher to get a win while pitching in five or fewer games that season was second baseman Fred Pfeffer, who finished three games (and won one) in 1885.

At 6 hours, 27 minutes, Tuesday's was the longest game of the season, the longest in either team's history, and its 1:34 a.m. CT ending was the latest finish ever to a game at Wrigley Field (breaking the previous record from 2012 by 6 minutes).

While there have been four 16-inning games this season, we still haven't had a contest go 17. The last season without at least one was 2002.

• The San Diego Padres piled up 20 hits in Friday's win over the Atlanta Braves, the most hits recorded by any team in a nine-inning game at Petco Park. It was the Padres' highest hit total in a nine-inning home game since 1995. Tommy Medica had five of those hits, including two homers, becoming just the second player in Padres history with that line (Ryan Klesko, 2001).

The Padres took a different tack on Saturday, going to extra innings before Will Venable won the game with a bases-loaded single in the 12th. Venable has both the team's walk-off hits in the 12th or later this season (May 5); the Padres' only other player with two in a season was Chris Gomez in 1997. Venable also had a 13th-inning single in 2012 and is the first player in franchise history with three walk-off hits in the 12th or later.

• The Royals won a 1-0 game against Oakland on Friday behind Raul Ibañez's fifth-inning homer. Eleven games this year have been 1-0 via solo homer, but the Royals had not won such a game since Sept. 18, 1993 (Felix José homer vs. Seattle).

It's only the third time in history that the current Kansas City team (the Royals) has beaten the previous Kansas City team (the Athletics) by a 1-0 score. It happened in 1982 on a U.L. Washington ninth-inning single, and in 1980 when Washington scored the only run on a Willie Aikens base hit.

Hanley Ramirez ended Saturday night's game with a three-run 12th-inning homer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the team's first walk-off homer of the year, leaving four teams (Royals, Padres, Rangers, Nationals) without one. The Dodgers had not hit a walk-off homer against the Cubs since Pedro Guerrero's solo shot in the ninth on May 18, 1982. By inning, it was their latest three- or four-run walk-off, against any team, since Darryl Strawberry beat the Astros with a 13th-inning shot on Aug. 16, 1991.

• On Thursday the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles engaged in a friendly game of chicken as they waited to see who wanted to score first. Finally in the top of the 13th, the Angels combined a walk and two singles into the game's only run. It was the first time the Orioles had played 12 scoreless innings to start a game since Aug. 20, 1978, also against the Angels. Don Baylor's walk-off double in the 14th was the only scoring in that game. That was also the Angels' last 1-0 win in a game of 13 or longer; they've had just one other such win in franchise history (1963).

What's in a steal? 2010 SB trends emerging

April, 24, 2010
Speed might play the biggest role when it comes to stealing bases, but that doesn’t mean players don’t have their special tendencies. For example, Derek Jeter was 14-for-14 when attempting to steal on the first pitch last season, while Ichiro Suzuki made only three attempts in that situation. Everyone is different, so what are some of the interesting trends popping up so far in 2010?

Michael Bourn
Bourn, like the Houston Astros, got off to a slow start in 2010. Bourn stole 61 bases in 73 attempts last year (83.6 percent), but through April 18 he was only 1-for-2. That all changed when the Astros hosted the Florida Marlins, and Bourn got to face his favorite catcher.

In 2009, Bourn went 7-for-7 in steal attempts with John Baker behind the plate. Although they play in different divisions, Bourn attempted more steals against Baker than any other catcher in the league. (Josh Bard faced the second-most attempts from Bourn with five.)

So it should come as no surprise that in a three-game series against the Marlins, Bourn went 4-for-4 in stolen-base attempts ... all with Baker catching.

Rajai Davis
Last season, Davis was an equal-opportunity stealer, running on left-handers almost as often as he did right-handers. Of his 2009 attempts, 41.5 percent were against lefties, which was the highest percentage of the 40-plus stolen-base club . So far in 2010, that trend is continuing.

Davis is a perfect 8-for-8 in steal attempts in 2010, and four of them have been against lefties.

One other fun trend with Davis: Last year the A’s went 26-12 (.684) in games in which Davis stole a base. This year they are 6-1 (.857) when Davis steals a base. Since 2009, they are a combined 53-81 (.396) when he doesn’t record a steal.

Nyjer Morgan
In 2009, Morgan tied for the league lead with Chone Figgins in times caught stealing, as each was caught 17 times in 59 attempts. Morgan is 4-for-7 in steal attempts this season, and he’s second only to Matt Kemp in times caught stealing (four times). Perhaps Morgan should rethink his approach a bit.

Last year Morgan was 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) when stealing against lefties and 35-for-47 (74.5 percent) when stealing against right-handed pitchers. In 2010, Morgan is just 1-for-3 (33.3 percent) against lefties and 3-for-4 (75.0 percent) against righties.

Carl Crawford
In 2009, only 11.8 percent of all of Crawford’s stolen-base attempts came against lefties. Considering he was just 4-for-9 (44.4 percent) in those situations, it’s probably a good thing he chose to run primarily against righties. This season, though, Crawford is getting a little more aggressive.

Crawford is 7-for-8 on the whole this season and is already 2-for-3 against lefties. Last year, Crawford didn’t take his third steal attempt against a lefty until June 6.

On Friday, Tim Kurkjian discussed how steals of third base are becoming more and more common. No one better exemplifies that than Crawford, who has already stolen third base successfully on all three of his attempts this season. Last season, he didn't steal third base for the third time until July 8. He was 5-for-9 when stealing third base in 2009, and that made only up 11.8 percent of his attempts and 8.3 percent of his successes.