Today’s Trivia: With Target Field opening, name the only three remaining teams whose ballpark also is the home for a professional football team (question courtesy of Jeff Bennett)?
Quick Hits: Some fun with early pitching oddities and irregularities.
* Tim Lincecum has retired the first batter in all 14 innings he has pitched this season, including six by way of strikeouts.
* CC Sabathia has held the leadoff hitter to a .100 batting average, but he has walked an MLB-high four leadoff hitters.
* Opponents have a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .000 against Fausto Carmona, yet a batting average of .059. Confused? The lone hit was a home run, and thus was not in-play.
* Eight of the nine batters that Darren O’Day has faced have swung at the first pitch. The ninth was a called strike. That means O’Day has a 100.0 first-pitch strike percentage and has yet to see a 1-0 count.
* Not one of the 20 batters that Rick Porcello faced last week swung at the first pitch (12 of which were balls).
* Charlie Haeger had two batters reach on a strikeout on Sunday. That would have been tied for the second most in the majors all of last season! Felix Hernandez had four hitters reach on a strikeout in 2009, while no one else had more than two.
* Jake Westbrook already has four wild pitches and four hit batsmen. Last season, Fausto Carmona was the only Indians pitcher with four of each over the entire season.
Today’s Leaderboard: As the Minnesota Twins usher in a new era at Target Field, there are some who might be sad to see the Metrodome go. Among them? Kevin Slowey, who was 17-4 in the Twins’ old home. That was the fourth best win percentage of anyone with ten decisions. Slowey will pitch the second ever game at Target Field on Wednesday, while Carl Pavano gets the ball today. Jack Morris and Juan Berenguer were both 23-5 at the Metrodome, tied for the best record there. Berenguer is particularly interesting given that he was just 44-57 everywhere else.
Highest career win percentage at the Metrodome (minimum 10 decisions)
Key Matchups: Both starting pitchers in today’s Astros-Cardinals game have traditionally fared well against the biggest bat in the opposing lineup. Albert Pujols is just 5-31 in his career against Wandy Rodriguez, though interestingly he has only struck out once. That .161 average is easily Pujols’ worst against any pitcher he has faced at least 25 times. However, after starting out 3-25, Pujols has a pair of doubles in his last six at-bats against Rodriguez.
In the other dugout, Carlos Lee probably didn’t circle this game to break out of his 3-23 start to the season. Lee has hit just .050 (1-20) in his career against Adam Wainwright, his worst average against any pitcher that he’s faced at least 15 times. That hit came back in 2007, and Lee is hitless in 15 plate appearances since.
Trivia Answer: With the opening of Target Field only three MLB teams share their home park with a pro football team - the Blue Jays, Athletics, and Marlins. That continues a downward trend from multi-purpose stadiums. In 1970, 17 of 24 MLB teams shared stadiums including the Yankees, Tigers, and Cubs.