Stats & Info: Mitch Moreland

Jered Weaver adjusts to declining velocity

July, 29, 2013

AP Photo/LM OteroHe's pitching well of late, but Jered Weaver has had little success when's he's started at Texas.
Two of baseball’s hottest starting pitchers take the hill as the Los Angeles Angels’ Jered Weaver faces Texas Rangers’ newcomer Matt Garza, Monday at 7 ET on ESPN and WatchESPN.

Weaver goes off-speed
The last time Weaver made a start in Arlington was April 7, when he fractured his elbow dodging a Mitch Moreland line drive. When Weaver returned from the injury he had a 4.55 ERA in his next five starts but since then he's pitched extremely well.

Weaver is 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his past six starts and has found success by increasing the use of his curveball and keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate.

In his first seven starts of the season, Weaver threw his curveball about 10 percent of the time, but has nearly doubled that rate since.

An increased use of the curveball coincides with Weaver’s declining fastball velocity, which has dropped from 89.8 mph in 2010 to 86.6 this season. His recent success indicates that Weaver has found a way to pitch around his declining velocity.

Although Weaver has pitched well of late, he has struggled on the road in his career against the Rangers, going 4-8 with a 5.07 ERA. That’s a stark contrast to the 9-0 record and 2.28 ERA he’s posted against the Rangers at home.

Garza’s red hot
In his first start since being acquired by the Rangers, Garza allowed five hits over 7.1 innings in a win over the Yankees.

Garza has won a career-high six straight starts -- only Bartolo Colon (eight) and Patrick Corbin (seven) have longer such streaks this season. Garza is also riding another career-best streak, allowing two earned runs or fewer in seven consecutive starts.

A key for Garza's success has been his slider, widely regarded as his best pitch. Over his previous seven starts, opponents are hitting .157 without an extra-base hit when he throws his slider.

However, Garza has struggled against the Angels. His 5.83 career ERA against Los Angeles his fourth-worst against any team.

Diminishing returns from Pujols
Another key storyline revolves around Albert Pujols, who was placed on the disabled list on Sunday with a partially torn plantar fascia ligament in his left foot.

If Pujols does not play again this season, he would finish the season with career-lows in games played, batting average, home runs, RBI and runs.

Wins Above Replacement (WAR) tell the story of Pujols’ steep decline of late. He led the league in 2009 with a 9.7 WAR on his way to winning the National League MVP. That number has dropped each of the next four seasons to 1.4 in 2013, which ranks outside the top 120 players.

The Angels have gotten a poor return on investment on the Pujols contract thus far, and it does not seem to be getting any better. From 2014-2021, Pujols is still owed $212 million, that's more than any other player except Joey Votto, who is owed $225 million.

Beltre hammers hard stuff vs Orioles

August, 22, 2012

Tim Heitman/US Presswire
Adrian Beltre became the fifth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a game in both the regular season and postseason.
Adrian Beltre homered three times in the first four innings as the Texas Rangers offense stayed hot in a 12-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

The Rangers have scored double-digit runs in three of their last seven games and have an MLB-best 17 games with 10 or more runs this season.

Beltre homered against a 94 mph fastball in the second inning and went deep twice more in the fourth inning, once off an 88 mph cutter from Tommy Hunter and once off an 91 mph fastball from Kevin Gregg.

He’s now hitting .336 in at bats ending with a pitch of 88 or more mph this season compared to just .265 against slower pitches.

Beltre’s improved plate discipline - his chase percentage has dropped every season since 2009 - has paid off in 2012. All of Beltre’s 22 home runs this season have come against pitches in the strike zone.

While Wednesday’s game was Beltre’s first with three home runs in the regular season, he homered three times against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of last year’s ALDS. Beltre joined the short list of current and future Hall-of-Famers with a three-homer game in both the regular season and postseason: Albert Pujols, George Brett, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth.

Beltre’s first home run Wednesday was his 20th of 2012, the 10th time in his 15 seasons he’s hit 20 in a year. He’s the ninth third baseman in MLB history with at least 10 20-homer seasons.

Beltre’s three homers also moved him into the top 100 on the MLB career list. He’s now tied for 97th on the all-time list along with Moises Alou, Bobby Bonds and Aramis Ramirez at 332.

Beltre wasn’t the only Rangers hitter in fine form Wednesday. Mitch Moreland also drove in five runs, four on his first career grand slam.

It’s the first time the Rangers had two players drive in five runs in the same game since they set an American League record for runs in a 30-3 blowout of the Orioles on August 22, 2007, exactly five years ago Wednesday.

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Mike Napoli drove in two runs on an eighth inning double as the Rangers moved within one win of its first World Series title.

On a night when every at-bat had a chance to swing the series, Mike Napoli stole the show with his two-run double in the eighth inning.

Napoli became the second player to drive in multiple runs in four different games during the same World Series. The other was Mickey Mantle, who drove in 11 runs for the Yankees in 1960. Unfortunately for Mantle, the New York Yankees lost the series to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games.

Napoli has driven in nearly half the runs that the Texas Rangers have scored so far in the Fall Classic. He has driven in nine of the team’s 19 runs. The rest of the team has recorded 10 RBI. With nine RBI in five games, he has matched the number of runs he drove in during the first 24 games of his postseason career.

Before Napoli’s hit, the World Series had been lacking late-inning drama late in the series during the past decade. The last go-ahead hit in the eighth inning or later in Game 5 or later of the Fall Classic was Troy Glaus’s two-run double in the eighth inning of Game 6 in 2002.

The St. Louis Cardinals had their chances early in the game, but left 12 runners on base. That number would have been higher, but Allen Craig became the first player since Billy Martin in 1955 to get caught stealing twice in the same World Series game.

The Rangers didn’t give Albert Pujols a chance to beat them in Game 5. He drew three intentional walks, becoming the third player with that many in a World Series game. The others were Rudy York in 1946 and Barry Bonds in 2002. In the seventh inning, he became the first player in World Series history to draw an intentional walk with the bases empty.

The other offensive hero for the Rangers was Mitch Moreland. Moreland notched the first run for the home team with a solo home run in the third. He is the fourth player to hit two career World Series home runs from the nine-hole in the batting order. His ball was measured at 446 feet, the longest home run this postseason and the longest in a World Series game since Home Run Tracker began in 2006.

In a rematch of the Game 1 pitchers, the Rangers win snaps a streak of nine straight World Series rematches that were won by the same team that won the first game. The last time a rematch of starting pitchers resulted in different results was the 1996 World Series.

The Rangers are in the driver’s seat heading back to St. Louis. When a best-of-seven World Series has been tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner has won the series 26 of 39 times. However, the Cardinals have had success when trailing 3-2 in the Fall Classic. They’ve come back to win the series four times in five attempts when facing two must-win games.
Curtis Granderson is well on his way to a career high in home runs this season. And, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, Granderson also hit the highest round-tripper in the month of June.

Mitch Moreland
No Doubter: Longest true distance (Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers)
Moreland’s June 20 blast off the Astros’ Mark Melancon traveled 472 feet. That matched the distance of last month’s winner, Mark Trumbo. Among players with at least 10 home runs hit this season, Moreland is second in average distance per HR (422.3 feet).

Wall-Scraper: Shortest true distance (Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays)
On June 16, Lind’s HR off Kevin Gregg went 333 feet. Believe it or not, this is not even Lind’s shortest home run of the season. On May 1, Lind hit one that went 330 feet off Ivan Nova.

Moonshot: Highest apex (Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees)
On June 9, Granderson took Josh Beckett deep at Yankee Stadium. The first-inning shot traveled just 364 feet, but was hit 147 feet in the air. It took 6.35 seconds to leave the yard, and rode an 8 mph gust of wind out of the park.

Line Drive: Lowest apex (Carlos Peguero, Seattle Mariners)
Like Yogi Berra once said, “this is like deja vu all over again.” Peguero’s June 25 line drive off Chris Volstad went 344 feet, 1 foot shorter than his award-winning shot in May off Scott Baker. June’s award-winner registered an apex of 39 feet, and left the ballpark in 2.96 seconds.

Michael Morse
Fast-Ball: HR with fastest speed off bat: (Michael Morse, Washington Nationals)
On June 5, Morse took Joe Paterson very deep at Chase Field -- a true distance of 454 feet that registered 117 mph off the bat. All of Morse’s home runs this season have measured in the triple digits for speed off the bat, averaging 106.78 mph.

Mother Nature: HR impacted greatest by climate (Brent Lillibridge, Chicago White Sox)
His June 1 HR off Tim Wakefield was aided by a 22 mph wind gust, carrying the ball an extra 55 feet. Without that gust, Lillibridge’s home run -- which registered a speed off the bat of just 91.7 MPH (which was the third slowest this season) -- would have been a lazy fly ball, traveling 315 feet.

Player Power Surge: Greatest Combined Distance (Carlos Pena)
Pena totaled 4,054 feet of home runs in June, besting Prince Fielder by 27 feet and Paul Konerko by 85 feet. All three players tallied 10 home runs, but Pena managed to hit 6 of his 10 over 409 feet.

Brian Matusz
Server: Pitcher Who Allowed Most total HR distance (Brian Matusz)
Matusz had a rough June, allowing 3,589 feet of total home run distance. The main culprit for Matusz? Interleague play. Of the nine home runs he allowed last month, seven came against National League opponents.

Launching Pad: Stadium that totaled the greatest HR distance (Oriole Park at Camden Yards)
Someone ordered the fireworks early in Baltimore, as Oriole Park at Camden Yards allowed 47 home runs for a total distance of 18,826 feet. No other stadium in baseball came close to topping that total in June.

Mitch Moreland's three-run home run was the fourth three-run HR by the Texas Rangers this postseason. All other teams have combined for two. Moreland is now 7-for-17 at home this postseason with two walks. (During the regular season, he had a .411 OBP at home.)

From the Elias Sports Bureau: Mitch Moreland is the first rookie first baseman to start the first three games of a World Series since Jackie Robinson in 1947.
Josh Hamilton

• Josh Hamilton's fifth HR of the postseason made him the first American League batting champion to hit a home run in the World Series since Bernie Williams in 1998. He also has four home runs off left-handed pitchers. That ties the record for most HR by a left-handed hitter against left-handed pitchers in a single postseason. Hamilton shares the mark with Rusty Staub (1973 Mets) and Chase Utley (2009 Phillies).

• Jonathan Sanchez allowed just five home runs in 138 at-bats during the regular season to left-handed batters. However, the last four home runs he's allowed have all been hit by left-handed hitters: Kosuke Fukudome, Kelly Johnson, Moreland and Hamilton).

• Nelson Cruz's second-inning double gives him seven this postseason. That ties the MLB postseason record previously set by Hideki Matsui (2004), Mike Lowell (2007) and Jayson Werth (2008).

• Neftali Feliz (22 years, 182 days) is the second-youngest pitcher to save a World Series game. Bob Welch was 21 years, 342 days when he recorded a save against the New York Yankees in the 1978 World Series.

• Cody Ross's fifth HR extended his postseason hitting streak to 10 games, tied for the second-longest in Giants history (Irish Meusel 11, Alvin Dark 10).

• Pat Burrell struck out in all four at-bats in Game 3, and is now 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in the World Series. With the series guaranteed to go at least two more games, Burrell could set the record for most strikeouts in one World Series. That record currently is held by Ryan Howard, who struck out nine times in last year's World Series.
Some notes from Thursday's early baseball games:

Cardinals 11, Braves 4
• The St. Louis Cardinals win for just fourth time in their last 16 games. The Atlanta Braves have lost six of their last eight.

Adam Wainwright snapped his four-game losing streak and improved to 6-0 in his career vs the Braves (best W-L vs them of any active pitcher). He's the first pitcher to start his career 6-0 against the Braves since Ron Robinson (1984-89).

Albert Pujols, who entered with one HR in his last 11 games, hit his first HR vs the Braves since August 24, 2008. He now has 99 RBI, one shy of his 10th straight 30 HR/100 RBI season.

Colby Rasmus tied a career-high with four hits and had his second career multi-homer game. The last Cardinal with a four-hit, two-homer game against the Braves was George Hendrick in 1978.

Jair Jurrjens lost at home for the first time this season (now 6-1).

Rockies 6, Reds 5
• The Colorado Rockies win their 12th straight September game against the Cincinnati Reds, as they sweep their four-game series.

• The Reds have now been swept in a four-game series on the road by both the Rockies and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Chris Nelson, in his seventh MLB game, won the game with his first career steal of home. It was a straight steal in bottom of the eighth inning. He's the third rookie to steal home this season.

• Nelson was inserted as a pinch runner after Jason Giambi drew a walk. Nelson was then replaced at 1B by Todd Helton to start the ninth. Thus Nelson's ONLY appearance in the boxscore is as a pinch runner who stole home.

• According to Elias, the last time this happened was June 11, 1985. Gary Pettis ran for Bob Boone in a California Angels loss to the Texas Rangers. He stole home and then was replaced by Jerry Narron in the field.

Aroldis Chapman got his first career hold, getting Carlos Gonzalez to ground into a double play with the bases loaded in the seventh-inning. His 12 fastballs averaged 100.3 MPH and maxed out at 103.0 MPH.

• The Rockies get their 19th last at-bat win, tying the Reds for 4th-most in MLB.

• The Reds blew a five-run lead. It's their 21st blown lead resulting in a loss this season, which is tied for second fewest in MLB.

• According to the Elias Sports Bureau it was the fourth time this season that the Rockies won a game after trailing by at least five runs, tying the Tigers for the most such wins in the majors. It was the third time this season that the Reds lost a game after leading by at least five runs, tying the Red Sox, Rangers and Nationals for the most such losses in the majors.

Rangers 4, Blue Jays 2
• Texas Rangers' starter Colby Lewis snapped his seven-game losing streak and four-game road losing streak.

Mitch Moreland had a career-high 3 RBI.

Neftali Feliz became the fourth rookie in MLB history with a 35-save season and is two shy of the MLB rookie record set by Kaz Sasaki in 2000.

• Jose Bautista hit his 44th HR, which is tied for third most in a season in Blue Jays history. His 28 HR at home are the 2nd most in Blue Jays history.

Tigers 6, White Sox 3
• The Detroit Tigers win their third straight and have won six of their last eight games.

• The Tigers had 13 hits, all singles. That is the most hits in a game without an extra-base hit by the Tigers since May 11, 2004 when they 14 singles in a loss vs the Oakland Athletics - their last win in such a game was June 12, 1993 vs Toronto (15 singles).

Johnny Damon had a team-high four hits, his 36th career four-hit game and first as a Tiger.

• Rick Porcello improves to 4-0 in his last four starts (5-11 in first 20 starts). He now sports a 4.09 ERA since returning from his minor league demotion. He and teammate Max Scherzer have both been much improved since returning to the club after being sent down following early struggles.

• The Chicago White Sox have lost three straight after winning seven in a row.