Stats & Info: Vin Mazzaro

Jones, Giambi still Chipper after turning 40

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
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Roy Halladay allowed eight earned runs and 12 hits in six or fewer innings for just the fourth time in 358 career starts, but the history books were rewritten hours after he left the game.

Since the Philadelphia Phillies rallied to force extra innings, Halladay remained 69-0 in his career when staked to a six-run lead. Wednesday was only the second time that he blew a six-run lead. On April 25, 2002, he blew a 6-0 lead for the Toronto Blue Jays before earning a no-decision in a loss to the Texas Rangers.

The game ended in the bottom of the 11th when Chipper Jones hit a two-run walk-off home run to give the Atlanta Braves a 15-13 victory. It was the eighth walk-off homer of his career and first since 2006.

Jones joined Jason Giambi, who hit a walk-off home run earlier in the afternoon for the Colorado Rockies. With that combination, Elias cracked open the record books to discover a pair of firsts and close-but-not-quite scoring fact.

It was the first time in major-league history that two players who had already hit 400 home runs hit walk-off home runs on the same day.

With Chipper turning 40 last week, today was also the first time that a pair of 40-year-olds hit walk-off homers on the same day. The last time that two 40-year-old players hit walk-off home runs in the same season was 1986, when Hal McRae and Davey Lopes pulled it off.

With the teams combining for 28 runs, it tied the second-highest scoring game to end with a walk-off home run in major-league history. In 1925, Ty Cobb did the honors as the Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago White Sox 16-15.

It was the first time that both teams in a Phillies-Braves game scored at least 13 runs since the Braves moved to Atlanta … or even Milwaukee. On July 6, 1934, the Boston Braves beat the Phillies 16-13.

Around the Diamond
• Carlos Ruiz entered the game with 10 RBI on the season, before driving in a career-high seven runs in the losing effort for the Phillies.

• Ruiz wasn’t the only player to drive in a career-high seven runs on Wednesday. Carlos Beltran hit two home runs and drove in seven runs – in the first three innings – as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates.

• In that game, A.J. Burnett became the first starting pitcher in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to allow 12 or more earned runs while recording less than nine outs. Before Vin Mazzaro did so out of the bullpen for the Oakland Athletics last year, no pitcher had fared so badly since 1948.

A's get F's following bullpen performance

August, 26, 2011
8/26/11
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The New York Yankees' three grand slams against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday have been well documented, but what about the team on the losing end of that 22-9 game?

The 22 runs were the most scored by the Yankees in a home game since July 26, 1931, but the A’s pitching collapse was just as rare. Oakland’s relief effort yielded 16 runs, all earned, the most by a bullpen in a nine-inning game in team history according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Bruce Billings was hit the hardest, giving up seven runs in 1⅓ innings. In 2011, that’s tied for the second-most runs allowed by a reliever in a game, behind only Vin Mazzaro, who allowed a staggering 14 runs May 16 against the Cleveland Indians.

On Thursday, Billings threw 57 pitches, including 44 fastballs. Yankees hitters totaled four hits off the heater, a pitch that has been very ineffective this season for Billings. Of his 13 hits allowed in 2011, 11 have come off his fastball, a pitch he has used more than 72 percent of the time. While batters are hitting .524 against his primary pitch (worst in MLB, minimum 100 fastballs), his slider has yielded only two hits and one walk on 33 pitches.

What Could Have Been
Imagine for a minute that the San Francisco Giants were successful in acquiring closer Heath Bell. With the potential for a healthy Brian Wilson in September, the two would have provided a formidable duo. Since Bell became a full-time closer in 2009, he has a major-league leading 124 saves. Just behind him is Wilson with 121. Third is Mariano Rivera with 110.

The Giants already have an elite bullpen. Their 2.88 ERA ranks second in the majors behind the Atlanta Braves. San Francisco’s relievers also have the second-best opponent OPS (.620) and have allowed the fewest home runs (23).

Double Trouble
Minnesota Twins reliever Alex Burnett was a bright spot this week for a bullpen that has struggled this season. In three appearances, Burnett logged four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and no walks.
Alex Burnett
Burnett

Burnett has excelled in several areas this season, most notably in his ability to throw consistently throw strikes. According to Inside Edge, Burnett throws his first pitch of an at-bat for a strike 62 percent of the time, 4 percent higher than the league average.

Burnett also has been economical -- 45 percent of his innings have been one-two-three, 10 percent higher than the average pitcher this season.
Vin Mazzaro
Mazzaro
At ESPN Stats & Info, we’re constantly poring through box scores and game logs to add context and perspective to even the most seemingly mundane storylines.

The most interesting angles are not always apparent, and sometimes it takes hours of digging to unearth that one note that perfectly sums up a player’s performance.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

That was the case Monday night, as Kansas City Royals righty Vin Mazzaro allowed 14 runs – all earned – and 11 hits to the Cleveland Indians in just 2⅓ innings. Needless to say, Mazzaro’s outing was the worst for a major league pitcher in quite some time.

Prior to Monday, no Royals pitcher had ever given up more than 11 runs in a game and no MLB pitcher had allowed 14 or more runs in game since the New York Yankees touched up Oakland Athletics starter Mike Oquist for 14 runs in 1998.

Mazzaro’s 14 earned runs allowed were the most for a reliever in more than 69 years. On April 16, 1942, Les McCrabb of the Philadelphia Athletics allowed 14 earned runs in relief against a Boston Red Sox lineup that featured Dom DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams. Not surprisingly, the outing was McCrabb’s first and last of the season.

A pitcher allowing 14 runs is unusual, but a pitcher allowing 14 runs in just 2⅓ IP is unprecedented. The Elias Sports Bureau says Mazzaro is the first pitcher to give up at least 14 runs in fewer than three innings in baseball’s modern era, or since 1900.

Elsewhere in the majors Monday:

• Cliff Lee walked a career-high six batters, one shy of his season total entering the game, and took the loss as the Philadelphia Phillies lost their season-high third straight game. Lee is now 0-3 in his past six starts, his longest streak of winless starts since 2004.

• The Tampa Bay Rays exploded for six runs, their most at home this season, as they beat the Yankees 6-5. The six runs snapped their streak of 22 straight home games with five or fewer runs, the longest such streak to start a season for any team since the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas.

• The Boston Red Sox rallied from a six-run deficit in the sixth inning to beat the Baltimore Orioles and pull even with the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East standings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Red Sox won a when trailing by at least six in the sixth inning or later since June 7, 2003 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chicago White Sox
They owned the league’s lowest WAR from designated hitters (-0.8) last season. If Adam Dunn’s WAR this season is somewhere around 3.4 (approximately what it would have been over the last six seasons if he didn’t have to play any defense), then he should greatly impact an offense that ranked seventh in runs in the American League in 2010.

Has Gordon Beckham turned the corner? Last season he entered the All-Star break with a .216 batting average and .581 OPS. But in the second half, he hit .310 with an .877 OPS.

Cleveland Indians
Their bullpen rated among the best in the American League in the second half of the 2010 season. Among the standouts was Chris Perez, who was amazing after the All-Star break (16 saves in 17 chances, 0.63 ERA, 28 ⅔ IP, 0 HR allowed, 32 K). Among pitchers with at least 60 innings, Perez's 1.71 ERA was the sixth lowest by an Indians pitcher in the expansion era (since 1961).

Shin-Soo Choo ranked second in the American League in Wins Above Replacement at 7.3, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Detroit Tigers
Their starting rotation may have an emerging star in Max Scherzer, whose 2010 season did a 180 after a brief demotion to the minor leagues. He was 1-4 with a 7.29 ERA when he was sent down, but returned to go 11-7 with a 2.46 ERA in his final 23 starts.

Justin Verlander averaged a Game Score of 61 over his last 17 starts in 2010. To put that into perspective, Roy Halladay, the NL Cy Young Award winner last season, averaged a Game Score of 63 for the entire season. In other words, Verlander pitched at a near-Cy Young-level over the second half of his season.

Kansas City Royals
The quintent of Kyle Davies, Jeff Francis, Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen and Vin Mazzaro appear to be the Royals' rotation to start the season. Those five pitchers combined to have a 7.2 WAR last season. As starting pitchers, their respective MLB ranks in that category were 85th, 91st, 93rd, 110th and 133rd last season.

In four seasons, Joakim Soria has 132 saves and a WHIP of 0.99. Mariano Rivera is the only other pitcher with 130 saves and a WHIP under 1.00 since 2007.

Minnesota Twins
Justin Morneau was an MVP contender last season before suffering a season-ending concussion. Despite missing the final 78 games of the season, Morneau finished as the team's leader in Wins Above Replacement (5.3). However, the Twins offense actually averaged more runs per game after his injury (5.0) than it did before (4.7).

Closer Joe Nathan is back after missing a season because of Tommy John surgery. He saved at least 35 games each season from 2004 to 2009. The only players with more consecutive seasons with 35 saves are Trevor Hoffman and Robb Nen (seven each).

-- Justin Havens, Paul Carr and Derek Czenczelewski contributed to this report

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