Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Clearing the bases: A-Rod ties Gehrig
By David Schoenfield
First base: A grand slam. Alex Rodriguez tied Lou Gehrig's all-time record with his 23rd career grand slam. His slam off Jonny Venters came with the Yankees down 4-0, the first of his 23 slams in which the Yankees trailed by three or four runs when he hit it. Three of his slams have been walk-offs and the 23 homers have come off 23 different pitchers. In his career with the bases loaded, A-Rod has hit .345/.391/.703 for a 1.094 OPS. His career OPS is .949. Unfortunately, we don't have Gehrig's career splits to know what he hit with the bases juiced, although we do know he hit two of his 23 slams off a pitcher named Lloyd Brown, a 5-foot-9 lefty nicknamed "Gimpy."
Second base: Mad pitching. My colleagues Eric Karabell and Mark Simon picked Madison Bumgarner to win the NL Cy Young before the season. After winning last night while striking out 12 Astros, Bumgarner is 8-4 with a 3.08 ERA, which at least puts him in place to make a run over the season's final 100 games. He's been delivering more K's lately. After averaging less than four strikeouts per start through his first eight games, he's whiffed 10 or more in three of his past five -- the only starter with at least three 10-K games so far. He's also tied for second in the NL in innings pitched. With Tim Lincecum continuing to struggle, the Giants will need Bumgarner to continue handling that workload. (Not that he's been asked to throw a lot of pitches; with his ability to throw strikes, his season high is 117 pitches.)
Third base: Roberts returns. Good to see Brian Roberts back in uniform with the Orioles. Roberts went 3-for-4 with a sac fly in Baltimore's 8-6 win over Pittsburgh (who would have thought in March that this would be a big series?). Roberts was a terrific player from 2004 to 2009 when he hit .290/.365/.438 and averaged 46 doubles and 35 steals per season. He's now 34 and it would seem unlikely he can return to that level of play after years of injuries, but even if he's close to that he'll provide a nice lift for the Orioles in the leadoff spot. Baltimore leadoff hitters have posted a .259 OBP, second-worst in the majors to the Reds' .231.
Home plate: Tweet of the day. Teammate Adam Jones was glad to have Roberts back: