Monday, June 18, 2012
Clearing the bases: A's, Twins scoring runs
First base: Stats that don't make sense. And the team that has scored the most runs in the majors in June is ... the Oakland A's, with 90. With Brandon Moss hitting six home runs in 36 at-bats, the A's have hit 19 home runs in 16 games. Seth Smith is hitting .378 in June and Collin Cowgill .333. Yoenis Cespedes is hitting .385 in eight games. After ending May with eight consecutive losses, the A's are 9-7 in June. The No. 2 offensive team in the American League has been the Minnesota Twins. Led by Trevor Plouffe's nine home runs (!), Joe Mauer's .390 average, Ben Revere's .353 average and Jamey Carroll's .347 mark, the Twins have scored 79 runs. In fact, their top six of Denard Span, Revere, Mauer, Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Plouffe suddenly looks pretty formidable. The starting pitching remains horrible, with a 6.06 ERA on the season. If Carl Pavano (6.00), Francisco Liriano (6.24) and Nick Blackburn (7.48) had just been respectable, the Twins would be in the AL Central race instead of 8.5 games out.
Second base: Cain, Dickey back on the mound. Matt Cain will start against the Angels tonight and if he hopes to become the rare pitcher to throw a perfect game and then win his next start, he'll have to contain Albert Pujols, who is 8-for-14 with two home runs in his career off Cain. Only five of the past 17 pitchers to throw perfect games have won their next start (doesn't include Don Larsen and Mike Witt, who threw perfect games in their final starts of the season). R.A. Dickey, coming off his one-hitter, is at home against the Orioles. Since losing on April 18, Dickey is 8-0 with a 1.36 ERA. During that stretch he leads the majors in ERA and ranks third in opponents' batting average (.176) while ranking second in swing-and-miss percentage (28.7 percent). The Orioles lead the major leagues in strikeouts, so look for another big strikeout game from Dickey.
Third base: Catchers can hit, too! Carlos Ruiz is fifth in the majors in batting average (.354), Yadier Molina is eighth (.326) and Mauer is 15th (.314). Ruiz, Molina and A.J. Ellis are in the top 25 in OPS. Batting average isn't the best means to measure hitting performance, of course, but it's fun to note that the year three catchers hit at least .315 was 2004, when Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Kendall and Javy Lopez did it (and Johnny Estrada just missed at .314).
Home plate: Tweet of the day