Saturday, July 21, 2012
Kernels of Wisdom: Week in review
By Doug Kern, ESPN Stats & Info
After six scoreless innings, Ben Zobrist provided the happy ending to the Rays' game Friday night with a walk-off double in the bottom of the 14th. It tied for the latest-ever (by inning) walk-off hit in Tampa Bay franchise history. Kevin Stocker also walked off with one out in the bottom of the 14th on May 12, 1998. That was a two-run homer after Cleveland had scored once in the top of the 14th.
The Royals racked up 11 hits on Sunday, but couldn't rack up enough of them in the same inning to score more than once. They became the third team this season to have 11-plus hits and score a total of one run. But White Sox starter Chris Sale managed to get a win out of the deal despite giving up 10 of those hits.Sale is the first pitcher to give up 10 hits, get only two runs of support on offense, and still win the game since Jorge De La Rosa did it for the Royals on June 27, 2007.
Despite a lack of run support, Jose Quintana has had an effective rookie season for the White Sox.
Speaking of run support, White Sox rookie Jose Quintana isn't getting any, either. On Thursday he pitched eight more scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.30, and yet he still got a no-decision when Cody Ross hit a walk-off homer for Boston. It's already Quintana's third game this season with eight-plus innings pitched and a no-decision. He joins Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez in that club.
The Twins piled up 19 runs on Monday, their most in a game this season (by eight!). Included in the outburst were a seven-run first inning and a five-run eighth. That marked the first time the Twins had two five-run innings in a game since July 26, 2010.
That, however, was not the strangest line score of the week. On Tuesday, the Mariners beat the Royals 9-6 as the teams combined for five field goals. Seattle scored three times each in the first and second. Kansas City scored three in the third. Seattle answered with three in the fifth. And the Royals rounded out the scoring with three in the seventh. In other words, five innings of exactly three runs ... and no other scoring. It's the first such line score (five or more 3s with no other scoring) in the live-ball era. Honorable mention goes to the Cubs and Pirates on Sept. 9, 1925; the teams ended regulation tied at 6 each (four 3s) before Chicago hung a fifth 3-spot in the top of the 11th. The Pirates, alas, in their comeback attempt, scored a single run to make the final 9-7.
Pedro Beato entered Tuesday's game for the Mets with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th. His fourth pitch to Tyler Moore bounced and Ryan Zimmerman found the plate for the winning run. The Nats are the only team this season to win a game on a "bounce-off" -- and they've done it twice. Zimmerman also scored on a wild pitch by the Reds' Alfredo Simon on April 12. As for Beato, because Moore's time at bat never ended, he never officially faced a batter -- thus becoming the first pitcher this year to finish a game while not facing a batter and not recording an out, and the first to do so in Mets history.
The A’s, who now lead the majors with 10 walk-off wins, got one on Wednesday from rookie Brandon Hicks. It was Hicks' first major league home run, making him the fourth player in franchise history whose first career homer was a walk-off. Before this year, only Dee Miles (1939) and George Hendrick (1972) had done so. Derek Norris then became the third Athletic to pull off the feat on June 24. Elias tells us that the last team to have two players hit walk-offs for their first career homers was the 1986 Padres. Those would be the first of 217 round-trippers for Benito Santiago; and the only career homer hit by pitcher Craig Lefferts -- still, 26 years later, the most recent walk-off homer by a pitcher. With Brandon Moss' walk-off single to beat the Yankees on Friday night, Oakland's 10 walk-off wins have now been triggered by 10 different players... three of whom (Inge is the other) are named Brandon.
The Angels went to Detroit on Tuesday and dropped a 13-0 shutout on the Tigers. It was the biggest shutout by a visiting team in Comerica Park history, and the biggest in Detroit since Toronto put up 15 at Tiger Stadium on July 6, 1996. As for the Angels, it was just their sixth road shutout of 13 or more in franchise history, and the first since 2004 when they also posted 13 just a few miles up the road at Dodger Stadium. The Angels also tagged five home runs in that game on Tuesday, something they've done just 30 times in their 52-season history. Over that span, the only two American League teams with fewer such games are Kansas City (which didn't start play until 1969; it has 17) and Tampa Bay (12 in 1998).
The Astros stole five bases on Monday. No, really -- the Astros. The only other time they had done that in the past six years was on April 25, 2010, in a win over Pittsburgh. Those steals came largely because of 11 extra base runners (nine walks and two hit batters) issued by the Padres pitching staff. They are only the second team this season with nine-plus walks and two-plus HBPs in a nine-inning contest (Cleveland received the same generosity from Oakland back on April 20). The Padres had surrendered those numbers only twice before in their history (last year to the Red Sox, and in 1995 against the Cubs).
Jose Reyes led off Friday night's game with a home run on the second pitch of the game. It was the Marlins' first leadoff homer of 2012. Miami had been one of just three teams without a leadoff homer, leaving the Angels and Diamondbacks to fight for the dubious honor of being the last to hit one. It was Reyes' 17th career leadoff homer; his previous 16 -- all with the Mets -- easily give him that franchise's record for leadoff homers, doubling the eight each posted by Len Dykstra and Tommie Agee.
And from the minor league ranks, an actual New York-Penn League game I attended on Wednesday morning in nearby Norwich, Conn. It's not terribly odd -- it's just really neat if you've ever kept a scorecard. Runners first and second, one out. Trail runner is leaning too far, so the catcher throws behind him. His only chance is to try and break toward second. That fails miserably, and he’s tagged out halfway to second. Meanwhile, the lead runner thinks he's going to third -- either because of the confusion over yonder, or because the other runner is coming toward his base and he feels like he should get out of the way. Either way, he's also promptly tagged out sliding into third to end the inning. Now granted, the pitcher cannot actually get an assist for delivering a pitch to the plate. But if you're scoring at home, the path of the baseball on this unusual double play was … (-2-3-4)-5.