Stats & Info: Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro joins the 4,000 hit club

August, 21, 2013
John Munson/USA TODAY SportsIchiro Suzuki has 4,000 hits combined between his time in MLB and Japan.
Ichiro Suzuki has accomplished a feat that has only been done by two players in Major League Baseball history -– 4,000 career hits.

After totaling 1,278 hits in Japan before coming to the majors, he reached the 4,000-hit mark on Wednesday night. Pete Rose and Ty Cobb are the only players in major-league history with 4,000 career hits.

Ichiro is one of the best hitters of this era.

Since entering the majors in 2001, Ichiro has nearly 400 hits more than any other player. He’s one of four players in history with at least 150 hits in each of his first 12 seasons, along with Paul Waner (1926-39), Richie Ashburn (1948-60) and Albert Pujols (2001-12). Ichiro has a chance to reach 150 hits for a 13th straight season this year.

Ichiro set the single-season mark for most hits in a season back in 2004 with 262. That surpassed the previous record, established back in 1920 by George Sisler.

Ichiro has recorded 10 seasons of at least 200 hits in his career, tied for the most in baseball history with Pete Rose. All 10 of Suzuki’s 200-hit seasons came with the Mariners.

His hit total through 13 seasons is the most for anyone in major-league history within any 13-season span.

He entered this season, his age-39 season, needing 394 hits to reach 3,000. Should he get to 3,000, he’d be only the ninth player since 1990 with at least 394 hits from his age-39 season on.

Ichiro has the fifth-most wins above replacement since entering the league in 2001. Only Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran have more.

Hit number 2,722 in his major-league career was a milestone in one other respect. It allowed him to pass Yankees great Lou Gehrig on the all-time hit list.

5 stats to know: Yankees at Red Sox

August, 18, 2013

Getty Images
CC Sabathia’s Yankees are one of two teams that Ryan Dempster has never beaten.

With a win, the Boston Red Sox can clinch their fourth straight series against their archrivals as they host the New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball (8 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN).

Here are five stats to know going into tonight’s action at Fenway Park.

1. The Yankees are having their worst offensive season since 1990, but the recent addition of Alfonso Soriano and the return of Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson have helped. New York has averaged 5.2 runs per game with all three on the roster, nearly a run and a half better than they averaged in the first 110 games of the season.

2. CC Sabathia is having the worst season of his 13-year MLB career. He is posting career highs in ERA, home runs and hits per nine innings. His fastball is down 1.4 mph from last season and more than 3 mph from his first year with the Yankees in 2009.

3. Ryan Dempster is 0-5 with a 6.98 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees. That’s his second-highest ERA against any opponent (he has a 7.62 ERA against the Los Angeles Angels), and the Yankees and Detroit Tigers are the only teams he hasn’t won a game against.

What should he focus on against the Yanks?

When Dempster needs an out, he goes to his Vulcan changeup, which acts like a splitter. This season, opponents are hitting .137 and striking out 35 percent of the time against the pitch.

4. The Red Sox have seen more pitches than any other team this season, nearly 1,000 more than the second-most. Six of the Red Sox starters are in the top 50 in the American League in pitches per plate appearance, and Boston has forced more starting pitchers out before the sixth inning than any team in the majors.

Based on their most common starting lineup, the Red Sox see nearly two more pitches each time through the order than the average American League team – 36.5 to 34.7.

5. Soriano has filled a major void in the Yankees’ lineup. Before his arrival, Yankees’ right-handed hitters hadn’t hit a home run in 26 games. In the 20 games since then, they’ve hit 14, with Soriano accounting for eight.

Odds and Ends

• Ichiro Suzuki is closing in on 4,000 professional hits. He is third among active MLB players with 2,717 hits and had 1,278 hits during his career in Japan.

• Mariano Rivera has blown three straight save opportunities for the first time in his career. According to Elias, since Rivera became the Yankees’ closer in 1997, 33 different pitchers have had at least one streak of three or more blown saves in the ninth inning or later in the same season.

• David Ortiz has 24 home runs this season. It’s his 11th 20-homer season since joining the Red Sox, tied for second most in franchise history behind Ted Williams. His next home run will give him nine 25-homer seasons.

5 stats to know: Yankees at Rangers

July, 22, 2013

Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsYu Darvish, who makes his return from the DL, struck out an MLB-leading 157 batters prior to the All-Star break, the most since Curt Schilling (186) and Randy Johnson (171) in 2002.
The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers will meet Monday night in the first game of a four-game series in Texas at 7 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN.

Here are five stats our broadcast crew will likely be talking about during Monday night’s game.

1. The American League’s strikeout leader, Yu Darvish, makes his return from the DL after missing just one start.

He’ll hope to get back on track after failing to complete seven innings in each of his past four starts, a stretch over which he’s posted a 4.50 ERA.

Darvish throws a variety of pitches, but his approach against righties and lefties is completely different. He’s mainly a fastball-slider pitcher against righties while lefties can only guess what could be coming.

2. Alex Rodriguez was expected to make his season debut tonight, but instead will remain out of action due to a grade 1 quad strain. This season, Yankees third basemen have combined to hit .220 with only four home runs and 27 RBI, ranking them next-to-last in the majors in each category. In fact, David Adams (now playing in Triple A) was the last New York third baseman to hit a home run, but that came all the way back on May 22.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have not had fewer than 10 home runs in a season from the third base position since 1996 (six) and they haven’t had fewer than 50 RBI from that position since 1991 (39).

3. Ichiro Suzuki is 7-for-14 in his career against Darvish, with his .500 batting average being the highest of any batter against him (min. 10 at-bats).

Ichiro is two hits shy of becoming the third active player with 2,700 hits, joining teammates Derek Jeter and Rodriguez.

4. The Yankees trail the division-leading Boston Red Sox by seven games entering tonight. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, New York won a league or division title when trailing by seven or more games at any point after the All-Star break only once. That was in 1978 when the team trailed the Red Sox by 14 games and came back to win the AL East.

5. New York has taken the season series from the Rangers in seven of the last nine seasons (tied 4-4 in 2010, lost 4-3 in 2008).

After dropping two of three in the Bronx earlier this year, the Yankees will have to win three of the four games this week to take the season series.

Quick Hitters
• Since rejoining the Yankees rotation, Ivan Nova is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last two starts, completing eight innings in both appearances (the first time in his career he’s gone at least eight innings in consecutive appearances).

• Robinson Cano is hitting .415 with a .519 OBP over a Yankees season-high 12-game hit streak. He’s also driven in 12 runs in that span, including two in each of the last two games.

• Mariano Rivera has 38 career saves against the Rangers, the most against them by any pitcher, a dozen more than Rollie Fingers, who ranks second.

• The Rangers began the season 19-8 at home, but have gone 8-14 since. Fourteen of the team’s first 17 games post-All-Star break are at home. They haven’t started this stretch in a positive manner as the Baltimore Orioles just completed a weekend sweep.

• Adrian Beltre has hit eight home runs this month, tied with Alfonso Soriano for the most in the majors in July.

Kernels: Friday fun

June, 30, 2013

Steve Mitchell/Getty Images
Mets Pitcher Matt Harvey is one player who had a good day on Friday.

This week's theme is "Friday."

In the 16-game slate from June 28, all of this happened (and more).

The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox played a rainout-induced doubleheader starting at 4:10 CT.

• The White Sox opened with five runs off Trevor Bauer, who threw 49 pitches and didn't get out of the inning. It was one shy of the season high (Ian Kennedy threw 50 in an inning on June 6). Bauer was the first pitcher to leave a doubleheader in the first inning of the first game since Rolando Arrojo of Boston on Sept. 21, 2000.

• Seven Indians had at least 2 RBIs, the first time they'd done that in exactly 63 years. Larry Doby, Al Rosen and Ray Boone contributed to an 18-2 blowout of the St. Louis Browns on June 28, 1950.

• Brian Omogrosso surrendered nine runs in 2.1 innings and took the loss. No White Sox reliever had allowed nine in a game since Scott Eyre against the Red Sox on June 26, 1999. They hadn't had a reliever do it in less than three innings since George Payne allowed nine to the Yankees on July 17, 1920.

• Final score of Game 1: 19-10. The 29 combined runs were the most in a game this season. The Indians have scored 19 twice this season, the second such time in their history they've scored 19 or more runs twice in a season (1923).

• Turnabout is fair play. On Sept. 2, 2001, also at Comiskey Park, the White Sox beat the Indians 19-10. Catcher Tim Laker played the role of Casper Wells, pitching a scoreless eighth inning.

• Only one other Cleveland team has played a 19-10 game in MLB history. That also was in Chicago, but it was not the Indians. It was the Cleveland Spiders, who lost by that score to the NL's White Stockings (who later became the Cubs) on Sept. 19, 1889.

• With a brief rain delay between games, the second game, which the Indians won 9-8, didn't end until 1:06 a.m. According to Elias, the combined game times of 7 hours, 53 minutes set a record for the longest 18-inning doubleheader in major-league history.

• The Indians hadn't scored 28 runs in a day since June 18, 1950, when they swept a pair from the Philadelphia Athletics, 7-0 and 21-2.

Elsewhere around the Majors on Friday

The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 16-1, their most runs ever at Dodger Stadium. They did win 19-10 – there’s that score again! — in the L.A. Coliseum in 1961.It was their second-largest margin of victory against the Dodgers franchise. The Phillies beat the then-Brooklyn Bridegrooms 22-5 at Eastern Park on April 24, 1894.

Phillies right fielder Delmon Young drove in six runs on two singles, a double and a groundout. Since RBI became an official stat in 1920, only one other Phillies hitter has driven in six runs in a game without a homer: shortstop Granny Hamner, who had two doubles and a single with seven RBI against the Cardinals on July 17, 1948.

A few hours after Bauer’s 49-pitch inning for Cleveland, St. Louis Cardinals starter Trevor Miller threw 51 pitches in the second inning against Oakland -- also only getting two outs before being relieved. Miller’s high-water mark would stand for only one day before Wade Davis of the Royals threw 53 pitches in a five-run first inning against Minnesota on Saturday.

The New York Mets' Matt Harvey struck out 11 Nationals and walked zero. It was his third game this season going seven innings with no walks and double-digit strikeouts. That leads the majors. Harvey hasn’t won any of them. He was in line on Friday until the bullpen gave up five runs. The last pitcher to have three such games in a season without a win was Vida Blue, who had two 11-inning no-decisions and a 1-0 complete-game loss for Oakland in 1971.

5 stats to know: Yankees at Orioles

June, 30, 2013

m McIsaac/Getty Images
Chris Tillman looks to be just the sixth AL pitcher since 1990 to go 6-0 in June.

The Baltimore Orioles host the New York Yankees at Camden Yards Sunday at 8 ET on ESPN2/WatchESPN. Here are five stats to keep an eye on during the game.

1 - Chris Davis (HR) and Manny Machado (2B) are on track to be the second pair of teammates to lead the MLB outright in home runs and doubles. In 1927, Lou Gehrig led in doubles, while Babe Ruth led in home runs.

With his two homers Saturday, Davis matched Brady Anderson club record for HR in the first half with 30 -- and the Orioles still have 14 games left before the All-Star break.

Machado is on an incredible doubles pace at a young age.

His 37 doubles before the All-Star break are the most for a player in his age-20 season or younger in MLB history. He is on pace for 73 doubles, which would break Earl Webb’s major-league record of 67 in 1931.

2 - Chris Tillman takes the mound looking to close out a successful month for the Orioles.

Tillman is 5-0 in June. He could be the franchise’s first pitcher to win six games in June since Urban Shocker went 6-1 for the St. Louis Browns in 1923.

He’d also have the ninth month with a record of 6-0 or better by an Orioles pitcher in the live-ball era.

3 - Tillman has struggled against the Yankees. He is 2-3 with an 8.16 ERA against the Bronx Bombers. Only Jeremy Affeldt has a higher ERA among active pitchers with 25+ career innings against the Yankees.

For Tillman’s winning streak to continue, he will have to get past Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano.

Ichiro holds the highest career batting average at Camden Yards (min. 150 PA),.382.

Cano could also pose a threat to Tillman at the plate. Cano’s .338 BA is the highest for a Yankees player against the Orioles since Joe DiMaggio, who hit .363 in his career against Baltimore (min. 500 PA).

4 - Barring a surge tonight, this will go down as the Yankees’ worst offensive June in years.

The Yankees are averaging 3.3 runs this month. It would be their lowest in June since 1967 (3.0).

One reason for the offensive struggles could be that the Yankees have more payroll on the disabled list (more than $97M) than the entire Opening Day payroll of 16 teams, including the Orioles.

5 – Hiroki Kuroda’s 2.77 ERA would be among the lowest by an AL pitcher his age in the past 50 years. It would be the lowest for a qualifying Yankees starter 38 or older since Spud Chandler’s 2.10 in 1946.

He’s been tough on right-handed hitters…

Kuroda is tied with Justin Masterson with a .514 Opp OPS against right-handed batters, the lowest among AL starting pitchers.

…and with runners in scoring position.

He has held opponents to a .182 BA with runners in position, the fifth-lowest among AL starters.

Top stats to know: New York Yankees

March, 6, 2013

Brad Penner/US PresswireNo one has meant more to the Yankees the past few years than second baseman Robinson Cano.
Power might be at a premium for the New York Yankees, especially at the start of 2013.

In the last two seasons, Curtis Granderson hit a total of 84 home runs (41 in 2011, 43 in 2012), the only player in MLB since the start of 2011 who hit at least 80 home runs. But Granderson -- who is out until the first week of May with a fractured right forearm -- is one of several Yankees power hitters who are hurt or no longer on the team.

Of the five Yankees last season who hit more than 20 home runs, two of them are gone (Russell Martin, Nick Swisher), and two others (Granderson, Mark Teixeira) are currently hurt. (Robinson Cano, who hit 33 HR last season, is healthy.) No team last season relied more on hitting home runs than the Yankees (see chart).

Teixeira, who is out two weeks with a wrist injury, has seen his production decline each season with the Yankees.

In 2008 with the Braves and Angels, Teixeria’s OPS was .962; however, it has decreased each season with the Yankees from .948 in 2009 to a career-low .807 in 2012.

Cano Continues To Get Better
What the Yankees do have is Cano, who demonstrated more plate discipline last season and lost nothing off his contact rate or power. Cano’s OBP, slugging percentage, home runs and walk rate all increased from 2011 to 2012, and his chase percent decreased. (Chase percent is the frequency of swings at pitches outside the strike zone.)

In the three seasons since the Yankees' last World Series title, Cano has taken over the mantle as New York’s most important position player. From 2010-12, Cano’s Wins Above Replacement is 21.2. Granderson is a distant second at 12.1.

As excited as Yankee fans are to see the return of closer Mariano Rivera, Brett Gardner’s return to the everyday lineup is one that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially on defense. Gardner is +59 in Defensive Runs Saved since the start of 2010. That’s the most among outfielders and eight more than Michael Bourn, despite the fact that Gardner has played 1,341 fewer innings than Bourn over that span.

On the bases, Gardner stole a career-high 49 bases in 2011. In 2012, Ichiro Suzuki led the team with just 14.

As for Jeter, he starts the season 10th on the all-time hits list with 3,304 but should move up the list quickly early in the season. He's 10 hits shy of Eddie Collins for ninth and 15 back of Paul Molitor for eighth all time.

Anderson grounds the Tigers

October, 10, 2012

AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezBrett Anderson was dominant for
the Athletics in a must-win game

Brett Anderson didn’t show any jitters in his postseason debut, allowing just two hits in six scoreless innings.

It is just the fourth time that an Oakland Athletics pitcher has put up a pitching line at least that good in postseason history and the first since Vida Blue threw a two-hit shutout against the Orioles in Game 3 of the 1974 ALCS.

Anderson Staying Grounded
Anderson got it done by keeping the ball on the ground. Of the 18 outs he recorded, 11 came on the ground and six were strikeouts.

The Tigers were kept off balance by Anderson’s breaking ball which ranged in velocity from 75 MPH to 86 MPH. All six of his strikeouts came with his faster breaking ball, all thrown between 83 and 84 MPH. Seventy-four percent of Anderson's breaking pitches were down in the zone or below it, the second-highest percentage of his career.

Crisp Steals Another Homer
The lone fly ball out Anderson got was dramatic as Coco Crisp robbed Prince Fielder of a would-be home run.

According to Baseball Info Solutions, Fielder has been robbed of a homer three times in 2012, more than any other player.

In addition to Crisp’s robbery Tuesday, he has seven regular-season HR robberies since 2004. Only three players have more regular-season HR robberies than him in that span (Torii Hunter 12, Jason Bay 9, Ichiro Suzuki 8).

Shutout Notes
For the Athletics, the shutout was the 11th in their postseason history and the first since Game 2 of the 2001 ALDS against the Yankees.

It is the first time they’ve allowed four hits or fewer in a postseason shutout since the 1981 ALDS against the Royals.

According to Elias, it was the eighth time a team used four or more pitchers in a nine-inning shutout while allowing no more than four hits in a postseason game. The last time came in Game 1 of the 2008 ALCS when the Red Sox blanked the Tampa Bay Rays behind Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson and Jonathan Papelbon.

Record-book sweep: Age can't slow NY vets

September, 20, 2012
Al Bello/Getty ImagesDerek Jeter (left) got his 200th hit of the season on Wednesday, while Ichiro Suzuki (right) had seven hits in the doubleheader.
Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki and Andy Pettitte are a combined 116 years old. But the three New York Yankees veterans contributed to two key wins in a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays to keep the Yankees atop the AL East.

Jeter got his 200th hit of the season during Game 2.

He’s the seventh player in MLB history with eight separate seasons of 200 hits. Only Ichiro (10), Pete Rose (10) and Ty Cobb (9) have more 200-hit seasons. Jeter’s eight 200-hit seasons tie Lou Gehrig for the most in Yankees history.

Jeter is the 6th-oldest player to reach 200 hits in a season and the oldest since Paul Molitor in 1996.

Jeter’s hitting streak now stands at 13 games, tied for his second-best hitting streak this season (his best is a 15-gamer in April).

Jeter entered the day hitting .382 when leading off in the first inning, best of anyone in MLB (min. 25 PA)

In Game 2, Ichiro Suzuki became the second Yankees player in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) with at least four hits and four stolen bases in a game. Rickey Henderson did it on April 11, 1988 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was Ichiro's second career four-hit, four-stolen base game.

The only other players in the Live Ball Era with two such career games are Kenny Lofton, Rickey Henderson and Carl Crawford.

Ichiro is the first Yankees player with at least seven hits in a doubleheader since Dave Winfield had 7 on September 18, 1983 against the Cleveland Indians, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

With his 244th career win in Game 1, Pettitte tied Jack Powell for 50th on the all-time MLB wins list. Pettitte, who was tied with Juan Marichal, has the most wins among active pitchers.

Pettitte is now tied with Waite Hoyt with 32 regular-season wins after August 31, the third-most in Yankees history. Only Whitey Ford and Ron Guidry have more.

Verlander's workload still unmatched

August, 6, 2012

Getty Images
Justin Verlander opposes Ivan Nova when the Tigers host the Yankees on "Monday Night Baseball." Each pitcher is having a surprising season but for different reasons.
The New York Yankees visit the Detroit Tigers on "Monday Night Baseball" (ESPN, 7 ET). Each team’s starting pitcher is having a surprising season -- for different reasons.

Last season Justin Verlander became the 10th pitcher in major league history to win the MVP and Cy Young awards in the same season. He’s not generating the same buzz this season but he’s pitching just as well.

He’s a classic workhorse -- he leads the majors in pitches thrown with 2,483, 62 more than the next-closest pitcher. That might not sound like much, but the difference between first and second is the same as the distance between second and seventh.

This just a season after he threw more than 4,300 pitches, including the postseason, the most by an AL pitcher since 1990.

Although his walk rate is slightly up and his strikeout rate is slightly down, the results have been almost identical. He has improved two important peripherals -- his swing-and-miss percentage and his home run rate.

He’s on pace for only 17 wins this season, which would be tied for the second fewest of his career, but only seven qualified starters have gotten less run support than Verlander (3.41 runs per start).

Opposing Verlander is Ivan Nova, who went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA in his first full major league season in 2011. He may be 10-5 this season -- thanks in part to the 10th-best run support in the American League, nearly two runs per game more than Verlander -- but the rest of the numbers tell a different story.

Why has his performance dropped? It’s due mostly to his home run rate and his opponents’ batting average on balls in play.

He’s allowing way more fly balls (34 percent, up from 27 percent) and more of them are leaving the park. On top of that, nearly 21 percent of balls in play against Nova have been line drives -- only 12 qualified pitchers have allowed a higher line-drive rate.

The Yankees' defense is partly to blame as well -- his BABIP on ground balls is .255 this season (up from .215 in 2011). Last season the Yankees had -9 defensive runs saved as a team -- this season they’re already at -18.

Nova is throwing his fastball and changeup less and his curveball and slider more often this season. He’s allowed the same exact batting average (.204) this season as last on the breaking pitches, but the fastball/changeup combo has been disastrous. Perhaps those pitches are not as sharp with the decreased usage.

Ichiro Suzuki has a hit in all 12 games since joining the Yankees, which is tied for the longest hit streak to start a Yankees career in franchise history (according to the Elias Sports Bureau). Don Slaught had a hit in his first 12 games with the team in 1988.

A look at Ichiro Suzuki's performance by pitch location in 2009 and this season.
The Yankees made a significant move in the trade market, filling a hole in their outfield with the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners.

Let's take a closer look at the deal and Ichiro's current statistical standing within the major leagues.

Ichiro’s Offense
Ichiro is a .322 career hitter, third-best among active players, behind Albert Pujols (.326) and Joe Mauer (.324). But it has been a couple of years since he put up numbers of that nature.

Ichiro entered the day with a .261 batting average and a .642 OPS. Both would be career-worsts if maintained to season’s end.

The .642 OPS ranks second worst among the 35 AL outfielders who have at least 250 plate appearances. Coco Crisp, who beat the Yankees with a walk-off hit on Sunday, is the only player who ranks lower.

One of the things that has happened to Ichiro over the last few seasons is that his batting average against pitches out of the strike zone has declined by a significant amount.

The image atop this article shows his performance comparing when he was at his best (2009) to this season. The chart on the right shows his year-by-year decline.

Other components to his game
Ichiro entered Monday ranked second among major league rightfielders with 12 Defensive Runs Saved, a stat that combines his ability to turn batted balls into outs with the deterrent value of his throwing arm. The only player who ranks higher is Josh Reddick of the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees defense ranks third-worst in the AL with -20 Defensive Runs Saved, better than only the Orioles (-26) and Tigers (-21). They have been without their top defender, leftfielder Brett Gardner, for nearly the entire season. Gardner ranked second among outfielders with 23 Runs Saved last season.

Ichiro also entered Monday with 15 stolen bases. That’s more than anyone else on the Yankees, who entered the day ranked 11th in the AL with 50 steals. Alex Rodriguez is the top basestealer, with 11.

Mariners Statistical Legacy

Ichiro leaves the Mariners after 1,844 career games, second-most in team history. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in batting average, hits, and stolen bases.

Ichiro set the major-league single-season record for hits with the Mariners when he had 262 in 2004. His 10 seasons with at least 200 hits rank tied with Pete Rose for the most in major-league history.

Combining his major league and Japanese careers, he has 3,811 hits, 445 fewer than the all-time major-league hits leader, Rose, who had 4,256.

He finished his Mariners career with 54.4 Wins Above Replacement, third behind Ken Griffey Jr. (67.5) and Edgar Martinez (64.4).

Did You Know?
The Yankees have three players on their team with 2,500 or more hits-- Derek Jeter, Rodriguez, and Ichiro.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that this is the third time in major-league history that a team had three players with 2,500 or more hits play for them in the same season.

The other two are the 1927 Philadelphia Athletics (Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Zack Wheat) and the 1928 Athletics (Cobb, Collins, and Tris Speaker).

Jesse Johnson/US Presswire Dan Haren has lost four straight starts for the second time in his career.
Dan Haren of the Los Angeles Angels will be looking to change his fortunes around when he gets the nod tonight against the Seattle Mariners (10:10 ET). He enters having lost four straight starts for the second time in his career, having previously done it in 2005. While Haren does have a 5.79 ERA in that stretch, the Angels have managed a total of two runs in those four games.

The Angels are 1-8 in his nine starts, and only Haren and Chris Volstad of the Chicago Cubs have seen their team lose eight of their starts this season. In addition, only teammate Ervin Santana has received worse support in the AL. The Angels have scored more than three runs just once in Haren's nine starts.

Ike Davis Slumping
The New York Mets are four games over .500 despite Ike Davis having one of the worst seasons in the majors. Davis has the second-lowest batting average among qualifying players, including a .065 average at home, and based on WAR, Davis is the least valuable player in the majors.

When he is making contact this year, Davis has seen a very high percentage of his balls in play turn to outs. Among all players this season, Davis' .188 batting average on balls in play is the lowest.

Last year, Davis found considerable success against the fastball, batting .343 with an OPS of 1.100. This year, those numbers have dropped to .157 and .448.

Other Key Notes
- Ichiro Suzuki was just 2-18 vs Dan Haren last season. He's a .227 career batter vs Haren.
- Hunter Pence is 7-12 (.583) in his career vs Jake Westbrook.
- Philip Humber has a 7.86 ERA since his perfect game.
- Albert Pujols has 3 HR, 8 RBI in his last nine games.
- Cincinnati Reds have a season-high five-game win streak.

A perfectly fascinating 100 for Fenway

April, 20, 2012

Gail Oskin/Getty ImagesApril 20, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the first game played at Fenway Park.
The Boston Red Sox will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first game played at Fenway Park today by hosting the New York Yankees, who will be wearing throw back New York Highlanders uniforms.

On April 20, 1912, the Red Sox defeated the Highlanders 7-6. Fenway is the oldest current MLB park. Other than Wrigley Field (1914), no other active park was built before 1960.

Random Fenway Facts
• The opening of Fenway Park did not even make the front page of Boston’s newspapers. The Titanic had sunk just a few days earlier.

• Prior to Fenway, the Red Sox played at Huntington Avenue Grounds from 1901-11.

• From 1912-33, there was a 10-foot inclined mound in front of the left field fence that came to be known as Duffy’s Cliff.

• Johnny Pesky hit only six home runs at Fenway Park. Newspaper reports of those home runs make no mention of hitting the right-field foul pole.

• Originally marked at 315 feet, the distance marker for the Green Monster was changed to 310 feet in 1990. Multiple independent measurements place it close to 304 feet.

Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesThe spot where Ted Williams 502-foot home run he hit in 1946 landed is mark with a red seat.

• Ted Williams hit one of the most famous home runs in Fenway history. On June 9, 1946, he hit a 502-foot home run that hit the head of fan Joseph A. Boucher (sitting in Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21), puncturing a hole in his hat.

ESPN Home Run Tracker estimates that the ball actually would have travelled 527 feet had it not hit the fan in the head.

Fenway Records
Williams hit 248 career home runs at Fenway, the most by any player. Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle each hit 38 home runs for the Yankees at Fenway Park. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s not only the most in franchise history, it’s also the most for any visitor in the ballpark’s history.

Best and Worst of Fenway Park
Even for opponents, Fenway has been a happy place for many hitters. Fred McGriff hit .377 there. Lou Gehrig knocked in 152 runs.

Then there are the more obscure:
• Eli Marrero homered in his lone Fenway plate appearance. As did Hal Keller and Nyls Nyman.

• Leo Durocher was just a .247 career hitter. But at Fenway? He hit .429 in 29 at-bats.

• 13 of Dave Kingman’s 21 hits at Fenway were home runs.

Fenway hasn’t been kind to everyone though.
• Jerry Remy had 1,626 plate appearances at Fenway, but never hit a home run (had only seven career HR).

• The active leader for most plate appearances at Fenway without a HR is Ichiro Suzuki (192).

• Pitcher Pete Schourek was 2-11 at Fenway and 64-66 everywhere else.

• The award for the worst Fenway experience has to go to Phil Hensiek of the Washington Senators. On September 2, 1935, Hensiek pitched at Fenway for the first (and last) time. He entered a tie game in the 11th inning.

Hensiek face one batter in Jack Wilson (a Red Sox relief pitcher). Wilson hit a walk-off home run. Hensiek never threw another pitch in the majors.

Jeremy Lundblad contributed to this post.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

Bubba Watson
1. BUBBA WATSON IS MASTERFUL: Bubba Watson defeats Louis Oosthuizen in the second playoff hole to win the Masters Tournament and his first major championship. It was the first time since 2009 and the 15th time overall that a playoff decided the Masters. Watson becomes the 14th different winner in the last 14 majors and the second straight American winner. He moves into fourth in the new Official World Golf Ranking. Watson won the tournament despite not being in the final pairing. It’s the second-straight year that the winner did not come from the final pairing. Prior to last year, the winner came from the final pairing in 19 of 20 years.

2. MELO IS CLUTCH: Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 43 points, making the game-tying three-point FG in regulation and the game-winning three-point FG in OT as the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 100-99. FROM ELIAS: He is the fifth player in the last five seasons, and the first since Dirk Nowitzki in 2009 to make a game-tying shot in the last 15 seconds in regulation, then make the game-winning shot in the last 15 seconds in OT. Anthony has gone 24-52 from the field in game-tying or go-ahead situations in the last 15 seconds of fourth quarter/OT over the last 10 seasons. Among players that have taken at least 20 field goal attempts over that span, Anthony ranks first in field goal percentage (46.2). His 24 field goals are second to Kobe Bryant who has 26 (26-86, 30.2 FG pct for Bryant).

3. TIGERS USE RARE COMEBACK TO SWEEP RED SOX: Miguel Cabrera hit a game-tying three-run home run in the ninth inning and Alex Avila hit a two-run walk-off home run in the 11th inning to give the Detroit Tigers a 13-12 win over the Boston Red Sox to complete the three-game sweep. FROM ELIAS: This is the first time that the Red Sox have ever lost a game in which they held multiple-run leads twice in the ninth inning or later and it's the second time that the Tigers have won a game in this fashion, the first since September 28, 1929 against the Chicago White Sox.

4. YANKEES & RED SOX IN UNFAMILIAR PLACE: Jeremy Hellickson pitched 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 3-0. The Yankees join the Red Sox with an 0-3 start. It’s the second time that they’ve both started a season 0-3. The other instance was in 1966 when the Red Sox started 0-5 and the Yankees started 0-3. That season, the Red Sox finished 72-90 while the Yankees finished 70-89.

5. MUCH ANTICIPATED MLB DEBUT: Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish will make his MLB Regular Season Debut Monday. Darvish will face the Seattle Mariners and likely face fellow Japanese superstar Ichiro in the first inning. Darvish was 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA in 7 seasons in Japan.

Brandon McCarthy says arigato for cutter

March, 27, 2012
Cutters thrown by Brandon McCarthy in 2011.
Click here to create your own McCarthy heat maps.
The Major League Baseball regular-season opens in Japan for the fourth time, with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics squaring off at 6:10 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Felix Hernandez will make his fourth straight Opening day start for the Mariners. It’s the third straight time that his opening start has been against the Athletics. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other active pitcher has thrown three consecutive season openers for one team against the same opponent. While with the Indians, CC Sabathia started on Opening Day from 2006 to 2008, with all three games coming against the White Sox.

His opposite number will be Brandon McCarthy, who will be the seventh different Opening Day starting pitcher for Oakland in the last seven years. Elias points out that the Athletics are the only team in the majors to use six different pitchers to open the last six seasons. That’s nothing new for Oakland, which tabbed different starting pitchers for 10 consecutive Opening Day games from 1993 to 2002.

Hernandez is the more well-known of the two Opening Day starters, but McCarthy garnered a lot of attention this offseason for his commitment to analytics and was the cover story in a recent issue of ESPN The Magazine.

In 170⅔ IP last season, McCarthy allowed only five home runs and had a nearly 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He did so by transforming himself into a ground-ball pitcher.

The pitch that made McCarthy into a successful major league pitcher in 2011 was the cutter. After missing 2010 due to injury, McCarthy made a very strong impression in his return to the majors, pitching with much better control. The cutter played a big part in that.

Last season, 69 percent of McCarthy’s cutters were thrown for strikes. Opposing hitters recorded just 16 hits in 100 at bats that ended with a cutter. He was even more dominant with two strikes, allowing just one hit in 52 at bats ending with two-strike cutters.

Quick hits
The two franchises have headed in opposite directions on Opening Day recently. The Athletics have lost seven straight season openers, including one against the Red Sox in Japan in 2008. The Mariners have won five straight Opening Day games since losing to the Angels in 2006.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one American League team has lost eight straight Opening Day games. The Washington Senators dropped eight straight from 1963 through 1970.

Also from Elias, the Mariners' five-year Opening Day win streak is tied for the longest in franchise history. They previously won five straight openers from 1982 to 1986.

Yoenis Cespedes is expected to make his major-league debut for Oakland. He signed a four-year, $36-million contract with the Athletics this offseason after hitting 33 home runs for Granma in the Cuban National Series during the 2010-11 season. That’s tied for the most home runs in a single season in Cuba.

Ichiro Suzuki is 13-for-42 on Opening Day, and all 13 hits have been singles.

Justin Havens contributed to this post.
The Los Angeles Angels pitching staff has been carried this season by Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. When Weaver, Haren or Santana starts, the Angels are 53-36 this season. When anyone else starts, the team is 24-29.

Those three will not be pitching when they face the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN.

Instead, the Angels will hand the ball to Jerome Williams, who is 2-0 in his two starts this season for the Angels. One of those two starts came August 30 against the Mariners when he won while allowing four runs over seven innings.

Jerome Williams
Before this season, Williams -- a former first-round pick of the Giants in 1999 -- had last pitched in the majors in 2007. Williams had spent time in the minors in 2008 and 2009 before playing for the Uni-President Lions in Japan in 2010.

The Angels have scored a total of 20 runs in Williams’ 2 starts. He has allowed just one earned run in nine innings at home (1.00 ERA). He's allowed 8 ER in 8 ⅔ IP on the road (8.31 ERA) this season.

The right-handed Williams has been much more effective against left-handed batters than righties this season. Righties are hitting .359 with a .931 OPS against him while lefties have a .250 average and .656 OPS.

Williams has had a lot of trouble with the first five batters in the order. They are hitting .415 (17-41) against him while the rest are hitting .167 (5-30) against him.

The chances of Williams improving on his season numbers increase because he’s facing the Mariners, one of the league’s worst offensive teams.

Seattle enters the game with a league-worst .235 batting average. That would be the lowest batting average by a team in a non-strike season since the American League adopted the designated hitter in 1973.

It is also a continuation of the Mariners offensive struggles from last season. They have MLB’s worst batting average (.235), runs per game (3.3) and OPS (.639) in that span.

Even Ichiro Suzuki has been affected by the slump. He has 161 hits this season, which has him on pace for 184 for the season. That would end his MLB-record streak of 10 consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits. Ichiro’s 10 seasons of 200 hits are currently tied with Pete Rose for the most all-time.

Ichiro is also hitting .272 this season, which would be his first season without a .300 batting average in his 11 years in MLB.

The only time Ichiro has faced Williams came in that August 30 contest. He went 1-for-4 with two RBI in a 13-6 loss.