Monday, July 31, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Rookie Josh Johnson allowed two runs in seven innings in the Marlins' 15-2 victory over the Phillies on Monday, to take the NL lead in earned run average (2.52). Another rookie, Francisco Liriano, leads the AL and the majors with a 1.96 mark. This is the first time in major-league history that rookies lead both leagues in ERA at the end of July.
Eight rookies prior to Liriano and Johnson led their leagues heading into August: Mark Gardner, Expos (2.34 in 1990); Mark Fidrych, Tigers (1.80 in 1976); Dennis Eckersley, Indians (2.20 in 1975); Gary Peters, White Sox (2.04 in 1963); Spec Shea, Yankees (2.07 in 1947); Atley Donald, Yankees (2.30 in 1939); Lou Fette, Boston Bees (2.46 in 1937); and Wilcy Moore, Yankees (2.35 in 1927).
• Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 32 games, having hit safely in all 25 Phillies games during the month of July. Over the last 20 years, only three other players had a hit in each of their teams' games for an entire month of at least 20 games: Jimmy Rollins for the Phillies in September 2005, Shawn Green for the Blue Jays in July 1999, and Albert Belle for the White Sox in May 1997.
• David Ortiz hit a walkoff home run -- the eighth of his career and his third in 51 days -- to give the Red Sox a 9-8 win over the Indians. Over the last 10 seasons, the only other players to hit three walkoff homers in that short a span of time were Barry Bonds (over 29 days in 2003) and Rafael Palmeiro (51 days in 1998).
• Ortiz has hit 21 home runs in 138 at-bats in Late-Inning Pressure Situations since Aug. 1, 2004. Over that two-year period, no other player has hit more than 13 homers in LIPS. Ryan Howard ranks second with 13; Andruw Jones, Albert Pujols, and Aramis Ramirez share third place with 12.
• Ortiz drove in four runs Monday, raising his total for the season to 105 RBI. That's not only the most in the majors, it's the highest total in Red Sox history through the end of July. The previous record was 104, set by Ted Williams and Vern Stephens in 1949.
• Orlando Hudson hit a grand slam off Mark Prior and a two-run homer off Glendon Rusch in the Diamondbacks' 15-4 win at Wrigley Field. Hudson was the first second baseman to hit home runs with runners on base from both sides of the plate in the same game since Steve Jeltz did so for the Phillies in 1989.
• The Mariners scored all of their runs over the last four innings to defeat the Orioles 10-5 at Camden Yards. It was only the second time since the Orioles moved to Baltimore in 1954 that they allowed 10 or more runs in a home game to an opponent that was scoreless through five innings. The first such game was also against the Mariners, a 10-2 loss on June 7, 1995.
• Kenny Rogers allowed five earned runs in five innings to take the loss in the Devils Rays' 7-3 victory over the Tigers. On the heels of Jeremy Bonderman's loss on Sunday, it marked only the second time in the last two months that Detroit's starting pitchers lost consecutive games.
• The Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Twins all scored 15 runs Monday. It was the first time in 70 years that three teams scored at least 15 runs in a game on the same day with 10 or fewer major-league games played. The last time was July 25, 1936.
• Freddy Sanchez carries a 12-point lead over Chipper Jones in the NL batting-average race into August. Sanchez is the first Pirates player to lead the league in August or later since Orlando Merced held the lead from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9 in 1993.
• Greg Maddux will join the Dodgers with a career total of 327 victories. Only two other pitchers in the live-ball era had as many wins as Maddux at the time of a change of teams: Warren Spahn (356 when he joined the Mets, 360 when he joined the Giants, both in 1965) and Steve Carlton (328 when he joined the Twins in 1987).
• When Maddux makes his debut for the Dodgers, he will become only the second pitcher in the history of the franchise with 300 wins to his credit. The other was Don Sutton. Two of the "Traditional 16" pre-expansion franchises never had a 300-game winner on the mound: the Tigers and the Athletics. The winningest pitchers to wear those teams' uniforms were Frank Tanana and Sutton, respectively.
• The Tigers acquired lefty-hitting Sean Casey from the Pirates to help balance the most skewed lineup in the American League. Only 24.5 percent of Detroit's hitters have batted from the left side this season, the lowest percentage in the AL. The only NL team with a lower mark is Houston (23.6 percent).
• The addition of Casey meant a demotion to Triple-A for Chris Shelton, which would have seemed impossible three months ago. Shelton batted .471 with nine home runs in 51 at-bats over his first 13 games. But he hit only seven more home runs from April 18 to July 2, and hasn't hit a home run in his last 79 at-bats.
• The Red Wings signed Dominik Hasek to a one-year contract Monday. Hasek is 41 years old, but he recorded 28 victories last season, an NHL single-season record for goalies in their 40s. The previous mark was 24, set by Jacques Plante in 1970-1971.