Thursday, August 3, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Greg Maddux threw a no-hitter for six innings in his Dodgers debut before a 46-minute rain delay robbed the 328-game winner of his chance to make history. Maddux has made 662 career starts but he has never pitched a no-hitter. In fact, he's taken a no-hit bid into the seventh inning only twice -- once in 1994 (Marquis Grissom broke up the no-hit bid leading off the seventh), the other in 1995 (Jeff Bagwell, leading off the eighth).
Maddux is one of 10 active pitchers to have started at least 400 major-league games. He is the only one of those 10 never to extend a no-hitter beyond seven innings.
Over the last nine seasons, only one other starting pitcher was pulled from a no-hit bid in the seventh inning or later: Damian Moss, who pitched seven hitless innings for the Braves against the Cardinals in 2002 but walked seven batters.
The last pitcher to hold his opponents hitless through six innings of his debut for a new team -- not including pitchers making their major-league debut -- was Hideo Nomo, who threw a no-hitter in his Red Sox debut in 2001.
Three pitchers threw no-hitters after reaching the 300-win mark: Cy Young in 1904 (the 381st win of his career) and 1908 (his 468th win), Walter Johnson in 1920 (his 305th win), and Nolan Ryan in 1991 (his 305th victory).
• Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 35 games, equaling the longest in major-league history by a second baseman. Luis Castillo set the record in 2002, when he surpassed the 33-game streak of Rogers Hornsby that had stood as the record for 80 years.
• Cole Hamels struck out 12 batters in seven innings and earned the victory in the Phillies' 8-1 win over the Cardinals. Hamels also recorded 12 strikeouts against the Braves on July 24. Over the last 10 years, only two other rookies struck out 12 or more batters in a game twice within two weeks: Mark Prior in 2002 and Kerry Wood in 1998.
• Matt Murton tied a major-league record with four doubles in the Cubs' 7-3 win over the Diamondbacks, and he did it in only four at-bats. Of the 17 previous players to hit four doubles in a game, dating back to 1973, the only one to do so in four at-bats was Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1997.
• Dontrelle Willis continued his domination of the Mets in the Marlins' 4-1 victory. Willis is now 10-2 with a 1.93 ERA vs. New York. The only other active pitchers with 10 wins and an ERA below 2.00 against any opponent are Roy Halladay (10-2, 1.85 vs. Tigers); Randy Johnson (12-0, 1.98 vs. Cubs), and Pedro Martinez vs. three teams (11-1, 1.77 vs. Indians; 13-1, 1.57 vs. Mariners; and 11-4, 1.99 vs. Devil Rays).
• Tim Hudson suffered his 10th defeat of the season in the Braves' 3-2 loss to the Pirates. That snapped Hudson's career-long streak of seven seasons in which he reached double-figures in wins but not in losses. That was the longest such streak from the start of a pitcher's career in major-league history.
• For the first time in 11 weeks, the Yankees got a victory from their No. 5 starter. Cory Lidle, making his Yankees debut, became the team's first starting pitcher other than Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Chien-Ming Wang, or Jaret Wright to record a victory since May 6. In the interim, Shawn Chacon, Aaron Small, Sidney Ponson, and Kris Wilson posted a combined 0-5 record with a 10.52 ERA, averaging 3 2/3 innings per start.
Lidle has now won five consecutive starts, and Thursday's victory reassured Yankees fans with an abnormal obsession with Expos trivia that Lidle will not be the next Bill Laskey. Lidle was the first pitcher to be traded during a season coming off wins in each his last four appearances since Laskey was dealt from the Giants to the Expos for Dan Driessen in 1985. Laskey went 0-5 with a 9.44 ERA for the Expos over the remainder of the season.
• Joe Mauer went 1-for-2 on Thursday night, raising his American League-leading batting average to .366. Mauer became the first catcher to lead the A.L. this late in the year since 1979, when Brian Downing held the lead as late as Aug. 12.
• Jake Westbrook allowed 15 hits over eight innings in earning the victory in the Indians' 7-6 win over the Red Sox. That was the most hits allowed by a winning pitcher this season and the most at Fenway Park since 1981, when Dennis Leonard yielded 15 hits in a 5-4 Royals victory.
The Red Sox led 3-0 after two innings of their loss to the Indians. It was the first time Josh Beckett ever lost a game in which he was given a three-run lead. Beckett had been 44-0 with eight no-decisions in such games.
It was also the Red Sox's first loss at home this season in a game in which they led by three runs. The only teams to win every home game this season after taking a lead of three of more runs are the Yankees (27-0), the Athletics (15-0), and the Padres (14-0).
• ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported on Thursday that the Red Sox are close to a deal to acquire Javy Lopez from the Orioles, to help fill the void created by Jason Varitek's absence. Varitek underwent arthroscopic surgery on Thursday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.
Prior to Varitek's injury, his backup, Doug Mirabelli, hadn't started consecutive games as a catcher since 2004. But guess what? Lopez hasn't done so for the Orioles this season either.
• Vijay Singh, the two-time defending champion at the Buick Open, shot an 8-under 64 on Thursday, to place him one stroke behind the leader, Mike Weir. Singh shot an opening round of 65 last year and 63 in 2004. Over the last 25 years, only one other player shot opening rounds of 7 under or better at the same tournament in three consecutive years: Scott Verplank, from 2002 to 2004 at the event now known as the Frys.com Open. (It was known as the Invensys Classic in 2002, the Las Vegas Invitational in 2003, and the Michelin Championship in 2004.)