Monday, August 28, 2006
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• John Maine beat the Phillies again Monday, for his third win against them. Since Aug. 6. Since 1961, the first year of expansion, the only other rookie starting pitcher to beat a team three times in such a short span was Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera, who defeated the Royals three times between June 30 and July 20, 2004.
• Jose Reyes hit his 16th triple of the season Monday after hitting 17 three-baggers last season. Reyes is the first player to have more than 15 triples in consecutive seasons since the Yankees' Snuffy Stirnweiss had 16 in 1944 and 22 in 1945.
• Ryan Howard hit his 47th home run of the season, tying the second-highest total in a player's "sophomore" year. Ralph Kiner hit 51 in 1947, his second season, and Eddie Mathews had 47 in 1953, his sophomore year.
• Josh Johnson's win for the Marlins was the 20th start by a Marlins rookie in August and it put Florida at 15-10 for the month, with three games remaining. The last team to have a winning month while getting at least 20 starts from rookies was the 1995 Mets, who went 17-11 in September with Jason Isringhausen going 5-0.
• Dan Uggla hit his 20th home run of the season, making him only the second rookie second baseman in major league history to hit 20 home runs. The Yankees' Joe Gordon hit 25 home runs in 1938, including one as a pinch hitter.
• Twenty-year-old Felix Hernandez threw his first career shutout Monday, blanking the Angels 2-0. In the last 15 years, there's been only one other shutout by a pitcher before his 21st birthday, and that was by Kerry Wood, in his one-hit, 20-strikeout, 0-walk game against the Astros on May 6, 1998.
• Dodgers rookie Jonathan Broxton recorded a manly save against the Reds, recording five outs while protecting a one-run lead. The last rookie to record a save of at least five outs while protecting a one-run lead was Huston Street against Texas last September.
• Esteban Loaiza threw seven scoreless innings against the Red Sox, and over his last four starts he's allowed only one earned run in 30 2/3 innings, for a 0.29 ERA. No other pitcher has allowed as few as one earned run in as many as 30 innings over four starts this season. Four pitchers did it last year: Jae Seo, Chris Carpenter, Mark Buehrle and Kenny Rogers.
Loaiza's run may remind some of Cory Lidle's season for the A's in 2002. Loaiza had a 6.41 ERA in 87 innings before his hot streak began. Lidle had a 5.15 ERA in 113 2/3 innings in 2002, then did not allow an earned run in 38 innings over next five starts, and only one earned run in 45 2/3 innings over his next six starts.
Besides those two A's pitchers, no one else in the last 30 years has had a run of four starts with zero or one earned runs in at least 30 innings, after having an ERA over 5.00 in at least 75 innings on the season when the streak began.
• With a loss to the Athletics on Monday, the Red Sox fell seven games behind the idle Yankees, the furthest out of first place that Boston has been since Aug. 20, 2004, when they were 7½ in back of the Yankees before finishing that season three games out in the AL East.
• Eric Byrnes, who started in the leadoff spot in the batting order on Sunday, went 4-for-5, drove in four runs, and hit two doubles and a home run from the cleanup spot Monday. It's the third time this season that a player started in the leadoff slot in one game and then the cleanup slot in the next game. Gabe Gross did it for the Brewers earlier this month, and Kevin Youkilis did it for the Red Sox in May.
• Derrek Lee returned to the Cubs lineup and Dusty Baker said, "You can figure he can make up 10, 12 or 15 games by himself." Well, this isn't an exact science, but in the 35 games that Lee has played this year, the Cubs are 16-19, a .457 winning percentage that translates to 74 wins over a 162-game season. In the 96 games Lee has missed, the Cubs are 38-58, a .396 winning percentage that comes out to 64 wins over 162 games. So while Dusty's math is not rocket-science good, it's close enough to explain the loss of D-Lee.
• The Indians and Blue Jays played for the first time this season on Monday. They had been the only American League teams that had not played this season. Three National League teams have not met yet -- Diamondbacks vs. Nationals, Reds vs. Padres and Astros vs. Phillies.
• Carson Palmer, playing in his first game since his knee injury in last season's playoffs, threw three touchdown passes Monday. He's the first player to throw three touchdowns in a preseason game this year. Three players did it last year: Donovan McNabb, Chris Simms and Bradlee Van Pelt.