Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Updated: September 27, 10:49 AM ET
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• That was the Cardinals' seventh consecutive loss, one short of the longest September losing streak in major-league history by a first-place club. The Angels lost eight straight in 1995 (Sept. 13-22) and ultimately missed the playoffs. The 1980 Royals also suffered eight consecutive defeats in September, but not until after they had clinched their division title.
• If the Cardinals do blow the NL Central lead, they will have failed to capitalize on a rather unusual advantage over the final week of the season. Of the six NL teams battling for a playoff spot, St. Louis is the only one playing at home this week. All of the Cardinals' remaining games are at home; all remaining games for the Padres, Dodgers, Phillies, Astros, and Reds are on the road.
• Chris Carpenter blew a 5-2 lead in the Cardinals' costly 7-5 loss to the Padres. It was the second consecutive loss for Carpenter, who was staked to a three-run lead in both games. Prior to that, Carpenter had lost only one of the last 57 games in which he led by three runs, dating back to August 2001.
• Ryan H. set a record, but Ryan Z. was the star of the Nationals' 4-3 win over the Phillies. Ryan Zimmerman drove in three runs for the Nats, raising his season total to 107, the most by a rookie since Albert Pujols drove in 130 in 2001. Ryan Howard drove in one run for the Phillies, but that's all it took to set a new National League record for sophomores (146). Chuck Klein had 145 runs batted in in 1929.
In case you're wondering -- OK, we admit it ... we were wondering -- the only other Ryan ever to drive in 100 runs in a season was Ryan Klesko (113 in 2001).
• Ryan G. -- that would be Ryan Garko -- drove in five runs in the Indians' 6-0 victory over the White Sox, raising his total for the month of September to 22 runs batted in. Garko, the Indians' full-time cleanup hitter since Travis Hafner was injured, ranks fifth in the AL in RBI this month behind Frank Thomas (30), Torii Hunter (27), Robinson Cano (25), and Bobby Abreu (25).
• Javier Vazquez struck out 12 batters but allowed six runs over seven innings in Chicago's 6-0 loss to the Indians, a microcosm of Vazquez's month. In five starts during September, Vazquez struck out 50 batters, but posted an 0-3 record. Only three other pitchers during the live-ball era recorded 50 strikeouts in a month without earning a victory. The others were Pedro Martinez (0-1, 55 SO in May 2006), Kerry Wood (0-3, 55 SO in August 2002), and Randy Johnson (0-2, 59 SO in September 1992).
• Johan Santana all but wrapped up what some consider the unofficial Triple Crown for pitchers with his victory over the Royals on Wednesday night. Santana leads the majors in wins (19), ERA (2.77), and strikeouts (245). Only one pitcher has led the majors in all three categories in the same season since Sandy Koufax retired following the 1966 season: Dwight Gooden in 1985. Koufax did so three times over his last four seasons.
• Marlon Anderson's home run in the Dodgers' 11-4 win over the Rockies was his sixth since joining the team on Sept. 1. It tied Anderson with Rafael Furcal and Nomar Garciaparra for the team lead in homers this month. Recent veteran September acquisitions -- let's say over the last 20 years -- who led their team in homers for the month include Jeff Conine (2003 Marlins), Dante Bichette (2000 Red Sox), Shawon Dunston (1997 Pirates), Eric Davis (1993 Tigers), and Fred Lynn (1988 Tigers).
• The Dodgers scored three times before Greg Maddux ever took the mound, and they built their lead to 6-1 with three more runs in the fifth. Game over. Maddux has a career record of 120-0 with two no-decisions when given a lead of five or more runs.
• Andruw Jones hit his 40th home run of the season in the Braves' 12-0 win over the Mets. Andruw and Chipper Jones have combined for 638 homers over the last 10 seasons (1997-2006), the highest total by far by any teammates during that time. The runners-up are Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman (528). But there's no way the Joneses will set a team record, which in this case is also the National League record. Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron hit a total of 692 homers from 1954 to 1963.
• Moises Alou hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning of the Giants' 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks. It was Alou's fifth walk-off homer in the last five seasons, to tie for the second most in the NL during that time behind Albert Pujols (7).
• When Dusty Baker called for Jae-Kuk Ryu to pitch the ninth inning of the Cubs' 14-6 win over the Brewers, it marked Chicago's 522nd pitching change of the season, a new major league record. The previous mark was set by Felipe Alou's Giants in 2004.
• Since July 2, the Cubs (35-43) have a better record than the White Sox (34-44).
• Placido Polanco drove in three runs in the Tigers' 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, for a total of five RBI in two games after missing five weeks with a separated left shoulder. It's the first time this season that Polanco drove in five runs over two games, and he did it from the ninth slot. Over the last 10 seasons, the only other position player with five RBI from the ninth spot in the batting order in his first two games off the disabled list was Luis Rivas of the Twins in 2002.