Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Roy Oswalt was the winning pitcher for the Astros against the Reds Wednesday night. Oswalt now has a career record of 18-1 against Cincinnati. Since 1900, only four other pitchers won at least 18 of their first 19 decisions against a particular team: Ed Reulbach against the Reds, Larry Jackson against the Mets, Juan Marichal against the Mets and Tom Seaver against the Padres.
• Chris Capuano (4-0 entering the game) opposed Anthony Reyes (0-4) in Milwaukee Wednesday afternoon. The last time a home team started a pitcher with a record of 4-0 or better against an opponent whose starter was 0-4 or worse was exactly 15 years ago at Candlestick Park: Bill Swift (4-0) and the Giants beat Kyle Abbott (0-4) and the Phillies 2-1.
Over the last 80 years there have now been nine such matchups, and the visiting team with the winless pitcher won only once: Dave LaPoint (0-4) and the Giants beat Joaquin Andujar (4-0) and the Cardinals in 1985.
• The Cardinals' Anthony Reyes has lost each of his first five starts of the season. Only three other pitchers lost each of their first five starts of the season while pitching for the defending World Series Champions: Dave Danforth for the White Sox in 1918 (lost first six starts), Murry Dickson for the Cardinals in 1947 (seven) and John "Blue Moon" Odom for the A's in 1974 (lost his only five starts of the season).
Let's not lay all the blame on Reyes. The Cardinals have scored only six runs in his five starts, the fewest for a St. Louis pitcher in his first five starts of a season since John Fulgham in 1980 (also six runs of support in his first five starts of the season).
• Gary Sheffield hit a home run off Steve Trachsel in the first inning, his fifth career homer off Trachsel. Sheffield has hit more home runs off only one other pitcher: Jamey Wright (six). Six other pitchers allowed five homers to Sheff: Miguel Batista, Willie Blair, Bruce Chen, Tom Glavine, Bob Walk and Woody Williams.
• The Twins lost Wednesday night despite having Joe Nathan on the mound to start the ninth inning with a two-run lead. Since joining the Twins in 2004, Nathan had been successful on 76 of 77 save opportunities in which he entered the game to start an inning with a lead of two or three runs. His only misstep prior to Wednesday occurred on Aug. 26, 2006 vs. the White Sox.
• The Mets avoided a three-game sweep with a win over the Marlins at Shea Stadium. The Mets have been swept in only one home series of any length during Willie Randolph's tenure as manager. Washington took all three games at Shea from Sept. 13-15, 2005.
• Oliver Perez struck out 10 and had two hits at the plate. Over the last 15 years, only two other Mets pitchers had at least 10 strikeouts and two hits in the same game: Hideo Nomo did it at San Francisco in 1998 and Tom Glavine vs. Colorado in 2005.
• Josh Beckett has won each of his first six starts this season. Over the last 30 years, the only other Boston pitcher to win his first six starts of a season was Roger Clemens in 1991.
Beckett is 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA with 35 strikeouts, nine walks and only one home run allowed in 39.2 innings pitched this season. Last season after six starts, Beckett was 3-1 with a 4.86 ERA, 23 strikeouts, 16 walks and six home runs allowed in 37 innings pitched.
• Both Ray Emery and Martin Brodeur recorded an assist in the Senators' win over the Devils. It's only the third time in NHL playoff history in which a goaltender from each team had an assist in the same game. It also happened in Game 2 of the Penguins-Rangers series in 1989 (Tom Barrasso and Bob Froese) and in Game 2 of the Islanders-Canadiens series in 1993, a double-overtime game (Glenn Healy and Patrick Roy).
• Mike Fisher scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in Ottawa's win over New Jersey in Game 4. Entering the game, Fisher had not scored a goal in the 2007 playoffs despite 28 shots on goal, tying him with Jochen Hecht for the most shots on goal among players who had not lit the lamp in this postseason.
• Both NHL playoff games Wednesday night were decided by a one-goal margin. Thirty-six of the 59 games played in the 2007 NHL playoffs have been one-goal games, a whopping 61 percent. That would be the highest such percentage in a playoff year since 1941 (12 of 19 games, 63.2 percent).
• Tim Duncan scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out five assists in the Spurs' series-ending victory over the Nuggets. It was the 22nd career 20/10/5 game in Duncan's playoff career, tying him with Shaquille O'Neal for the most such games among active players.
• Allen Iverson scored only 21 points and shot 6-for-22 from the field in the Nuggets' loss to the Spurs. Iverson had averaged 36.3 points in his previous seven games when his team needed a win to stay alive in the playoffs.
• Michael Finley was 8-for-9 from 3-point range in the Spurs win. That ties the NBA "record" for most 3-pointers made in a game for a player on a team which eliminated an opponent from a playoff series. Paul Pierce set the record when he made eight shots beyond the arc for the Celtics against the 76ers in 2002.
• Brandon Roy won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award despite participating in only 57 games for Portland this season. Only one NBA Rookie of the Year Award winner played in fewer games than Roy: Patrick Ewing, who played in 50 games for the Knick in 1985-86. The 1962-63 winner, Chicago's Terry Dischinger, also played in only 57 games. Toronto's Vince Carter played in only 50 games when he won the award in 1998-99, but that season was shortened to 50 games due to labor problems.
The Blazers finished the season with a record of 32-50. Twelve of the last 15 NBA Rookies of the Year were on teams that finished the season with a losing record. The exceptions: San Antonio's Tim Duncan in 1997-98 (56-26), Orlando's Mike Miller in 2000-01 (43-39) and Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire in 2002-03 (44-38).