Friday, May 18, 2007
Elias Says ...
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Manu Ginobili came off the bench to score 33 points and grab 11 rebounds in the Spurs' series-clinching win over the Suns. The last player with a 30/10 (points/rebounds) game off the bench in the playoffs was Kevin McHale in a double-overtime loss in 1993 (30 points, 10 rebounds). The last player to do it in a non-overtime game was Mitch Kupchak for the Washington Bullets in 1977 (32 points, 16 rebounds).
• Tim Duncan had nine blocks in the clincher, one shy of the record for a postseason game, set by Mark Eaton in 1985 and tied by Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990. Nine blocks were the most by any player in a postseason game since Alonzo Mourning had nine on April 22, 2000.
• Steve Nash had 14 assists for the Suns on Friday, giving him 146 in 11 games this postseason, an average of 13.3 per game. Only three other players have averaged 13 assists per game in one postseason while playing at least 10 games: Magic Johnson (1984-86), John Stockton (1988, 1992) and Johnny Moore (1983 Spurs).
• Gregg Popovich has a 20-7 (.741) career record in games in which his team had a chance to clinch a playoff series. That is the highest career winning percentage in potential series clinching games for any head coach in NBA history (minimum: 15 games).
• The Nets scored only 94 fourth-quarter points in the six games against the Cavaliers, an average of 15.7 per game. That's the lowest average for any team in a series that went at least six games in the shot-clock era. The previous low was 15.9 by the Bulls against the Knicks in 1994.
Over the last three games of the series the Nets were 6-for-47 (13%) from the floor in the fourth quarter, and they made only one of 16 three-point attempts.
• Donyell Marshall made six three pointers off the bench in the Cavaliers' win over the Nets. He's the 12th player to make as many as six threes as a substitute in a postseason game, but he's the first to do it while playing fewer than 20 minutes.
Happy Birthday to Marshall, who turned 34 today. Four other players in NBA history have scored as many as 18 points in a playoff-series clincher on their birthday, Tim Duncan in 2004, Kevin Garnett in 2004, Mike Bibby in 2002 and Jamaal Wilkes in 1982.
• The Yankees' loss, coupled with the rainout in Boston, dropped Torre's men 10 games out of first place in the American League East. It's the first time the Yankees have been 10 behind since September 22, 1995, when they were 10 behind the Red Sox. (They were, however, tied with the Angels for the wild-card lead at that point, a race they wound up winning).
Only two teams have ever gone a longer time without being 10 games out of first place: the Braves went nearly 13 years, from July 1993 to June 2006; and the Yankees went 12½ years from the end of the 1946 season to July 1959.
• Four of the five runs in the Mets' 3-2 win over the Yankees scored in an unlikely way: on two-run home runs by left-handed batters off Andy Pettitte and Oliver Perez. Endy Chavez's home run was the first by a lefty off Pettitte since Scott Podsednik connected last June 23. And Hideki Matsui's homer off Perez was the first he allowed to a lefty since Dontrelle Willis hit one last September 20.
• Orlando Cabrera was 5-for-47 (.106) against Brad Penny in his career going into Friday's Dodgers-Angels game, and then promptly drove in the first run of the game with a first-inning double. Entering the day that was the third-lowest batting average by any active player against any active pitcher (minimum: 40 at-bats). Brad Ausmus is hitting .050 (2-for-40) against Tom Glavine, and Alex Gonzalez is hitting .098 (4-for-41) against Livan Hernandez.
• The Tigers gave Andrew Miller 14 runs of support, all in the first five innings of his first major-league start. Here's one of those odd things: it's the fourth time in the last two seasons that a pitcher was afforded at least 14 runs of support in the first five innings of his first major-league start. Justin Hampson, Mike Pelfrey and Yusmeiro Petit were the beneficiaries last season. Before 2006 it had happened only twice in the previous 42 seasons.
Only one other Tigers pitcher had such support in his first major league start. In 1922, Detroit scored 14 in the first five innings in the first start by Lil Stoner, who reportedly later starred in the short-lived Little Rascals/Cheech & Chong collaboration.
• Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 20 games on Friday. Phillips, who entered the spree with a .243 career batting average, is only the second player in the past 10 years to have a 20-game hitting streak having begun that period with a career average below .250. Gabe Kapler hit in 28 straight games in 2000, starting that streak with a .242 career average.
• The Orioles won in Washington, which should sound familiar to Orioles fans of the 1960s. From 1961 to 1971, when the team that is now the Rangers played in Washington as the Senators, the Orioles went 65-33 in games in D.C., by far the best road record by one team against another over those years. In fact, the two next-best records over that time were also by teams against the Senators in D.C., by the Twins (55-34) and Tigers (61-38).
• Dustin McGowan held the Phillies hitless for four innings before allowing five runs on three hits and three walks in the fifth inning. That's been the story in McGowan's three starts this year: in the first four innings of games he's held opponents to a .154 batting average (6-for-39) and four runs in 12 innings; in the fifth and sixth innings opponents are hitting .526 (10-for-19) and they've scored 10 runs in 3S innings.
• Toby Hall made his season debut Friday for the White Sox, and it wasn't pretty (cue up Daniel Powter's "Bad Day"): he was charged with two errors and a passed ball which allowed the go-ahead run to score in the Cubs' 6-3 win over the Southsiders. The last catcher to have two errors and a passed ball in his season debut was Pat Borders, who had two errors and two passed balls for the 1999 Indians.