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Random Recap for Wednesday, June 22

Posted by John Autin on June 23, 2011

A survey of Wednesday's MLB action that suffers severe sampling bias....

-- Cliff Lee became the first pitcher with consecutive shutouts since September 2009, when -- who else? -- Roy Halladay did it in the last 2 starts of his Blue Jays career. For all his accomplishments, it's the first time that Lee -- who has put up 23 straight zeroes -- has ever thrown back-to-back shutouts; he has never had 3 straight scoreless starts of any duration.

  • The Phillies have the best record and the biggest division lead in the majors (47-28, 4.5 G). No other division leader is more than 2 games up.
  • The last shutout streak before Halladay was by Roy Oswalt in 2008.
  • Thirty-one different pitchers have a shutout this year; Halladay, who had 67% more shutouts than anyone else over the past 3 years, is not among them.

-- How bad can it get for Chone Figgins? He began the day dead last in OPS+ among qualifying batters (43), then went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts, dropping his BA to .190. And his error with 2 out and a man aboard led to Washington's first run in their 2-1 win. (Still 3 years to go on that sunk cost for Seattle.)

  • Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect 8th inning for his MLB-best 20th hold, 4 more than the #2 total. Clippard has a 1.90 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, and his 42.2 relief innings rank 3rd in the majors. He began the day 3rd in Wins Above Replacement for relievers, with 1.5 WAR (tied with closers Mariano Rivera and Francisco Cordero).
  • Figgins for Jason Bay, anyone? Bay might be able to find himself again closer to his native British Columbia, while the Mets could use the versatility of Figgins.

-- John Lackey's 4th inning: Walk, HBP, bunt single, strikeout, walk (run scores), HBP (run scores), wild pitch (run scores), single (run scores), hook.

  • Lackey's ERA climbed to 7.35; he has allowed 33 ER in his last 33.1 IP, and hasn't had a quality start since April.

-- In the Reds-Yankees nightcap, Chris Heisey made the most of his first-ever multi-HR game. Batting leadoff, Heisey hit 3 HRs, drove in 5 and scored 4 times in the first 3-HR game by a Reds hitter this year. Their last 3-HR game was by Jay Bruce on 8/27/2010, which was also the last 3-HR game in the majors by a leadoff hitter.

  • Johnny Cueto got the win with his 5th straight high-quality start (7+ IP, 2 R or less). He lowered his season ERA to 1.63 with a 0.97 WHIP in 62 IP. For all the promise he's shown in his 3 prior years, Cueto began this season with a career 4.27 ERA and 99 ERA+.

-- In the day game, Jorge Posada's go-ahead 2-run HR snapped his longest streak of homerless games at 40 even. His last HR was April 23, 142 PAs ago.

-- Ian Kennedy allowed 1 run in 6 IP for his 8th win, trimming his ERA to 2.90. The win assured another day in 1st place for the surprising Diamondbacks, who have a winning record and positive run differential both home and away. Arizona went 25-56 on the road last year and were outscored by 1.2 R/G.

-- Joel Hanrahan's 20th save extended his perfect record in save chances this year. In his last 7.2 IP, he has allowed just one baserunner, a walk.

-- Logan Morrison went 0 for 5 in Florida's 10-inning loss to the Angels. Could it be that his reported tongue-lashing of Hanley Ramirez on Monday was really an expression of frustration with his own deep funk? LoMo, the free-spirited tweeter, was hitting .320/.406/.574 when June dawned, but has hit .200 (17 for 85) in 22 games this month, trimming about 50 points from his season BA & OBP and 100 points off his SLG.

  • The day will come -- I know not when -- that Bobby Abreu ceases to be an on-base machine, but he will not go gently. The 37-year-old Abreu had 2 hits Wednesday, including a 2-run HR, and scored the winning run after drawing a leadoff walk in the 10th (when a walk surely was as good as a hit). Although his power is way down this year (the HR was his 3rd), he's hitting .292 with a .403 OBP, and 10 steals in 13 tries. Abreu has reached base safely more than any other player since 1998. He needs 22 HRs and 18 SB to reach 300 HRs/400 SB, a combination attained only by Bonds pere et fils in MLB history.

-- Pittsburgh beat Baltimore, but J.J. Hardy had his 4th straight multi-hit game and is batting .380 in June with 7 HRs and .722 SLG.

  • Hardy began the day with a 146 OPS+, second only to Jose Reyes among shortstops with at least 40 games played.

-- The Mets won on a walk-off HBP in the 13th, which somewhat offsets their recent balk-off loss. The run was set up when the A's chose to intentionally walk Jose Reyes (who hit his 13th triple earlier in the game) with 2 out and runners on 1st and 2nd, to bring up the right-handed Justin Turner against RHP Brad Ziegler.

  • Is that Moneyball movie out yet? Maybe Bob Melvin had better reserve a ticket; that strategy was Dummyball.
  • It was the first walk-off HBP since last year, when Jeff Francoeur took one for the team against Mariano Rivera on Sept. 11, completing a 9th-inning comeback.

-- Paul Konerko's 5-game HR streak ended with an 0 for 3, but the White Sox captured the South Side edition of the El Series with a 4-3 win over the Cubs. The ChiSox have crept back to 37-39; the Cubs fell to 8-16 in June and 30-44 for the season.

  • Konerko still has a 1.001 OPS for the season.
  • Does anyone care how to pronounce Mike Quade's name now?

-- Ryan Vogelsong (1 run in 7 IP so far) extended to 9 his MLB-best streak of starts with 5+ IP and 2 runs or less. He has a 1.23 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 58.1 IP during this streak. In 33 career starts before this season, Vogelsong never had more than 2 straight starts of 5+ IP and 2 runs or less. 

-- Catch of the day: It was a busy afternoon for Jose Bautista. He homered in the 3rd for Toronto's only run; just missed snaring the latest pinch-HR by Brooks Conrad in the 7th (which was ruled a HR after review); and moments later, foiled a back-to-back bid by Jordan Schafer with a leaping catch in nearly the same spot as where Conrad's ball had cleared the wall.

What were the other baseball stories of the day? Our phones are open!

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at 12:30 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

40 Responses to “Random Recap for Wednesday, June 22”

  1. Johnny Twisto Says:

    the biggest division lead in the majors (4.5 G). No other division leader is more than 2 games up.

    B-b-b-but I thought all the pennant races were over on March 31?!?

    (Join the discussion on competitive balance here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/12104)

    Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect 8th inning for his MLB-best 20th hold, 4 more than the #2 total.

    Although (or perhaps because) everyone hates holds, I like to keep track of them.

    Last season, with little fanfare, San Diego's Luke Gregerson (40) and Mike Adams (37) *both* broke the MLB hold record of 36, set way back in 2004 by Flash Gordon and tied in 2006 by Scott Linebrink. Clippard is on pace for 44. (Incidentally, where does B-R find its nicknames? I'm quite certain Clippard was never called "The Yankee Clippard" in his brief Yankee tenure. Has be been called that as a National?)

    ***

    Johnny Cueto ... lowered his season ERA to 1.63 with a 0.97 WHIP in 62 IP.

    I didn't realize he was pitching so well. Between he, Edinson Volquez, Travis Wood, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Homer Bailey, the Reds have come up with a lot of potentially good arms and I thought they should be piecing together a good rotation. And I see they're near the bottom of the league in runs allowed. No such thing as a pitching prospect, I guess.....

  2. Where to start with all the good stuff in the recap?

    -- Pittsburgh beat Baltimore, ......
    Go, Pirates. May you break your 18-year (?) string of losing seasons and score one for all of baseball.

  3. Blue Jays were swept by Atlanta. In the three games, the Jays offense managed 2 runs on 13 hits.

    Ouch !

  4. Interesting thought about Bay and Figgins.

    Some similarities to consider:
    - same age (Figgins is 8 months older)
    - late start (both were 24 in their first MLB game)
    - short runway to get to peak (see late start)
    - rapid decline from a low peak (fall off a cliff at 32 or 33)

    Looking at comparable players:
    - some hope for Figgins. His top similarity score is Brett Butler who, of course, had a long career
    - less rosy for Bay. His most comparable is Geoff Jenkins - done at 33, Bay's age at the end of the season.

  5. Jonny Venters' ERA+ is 660 right now (270 for his career). [129 IP career]

    First in the NL in WPA. He has a .777 WHIP (before today's "rough" outing where he loaded the bases but no one scored).

    Braves relievers Venters and Kimbrel are 2 and 4 in xFIP and 1 and 2 in fWAR for relievers. Venters' is a sophomore and Kimbrel is a rookie. Both make the minimum.

  6. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Signs of Armageddon:
    Mark Reynolds went 2-4 last night, pushing his average up to .231. He is 11 for his last 21 ABs in 7 games - .523 BA & with 7 walks has a .582 OBP.
    I wonder if Showalter would consider him moving up in the order now.
    He went from .188 on June 6th.
    I know it is easy to raise your AVG when you are hitting so low, but nearly .050 points in 16 days is not bad.

    JA,
    Your Figgins for Bay trade makes sense. Seattle's lack of power, combined with Figgin's hitting style fitting in more with city feild, and the Mets with no one at third or second, I second that emotion.

    But Uggla (53 OPS+), Figgins (43 OPS+), Vernon Wells (64 OPS+), Jason Bay (81 OPS +), Alex Rios (63 OPS+) Hanley Ramirez (66 OPS+) Carl crawford (78 OPS +) Adam Dunn (76 OPS +) and Jason Werth (105 OPS +) have to be the biggest examples of overpaying and of destroying the current market for guys who deserve a lot more then they are going to get (Reyes). Those above mentioned players are averaging over 14 million a season.
    Any one want to guess or opine on the worst contract up there; I have to go with Vernon wells at 23 million.
    Anyone?

  7. @3 Bautista did manage to homer though! I'm worried he will hit very poorly for the rest of the year though. The Jays do look bad though.

  8. Thomas Court Says:

    Timmy P you never did tell me whose picture that is in your avatar.

  9. That's legendary singer/actor/entertainer Lou Rawls. I enjoy his music more than any other.

  10. Thomas Court Says:

    Ahhh, gotcha. My avatar is the Majesty symbol from a band called Dream Theater.

  11. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    In '92 Deion Sanders hit 14 triples in just 97 games.
    Jose Reyes just hit his 13th in 71 games.
    25 triples is looking like a possibility.

  12. @10 I've never heard of that band, is that a local outfit?

  13. [...] Cliff Lee’s consecutive shutouts and Kyle Lohse’s 0 BB, 0 K game Posted by Andy on June 23, 2011 « Random Recap for Wednesday, June 22 [...]

  14. @10
    Thomas, a co-worker of mine is a massive Dream Theater fan. I had never heard of them before working with him. You are second person I know of to admire them.

  15. @3
    Doug N., I was too depressed to add anything about the Jays to JA's recap. I considered it and passed. I guess they are finding a level of success commensurate with their talent.

  16. Thomas Court Says:

    @14

    Cool... I always refer to Dream Theater as "The best band you have never heard of." Most fans of DT are "massive fans."

    Their guitarist John Petrucci and bassist John Myung went to Berklee.
    Their old drummer Mike Portnoy went to Berklee.
    Their new drummer Mike Mangini taught at Berklee.
    Their keyboardist Jordan Rudess went to Julliard... when he was nine.

    If you have 12 minutes to spare, watch "Instrumedley" on youtube, and prepare to drool.

    Now... on with the baseball.

  17. "The Mets won on a walk-off HBP in the 13th, which somewhat offsets their recent balk-off loss. The run was set up when the A's chose to intentionally walk Jose Reyes (who hit his 13th triple earlier in the game) with 2 out and runners on 1st and 2nd, to bring up the right-handed Justin Turner against RHP Brad Ziegler. Is that Moneyball movie out yet? Maybe Bob Melvin had better reserve a ticket; that strategy was Dummyball."

    Why?

    "I know it is easy to raise your AVG when you are hitting so low, but nearly .050 points in 16 days is not bad."

    Reynolds' turnaround is undoubtedly tied into Showalter's recent threat to send him to AAA.

  18. #17..

    "Why"

    Never mind, the play account I saw had Duda on third.

    It was dumb.

  19. John Autin Says:

    @15, Neil L. -- To cheer you up, I updated the post to include Bautista's HR-saving catch and his own HR.

    "I know it's not much, / But it's the best I can do...."

  20. Phils have the best record in baseball, but will need another big bat if they want to win in AL parks. None of their bench players strike fear into the opposing pitchers while DHing.

  21. John Autin Says:

    @17, Chuck -- I take it you're asking why I thought it was foolish to intentionally walk Reyes?

    To review the situation: Runners on 2nd and 1st, 2 out, Reyes up against Brad Ziegler.

    -- Stating the obvious: Loading the bases puts added pressure on the pitcher, the catcher and the infielders. The WPA calculus finds that the intentional walk to Reyes increased the Mets' chance of winning by 5%.

    -- The runner on 2nd, Lucas Duda, has below-average speed. There's no guarantee that he'll score from 2nd on a single, even with 2 out.

    -- Justin Turner was the 12th batter Ziegler faced. Even deducting the 2 intentional walks, 10 batters is 4 more than his previous max this year.

    -- Ziegler did not have his best command. Even deducting the 8 intentional balls, he threw 13 balls out of 32 other pitches.

    I know that Ziegler has a large platoon differential. I'm not saying he should have pitched to Reyes; I'm saying someone else should have pitched to Reyes. Neither Andrew Bailey nor Grant Balfour pitched in this game; Balfour had pitched the night before, but Bailey hadn't pitched in 3 days. How long do you save your closer (and best pitcher) in an extra-inning road game?

  22. @19
    Thanks, JA, you're a true friend! :-)

    Bautista can do it on two sides of the WAR equation. Defensive WAR can't distinguish between a run-saving catch like that and a routine fly ball to the outfielder can it?

  23. John Autin Says:

    Oops -- "never mind" to my case @21; I didn't see Chuck's "never mind" @18.

  24. In referring to the Chicago Crosstown series, you misspelled 'L'.

  25. @ 25 no sir! Either spelling can be used.

  26. @24 I mean

  27. John Autin Says:

    @24, Oneblankspace (is that a crossword-derived nickname, by the way?) --

    When I lived in Chicagoland in the mid-'70s, it seemed to me that "el" was more commonly used. And because I later lived near the L subway line in Brooklyn, NY, I've never used "L" for the CTA train, though I understand that has become the more common spelling.

    "El" still seems more logical to me, since the name is derived from "elevated train."

  28. I gave a slight chuckle at Johnny Twisto's to-quick-to-the-punch statement about pennant races being over on March 31.

    He was just making a statement, a factual one at that. The Phils DO have the best record in baseball and they DO have the largest division lead. Not once did the poster mention that they were a lock

  29. When I first began commenting on blogs, I frequented a blog that published the eMail address with the name. One blank space was the minimum user name allowed, and it did not provide a link to the email.

    The CTA calls it 'L' whether elevated, street level, or subway : http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/railstatus.aspx

    (And while we're at it, one ballplayer from the South Side is a White Sox, not a White So> or White Sock.)

  30. John Autin Says:

    @29, One... -- Dunno what you're correcting with your last sentence. I've never called 'em anything but White Sox or ChiSox, be they one or many.

  31. John Autin Says:

    @29 -- Oh, wait, the last line was a joke, right? I thought "White So>" was a typo, but now I get it.

    (Although I can't see why you'd object to such player being called a "White SoGreaterThan"....)

  32. Imbroglio21 Says:

    About Lee : He's now 5 innings short from his top performance of 28 scoreless innings streak he compiled from April 13 to 30, 2008 (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/L/PX_lee-c003.htm) . And according to the Phillies 2011 Media Guide, his current streak of 23 ranks 15th among the pitchers in Phillies history.

  33. Imbroglio21 Says:

    The Phillies had zero runners left on bases last night in St. Louis. It was the third time it happened this year in MLB (http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/arb0o). For Philadelphia, it was a first since July 4th, 1989, against the Reds at the Vet, and the 13th time since 1919 (http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/G2bVm).

  34. John Autin Says:

    @28, Jim P -- I think Johnny Twisto was just tweaking someone else who implied that a certain division race was predestined -- perhaps comment #13 on the thread JT linked to. That's just my quess.

  35. @28
    Jim P., you have to understand Johnny T's comment in light of the discussion toward the end of the thread he has linked in his post.

    He is making a good point with sarcasm, but, again better understood in the context of that thread. I am still posting there also.

  36. John Autin Says:

    @33, Imbroglio21 (may I call you Ernie?) -- Great spotting on the zero-LOB game.

  37. Mike Gaber Says:

    @ 27 JA

    I take your spelling...but...

    I grew up in Chicago in the 1930's and 1940's and we called it the "El".

    On all the viaducts where the "El" passed over a street they had the words "El".

    But with the internet, texting and Twitter now in vogue, I suppose everyone feels the need to cut the # of characters in every word and/or phonetically spell every word.

    Checking it out on Wikipedia, in the Contents Section:

    5. 'L' or El?

    After reading it I guess 'L' is now the more correct form.

  38. Jim Bouldin Says:

    "Cliff Lee became the first pitcher with consecutive shutouts since September 2009, when -- who else?..."

    I don't think this is correct. Somebody (damned if I can remember who though),was just attempting, last week, to pitch their 3rd consecutive 1-0 win, which would have been an all time record I believe--never been done.

  39. John Autin Says:

    @38, Jim Bouldin -- You may be thinking of Carlos Carrasco, who won two consecutive starts by a score of 1-0. But he didn't pitch a shutout in either game, lasting 8.1 innings on June 7 and 7 innings on June 13. (By the way, Carrasco did get that 3rd straight win, but he allowed a run.)

    A shutout is defined as a complete game with zero runs allowed.

    P.S. My statement about Lee was based on the Play Index database on this site, but if you google "Cliff Lee + consecutive shutouts," you'll find ample confirmation that Lee is the first to do it since Halladay in 2009.

  40. Jim Bouldin Says:

    OK, thanks much for clarifying John. Was very fuzzy on what I had heard and couldn't follow up on it.

    On an unrelated note--can you or anyone provide me info on what teams may have had 8 consecutive hits to start a game (at the Twins did last week in SF), before 1973. I read somewhere that this never happened before 1973. Since it has occurred at least 7 times since then, this cannot possibly be true. Thanks.