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Wednesday Wambsgansses … or, Games of 8/31/2011

Posted by John Autin on September 1, 2011

[No, there wasn't an unassisted triple play. But isn't it fun to say "Wambsganss"?]

-- Eric Hosmer had his first 2-HR game, but the Tigers scored 3 in the 8th for a comeback 5-4 win.

  • At 21 years and 311 days, Hosmer is the youngest Royal ever to hit 2 HRs in a game, supplanting Carlos Beltran (22/042).
  • Jose Valverde is now 1 shy of Brad Lidge's 2008 mark of 41 saves without blowing a single one. There are some who think it's bad luck to carry any year-long streak into the postseason; a Yanks fan friend of mine was happy when David Robertson finally allowed a home run recently. But the season save streak didn't seem to jinx Lidge, so I say: Roll on, Papa Grande, roll on!

-- Meanwhile, Jake Peavy allowed 6 runs in the 1st -- on a pair of RBI-ground-rule 2Bs and a pair of 2-run HRs -- and the White Sox' late rally fell short, as they drooped to 6 games back of Detroit.

-- Madison Bumgarner stopped the Giants' slide with the best game of his young career. He stymied the Cubs on 2 singles through 8 innings, and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts.

  • Jeff Keppinger, one of the few Giants swinging a strong bat the last week, had 3 hits and went "back-to-back jack" with Pablo Sandoval -- the Panda's drive being of the splashtastic variety -- to end SF's 6-game string without a HR.
  • The 4-0 win represented the Giants' biggest offensive output in 8 games.

-- Arizona beat the Rockies, 4-2, led by Josh Collmenter and a 3-run shot by Miguel Montero, his 14th of the year. He leads all catchers with 72 RBI.

  • Montero also has 31 doubles, and has helped the D-backs virtually eliminate the running game, allowing a league-low 52 SB with a league-high 41% CS. Check out the MLB catcher leaders in Wins Above Replacement before today:
Rk Player WAR/pos Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Alex Avila 5.0 24 DET AL 115 450 378 50 113 26 4 17 65 60 7 105 2 3 7 8 3 1 .299 .391 .524 .915 *2/D5
2 Miguel Montero 3.4 27 ARI NL 118 459 409 58 112 30 1 13 69 39 8 80 7 1 3 11 1 1 .274 .345 .447 .792 *2
3 Matt Wieters 3.2 25 BAL AL 116 456 415 57 110 24 0 15 52 38 3 71 2 0 1 13 1 0 .265 .329 .431 .760 *2/D3
4 Carlos Santana 2.9 25 CLE AL 127 538 454 63 110 27 2 21 66 77 6 108 1 0 6 12 4 3 .242 .349 .449 .799 *23/D
5 Yadier Molina 2.5 28 STL NL 115 420 389 44 115 24 1 12 51 23 3 38 1 4 3 19 3 5 .296 .334 .455 .789 *2/3
6 Brian McCann 2.5 27 ATL NL 103 423 377 47 109 16 0 22 62 43 12 66 1 0 2 7 3 1 .289 .362 .507 .868 *2/D
7 Carlos Ruiz 2.3 32 PHI NL 104 374 323 39 88 20 0 5 30 38 7 40 10 2 1 6 1 0 .272 .366 .381 .746 *2/5
8 Nick Hundley 2.2 27 SDP NL 60 229 206 25 55 11 5 5 21 19 3 56 3 0 1 3 0 0 .267 .336 .442 .778 *2
9 Chris Iannetta 2.2 28 COL NL 98 382 310 47 74 16 1 12 47 64 5 81 4 2 2 10 5 3 .239 .374 .413 .787 *2/35
10 Ramon Hernandez 2.0 35 CIN NL 80 294 268 26 77 12 0 11 33 20 6 38 4 0 2 10 0 0 .287 .344 .455 .799 *2/3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/31/2011.
  • After going the first 98 games of the year without a HR, Colorado's Dexter Fowler has homered in consecutive games for the first time in his 4-year career.

-- Cliff Lee came within one out of his 6th shutout this year, a mark not reached since 1998. But with 2 out and the bases empty, Joey Votto doubled, Jay Bruce walked on a 3-2 pitch, and Miguel Cairo was hit by an 0-2 pitch, prompting Charlie Manuel to bring in Ryan Madson to protect the 3-0 lead.

  • Madson got PH Yonder Alonso to foul out for his 25th save in 27 tries, and the Phillies are now 40 games over .500 at 86-46. They've never finished a season more than 40 games over.
  • Through 8.2 IP, Lee had thrown just 104 pitches, allowing 5 singles and no walks.
  • It was Lee's 10th scoreless start of at least 7 IP this year, the most by any pitcher since 1985 (11 each by Dwight Gooden & John Tudor).

-- Chipper Jones stung career HR #450, breaking a tie with Jeff Bagwell for #34 on the career list. A slightly more unusual trot was made by Derek Lowe, who fouled off a couple of 3-2 pitches, then broke the 5th-longest active career HR schneid at 521 PAs with a laser that just cleared the LF wall.

  • Eric O'Flaherty (1.21 ERA), Jonny Venters (1.31) and Craig Kimbrel (1.64) each tossed a perfect inning to close out the 3-1 win.
  • Kimbrel converted his 22nd straight save try and extended his scoreless streak to 33.2 IP, tied for the 3rd longest relief streak in the past 20 years.

-- Not to be outdone in the hurlers' homer parade, Jake Westbrook got maximum mileage out of his first career HR, hitting it off Milwaukee's Randy Wolf with 3 men aboard to break up a tie game.

  • It was the 23rd HR by a pitcher this year, 7 more than all of last year, and the 2nd grand slam; Wolf's teammate Shaun Marcum hit the first off Daniel Hudson on July 4, in a game the Brewers went on to lose.
  • They lost this game, too, for their first losing streak since July 23-24 and their first at home since July 4-5; they lead the Cards by 8.5 games.
  • Westbrook is the first pitcher to hit a grand slam and win the game since 2009, when Chris Carpenter did it while earning his 17th win and sewing up the ERA title. Nice.

-- In a back-and-forth battle for supremacy in the AL East, Jacoby Ellsbury broke a 5-all tie with a 2-run shot off "lefty specialist" Boone Logan, and Boston went on to a 9-5 win for a 1.5-game lead.

  • It was the 4th HR off Logan this year, all by LHBs in 83 ABs; he has allowed an OPS about 230 points higher to LHBs than RHBs this year, quite the reverse of his career splits.
  • Ellsbury's 24th HR was his 5th off a lefty this year and the 8th of his career.
  • Jason Varitek added his 10th HR, extending his career lead among Red Sox catchers to 30 over Carlton Fisk (192-162). Boston has 23 HRs from their catchers, tied for 1st in the AL with Toronto; they're also #1 in runs, #2 in RBI and #3 in OPS+.

-- Tampa won 4-1 in Texas, behind 8 shutout IP from James Shields, and pulled back to 7.5 GB the Yanks in the wild-card race. The Rangers got the tying run to the plate in the 9th with 3 straight 2-out hits against Kyle Farnsworth, but Yorvit Torrealba struck out to end it.

  • Is Alexi Ogando officially out of gas? He was lifted in the 3rd after allowing 3 runs and 8 baserunners, giving him a 7.14 ERA in 6 August starts. His 154 IP this year is more than his previous career total for majors and minors combined. I haven't heard of the club's plans, but it would be no surprise if Ogando were pulled from the rotation for a rest, then used in relief the rest of the way; he was very good in that role last year, with a 1.30 regular-season ERA and 1 run in 6 postseason IP.
  • The Rangers' rotation has been remarkably healthy and productive to date. Their top 5 have started all but 4 of the team's 137 games; all 5 have at least 153 IP, with ERA+ ranging from 134 to 103. They would be the 2nd team this century to have 5 qualifying pitchers post ERA+ over 100 (joining the 2005 Cardinals), and the first AL team to do so since the 1960 Orioles.

-- Jose Bautista's majestic clout was his 39th HR, regaining the MLB premiership, and the Jays feasted on former friend Jo-Jo Reyes and assorted attendants. Kelly Johnson hit his first AL homer.

-- Johnny Damon's 14th gave him HRs in consecutive games for the first time since 2009. He added his 398th career SB, with an 80% success rate.

-- It's over at last in Cleveland! In the last of the 16th, Jack Hannahan -- whose 2 HRs provided most of Cleveland's scoring in regulation -- singled home Cord Phelps, pinch-running for Jim Thome, for the win on a very close play at the plate. The game tied the longest in the AL this year.

  • Cleveland's 5 relievers put up 10 straight zeroes from the 7th through the 16th, including 4 perfect innings by Frank Herrmann for a well-earned win. He's is the 3rd pitcher to go 4 perfect relief IP in a game this year, after no such games in MLB from 2006-10.
  • Oakland's bullpen allowed just 1 baserunner in their first 8 IP, and starting in the 7th retired 24 straight batters (10 by strikeout), before a leadoff double in the 15th. Josh Outman escaped a jam in the 15th, getting 2 strikeouts with a man on 3rd, but he allowed 3 straight hits in the 16th for the loss.
  • Starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Rich Harden (wait -- are we sure this game had starters?) posted identical basic pitching lines: 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts. Harden allowed 2 solo HRs by Jack Hannahan; Jimenez allowed 1 by Kurt Suzuki.

-- Mets play-by-play man Gary Cohen pulled off an "Alphonse and Gaston" reference after one of Florida's many miscues, much to the delight of his old-school boothmates, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez, not to mention your humble narrator.

[The Angels-Mariners game wrapped too late for this edition of Wednesday Wambsgansses.]

  • The Mets' 3-2 win -- in which Jose Reyes went 2-4 to maintain a slim lead in the batting race, and the Mets had 4 relievers each pitch a scoreless inning for the first time this year -- was just a bonus.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 1st, 2011 at 12:25 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.

62 Responses to “Wednesday Wambsgansses … or, Games of 8/31/2011”

  1. 2-run double by Carp in the 8th lift the M's over the Halos!

    Felix completes the game, despite just a 1-run lead.

  2. Dark Leviathan Says:

    The almost inside-the-park-homer from Ryan Braun was great. He got a triple but tripped on the way home. If he hadn't, I think he would have been safe.

  3. JA,

    Chris Carpenter hit a grand slam and earned the win October 1st, 2009.

  4. @2, Dark -- I do think Braun would have been safe. On the other hand, I think the ball should have been caught. The CF got there and got his glove up; he just missed it.

    Here's the clip:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_08_31_slnmlb_milmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=mil&partnerId=rss_mil

    P.S. to Topper009 -- Braun is faster than I realized. I hope this admission makes you happy! :)

  5. Dark Leviathan Says:

    This was also reported from Elias:

    "Cliff Lee: Cliff Lee went 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA in August after he went 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA in June. Only two other pitchers in major-league history have had two months in one season with at least five wins, no losses and an ERA under 1.00: Walter Johnson in 1913 (April: 5-0, 0.24; July 6-0, 0.81) and Bob Gibson in 1968."

  6. @3, Evan -- I'll have to double-check that. Didn't come up on my Event Finder search.

  7. Thanks, Evan -- I must have screwed up the search before. I've corrected the post.

  8. During the Cardinals broadcast, they showed the last 4 grand slams by a pitcher, and they are Carpenter (STL), Penny (STL), Marcum (MIL), and now Westbrook (STL). Do those Cardinals pitchers practice hitting with the bases loaded or what?

  9. @8,

    Penny injured himself hitting that grand slam and missed the rest of the 2010 season. Carpenter's grand slam also occurred during his final start of the regular season (though this was expected because it was October 1st, 2009). If Westbrook doesn't pitch again this year (I have no reason to think that he wont) it would seem we have a trend.

  10. Johnny Dunce Says:

    It was Lee's 10th scoreless start of at least 7 IP this year, the most by any pitcher since 1985 (11 each by Dwight Gooden & John Tudor).

    That's incredible.

    "lefty specialist" Boone Logan

    Logan's been a bit odd. He had a rough start but has generally pitched quite well the past few months. But he seems to be somewhat feast or famine, especially vs LHB. Since June 1, he has struck out nearly half of the lefties he has faced. Yet at the same time, 6 of his 9 hits allowed have been for extra bases.

    Anyway, I still feel pretty good about him.

  11. Note: The Manuel managing the Phillies is Charlie....

  12. @11, Thomas -- Oops. Can you tell I'm a Mets fan? :)

  13. Senor El Dunce -- I seem to have missed your origin story!

  14. Hey, you got half the name right!!

  15. BTW, very close play deciding that Cleveland win; runner might have been out:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=18654771&query=%26game_pk%3D288936

  16. You got me excited there. I still like how the only no-hitter in WS play is a perfect game and the only triple play was unassisted.

  17. Let's not be ridiculous here. The best game of Madison Bumgarner's career was clearly Game 4 of the 2010 World Series.

  18. Johnny Dunce Says:

    I seem to have missed your origin story!

    It's not very exciting. You can blame the Dukes of Boys Town again....

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14524#comment-144041

  19. @17, Naveed -- I said "best," not "biggest."

    WS game: 8 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 6 Ks.
    Today: 8 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 11 Ks.

    What's your argument? The "ridiculous" ball is in your court.

  20. "23rd HR by a pitcher." That's why they call it "Year of the Pitcher"! No?

  21. @19 Bigger and Better. Giving up 1 extra hit and striking out 5 less guys doesn't make that start worse. The Rangers game four lineup was Andrus, Young, Hamilton, Guerrero, Cruz, Kinsler, Francouer, B.Molina, Moreland. The Cubs fielded Castro, R.Johnson, Ramirez, Baker, Soriano, Byrd, Soto, Barney and R.Lopez. That's a huge difference.

  22. "... the Phillies are now 40 games over .500 at 86-46. They've never finished a season more than 40 games over."

    I had a very hard time parsing this sentence. Then I realised that 86-46 is actually 20 games over .500 (66-66, of 132 games), not 40 games over .500 (of 132 games, an impossible 106-28!).

    But the point stands: the Phillies have never finished a season more than 20 games over .500 (101-61 of 162, or 97-57 of 154 games). Their best was 101-61 in each of 1976 and 1977.

  23. Actually, the Phillies have never been over 40 games at any point during the season, ever. Can't confirm this via any kind of official record but I remember reading it somewhere.

    A quick check of the '77 and '76 seasons show both teams just managed to get hot towards the end of the year. The '77 team was 36-31 and finished an incredible 65-30

  24. @22 et al,

    While you are technically correct (the best kind of correct), saying that the Phils are 40 games over .500 is also acceptable. Yes, for every win not had there should be a loss putting them at only 20 games up but think of it more like Team A has 86 wins and Team .500 has 46 wins. Then the Phils are 40 games OVER .500

  25. DaveKingman Says:

    The "20 games over" vs "40 games over" definition depends on whether you are rearward-looking or forward-looking.

    Looking back, if 20 wins had turned to losses you would have been at .500

    Looking forward, if you lose 40 straight games you will be at .500

    I prefer the forward-looking view, since there is nothing you can do about the games that have already been played.

  26. Jim McDevitt Says:

    Valverde may be perfect in save opportunities, but he still has four losses on the season. Lidge remains the only full-time closer to be perfect in save opportunities without suffering a loss on the season.

  27. I think Lidge did kind of get "jinxed." He followed up that incredible 2008 year with an 0-8 record and a 7.22 ERA. Regardless of your opinion of W-L record, that's pretty bad.

  28. I wonder how many players with just 1 career HR had it be a salami? Sounds like it's a pretty rare occurance.

    And how about Cliff Lee's groundout to second? He hits the ball, runs a couple steps, then waves his hand as if to say "I'm out, why bother running?" and heads back to the dugout. Bush league, Cliff.

  29. @28 - It does seem a bit off for him, he's normally unusually good at running those kinds of balls out

  30. Morten Jonsson Says:

    Alphonse and Gaston--sounds like Gary Cohen was making a little tribute to Kiner. Ralph used to make that reference a lot.

    Cohen and Darling and Hernandez are the best.

  31. Re: "games over .500" -- I use the phrase as it is predominantly used. Check around. When you find a citation to a team with a record of 10-9 as being "half a game over .500," call me.

  32. Further to the meaning of "games over .500" -- There is no "technically correct," since the phrase has no clear literal meaning. There is only how the phrase is used. And frankly, I have never seen it used in the manner suggested @22.

    As you see, I'm not modest about my grasp of the language, and I prickle when challenged incorrectly.

  33. "Young RHP Henderson Alvarez, from Valencia, Valenzuela -- the hometown of Felix Hernandez -- earned his first MLB win with a signature game, stopping the O's cold on 3 hits and no walks through 8 IP."

    Did you have a certain 1980s Dodgers pitcher on your mind as you were typing this? :)

  34. @33 -- Oy on me! The dangers of typing past midnight....

    Thanks for the catch.

  35. @21, Pauley -- If one is to challenge the accuracy of my statement, the burden of proof is in the affirmative.

    Please show me how to quantify the difference in lineups faced by Bumgarner in those two signature games. A simple conversion ratio would be preferable, so that I might clearly see how "3 hits and 6 Ks" is unquestionably better than "2 hits and 11 Ks."

    I'm ready to see the error of my ways, but you have to show me. Until then, I stand uncorrected.

  36. [Neil L., where are you? I need your calming influence!]

  37. @28, Larry R. -- A reader posed that very question recently, re: a grand slam as one's only career HR. I don't know an efficient way to find the answer.

  38. RE: "games over .500" - agree with John Autin. I have never seen it used in any way other than the difference between wins and losses.

  39. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:

    Speaking of over and under .500, have the Jays, who returned to 0.500 for the gazillionth time this year, set the record yet for the most times at 0.500?

  40. Spindlebrook Says:

    There is a recent commercial for a hotel chain (Holiday Inn?) where a father and son are watching a baseball game on TV. The game announcer asks a trivia question, "What is the most difficult play in baseball?" The mom walks by and says "Unassisted triple play", right before the announcer says the same thing.

    An unassisted triple play "difficult"? Haven't they ever heard of creative consultants?

  41. @2 thanks, he has 31 SBs with 5 CS entering September, can he swipe 9 this month? Id say a 50-50 chance

  42. @39, BJSG -- Yeah, wow, they don't veer very far from the path, do they?

    By my count:
    -- 27 games ended with the Jays at .500;
    -- 76 ended with them within 1 game of .500; and
    -- 111 ended with them 2 games above or below .500.

    The Jays have had 7 winning streaks of at least 3 games; all but one of the streaks began with them under .500, and ended with them at or above .500.

  43. @40, Spindlebrook -- The tail end of the world's most famous U.T.P. is captured in a photo that I first saw in The Glory of Their Times. There's a small version of that photo here (at bottom left of the web page):

    http://oldballgame.freeservers.com/joeweb61.html

    Too bad it's such a grainy image, but I love everything about the pic -- the umpires' body language, the baserunners' posture of stunned disbelief....

  44. A better version of the Wamby photo is linked below. Someone posted a photocopy of his chapter in TGOTT -- I hope my link doesn't constitute infringement!

    http://matrix.msu.edu/hst/hst324/media/glory/glory_of_their_times-15.pdf

  45. @45 with Hank O'Day of Merkle Boner fame also in the picture

  46. "and the White Sox' late rally fell short, as they drooped to 6 games back of Detroit."

    I was at the White Sox game yesterday, and though Peavy got lit up in the first inning, I didn't notice the Sox "drooping." Maybe Dunn after he struck out, but nobody else drooped. ;-)

  47. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @43, @44/ John A. -
    This was also the same game (1920 World Series, game 5) when the first WS grand slam HR was hit (Elmer Smith), _and_ the first WS HR hit by a pitcher (Jim Bagby).

    The Glory of Their Times is my favorite baseball book ever, I first read it at age 11.

  48. @46, Steve -- That may have looked like a typo, but it was intentional.

    I think "droop" can describe developments in the standings, even if the team's spirits remain (irrationally) buoyant.

  49. @47, L.A. -- And the first time a player had a HR and a 3B in the same WS game.

    Elmer Smith came up in the 6th needing a double for what would (still) be the only cycle in postseason history, but he grounded out and didn't get back to the plate that game.

  50. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @50 - Since "the cycle" happens less than a no-hitter, and there have only been two no-hitters in post-season play, I shouldn't be surprised by this. Still, I figured that with all those great hitters, the cycle would have happened at last once in postseason...

  51. @44:

    "A better version"

    heh, that's a sunrise in comparison :)

  52. Wow, no cycles in the post-season

  53. LA @50 - With all those great pitchers... Doesn't R/9 on average go down in the post-season?

  54. @1, Genis26.

    Re: Mike Carp

    Thanks for the post on the M's game. Great pitching duel, and exciting finish (even on the radio, where I was).

    What an August Carp had. A 20-game hitting streak and 25 RBIs (for a team that can't score). Do you think anyone outside Seattle noticed? I don't.

  55. @54, Doug -- Some Mets fans noticed Carp. :(

  56. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    a grand slam as one's only career HR

    I checked the HR logs of the 19 players with the most plate appearances who hit only one career homer. (Patsy Donovan made the top-20 list, but that's only for his post-1900 career.) None of the top 19 hit a grand slam for their only home run.

  57. Great year for Jeff Frenchy Francoeur! Mets could use him.

  58. @57, Tim -- Even a blind squirrel like Frenchy gets a fastball once in a while, especially when he plays a 162-game exhibition schedule.

    But don't worry; if he ever gets in another game that means anything, the pitchers will be smart enough to feed him breaking balls in the dirt.

  59. Well 42 doubles might be a bit better than a clock that's right twice a day. He has a fine arm also.

  60. "Jose Valverde is now 1 shy of Brad Lidge's 2008 mark of 41 saves without blowing a single one. There are some who think it's bad luck to carry any year-long streak into the postseason; "

    The first thing I thought of when I saw this was the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. Gary Anderson all season had not missed a field goal, until he missed one in the 4th quarter that would have sent them to the Super Bowl. Instead the Atlanta Falcons came back in overtime and beat them...

  61. Timmy, I'm just venting. I know Frenchy is having a good year. I don't think he'll have a good year next year, but we'll just let things play out. That's why we love the game.

  62. Francoeur would be better than Jason Bay.I wonder what happened to that guy,he is awful.