Games of Wednesday, 9/7/11:
-- Oakland's Guillermo Moscoso no-hit the Royals for 7.2 innings before a single by rookie catcher Salvador Perez. Moscoso retired the first 17 batters before walking Alcides Escobar (I kid you not), the only other baserunner in 8 innings. Will he get to try for the shutout? Moscoso is at 106 pitches; he's never pitched beyond 8 IP or 110 pitches in the majors.
- There still have been just 2 no-hitters thrown against KC in their 43-year history, by Jon Lester in 2008 and Nolan Ryan in 1973.
-- Name that hurler: 6+ IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 3 wild pitches, 3 SB in 3 tries, 1 HR, 108 pitches, leadoff man reached safely in 6 of 7 innings. (The answer is here.)
-- It's been a great year for Justin Verlander, but a little luck never hurts. In Cleveland Wednesday, Verlander allowed a pair of 2-run HRs to Shelley Duncan -- the 2nd multi-HR game in 4 days for Duncan, giving him 8 HRs this year -- and trailed 4-2 after 6 innings, his work likely finished after throwing 113 pitches. Five batters and 2 pitching changes later, the Tigers led, 7-4, a big inning built around an error by (yep) Shelley Duncan and capped by a Victor Martinez grand slam on the first pitch from reliever Tony Sipp. Detroit held on for an 8-6 win, Verlander's 22nd.
- It was the 2nd time in his last 3 outings that his teammates took the lead in the top of the 7th when Verlander was pretty clearly done after 6.
- The 4-year, $50-million contract Detroit gave to Victor Martinez last offseason raised a few eyebrows, since he's not a good enough catcher to be the regular at that position, nor a big enough hitter to justify regular DH duty. But V-Mart's primary function is neither of those things; rather, it's Get Enough RBI Hits Behind Miguel Cabrera to Discourage Opponents from Giving Him 32 Intentional Walks Again. And Martinez has performed that task brilliantly, with a .326 BA and 89 RBI in 126 games this year. He's hitting .397 with RISP and .406 with men on base, and is 3rd among AL regulars in baserunners scored %, bringing in 21% of all men on base during his PAs.
- One more save converted by Jose Valverde, who tied the franchise record with #42. (Pleaseohplease let him expunge Todd Jones from our record books!)
-- Ian Kinsler homered twice, including a 9th-inning leveler off Kyle Farnsworth. But in the bottom of the 10th, Desmond "Who Says I'm Not a Slugger?" Jennings hit Mark Lowe's first pitch over the LF wall for the first game-ending RBI of his young career, helping preserve a bit of tension in a couple of races.
- Mike Napoli had 4 hits, including his 24th HR. Among players with at least 300 PAs and 40 games caught, Napoli is #1 in HRs, OBP and slugging, and #2 in Wins Above Replacement.
- Kinsler has 7 HRs in 7 games this month, and 28 HRs and 101 Runs for the season. All 28 HRs have come while batting #1.
Only 9 players have ever hit 30+ HRs from the leadoff spot in a season:
|Alfonso Soriano||2006||Ind. Games||161||141||58||5||0||39||59||16||24||.411||.475||1.277||1.752||1||1||3||2||1|
|Alfonso Soriano||2002||Ind. Games||178||171||73||10||0||38||62||2||37||.427||.438||1.152||1.590||0||2||1||3||2|
|Bobby Bonds||1973||Ind. Games||166||142||67||6||0||35||62||24||28||.472||.548||1.254||1.802||0||0||4||0||0|
|Brady Anderson||1996||Ind. Games||145||122||54||4||0||35||52||17||24||.443||.510||1.336||1.846||0||3||0||3||1|
|Alfonso Soriano||2003||Ind. Games||165||154||69||7||2||35||58||9||24||.448||.479||1.201||1.680||0||1||2||1||4|
|Grady Sizemore||2008||Ind. Games||142||123||52||6||3||33||61||18||19||.423||.500||1.325||1.825||0||0||3||1||0|
|Alfonso Soriano||2007||Ind. Games||128||125||61||9||1||33||52||3||28||.488||.500||1.368||1.868||0||0||1||0||2|
|Hanley Ramirez||2008||Ind. Games||133||121||55||8||0||32||50||10||20||.455||.496||1.314||1.810||0||1||1||1||1|
|Tommy Harper||1970||Ind. Games||137||123||56||7||2||31||49||12||12||.455||.507||1.301||1.808||1||0||2||1||1|
|Rick Monday||1976||Ind. Games||131||120||53||4||0||31||55||9||23||.442||.485||1.250||1.735||1||0||0||1||1|
|Nomar Garciaparra||1997||Ind. Games||138||128||68||13||2||30||55||9||11||.531||.565||1.367||1.932||0||0||0||1||0|
|Jimmy Rollins||2007||Ind. Games||136||127||54||3||3||30||48||9||14||.425||.463||1.205||1.668||0||0||1||0||2|
-- Vance Worley is 11-1 in 18 starts. His .917 W% would be the best ever by a Phillies pitcher with at least 10 decisions.
-- Hey, remember when folks were saying that Carlos Beltran hadn't helped the Giants? All of a sudden he's hitting .337 for them, with 10 extra-base hits in 24 games, and has the exact same .904 OPS as he had with the Mets. A look at Beltran's recent binge might provide some clues to the Giants' woes: In his last 4 games, Carlos went 11 for 15 with 2 walks and 5 XBH, including a HR -- but scored just 2 runs, as the next batter went 0-16 in those games.
- Giants 1B Brett Pill became the 4th player this year to homer in his debut game, and the 3rd to do it in his 1st time up:
|Brett Pill||2011-09-06||SFG||SDP||W 6-4||3||3||1||1||0||0||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.138||1.229||1.097||6||1B|
|Tom Milone||2011-09-03||WSN||NYM||W 8-7||2||2||1||1||0||0||1||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.071||1.545||1.200||9||P|
|Brandon Crawford||2011-05-27||SFG||MIL||W 5-4||4||3||1||1||0||0||1||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0.300||1.703||1.825||7||SS|
|Brandon Guyer||2011-05-06||TBR||BAL||W 6-2||3||3||1||1||0||0||1||2||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.091||0.744||.797||6||LF|
- The cast includes pitcher Tom Milone (3-run HR in 1st trip despite a name that will always look like a typo) and 2 guys named Brandon, both of whom were sent back to the minors at some point before being recalled in September. Brandon Crawford was the one who waited until later in the game for his mantelpiece blast, but he made it worthwhile, hitting a go-ahead grand slam for his first career hit. All 4 HRs came with at least 1 man aboard.
- For a little perspective on Brett Pill's "good" minor-league line, find him among the PCL batting leaders.
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