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Plays and Notes from Games of Sunday, 9/18/11

Posted by John Autin on September 19, 2011

Tampa 8, Boston 5: I'm exhausted just from following this series online. Matt Joyce had his first 3-RBI game since April, and the Rays made the most of their 7 hits (no HRs), helped by a potpourri of wild pitches, passed balls, stolen bases and errors.

  • The Rays cut the gap to 2 games by taking 6 of 7 in the bookend sets; they won the season series, 12-6, outscoring Boston by 96-57. Now they get a day off before hitting the Bronx for 4 games in 3 days.
  • Adrian Gonzalez went 0-12 (3 walks) with 1 RBI in the series. Since August 1, he's hitting .280 with 21 RBI in 44 games.
  • David Price survived a scare, taking a laser off his chest in the 3rd, but finishing that frame and one more before leaving with a painful bruise.
  • Tim Wakefield has allowed 38 runs in his last 44.1 IP.
  • Mike Aviles started 3 games in the series after Kevin Youkilis got hurt again, and went 6 for 12 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 5 RBI and 3 Runs.
  • I foresee a split in Boston's day-night doubleheader with Baltimore. Jeremy Guthrie has allowed 3 runs in 16.1 IP against the Sox this year; in the day game, he'll match up for the 3rd time against Kyle Weiland, who gave the O's 9 runs in 10 IP in the first 2 games. Weiland has 6 Ks and 10 walks in 19 MLB innings, with 32 baserunners; look for Alfredo Aceves around the 4th inning. The nightcap is John Lackey against Brian Matusz; I'll take the veteran car crash over the fledgling train wreck.

-- Giants 12, Rockies 5: SF's 8-game win streak is their first since 2007 and their longest since a 2004 10-gamer. The longest for the 2010 champions was 5 games, done just once.

  • Five games of 8+ runs in the streak; they had 1 such game in their previous 61.
  • The Giants' season high was 4 HRs before today; they matched that mark in the 4th inning alone, including 2 by Pablo Sandoval and one drilled by Matt Cain to straightaway CF, maybe 430 feet. Does the ball still carry in Coors? Check out Panda's 1st shot; off the bat, I'm thinking "gapper," but it easily clears the "V" juncture in left-center, one of the deepest points in that park. But maybe it was hit better than I thought. So note the 2nd HR in the clip, by Brandon Belt -- a sort of inside-out swing that's mostly wrists, still sends ball over wall the other way.
  • Cain's approach is "swing hard, in case...": He has 5 career HRs in 380 ABs, but also a .116 BA (counting today's 2 for 3), and has struck out in over half his at-bats. In 2007, he went 4 for 57, with 2 HRs.
  • No ground gained, as Arizona snapped their skid in San Diego. Gap is 5 games, with 3 left between the clubs.

-- Mets 7, Braves 5: Atlanta left 15 men on base, and the Mets rallied against the Zero Heroes. The wild-card lead is down to 3 losses.

  • The Braves have 1 Quality Start in their last 15 games; just 1 of their last 20 starts has gone past 6 IP.
  • It's a long season. Jonny Venters has pitched in 81 games; in his last 12, he's allowed 7 runs on 12 hits and 11 walks in 11.1 IP.
  • Venters has allowed any run(s) in just 10 games this year -- 4 of them against the Mets. In 9 IP against the Mets, Venters has been charged with 7 runs (6 ER) on 9 hits and 11 walks (2 IBBs).
  • Lucas Duda hit the 2nd HR this year off Craig Kimbrel. It's the first time this year that Venters and Kimbrel were each charged with a run.
  • perfect throw by Jason Heyward nailed a runner at the plate to end the 8th.

-- Ten Ks by Zack Greinke and a Prince Fielder moonshot gave the Brewers their 90th win, and a magic number of 4 despite the Cardinals' win. Six wins in their last 9 games would set the franchise record.

  • Greinke leads the majors with an average of 10.7 strikeouts per 9 IP. That would be the highest NL K rate since 2004; I dare not speak his name.
  • Ryan Braun (3-4) extended his batting lead, .336-.331 over Jose Reyes (0-1). The AL race is still wide open -- Adrian Gonzalez .333, Miguel Cabrera and Michael Young .331.

-- Here's one of the best failed defensive efforts I've seen this year, from Toronto's 3-0 win over New York: Brett Gardner chases a bomb by Adam Lind and scales the CF wall perfectly, using the wall for extra lift so as to get his glove above the top of the high wall. Pause the clip to see how far his feet are off the ground at his peak. Watch the whole play and see how Gardner, tracking the ball overhead while racing towards the wall, takes two peeks at the wall without breaking stride, so that he can make that double-jump at the end. Man, I love watching Gardner play the outfield.

-- Perfectly timed leaping grab by Dee Gordon in LA's 15-1 romp. Note how he sort of double-clutches, delaying the jump when he realizes the ball isn't hit quite as hard as it seemed.

-- Cleveland got back to .500 and gave the Twins their 13th loss in 14 games.

  • Random sign of Minnesota's offensive struggles: rookie Brian Dinkelman reached base 18 times (all as a starter) before he scored his first run -- on a bases-loaded walk. And only 2 of his 14 hits have produced an RBI.

-- Rangers and Angels both won; the gap remains 4 losses. Halos head to Toronto Monday, while Texas gets a travel day en route to Oakland. Time and schedule are against the Sciosciamen.

-- Justin Verlander is really, really good. His 0.91 WHIP would rank 14th among qualifying seasons in the live-ball era.

42 Responses to “Plays and Notes from Games of Sunday, 9/18/11”

  1. Game Recap: Eight Wins » Giants Nirvana | SF Giants Blog Says:

    [...] The Baseball-Reference Blog has a few interesting notes on today’s game: among them is this interesting stat — Five games of 8+ runs in the streak; they had 1 such game in their previous 61.   If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it! [...]

  2. Minor Leaguer Says:

    I was at the game but missed Gardner's big jump due to the excitement following Adam Lind's second homer, but you're right, it was a big one. I crudely did some measurements and Gardner was cleared the ground by about 44 inches. It would have made quite a nice dunk in basketball too. See:

  3. Doug Says:

    Verlander's streak of consecutive starts won is now 12, tied for 6th since 1919. If he wins his next start, he'll be tied for 3rd on the list.

    - 21 games, Lefty Grove (1931)
    - 19 games, Carl Hubbell (1936-37, 13 games in 1936)
    - 13 games, Ellis Kinder (1949), Wes Ferrell (1930), Left Grove (1928)
    - 12 games, Justin Verlander (2011), Johan Santana (2004), Brad Radke (1997), Pat Dobson (1971), Bob Gibson (1968), Ewell Blackwell (1947), Jesse Haines (1928), Eddie Cicotte (1919)

  4. Tristram Says:

    Is Michael Young this generations Pete Rose? Multi-position All-Star who cranks out 200 hits per year...

  5. Thomas Court Says:


    A Rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

  6. Mike L Says:

    @45, if he keeps this up, at some point we may have a Michael Young is Johnny Damon without the legs HOF debate. Ugh.

  7. DaveZ Says:

    @6...I brought that up in a post on another thread. I think it's legit...if Young can crank out 2 more 200 hits seasons he'd have 8 total, which I believe is 3rd all time, he'd be over 2500 hits, .300+ average, batting title...I think he merits a long look at HoF status.

  8. Thomas Court Says:

    Perhaps the most amazing statistic about Verlander's 12 straight starts/wins is this:

    ERA before streak: 2.29
    ERA right now: 2.29

  9. bluejaysstatsgeek Says:


    I guess that might suggest the W/L record for a pitcher is not that useful!


  10. Mets Maven Says:

    Justin Verlander before his no-hitter on May 7: 2-3, 3.75 ERA
    Justin Verlander, May 7 - present: 22-2, 1.93 ERA. Unbelievable!

  11. John Autin Says:

    I think the Rose/Young similarities are only skin-deep:

    Through the first 11 full seasons for each:

    OBP -- Rose .375, Young .350
    OPS -- Rose .811, Young .800
    OPS+ -- Rose 126, Young 106
    GIDP -- Rose 106, Young 189
    Offensive WAR -- Rose 51.1, Young 35.0
    Defensive WAR -- Rose 0.9, Young -7.8
    WAR -- Rose 52.0, Young 27.2

    And Rose didn't complain about being moved around.

    Michael Young's a good player. But if Rose had played in the same context as Young, it would be easy to see that he was much better.

  12. John Autin Says:

    @9, BJSG -- Sarcasm aside, it's a good point. Verlander has pitched very well in the streak, but there's still a huge luck element in winning all 12. On both Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, he allowed 4 runs through 6 IP on the road and was going to come out (in all likelihood) trailing or tied, but the Tigers went ahead in the top of the 7th.

    The win streak is not his most dominant 12-game stretch this year. From June 4-July 31, he had a 1.43 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 while averaging 7.86 IP -- all better than the current streak -- but took 2 losses (including a 1-0 defeat).

  13. jr Says:


    Once he gets those last two hits, he will have as many 200 hit seasons (7) as Jeter. I think Young got too late a start on his career to be a serious HOF canidate, but it will be interested to see where he will wind up.

  14. jr Says:

    Also, with regards to the Giants, nothing makes me happier than to see Carlos Beltran not make the playoffs. I have never despised a player more than Beltran.

  15. Will Says:

    @ 14: Really? Could you explain why? I despise many players, but can't see much fault with Beltran.

    @ 10: Unbelievable, indeed. And then I think about Pedro Martinez with his 1.74 ERA in the heart of the steroids era, pitching in Fenway... And I feel spoiled.

  16. Thomas Court Says:


    When he gets two more hits Michael Young will have six seasons of 200 hits, not seven.

  17. jr Says:

    @16, Thank you Thomas for the correction. My apologies.

    @15- Beltran is a tulip and only thinks of what is good for him and not for the team. He cost his team a shot at a World Series by leaving his bat on his shoulder for a called third strike. He had one good playoff run and was overpaid for it. Also, who demands as much money as he did from the Mets and turn around and offer his services to the Yankees for $1 million a year less? I know what his lifetime numbers are, but he has had 2 top 10 MVP finishes and only 3 Gold Gloves. He is just a tad overrated in my opinion.

  18. Johnny Twisto Says:

    21 games, Lefty Grove (1931)

    Worth noting that he did lose a game in relief in the midst of this streak.

  19. John Autin Says:

    An open letter to all anti-Beltran Mets fans:

    Get over the goldang called strike, already.

    The abuse heaped on him because of one AB -- one pitch, really -- is one of the most irrational fan sentiments going.

    Adam Wainwright is an excellent pitcher with an excellent curveball. He didn't allow a run that entire postseason, with 15 Ks in 9.2 IP. The count on Beltran was 0-2. Wainwright fanned about half the batters who started 0-2 against him that year.

    So much is made of Beltran taking the pitch. Honestly, would you feel better if he'd swung and missed?

    Get over it, already!

    Here's an analogy for you: In Friday's Tampa-Boston game, Evan Longoria struck out to end the game with the tying run on 2nd base. Before that AB, all Longoria had done in that game was drive in all 3 Tampa runs off Josh Beckett, reach base in all 4 trips, and turn 2 magnificent DPs.
    (See bullet point, "Longoria had owned this game....")

    By your logic, Longoria cost Tampa that game, and maybe a playoff spot. Doesn't matter that he was facing a dominant Papelbon, doesn't matter what else he did up to that moment.

    Please look at what else Beltran did -- that game, that series, and all season -- to get the Mets to the moment you so loathe him for.

    Who scored the only Mets run that night -- which he set up with a 2-out double? Who drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the 8th, game tied, only to be stranded by Delgado (K), Wright (K) and Green? Who drove in the only runs of Game 1 with a 2-out, 2-run HR?

    Nothing says you have to like Beltran. But it's irrational to let that one pitch be a significant factor in your attitude.

  20. Tristram Says:

    @11 JA - thanks for the perspective. I am usually good for "skin-deep" observations. 🙂

  21. BSK Says:


    I'll go even further in defense of Beltran...

    One of the major complaints offered up against Beltran was that he was injury prone and unreliable. Yet he played in at least 140 games his first four years with the team and will likely reach that total again this year, albeit split between the two teams. While I do think lingering injuries and age caught up with him, slowing him down on the basepaths and in the field, he was still an incredibly productive player. Beltran accrued 31.9 WAR during his 7 years/part-years with the Mets. Averaged out per 162 games, that works out to 6.15 WAR, which is basically All-Star calliber play when he was on the field. His lowest OPS+ was 108 and that was the only one under 125 during his Mets days. He had OPS+'s of 150, 125, 129, 144, 108, 152, and 149 for the Mets. He hit .280/.369/.500, stole bases with remarkable efficiency (100/116), and offered quality defense at a demanding position.

    Oh, and all the people who think his trade to SF was a failure because they will likely miss the playoffs, check out Beltran's numbers there: 333/374/558 in 35 games, good for an OPS+ of 160. And the Mets got quite a prospect out of the deal.

    Beltran didn't win an MVP and didn't take the Mets to a World Series. If that makes his tenure a failure, so be it. Beltran earned his contract and may play his way into the HOF one day.

  22. Michael Says:

    My Cardinals might (read: probably won't) make the playoffs. Too late and too late. But I still stand in awe of a player who is batting .410 for the month and who is 5 RBIs (and going .300 for the last 10 games) from extending his own streak of .300/100 RBIs/30 HRs.

    I have never been a 'player' fan, having been a team fan for years. If they don't resign Mr. Pujols, I am so afraid that might change.

  23. Mets Maven Says:

    This Mets Maven would like to weigh in as "pro-Beltran." No, let me rephrase that. I'm anti "anti-Beltran." I don't think the Mets got their +-$95MM worth, but to "despise" the guy is another thing altogether. Save your venom for Colonel Kaddafi or Sadaam Hussein. Beltran is just a very good baseball player.

  24. jr Says:

    @19- I listed a bunch of reasons besides the leaving the bat on his shoulder. I always felt he was more about making the most money than winning.

    @21- Beltran did not earn that contract at all. At best, he had 3 real good years, 3 lousy ones and a solid one this year. I am sure you can find about 10 other free agent contracts that were better than the one he got. Also, I never said it was his fault that San Fran did not make the playoffs.

    @23- Maybe hate is a strong work. How about strong dislike? I have been a little more angrier today than usual. It must just be because of it being Monday.

  25. Mike L Says:

    Given that there are a lot of high dollar lower performance contracts out there, I wouldn't call Beltran's among the worst. Expectations were too high to begin with-he had that ridiculous run (especially post-season) with Houston in 2004 and found someone willing to pay. Beltran's performance numbers with the Mets were actually better than they were with the Royals. I'm not sure what the Mets thought they were getting, but he was never an absolute top echelon player.

  26. BSK Says:

    Beltran's WAR and GP with the Mets:
    2.1 in 151 games
    8.0 in 140 games
    5.3 in 144 games
    6.8 in 161 games
    4.4 in 81 games
    1.9 in 64 games
    3.4 in 98 games

    2006 was an MVP caliber year. 2007 and 2008 were stellar as well. In 2009, he was on pace for his best year (by WAR) before his season was cut short. 2010 was shaping up to be another productive season and 2011 was another All-Star caliber effort. In only 2005 was his performance less than stellar. If you want to take him to the woodshed for getting injured, I can't really argue with that.

    As for the comment that he was more interested in making money than winning, how can you back that up? Much of Beltran's value was tied up in things that don't get a guy paid... high walk totals, defense, efficient base-stealing. It's not like he was swinging for the fences to the detriment of his approach. The Mets got the best stretch of his career of any of the teams he played for. They offered him a giant contract. Are you really going to hold it against him that he took it? Would you rather have Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Lee? All those guys got huge contracts and couldn't sniff Beltran's jock.

    I think the expectations on Beltran were too high. People saw his fantastic post-season and 40-40 potential and, coupled with the way NY fans are, he didn't stand a chance. Add that he didn't seem to possess many of the "intangible" qualities that fans want out of a big signing, and the guy was doomed. The fact remains is that when he was on the field, his production varied between All-Star and MVP caliber. Hard to argue that the Mets didn't get what they paid for.

  27. John Autin Says:

    @24, Jr -- You did list a bunch of reasons. I thought I'd tackle them one at a time:

    "He had one good playoff run..."
    -- I'm surprised you noticed -- it was only about the best postseason for any hitter who didn't reach the World Series ... but let's put that aside. If you're implying that the postseason was the main reason he was able to command the biggest contract of that off-season, you are quite dreadfully misinformed. He was an all-around star, about to turn 28, whose last 4 years averaged 29 HRs, 102 RBI, 111 Runs, 37 steals with just 4 CS, 71 extra-base hits, a 124 OPS+ -- and he had just "blown up" in his first-ever postseason appearance.

    ... and was overpaid for it."
    -- And whose fault is that? When has the top free agent NOT gotten overpaid? But if someone offered to pay you more than any other employer would pay you for doing a certain job, I guess you'd say, "Gee, no, thanks -- I'm probably not as good as you seem to think I am."

    Muddled, muddled thinking.

  28. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I listed a bunch of reasons besides the leaving the bat on his shoulder. I always felt he was more about making the most money than winning.

    You didn't list any reasons. If he was about making the most money and not winning, then why would he want to play for Yankees for less money (which was *also* a reason to hate him, apparently).

    You don't like the guy, fine. I really don't care. Just don't like him. I hate plenty of players for no reason except their faces annoy me. But you're just making stuff up (or thoroughly misinformed) if you say stuff like he had three lousy seasons for the Mets.

    Enjoy Lucas Duda lumbering through the outfield like a drunken rhinoceros.

  29. John Autin Says:

    A key point that some folks in the Beltran thread are missing is that he did NOT underperform his Mets contract.

    In the 7 years, making no allowance for injuries or anything else, he produced about 32 Wins Above Replacement (using either B-R or FanGraphs formula), and was paid about $115 million. That's about $3.58 million -- a bit less than the average cost per WAR, according to FanGraphs.

  30. jr Says:

    @28- The offer to play for the Yankees was not made up, that was actually reported back in 2005 to several media outlets. I am not a Mets fan, however I have never liked Beltran period. The Mets have never signed one good free agent ever.

    @27- Yeah, Beltran had a great 2004 post-season. The net result is still no championship. And again, if Beltran was such a great player, why was he not even in the top 10 for MVP more times than twice during his career?

    And yeah his WAR is high for those 3 years, to me 3 great years out of a 7 year deal makes it not worth the money. So basically, you guys are saying that 40% of Beltran is okay. Doubt it.

  31. John Autin Says:

    How many logical fallacies can one man commit in a single thread?

  32. Mets Maven Says:

    If you believe in such things as WAR, Beltran's 60.9 lifetime WAR places him squarely in HOF territory. 63% of all eligible players with lifetime WAR between 60 and 64.9 are in the Hall. All eligible players with lifetime WAR above 70 are in the Hall, with the weird exception of Bagwell. Having just turned 34 in April, 70 should be well within his reach, provided he stays healthy.

  33. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    Poor, poor Metropolitans' fans.

  34. Mets Maven Says:

    Sorry, Bill Dahlen as well.

  35. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The offer to play for the Yankees was not made up, that was actually reported back in 2005 to several media outlets.

    I did not say it was made up.

    You said you hated him because he's only about the money. You also said you hated him because he offered to play for less money.

    Conclusion: You don't have any reasons to hate him (or strongly dislike him). You just hate him. That's perfectly fine, IMO. You should really leave it there.

  36. John Autin Says:

    "The net result is still no championship."
    -- Priceless. Let's round up all the dead stars who never won a title and spit on them.

    "If Beltran was such a great player, why was he not even in the top 10 for MVP more times than twice during his career?"
    -- Two-part answer: (a) Well-rounded players usually fare worse at awards time when compared to guys who do one or two things extremely well -- just look at the 2006 NL MVP vote. (b) Who said he had lots of MVP-caliber seasons? Who, for that matter, said he was "great"?

    Besides pointing out the absurdity of knocking Beltran for that one pitch, I've mainly said two things about Beltran:
    (1) The Mets signed him at the height of his desirability, for quite understandable reasons; and
    (2) They got their money's worth -- more, if the pitcher he was dealt for pans out.

    You seem to think that a major free agent should win a championship -- end of story. That's just unrealistic. A handful of huge free-agent deals are signed every year, but there's only one WS champion. The math doesn't work. They could all play every game at a superstar level, but they can't all win.

  37. Mike L Says:

    @36, JA, you said it best last. It's not easy to win a championship. Baseball isn't like basketball where a star can be surrounded by a handful of quality role players and have a chance to win it all. No one player, no matter how good, is going to be able to lift a mediocre team to the world series. Rogers Hornsby in 1924 had a WAR of 13-and his team finished 65-89. Barry Bonds had WARs over 12 three times. Beltran was and is a very good player. He's not a transcendent star. But he's better than Paul O'Neill (hurts me to say that) and O'Neill has four championships.

  38. Mike L Says:

    One more comment. Since there's some piling on Beltran, mostly because of his big contract, how about a little love for Kerry Wood, who signed for a lot less than he could get to return to Chicago, and just said he would only re-sign with the Cubs, or retire. There's a man not worried about hurting his bargaining power.

  39. kds Says:

    @29 I think $3.58M/WAR is a little low for the average of a free agent contract covering 2005 to 2011. If it was higher then Beltran probably did return expected value, or more on his contract.

  40. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    No one player, no matter how good, is going to be able to lift a mediocre team to the world series. Rogers Hornsby in 1924 had a WAR of 13-and his team finished 65-89. Barry Bonds had WARs over 12 three times.

    Steve Carlton, 1972: 12.2 WAR + 0.4 oWAR + -0.2 dWAR for a total of 12.4 WAR. The entire Phillies team that season had 12.9 pWAR, 3.2 oWAR, -3.6 dWAR for a team total of 12.5 WAR. It would be crude to say that Carlton had 99.2% of the team's above-replacement value, but certainly you'd have to acknowledge that even his incredible season couldn't lift an otherwise awful team to the postseason.

  41. John Autin Says:

    @40, Kahuna -- You got me to looking at those '72 Phillies, which sent me off on a "young Luzinski" tangent (he was the best hitter on that team). It's fun to look at his minor-league seasons, age 18-20, when he was always among the 3 youngest hitters in his league, and to see where he was among the league leaders.

    I wonder why Mike Anderson didn't "make it"? -- he was a stud along with Luzinski on the 1971 Eugene Emeralds, led the PCL in OPS at age 20. He played a number of years in the majors, but didn't do much.

  42. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Good question JA. Anderson was a very high draft pick too, so he had a good pedigree. He hit for a higher BA with fewer Ks than Luzinski when both were at Eugene, and those tend to be positive indicators for prospects. I wonder if anyone here remembers watching him and can clue us in as to why his skills didn't seem to translate to the majors.