Monday night was an exciting night for major league baseball fans. These are short recaps of some of the best games last night. It was a night of a 14 inning, 16 inning game and 10 inning game. Bartolo Colon won his 12th game of the season. Raul Ibanez hit his 22nd home run, which is fourth in the AL and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Buster Posey had a 5-8 game in San Francisco, while Andrelton Simmons was 0-7 in Miami.
A look at some of the more interesting games last night:
Rangers 8 Orioles 5 – Scott Feldman of the Orioles was rocked in his second start, since being traded by Cubs to the Orioles. He allowed 7 runs, 9 hits and his ERA ballooned to 7.15. Manny Machado was 3-5 at the plate and raised his batting average to .315, which gave him 122 hits for the season and only 3 hits behind MLB leading Miguel Cabrera with 125.
Tigers 4 Indians 2 (10 innings) – Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder were a combined 1-11 last night in the 10 inning game. However, the Tigers defeated the Indians by a 4-2 score. Max Scherzer allowed 2 runs in 7 innings, while the bullpen held Indians scoreless over the last three innings. Only 23,640 fans attended the game in Cleveland, only filing the stands to 56 percent full.
Athletics 2 Pirates 1 – Bartolo Colon is now 12-3 after the Athletics 2-1 win over the Pirates, who have lost 3 in a row. It was a strange game in that the Pirates outhit the Athletics 9-3 but lost the game 2-1. Jeff Locke who has a major league second best ERA at 2.15 took the loss, but held the Pirates to 2 runs and 3 hits in 7 innings.
Royals 5 Yankees 1 – Phil Hughes lost the fifth of his last 7 starts in the 5-1 Royals win over the Yankees. He has only won twice since May 10. It is easy to see why the Yankees struggled to score runs last night, after looking at their lineup in last night’s game. These are the batting averages at the end of the game for some of those players:
Travis Hafner .220
Vernon Wells .237
Travis Ishikawa .105
Alex Gonzalez .194
Austin Romine .132
Eduardo Nunez .216
Those six players were a combined 2-16 with Wells having both of the hits. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter should be returning to the team later this month. They may not hit well at first, upon returning to the team, but can’t hit any worse than the six players mentioned above.
Braves 7 Marlins 1 (14 innings) – The Braves and Marlins both struggled offensively in this game, with both teams scoring one run in the first 13 innings. Andrelton Simmons 0-7, Jason Heyward 1-5, Brian McCann 0-5 and Dan Uggla 1-6 were a combined 2-23 in the game. The Braves may have won the game, but they still have to be concerned about this offense. Kevin Slowey, the starter for the Marlins didn’t allow a run in 5 innings, but the bullpen allowed all 7 runs in the game. 15,745 fans showed up for the game in Miami, which filled the stadium to only 42.1 percent of capacity.
Cubs 8 White Sox 2 – Matt Garza 5-1, 3.22 ERA allowed only one earned run in 7 innings in 8-2 win by the Cubs over the White Sox.. Any scouts at the game saw Garza at his best, so should increase his appeal to contenders needing another starter. Hector Santiago came within two outs of a quality start but took the loss. The Cubs outhit the White 13-5. The only bright spot for the White Sox was rookie Josh Phegley hitting his 2nd major league home run and is slugging .900 after his third major league game.
pitched and hit the Dodgers to an easy 6-1 win over the Diamondbacks. Greinke pitched 7 scoreless innings and was 3-3 at the plate and is now hitting .370 for the season. The Dodgers hammered out 17 hits, while the Diamondbacks could only muster 4 hits in the contest. Yasiel Puig was 2-5, but the hitting stars for the Dodgers were Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Greinke who all had 3 hits. Ramirez is hitting .419 but didn’t play his first game this season till June 4, so it is questionable if he will qualify for the batting title this season. Dodgers have now won 13 of their last 16 games. The win moved the Dodgers to within 3.5 games of the first place Diamondbacks in the NL West. They also need only two more wins to reach .500.
Mets 4 Giants 3 (16 innings) – The Mets scored the winning run on a Brandon Crawford error in the 16 inning win for the Mets over the Giants, who have lost 8 of their last 10 games. Gregor Blanco, Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence were a combined 3-27 in the game. Matt Harvey and Tim Lincecum each allowed 3 runs and 6 hits in 7 innings before leaving the game. The Giants used Sergio Romo in the ninth inning, but the Mets saved their closer Bobby Parnell in the 16th inning as he notched his 16th save of the season.The game last 5 hours and 26 minutes.
Looking at the Standings
The Tampa Bay Rays have the longest winning streak in MLB at 5 games….Any team that is 10 or more games behind the division leader is probably out of the race for the season. Twins, White Sox, Mariners and Astros are the teams in that category in the AL. The NL has Mets, Marlins and Brewers as the only teams 10 or more games behind as of today….Hottest team in last 10 games are the Rays with a 9-1 record, while the Padres are the coolest, with a 0-10 record in their last 10 games….Dodgers at 43-45 are the only second place team in MLB with a losing record….Pirates are 2-5 in June and have lost their last two series to the Phillies and Cubs and they need to win the next two games against the A’s to avoid losing their third straight series.
With most major league teams at or near the halfway mark this is a good time to assess the 2013 season so far. Red Sox have already played 84 games, so are already 3 games past the halfway mark, while Twins have played only 78 games.
Looking At Standings
AL East – The Yankees played their 81st game yesterday and slid down into fourth place behind the Rays who moved to third place. Yankees ended their first half by losing five in a row and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. Red Sox won their 50th game yesterday, but hold only a 2.5 game lead over the Orioles. Chris Davis hit his 31st home run of the major league leading 115 hit by the Orioles. Blue Jays won ten in a row earlier in June, but then reverted to their losing ways losing 5 of their last 7 in games against the Rays and Red Sox.
AL Central – Indians at 7-3 are only AL Central team with a winning record in their last 10, while first place Tigers are 4-6 in that span and seem to be sliding. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are a combined 20-5 in 2013, while the rest of the starters are 17-17. Prince Fielder only has 13 home runs, which is 18 less than the AL leading Chris Davis with 31. Tigers are one percentage point ahead of the Indians, with the Royals 4.5 games behind the Indians. The Twins are still in striking distance at 6.5 games out of first place. The White Sox are just killing time now till the end of the season and should be sellers before the trading deadline arrives in late July. White Sox have to win 15 in a row, just to get back to playing .500 baseball, so almost no chance of them recovering from a terrible start.
AL West – Rangers are holding a half game lead over the Athletics. Angels have moved to within 9 games of the first place Rangers, but still are 8.5 behind the second place Athletics. Mariners and Astros are doomed to finishing fourth and fifth this season, since the Angels are pulling away from them, since they are currently in a 6 game winning streak. This is a three team race, if the Angels stay hot for a while.
NL East – Braves have the largest lead in majors at 6.5 games over the Nationals, but the Braves have to have concerns about the offense being hot and cold this season. The 11 shutouts pitched against them is a major concern. Nationals are hoping the return of Bryce Harper can get the Nationals going again. Phillies still have a remote chance of getting back in the race and perhaps winning a wild card bid, with them trailing the Braves by 9.5 games. The Mets and Marlins should be sellers when the trading starts, since they don’t seem to be factors in the NL East race.
NL Central – It was thought that the Cardinals and Reds would be battling for the NL Central title. But both teams find themselves behind the surprising Pirates, who have won 51 games and could be in the race to the end. Cardinals are 2 games behind the Pirates, while the Reds are surprisingly 5.5 games behind the Pirates. The season is more or less over for the Cubs and Brewers who are so far behind, they almost certainly will be sellers this month.
NL West – Only 4 games separate the first place Diamondbacks and the last place Dodgers, so this division is up for grabs right now at least. The Rockies despite the loss of Troy Tulowitzki are only 2 games out of first place. Padres are only 2.5 games out while the Giants who are 2-8 in their last 10 games are 3 games behind the Diamondbacks. This race is too close to even call, since all five teams have a chance of winning the NL West title. Dodgers seem to be playing better, since Hanley Ramirez returned from the DL.
Surprises This Season – The biggest surprise of the season has been the hitting of rookie Yasiel Puig who posted 44 hits in June, despite not joining the Dodgers till the third game of the month. It would be great for baseball, if he makes the All Star team, but it may cause some hurt feelings, by players who might miss out on the All Star game because of Puig….Chris Davis has hit an amazing 31 home runs and has driven in 80 runs, while hitting .332. Davis only hit 33 home runs and drove in 85 runs in 2012, so he is close to matching those numbers and probably will by the All Star break….There was no doubt that Manny Machado was a good player, but he has taken his game to a new level in 2013. Machado leads the majors with 38 doubles, 2nd in hits in MLB with 115….Jean Segura of the Brewers has shown why the Brewers insisted that Segura be included in the Zack Greinke trade. Segura is 3rd in MLB in hits with 105 and 5th in batting average in MLB with a .327 batting average….Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks has rebounded from his 6-8 record in 2012 to posting a 9-0 record in 2013. Matt Harvey is 7-1 and his 152 strikeouts lead all NL pitchers. His 2.00 ERA also tops the NL and is 2nd best in MLB. His 0.85 WHIP leads the majors.
Cole Hamels has been a surprise in a negative way with his 2-11 record in 2013. If he had won only 3 of those games the Phillies would be in the thick of the NL East race….It was a surprise that R.A. Dickey the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner allowed 6 or more runs five times in the 2013 season. His record was 4-7 on May 30, but he has won four of his last five decisions for a 8-8 record currently. His 18 home runs allowed in 2013 is second worst among all MLB pitchers. Dickey was 12-1 on this date last year.
Around the Bases….Michael Cuddyer who is currently on a 27 game hit streak has moved to within one point of NL leading Yadier Molina with Molina hitting .345 to the .344 of Cuddyer….Adam Dunn continues to be an enigma with him being 4th in home runs in AL with 21, but hitting an anemic .198. This makes it difficult for Jim Leyland to name him to the AL All Star team, since the purpose of the game is to win home field advantage for the AL and Dunn is as likely to strike out as to hit a home run in the midsummer classic. He is not really earning his $15 million salary this season, since he is a one dimensional player….Yankees are playing now like they were expected to play till their stars started returning. Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira have played a combined 23 games so far this season. Vernon Wells was productive earlier in the season, but has regressed badly lately. He hit .300 in April, .221 in May and .133 in June. He also walked only once in June while striking out 17 times. Travis Hafner also started well hitting .318 in April then tumbled to .179 in May and .174 in June. Lyle Overbay has not hit well for average all season hitting .241 in April, .253 in May and .219 in June, but was a run producer earlier in the season. He drove in 12 runs in April, 17 in May and then down to 5 in June.
Only the White Sox, Astros and Mariners have scored fewer runs than the Yankees in 2013. They are next to last in batting in the AL with a .239 average and only two points ahead of the last place Astros and Seattle tied at .237….Marlins with 47 home runs in 2013 are 68 home runs behind the Orioles with 115….Pirates have the lowest ERA in MLB with a 3.11 mark. Astros have the worst ERA at 4.69….Pirates have thrown the most shutouts with 12, while the Astros and Cubs have a major league worst total of one….Cardinals lead in complete games with 6, while 9 teams have yet to throw a complete game….Tigers are missing Anibal Sanchez, since his replacement Jose Alvarez lost today to the Blue Jays by a 8-3 score and his ERA jumped from 3.78 to 5.03 today. Prince Fielder hit his 14th home run today in the loss. However, Omar Infante hit a home run 73 feet further than the Fielder home run. The loss dropped the Tigers a half game behind the first place Indians in the AL Central. Blue Jays moved to within 1.5 games of the 4th place Yankees in the AL East. We can expect some wheeling and dealing from Yankees if they fall into last place.
Who would have thought that Cole Hamels 1-6 and Roy Halladay 2-4 would have a combined 3-10 record, with the 2013 season a quarter of the way finished? Hamels has held opponents to a .231 batting average, but his command is off this season with 24 walks in 56 innings, after walking 52 in 215 innings in 2012.
Another setback for the Phillies is Roy Halladay having a 2-4 record and a 8.65 ERA, which is highest on the Phillies staff. Hamels and Holliday are earning $40.5 million combined this season, so it is not much return on that money with them registering three wins in 16 starts.
Surprisingly, the Phillies are only 3.5 games behind the NL East leading Braves, so they are still in the race. Ryan Howard is slumping again with 3 hits in his last 30 at bats. He is 1-20 and hitting .050 with runners in scoring position and two outs in 2013. Even worse, Howard hit .284 in April but only .173 in May. Howard has a career worst 24.5 AB’s per HR in 2013, which is not close to his 13.7 AB’s per HR career number.
Who would have thought the Yankees would be leading the AL East?
There seemed to be no chance that the Yankees would actually be in first place in AL East, with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on the DL to start the 2013 season. Most experts were saying that the Yankees would need to stay close, till some of the stars returned to the lineup. There are currently eleven Yankees on the DL, who are being paid close to $95 million total this season.
Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner are earning a combined $2.85 million this season and have been a big part of the Yankees offense this season. Overbay is second on team in RBI’s with 24, while trailing only Robinson Cano with 27. Hafner has 18 RBI, which is 4th on the Yankees, behind Vernon Wells with 23. Wells is earning $24 million this season, but part of his salary is probably being paid by the Angels.
Hiroki Kuroda, C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte are a combined 14-8, while Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Vidal Nuno and David Phelps are a combined 5-6 pitching out of the fourth and fifth slots. The loss of Pettitte to the DL could be a serious problem if the back of the rotation can’t pick up some of the slack.
Who would have thought that the Milwaukee Brewers would be 11 games out of first place in NL Central on May 18?
The Milwaukee Brewers starting rotation has only one starter with a winning record, with Marco Estrada 3-2 in the 2013 season. The other five starters are a combined 8-15. The bullpen has seen John Axford and Mike Gonzalez combine for an 0-5 record. Opponents are pounding Brewers pitching at a .271 clip, with only the Twins at .290 and Astros at .297 being worse. Brewers have allowed 51 home runs this season with only Astros with 67 and Rays with 53 being worse.
Brewers are 27th in ERA at 4.60 and 28th in opponents batting average at .271.
The Brewers have the first and second best hitters in NL with Carlos Gomez at .352 and Jean Segura hitting .351. Gomez is 4th in slugging with a .593 mark. Only Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton and Bryce Harper have higher slugging percentages.
Who would have thought that Paul Goldschmidt would have 12 HR’s and 35 RBI after 42 games?
It is not a shock that Goldschmidt is hitting so well, but it is a surprise that he has these kind of numbers this early in the season. Goldschmidt had 20 homers and 82 RBI in the entire 2012 season, so is way ahead of those numbers. ESPN.com project him to hit 46 HR’s and drive in 135 runs in 2013. He is 10-16 in his last 4 games, while raising his batting average from .304 to .338 and is 7-9 in his last 2 games.
Who would have thought that Manny Machado would be hitting 77 points higher than he hit in 2012?
It is amazing that the 20 year-old Machado is projected by ESPN.com to have 237 hits at the end of the 2013 season. ESPN also projects him to have 71 doubles at the end of the season, which would be four more than the current season record set by Earl Webb in 1931 with 67. He may have more chance of passing Todd Helton whose 59 doubles in 2000 is the best for active players. Machado has been especially hot in his last 6 games with 15 hits in 30 AB’s and 6 doubles in that span. Machado is hitting .403 in May. He is hitting .362 against right handers. He is hitting an astounding .438 with runners in scoring position with two outs. Machado won’t turn 21 till July 6.
Who would have thought that Yu Darvish would be on a pace to post 332 strikeouts in 2013?
ESPN is projecting Yu Darvish to have 332 strikeouts at the end of the 2012 season. It has been 11 years since Randy Johnson posted 334 strikeouts in 2002 in NL, since a pitcher has registered more than 300 strikeouts. The last AL pitcher with over 300 strikeouts was when Pedro Martinez struck 313 in AL in 1999. It isn’t likely to happen but ESPN.com also projects Darvish to finish the season with a 27-4 record. Rangers have scored 60 runs in the 7 wins by Darvish, but scored only one run in his only loss. Darvish could be on the brink of being the best Japanese pitcher in major league history, if he can continue to dominate major league hitters.
It is amazing the way stats jump out of the page they are printed on. I saw where Mark Melancon had allowed five home runs in two innings pitching for the Red Sox in 2012, so decided to check how many home runs he had given up as an Astro in 2011. Then it jumped out at me, when I saw he had given up five home runs in 74 innings, while pitching for the Astros last season. Maybe the move to Boston was not a good one for Melancon, for him to suddenly have so much trouble keeping the ball in the park.
38 Straight Strikes By Bartolo Colon
Bartolo Colon put on a clinic of how to pitch strikes the other day for his Oakland Athletics teammates. He threw 38 consecutive strikes, which is almost unheard of. The previous record was by Tim Wakefield who threw 30 straight strikes once. Best of all Colon won the game and became the second three game winner in the majors this season.
Infante Way Ahead of 2011 Home Run Pace
Omar Infante has hit four home runs in 39 at-bats this season, after hitting seven home runs in 579 at-bats in 2011. Infante didn’t even hit his first home run till May 21 in 2011 and didn’t hit his fourth home run till September 9. I am not insinuating that he is on steroids, but it sure arouses suspicion to see his slugging percentage suddenly jump 413 points, from .382 to .795.
Cameron Maybin Extension A Mistake?
Teams are handing out extensions like they are going out of style. One extension that hasn’t worked well so far is the Cameron Maybin extension of $32 million, given to Maybin by the San Diego Padres.
First of all Maybin is only a .251 lifetime hitter in the majors, which should have signaled to the Padres to wait at least one more year, before offering him a huge extension. Maybin has done nothing to prove that he deserves the extension.
The fact that Baseball-reference.com compares Maybin’s numbers with Felix Pie is reason enough by itself, to not offer him an extension. The worst thing is that Maybin leads the NL in strikeouts, with 19 in 58 at-bats which is very close to being a third of his at-bats.
His batting average is only .160 this season with one home run and four RBI after 13 games. Looking at his percentage numbers show, that he should never have offered an extension.
On Base Percentage – .246
Slugging Percentage – .260
On Base Plus Slugging Percentage – .506
Maybin is 1-19 against left handers for a .053 batting average.
Time will tell if Maybin will justify the Padres paying him $32 million, but the early returns show the Padres acted too hastily in signing him.
The Los Angeles Angeles were hoping the acquisition of Albert Pujols would draw more fans to Angels games this year. However, attendance has dropped by 14,536 after the first three home games in 2012. Per game attendance has dropped by 4,845 fewer fans.
Only the San Diego Padres have lost fewer fans this season, compared to their 2011 numbers. Their attendance has dropped a whopping 31,455 fans after five home games. 6,291 fewer Padre fans are attending per game this season.
The Oakland Athletics lead the majors in largest increase, with 37,327 more fans than in 2011. 6,221 more fans are attending per game in 2012.
Milwaukee Brewers have the largest per game increase, despite losing Prince Fielder with 9,276 more fans per game.
Ten teams have not even played a home game yet, so these attendance statistics will be more meaningful in a couple of weeks.
The Boston Red Sox lead the major leagues in runs allowed, after giving up 26 runs to the Detroit Tigers in their three game series. The Tigers jumped to an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, then the Red Sox took a 7-5 lead in the top of the third inning. The Tigers came back to tie it 7-7 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Red Sox scored two more to take a 9-7 lead in the sixth inning.
Red Sox extended their lead to 10-7 in the top of the ninth, but Tigers tied it 10-10 in the bottom of the frame. The Red Sox regained the lead 12-10 in the top of the eleventh inning, but the Tigers tallied three runs in the bottom of the inning to win the game 13-12.
Clay Buchholz started the game for the Red Sox and his ERA stood at 15.75 when he left the game. Alfredo Aceves has an ERA of infinity after yesterday’s game and Mark Melancon is 0-2 with a 36.00 ERA. Melancon seems to be having problems adjusting to pitching for Boston, after pitching in Houston where the Astros were never in the race, so never pitched in a real pressure situation in 2011.
Josh Beckett Hammered For 5 HR’s
Josh Beckett was hammered for five home runs on Saturday and left after 4.2 innings with a 13.50 ERA. Beckett who had dominated during spring training, reminded us of how unimportant spring training stats are.
Jon Lester had opened the season for Red Sox on Thursday pitching 7.1 innings, while allowing only one run. Starting with that game the Red Sox have allowed 3, 10 and 13 runs in their last three games.
Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront in the fourth and fifth starting slots have a total of three major league starts between them with Bard facing the Blue Jays tonight in his first major league start.
It is no surprise that the Red Sox have the worst ERA in the majors with a 8.33 mark, which is two more runs per 9 innings than second worst Milwaukee Brewers with a 6.33 ERA.
The Baltimore Orioles have posted the lowest ERA with a 1.00 mark with 3 earned runs allowed in 27 innings.
Tigers 10 Red Sox 0
Josh Beckett ended spring training with a 0.95 ERA, allowing 2 runs and 7 hits and no home runs in 19 innings. Today in the 10-0 loss by the Red Sox to the Tigers, Beckett allowed 7 runs, 7 hits and 5 home runs in 4.2 innings. Beckett left the game with a 13.50 ERA. It is a mystery why Beckett wasn’t given the hook by manager Bobby Valentine, when Miguel Cabrera made the score 6-0 with his second home run of the game in the fifth inning. Valentine left Beckett in and Prince Fielder hit his second home run of the game.
Around the Bases
The same Kansas City Royals that were so hot during spring training have cooled off. Alex Gordon doesn’t have a hit yet this season and is hitting .000, while Lorenzo Cain is hitting .125, Eric Hosmer at .222 and Billy Butler hitting .125. The four hitters atop the lineup were 3 for 17 today, while the 5-9 hitters were 9-17. The Royals still won the game 6-3 behind the pitching of Luke Hochevar.
Aaron Hill hit two home runs and drove in three runs in the Diamodbacks 5-4 win over the Giants…..Zack Greinke pitched the Brewers to a 6-0 win over the Cardinals, with Cory Hart hitting two home runs and driving in three runs. Adam Wainwright pitched well in his first regular season start since 2010.