Speaking of Baseball…
By Baseball Newstalgist, Bill Chuck
June 27, 2008
Here’s a 25-fact roster for you.
- Aaron Boone, now playing for the Nationals, reached the 1,000 career-hit mark Wednesday, joining grandfather Ray (1,260), father Bob (1,838) and brother Bret (1,775) in the club of 1,171 major leaguers.
- So far this season, the Padres have allowed 103 stolen bases, by far the most in the majors (the White Sox are next, having allowed 75).
- Pittsburgh outfielder Morgan should be playing for Newark or some team in greater New York—his first name is Nyjer.
- Twins catcher Justin Morneau only has two homers this season, but he does have 28 multi-hit games and a .305 batting average.
- Tracking Paplebon: This year, the dancing closer appeared in his 35th game in the Sox's 81st game of the season. Last year, when the Sox were being careful because he ended the 2006 season with arm trouble, he appeared in his 35th game in the team’s 100th game. In 2006, the season that ended with a sore shoulder, Pap appeared in his 35th game in the Red Sox 76th game of the season.
- Speaking of closers: can Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez break the single-season save record? K-Rod leads the majors with 31 saves in 33 chances, and the Angels are 35-2 in games he has pitched. Rodriguez became the first pitcher in the majors to notch 30 saves on June 22 at Philly, the earliest in a season a pitcher ever reached 30 saves, both by date (June 22) and number of team games (76). The record for saves is 57 by Bobby Thigpen of the White Sox in 1990.
- The Rays did not get their 47th win last season until Aug. 19, in their 123rd game.
- Five Giants pitchers have made a total of six All-Star starts: Jason Schmidt in 2003, Rick Reuschel in 1989, Vida Blue in 1978, Juan Marichal in 1965 and ’67, and the most famous, Carl Hubbell (of the New York Giants) in 1934. Hubbell struck out future Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin, consecutively in that game. Tim Lincecum may be the next Giants All-Star starter this July.
- Those oldies but goodies—44-year old Randy Johnson faced 41-year old Tim Wakefield this week. The folks at Elias said it also was a match of starters with the oldest combined age, 86 years, 252 days, since Satchel Paige, at 59 years, 81 days, allowed just one hit in three shutout innings against Bill Monbouquette, at 29 years, 45 days, pitched a complete game for a 5-2 win over the host Kansas City Athletics. They were a combined 88 years, 126 days old. Wake and the Big Unit have combined for 6,551 strikeouts in 6,660-1/3 innings.
- The Indians have used 38 players already this season, after only using 41 all last year.
- On Wednesday, Barry Zito threw six, consecutive scoreless innings against the Indians. It was only the third time this season he pitched more than three consecutive scoreless innings.
- To catch a thief—Jimmy Rollins has stolen 31 straight bases without being caught, the longest active streak in the major leagues. The whole team is good at thievery; the Phils have stolen 22 straight bases without being caught, and as a team they have 63 stolen bases and have only been caught seven times, a 90.0% stolen-base rate, the best in the majors
- Detroit’s Eddie Bonine became only the second big-league pitcher in at least 53 years to give up at least six runs in his debut and win. The other was Philadelphia's Dave Coggin on June 23, 2000 against the Expos.
- Reason for concern—in Jason Varitek’s last 60 games last season, he went 43-191, a .225 batting average. This season, in 63 games, Tek is 49 for 212, a .231 batting average. That’s a .228 average over the last year and this is his contract year.
- No team in baseball history has fallen 18 games below .500, as the Rockies did on June 2 at 20-38, and gone on to make the postseason. The closest would be the 1914 Boston Braves, who were 16 below .500 at 12-28 before finishing 94-59 and sweeping the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. The 2005 Astros came back from 15 games below .500 to win the Wild Card and go to the World Series.
- Without a prayer—the Nationals seem to be getting worse, despite the fact that sometimes they field a team that has Jesus pitching to Jesus, and a pretty good Cristian at short. I am referring pitcher Jesus Colome, catcher Jesus Flores, and shortstop Cristian Guzman.
- Toronto is 11-20 in one-run games and 3-7 in extra-inning games.
- If the season ended today, the teams with the top three payrolls in baseball, the Yankees, the Mets, and the Tigers would miss the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
- When you look at J.D. Drew’s 10 homers this month, don’t get too excited. The AL record for a month is held by Rudy York, who went deep 18 times in August, 1937 as a rookie for the Detroit Tigers. He hit .360 that month with 49 RBI. He missed the first three games that month, but caught 28 games in 28 days, including four doubleheaders. Let’s see Drew play for 28 straight days.
- Speaking of rookies, with outfielder Justin Christian joining the Yankees on Tuesday, the New Yawkahs have now used 11 rookies this season
- Bill Mazeroski was a part of 1,706 double plays, the most of any second baseman.
- Speaking of second basemen, the Marlins' Dan Uggla, with 23 home runs, is one of only two second basemen in ML history with 20+ homers in each of his first three ML seasons. The other is Joe Gordon, who had four straight (1938-41) to start his career with the NY Yankees.
- The Reds, Astros, Mets, Giants, and Marlins don’t have a complete game this season. Last season, the Rangers, Nationals, and Marlins didn’t have a complete game. The Marlins haven't thrown a complete game since Anibal Sanchez went the distance Sept. 16, 2006, a stretch of 254 consecutive games heading into Friday’s action. The Washington Nationals set the major-league record for consecutive games without a complete game with 261 before Jason Bergmann threw one May 31.
- The Cubs' Ryan Dempster is 9-0 at Wrigley with a 2.72 ERA, and away from home is 0-2 with a 2.48 ERA.
- There has been no reason to vote for All Stars until today. Now is when you should cast your 25 votes, you have until July 2.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Bill Chuck is the creator of Billy-Ball.com and, with Jim Kaplan, is the author of the book, “Walk-Offs, Last Licks, and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so Grand) Finales,” with a Foreword by Jon Miller, published by ACTA Sports, and available worldwide.
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