Wakefield, Rivera Milestones Very Different; Notes on AJ Burnett's "Improvement"

Travis NelsonSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2011
  • Though it came in a crushing loss to the woeful Orioles, Tampa Bay's Johnny Damon became just the 9th player in MLB history with 200+ homers and 400 or more steals.  Four of the nine (Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, Rickey Henderson and Joe Morgan) are already in the Hall of Fame and by rights, Craig Biggio will be someday soon.  Barry Bonds and his dad, Bobby Bonds, are both on that list, as is Marquis Grissom.  
  • The Ageless Wonder (as in "I Wonder why he's still pitching in the majors"), Tim Wakefield finally won his 200th career game.  A somewhat less exclusive club than Damon's, Wake is the one hundred and eleventieth pitcher since 1871 to reach that milestone, and he has the highest career ERA in that club, though with adjustments for ballparks and time frame, he's only 16th worst.  
  • And Mariano Rivera, a truly ageless wonder, notched his 600th career Save, being only the second man to do that.  Trevor Hoffman was the first, and he's no longer adding to his 601 career Saves, so Rivera will likely lead the pack before the year is out.  
  • The mariners are the worst hitting team in the American League.  They have averaged a paltry 3.41 runs per game this year.  So, in Burnett's six innings, they would have been expected to score 2.27 runs.  
  • They actually scored two runs, so Burnett saved about one quarter of one run better than an average AL pitcher. 
  • Actually, it's worse than that.  Because SafeCo Field is so tough on hitters, they've averaged only 3.23 runs/game at home.  So Burnett saved 0.16 runs.  Whoopee.