Nine to Know: April 20

This is what you should be talking about, reading, hearing, and writing about in baseball today.

  1. Yeah it’s easy to predict that on April 20 that the Cubs, Padres, and Royals would be in last place, but how many of you had the Red Sox, Phillies, and Angels in the cellar?
  2. Three of the first six Astros batters hit triples last night in the 1st inning of their 11-4 win over the Nationals. There are 14 MLB teams that have two or less triples this season including the Mets and the A’s who haven’t hit one yet.
  3. Last night, Curtis Granderson hit three homers in the Yankees 7-6 win over the Twins. It was the 28th time in Yankee history that a Yankee hit at least three in a game and the Grandyman was the 20th Yankee to do it. Lou Gehrig did it four times, Joe DiMaggio three times, and Alex Rodriguez, Tony Lazzeri, and Bobby Murcer twice each.
  4. Lou Gehrig is the only Yankee to ever hit four homers in a game doing it on June 3, 1932 in a football score-like 20-13 win over the Philadelphia A’s. Interestingly (at least to me), Gehrig had one of his three homer games in the second game of a doubleheader on May 22, 1930 when the Yanks defeated the A’s in a football score-like 20-13. Gehrig was the first player in the modern era to hit four homers in a game which should have provoked headlines all over the baseball world and certainly in New York. But the same day that Gehrig went long four times, John McGraw announced his retirement as manager after 31 years, most with the New York Giants. Gehrig, who unbelievably played his career always in the shadow of Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio once again did not get the headlines.
  5. The Phillies have now beaten the Padres 12 straight times at Petco Park, last night Vance Worley struck out a career-high 11 in seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hitter as the Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 2-0. Jonathan Papelbon earned his fourth save. For those of you keeping track, Aaron Harang has the 2012 game-high with 13 strikeouts.
  6. Worley didn’t even have the night’s high in strikeouts but at least he got the win. Felix Hernandez, after three starts against the A’s, finally got to face another opponent and he ended his night striking out 12 Cleveland Indians. The only trouble is that he only went eight innings. Leaving with a 1-0 score, he left it in the hands of Brandon League who allowed Jack Hannahan‘s two-run single and the Cleveland Indians picked up a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
  7. If this was a preview of the 2012 ALCS, then last night felt very much like the 2011 ALCS. The Texas Rangers had no trouble last night with the Detroit Tigers as Mike Napoli homered for the fourth straight game and Yu Darvish allowed just one run in 6.1 as the Rangers romped, 10-3. FYI: April 21-28, 2006, Kevin Mench set the Rangers record hitting homers in seven straight games.
  8. The A’s beat the Angels last night, 4-2. Still seems odd that the A’s are 7-7 and the Halos are 4-9 and that last night’s winning pitcher Tom Milone and last night’s losing pitcher C.J. Wilson are both 2-1 despite the $9,520,000 difference in their 2012 salaries. Albert Pujols had three hits to extend his hitting streak to nine games and his homerless streak to 13. Last season, Albert had a 26 game 102 AB homerless streak, the longest of his career, but this is his longest drought to start a season. In April 2003, Pujols homered in games three and four on april 3rd and 4th and then didn’t homer for the next 15 games.
  9. What about those Orioles? Jason Hammel  struck out 10 in the Orioles’ 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. The Orioles won three of four from Chicago and have won their first two road series of the season after winning just five road series last season. The four games drew a total of just 50,653 fans.
Happy anniversary to Fenway Park and also to my beautiful bride Maxie. You are both the best.