Nine to Know: Hot, Hot, Hot

It is very, very, hot out there folks and I’m not just talking about the fiery relationship between Joe Maddon and Davey Johnson. It’s steamy on the ballfields and in some parks that means hot batters, and on some fields that means dominating pitchers.

Here’s your hot, hot, hot Nine to Know:

  1. In the old Yankee Stadium, you know the House that Ruth Built, just from 1948 to 2009, there were 50 six-homer games, 22 seven-homer games, six eight-homer games, and four nine-homer games. Yesterday, was the 15th time since 2009 in the new Yankee Stadium, the House that George Built, that six or more homers were hit as the Braves slammed five and the Yankees hit four in Atlanta’s 10-5 victory. It was the first time that nine had been hit after eight had been hit three times.
  2. Fenway was sweltering last night and that is Big Papi weather. David Ortiz hit his 10th Red Sox grand slam (11th of his career) as the Sox tripled-up the Marlins, 15-5. Ortiz now has 18 homers and three in the last three games and four in six. Papi is 9-for-20 and the only question is why do pitchers keep pitching to him? Over the last seven days, Mike Aviles (.333) is the only other Sox hitting over .300.
  3. The score said football but the heat said summer baseball as Arizona topped Seattle, 14-10. Ryan Roberts had his first inside-the-parker to give the Diamondbacks six homers in a game for the third time in franchise history. The Diamondbacks first did it on July 31, 2006 against the Cubs and the second time was on May 19, 2010 against the Giants. Arizona finished with 10 extra-base hits, the fifth team this season to have at least that many. Baltimore and Boston each have had 10 extra-base hits in a game while Seattle and Colorado have each had 11 extras in a game this season.
  4. Justin Masterson was hot as he pitched a three-hitter for his first complete game of the season as his Cleveland Indians topped the Reds, 8-1 to complete a three-game sweep. Masterson (4-6) 18 inning scoreless streak ended in the 8th when the Reds scored an unearned run. Masterson held Joey Votto to 1-for-4 to slow down baseball’s hottest hitter. Votto has hit safely in nine straight games and 24 of 25. In that span, he’s batting .484 (44 of 91) with six homers and 17 RBI. Over the last 30 days he has baseball’s highest batting average at .455 with six homers and 17 RBI.
  5. It was a beautiful 65 degree night in Oakland, but it was Tommy Milone who was hot as he threw his first complete game as the A’s topped the Dodgers, 4-1. Milone allowed the Dodgers just three hits. The Dodgers have been held to one run and five hits in losing the first two games of this series.
  6. Jake Westbrook tossed his first complete game since May 16, 2010, when he was pitching for Cleveland at Baltimore as the Cardinals topped the Tigers, 3-1. Westbrook (6-6) allowed five hits, struck out five, walked one, allowed just one unearned run. It was his 14th career complete game. It was 92 degrees at game time.
  7. I think it’s safe to say that Stephen Strasburg is always hot. Strasburg (9-1) won his sixth consecutive start, allowing five hits and held Tampa to two runs as Washington prevailed, 3-2. Strasburg struck out 10 and had no trouble in the 94 degree heat.
  8. It was 95 degrees in Philly yesterday and the Phillies need to get as hot as the weather. The Phils scored a pair in the bottom of the 9th to salvage a 7-6 win over the Rockies. Jonathan Papelbon had entered the game in the 9th and gave the Rox a run and a 6-5 lead, but Todd Helton gave it back. With two down and no one on in the bottom of the 9th and Colorado holding a 6-5 lead Ty Wigginton singled and scored the tying run on a Hunter Pence double. Carlos Ruiz was intentionally walked and Shane Victorino beat out an infield single to load the bases. Placido Polanco then hit a grounder to shortstop Marco Scutaro, whose throw to first was a bit high,  Helton caught it but missed touching the base and the winning run scored on the walkoff error.
  9. Hot teams: It may surprise you to learn that the hottest team in terms of hitting this month would be the Minnesota Twins who are hitting .286. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the Yankees have the best June ERA at 2.59. In June, the Brewers have hit 30 homers while the Yankees and Jays have hit 29 each. The Diamondbacks have the best OPS at .821. The Red Sox have the best WHIP at 1.07.

Stay cool and be cool.

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Buster Poindexter and his Banshees of Blue singing, “Hot, Hot, Hot” (SNL 1987)