Nine to Know – Active Oh-fers

Sometimes its important that we embrace perfection, even if its imperfect perfection. I really don’t pay much attention to Spring Training results or individual performances unless there is something so egregious that I must stand up and take notice.

I’m standing.

I did indeed take notice when yesterday, the Oakland A’s $10 million man, Ben Sheets, faced 10 Reds batters and went oh-fer getting any outs. Sheets gave up nine earned runs, 10 altogether and eight hits. Sheets has a spring ERA of 31.15.

Then there are the Washington Nationals who remain oh-fer this spring and are now 0-11. Now while, these records don’t mean much as in the case of the 1984 Chicago Cubs who went 7-20 in Spring Training and then went on to a 93-69 regular season record and won the division title (BTW: in Spring 1989 the Cubs went 9-23 and had exactly the same results as in 1984). More frequently, horrible spring results are indicators of future team performance as in 1985 when the Pirates went 6-18 and finished the regular season 57-104 and the Giants went 9-23 in Spring 2008 and finished the regular season, 72-90. Let me put it this way, I’m getting ready to resurrect my 1962 Mets-o-meter to track the Nats this season.

Here’s some oh-fers for you to enjoy:

  1. Bryan Bullington is trying to crack the Royals staff this spring training and trying to crack the major league win column as well. Bullington has played parts of four seasons with Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Toronto and is 0-5, the most losses without a win of any active pitcher.
  2. Not all oh-fers are bad. Take the case of Blake Hawksworth who was a rookie last season for the Cardinals and went 4-0 and Indians lefty Scott Lewis, who went 4-0 in his first major league season in 2008 and made the rotation last year, then hurt his arm in the first week of the regular season, is supposedly healthy, in the Tribe’s minor-league camp hoping to extend his 4-0 record. Hawksworth and Lewis have the most wins without any losses.
  3. The Tigers Fu-Te Ni is an oh-fer just about everything. He has appeared in the most games (36) without a win, a loss, or a save.
  4. Reggie Willits, reserve outfielder for the Angels, has played sparingly in his four major league seasons but enough to make 804 plate appearances the most for any player without a home run.
  5. When pitchers face the Mariners this season, there will be very little reason for them to pitch from the stretch when Ryan Garko reaches base. Garko has made 1714 plate appearances and has a .279 lifetime batting average and has no stolen bases, although he was caught stealing once.
  6. On the plus side, the Rays star third baseman, Evan Longoria, has yet to experience the trot back to the dugout after being tossed out trying to steal. He’s perfect in 16 attempts.
  7. John McDonald has experienced many things in parts of 11 major league seasons between Cleveland and Toronto, and a brief stint with Detroit. But in 737 games, 1862 plate appearances, the one thing the shortstop is totally unfamiliar with is a catcher putting out his arm and wiggling four fingers when Johnny Mac is at the plate. McDonald has the most plate appearances without an intentional walk.
  8. I’m not an expert on these things but it seems to me you are better off not hitting angels. Apparently pitchers agree because no batter has come to the plate more than the Mets’ Angel Pagan (829 PA) without getting hit by a pitch.
  9. If anybody is keeping track (besides me), Jim Thome has 1000 extra base hits in his career. The guy is one of the great power hitters in baseball, but can he lay down a sac bunt? Actually, yes. Thome has one successful sac bunt in his career. That’s one more than Carlos Delgado (974 extra base hits), Vladimir Guerrero (871), and Troy Glaus (589) who are oh-fer their careers in sac hits.