A night of milestones, millstones, and moments

  • While you were sleeping, Mariano Rivera achieved one of the greatest milestones in pitching history as he became just the second reliever to reach the 600 save mark. By closing out the Seattle Mariners in last night’s 3-2 Yankee win, Rivera moved within one save of Trevor Hoffman‘s major league record. It was Rivera’s 41st save in 46 opportunities.
  • Congratulations to Tim Wakefield who finally earned win #200 in his eighth starting try. The Sox took no chances in letting the bullpen lose this for Wake as they battered a series of mediocre Toronto pitchers, 18-6. With the Sox returning from a bad road trip one could feel tremblers all around Red Sox Nation but as per usual Dustin Pedroia stepped up with two homers amongst his four hits and five RBI. The 45-year old Wakefield once again pitched poorly allowing five runs in six innings but the Sox showed that their key to success this season is to outhit their opponents to compensate for their own weak pitching. That philosophy will be tested today as they run John Lackey out to the mound. Wake became the 108th pitcher with 200 wins and the 89th since 1901, regarded as modern times, to achieve that milestone. Wakefield’s ERA this season is 5.13 and his 4.40 career ERA is the highest for any pitchers with 200 wins.
    • Jose Bautista hit his major-league leading 42nd homer and reached the 100 RBI mark for Jays for the second straight season. Bautista became the sixth Blue Jay to have multiple 100+ RBI seasons:
    Rk Yrs From To
    1 Carlos Delgado 6 1998 2003 Ind. Seasons
    2 Joe Carter 6 1991 1997 Ind. Seasons
    3 Vernon Wells 3 2002 2006 Ind. Seasons
    4 George Bell 3 1986 1989 Ind. Seasons
    5 Jose Bautista 2 2010 2011 Ind. Seasons
    6 Shawn Green 2 1998 1999 Ind. Seasons
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used Generated 9/14/2011.
    • In Tampa’s 4-2 loss to Orioles, Johnny Damon stole the 400th base of what I consider a Hall of Fame career to join two very elite groups. First, players with at least 200 homers and 400 steals:
    Rk  ▴ HR SB From To G
    2 Barry Bonds 762 514 1986 2007 2986
    3 Bobby Bonds 332 461 1968 1981 1849
    4 Craig Biggio 291 414 1988 2007 2850
    5 Joe Morgan 268 689 1963 1984 2649
    6 Johnny Damon 229 400 1995 2011 2411
    7 Marquis Grissom 227 429 1989 2005 2165
    8 Paul Molitor 234 504 1978 1998 2683
    9 Rickey Henderson 297 1406 1979 2003 3081
    10 Roberto Alomar 210 474 1988 2004 2379
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used Generated 9/14/2011.

    Secondly, he became part of an even smaller group of players with at least 200 homers, 100 triples and 400 steals:

    Rk HR SB 3B From To G
    1 Johnny Damon 229 400 107 1995 2011 2411
    2 Paul Molitor 234 504 114 1978 1998 2683
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used Generated 9/14/2011.

    • Justin Verlander (23-5) allowed no runs, six hits, struck out six and walked two in seven innings as the Tigers topped the White Sox, 5-0. It was Detroit’s 11 straight victory, its longest winning streak since Sept. 1968. Verlander is the first Tiger since Hal Newhouser in 1946 to win 11 consecutive starts. Verlander, the AL’s first 23-game winner since Barry Zito in 2002, has a 2.36 ERA and has struck out 238 batters. There have only been 30 pitchers who have finished a season with at least 23 wins, 230 strikeouts and less than a 2.40 ERA. Verlander has gone at least six innings and thrown at least 104 pitches in each of his 32 starts this season.
    • Shortstop Marco Scutaro of the Red Sox picked up his 1000th career hit. It will be interesting to see what Boston decides to do with Scutaro next season. His contract calls for a $6M club option/$3M player option ($1.5M buyout) next season.
    • Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 17 games, matching a career high, when he hit his 24th homer of the season in Texas’ 10-4 win over the Indians.
    • Ian Kinsler extended his Rangers record with his 24th consecutive stolen base without getting caught.
    • The Indians fell to 72-73. On May 23, they were 30-15 and have gone 42-58 in the 100 games since.
    • A.J. Burnett (10-11) was the winning pitcher for the Yankees last night against Seattle by pitching six innings in which he gave up just four hits and two runs. In the process, he threw his 23rd and 24th wild pitches of the season setting a new Yankee record. Tim Leary had thrown 23 for New York in 1990.
    • The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers last night, 5-4 on a bases loaded walk in the top of the 10th. LA had jumped out to a 4-2 lead at the end of one. It was the Diamondbacks’ 44th comeback victory, tops in the majors.
    • The Cardinals defeated the Pirates last night, 6-4. The Redbirds have won six of seven to keep their postseason hopes alive. Meanwhile, the Pirates were 53-47 after 100 games, on July 25. The next night, they were robbed in the 19th inning in Atlanta by a blatantly poor call by the umpire and have never recovered. Since game 100, the Bucs are 14-34, the worst record in the NL and are 67-81 looking at its 19th straight non-winning season.

    Order an autographed copy of my book for just $13.44 including shipping. Email me at Walkoffs@gmail.com.

    Ryan Braun hit a walkoff homer in the 11th to give the Brewers a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Braun now has three walkoff homers to go with two walkoff singles.

    Mark DeRosa had a walkoff single to give the San Francisco Giants a 3-2, 12-inning win over the San Diego Padres. It was DeRosa’s fifth career walkoff hit which includes two homers, but his first walkoff since 9/17/07 when he was playing for Cubs against Cincinnati. The Giants are now13-8 in extra-inning games, 21-17 in their last at-bat and 32-21 in one-run games.

    • The Washington Nationals won its third straight by defeating the Mets, 3-2. They are now 69-77, matching their victory total from last year (69-93).