Last season, the Detroit Tigers were 77-0 when leading at the start of the 8th inning. This season, the Tigers are 10-5 after allowing three 9th inning runs and losing to the Mariners, 3-2.
The Angels are 1-0 when Albert Pujols homers. He didn’t homer last night but Jered Weaver moved to 5-0 as the Angels beat the Twins, 8-3. Pujols went 1-for-5 with two RBI and upped his average to .197.
The Red Sox are 1-0 when Kelly Shoppach triples. Shoppach tripled last night in the Sox 11-5 win over the Royals. It was the first triple in 1326 MLB at-bats for Shoppach.
Will Middlebrooks, called up last week when Kevin Youkilis went on the disabled list, hit a pair of homers, one down the right field line and one down the left field line and became the first player in Red Sox history with at least one extra-base hit in each of his first four major league games. Youkilis is being paid $12 million this year and the Sox have a club option for $13M next year with a one million dollar buyout. Two words, Youk: Wally Pipp.
One of the things that I loved in the great bestseller The Art of Fielding, were the names of the baseball playing characters created by the author Chad Harbach. But even he could not have come up with the name, Jordany Valdespin. In Valdespin’s seventh major league at-bat, he joined Austin Kearns as the only batters to homer off of Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon this season. Valdespin had a pinch-hit three-run 9th inning homer off Papelbon that led to the Mets 5-2 victory. Earlier in the game David Wright hit a tying two-run 6th inning double off of Roy Halliday. Papelbon now has a 12.00 ERA in three non-save situations and 0.00 in nine save situations. Meanwhile, Doc is 3-2 with a very pedestrian 3.28 ERA.
The Indians are 1-0 when Travis Hafner triples. Hafner hit his first triple since May 29, 2007 at Boston (1,711 at-bats) in the Tribe’s first game of a double-header 8-6 win over the White Sox. Cleveland also won the second game, 3-2.
In three starts since his perfect game, Phil Humber has thrown 13.1 innings and given up 21 hits and 20 runs, walking 11 and striking out 12. He’s 0-2 since losing to the Tribe yesterday.
Carlos Zambrano tossed his first shutout since he blanked the Giants on Sept. 25, 2009 for the Cubs. Zambrano tossed the fifth shutout of his career and earned his first Marlins win as he blanked the Astros, 4-0.
Zambrano’s was the Marlins first complete game shutout. There have been a dozen in the bigs this season with the White Sox, Giants, Jays, and the Angels throwing two each and the Diamonds, Phillies, and Rays having one each. The Phillies and the Rangers led the majors last season with seven apiece.
Lance Lynn (6-0) became the majors first six-game winner and the first St. Louis pitcher to start the season with six wins since Bob Tewksbury in 1994, as the Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks, 9-6. Word of warning Cardinal fans: in 1994 Tewksbury started off 7-0 and finished 5-10 to end the locked-out season, 12-10.
The Cardinals are 1-0 when they hit five homers in a game like they did last night against Arizona. In fact, each team that has hit at least five homers in game this season (Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, and Rangers, who hit six) is 1-0.
The Giants lead the majors with 33 errors and committed three more in San Francisco’s loss to LA last night. The Dodgers also committed three errors and now have 17 this season. The Yankees (9), the Rangers (11), and the Red Sox (13) have the fewest errors in the bigs.
The Reds are two games over .500 for the first time all year at 15-13 after defeating the Brewers, 6-1 behind Bronson Arroyo. Ryan Braun hit his 9th homer of the season and the 5th of the season that Arroyo has allowed. It was the 49th career game that Arroyo has won when allowing at least one homer, he has lost 73 and has 44 no-decisions. Arroyo has given up 261 homers in his career and has lifetime record of 114-106.
Braun in his last 10 games is hitting .325 with six homers and 10 RBI however, the Brewers are 2-8 in those games.
The Padres are in double figures…finally. By defeating the Rockies last night, 3-2, the Padres became the last team in the NL to reach 10 wins doing it in their 30th game of the season. The Twins still have a way to go at 7-21 but there are 134 games remaining for Minnesota after their 8-3 loss to the Angels last night.
The Rangers topped the Orioles last night, 14-3, as Brandon Snyder drove home six runs against the team that drafted him number one in 2005. The Billy-Ball.com newsroom was curious how many times the Rangers have had a six-RBI game from one of their players and it was surprising to find that it was only 25 times since 2000 with Mark Teixeira doing it five times and Alex Rodriguez and Nelson Cruz doing it four times each. Overall, it’s been done 472 times since 2000 with A-Rod the leader doing it 13 times. The 2000 season was the high water mark with 56 occasions in which a player had 6+ RBI. Last season, had the fewest since 2000 with 20 games. It has been done eight times so far this season with Teixeira and Nick Swisher doing it for the Yanks on April 21, Carlos Gonzalez for the Rox on April 27, Ryan Braun for the Brewers on April 20 and Chris Johnson of the Astros, Carlos Ruiz of the Phils, and Carlos Beltran of the Cards all doing it on May 2.
For those of you who are keeping track of these things, the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for April was Anthony Rizzo, who hit .384 with seven home runs and 23 RBI in 22 games with Triple-A Iowa. He also posted a .430 on-base percentage and a .663 slugging percentage, good for a 1.093 OPS. The first baseman is currently hitting .355 with seven homers and 25 RBI. So why don’t the Cubs bring him up, you ask? Because their current first baseman 29-year old Bryan LaHair, from Worcester, MA, is doing it in the Show. LaHair hit his 8th homer of the season last night in the Cubs 5-1 win over the Braves and has 17 RBI to go along with his .388 batting average. He has a 2012 big league league OPS of 1.279.
Speaking of Worcester, the teller of truths, Jose Canseco was introduced yesterday by the Worcester Tornadoes of the independent Can-Am League. “Guys, don’t take this as a joke or a circus,” the 48-year old Canseco said. According to the Worcester Telegram, “The team reported Canseco refused to take a drug test. Canseco later Tweeted he wasn’t using any illegal substances. Canseco acknowledged today he is on “testosterone therapy” and takes prescribed steroids because his body won’t produce the hormone anymore. He also believes there’s a difference between “steroid use (and) steroid abuse.””
And finally, the Boston Globe reports that Babe Ruth‘s Sudbury, MA home is for sale. Listing agent Scott Adamson of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said “In the front room of the house, you can still see the burn marks from where Babe Ruth used to flick his ashes.’’