The Bill Chuck Files of May 19, 2019

Each Sunday, in remembrance of my friend Nick Cafardo, I post “the Bill Chuck Files” (named by Nick in his Sunday Baseball Notes column)

Happy Anniversary – On May 19, 2018, the Tampa Bay Rays changed baseball. The most-innovative of franchises were visiting the Angels in Anaheim and stepping onto the mound in the 1st inning and just the 1st inning was 35-year old Sergio Romo after appearing in 588 games as a reliever. On this day, Romo became baseball’s first opener. In fact, the next day, Sergio Romo became baseball’s second opener as well. Two starts totaling 2.1 scoreless innings and baseball has never recovered.

Tommy La Stella in his his five seasons with the Braves and the Cubs totaled 10 homers in 396 games played, with a career high of five in 2017. Playing this season for the Angles, La Stella has surpassed his career total and now has 11 homers.

Last May, the Diamondbacks went 8-19; they are 8-8 this month.

With all due respect to Michael Brantley (who leads the majors with 22 multi-hit games), IMHO, the best free agent pick-up this off-season has been DJ LeMahieu with the Yankees who has been stellar in the field and at the plate, hitting .309 and has reached base in 30 of the 40 games he’s played.

Watch your 1-1 pitches – Speaking of the Yankees, their pitchers have the lowest OPS on 1-2 pitches in the majors at .247 (the Indians have the highest at .551). But the Yankees have the second highest OPS in the majors on 2-1 pitches at 1.213 (the Royals have the highest at 1.546). the lowest OPS rate on 2-1 come from the Oakland arms at .777. The Indians are in the middle of the pack at .946.

I hate camouflage uniforms, but maybe because I can’t see them.

So far this season, the Dodgers have been shut out four times and have thrown five shutouts. Since May 7, they have played 10 games, seven of which have been shutouts and they have gone 5-2 in those seven.

Last season the Red Sox were 41-33 against teams over .500; so far this seasons, they are 4-8.

Speaking of the Red Sox, Jackie Bradley Jr. is arbitration eligible after this season and can be a free-agent after the 2021 season. This season, he’s hitting .148 without a homer and has seven RBI in 37 games. In his last 162 games, he’s hitting .216 with 11 homers and 60 RBI. If the Sox fall out of contention, you have to wonder if a change of scenery would help this great fielding center fielder.

Speaking of centerfielders, George Springer is reminiscent of the centerfielders of the 1950s and 1960s hitting .318 with 17 homers in the Astros first 46 games. In 1956, Mickey Mantle‘s Triple Crown season, in the Yankees first 46 games. The Mick hit 21 homers, the only season in which Mantle had more homers than Springer at that point in a season. Mantle was also hitting .407 with 52 RBI. This season, the players who are primarily centerfielders are hitting .253 and averaging 5.7 homers.

This season, Joc Pederson has 14 homers and 10 singles, Jay Bruce 12 homers and 7 singles, Mitch Moreland 12 homers and 10 singles, and Daniel Vogelbach has 12 homers and 11 singles. The cover boy in this category, Joey Gallo, this season has 13 homers and 14 singles and a .275 BA after entering the season with a career .203 BA.

The Royals’ Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi (the one-man show) lead the majors with six triples each meaning each have six triples more than all the Indians combined this season. Mondesi also leads the league with 17 steals and five sac flies. Eleven teams have fewer steals than Mondesi led (?) by the Phillies who have nine steals on the season. This season the White Sox have hit four sac flies and the Pirates have hit three.

Bryce Harper has struck out 61 times and hit eight homers in 161 AB. In 1985, Hall of Famer Wade Boggs struck out 61 times in 653 AB and also hit 8 homers. In his career Hall of Fame reliever Rollie Fingers struck out 45 times in 180 AB; he hit two homers.

In that game in which Chris Sale struck out 17 Rockies, Colorado became the 19th team since 1908 to strike out at least 20 times and win the game and the third team to strike out at least 24 times and win. Last season the Cubs were victorious whiffing 24 times against the Mets and in 2004, the Angels struck out 26 Brewers in 17 innings and lost, 1-0.

Michael Chavis of the Red Sox has 21 RBI in his first 24 big league games. The record for most RBI in his first 24 games is held by Mandy Brooks who drove home 32 for the Cubs in 1925. Brooks ended up with 72 in 90 games and in 1926, he drove home six in the last 26 games of his big league career.