By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire
The Philadelphia Phillies, who are leading the N.L. East by three-and-a-half games, have enjoyed the largest jump in attendance in the majors this season with the average crowd increasing by 10,139 fans per game from last year. The Phillies have seen total attendance jump past last year’s total at the same point by 314,320 fans. The San Francisco Giants have endured the largest drop in attendance in 2019 with an average of 6,423 fewer fans per game than in 2018. Overall, the Giants have seen attendance fall by 179,857 fans from this point last season. After several seasons of disappointing results, the team has seen – for the first time since 2010 – crowds of fewer than 30,000 in attendance at Oracle Park. In a strange turn the Giants’ cross-bay rival, the Oakland A’s, have enjoyed the largest jumps of any American League team with an average per-game increase of 3,089 fans and their total attendance rising by 92,684 more fans than last year. The Toronto Blue Jays have seen largest falloff of any A.L. team by losing 151,618 fans for an average of 5,415 fewer fans per game this season. Thirteen teams have shown increases compared to last year’s attendance totals at the same point of the season. In all, Major League Baseball has shown a drop of over a half-of-million fans (513,009) so far this season for an average loss of 614 per game.
The winners and losers in attendance including their lowest one-day crowd for 2019 through Thursday are:
|Team||2018 Att.||2019 Att.||2019 Low||Diff.||Diff./Gm|
Washington Nationals’ closer Sean Doolittle used heavy metal band Metallica’s first three albums to help turn around his game or so he hopes. After giving up six earned runs to the New York Mets during the course of two outings last week he saw his ERA balloon to 3.68. The left-handed pitcher sat down at home after a game one night late last week and watched videos of himself pitching in April and May from last season to see if he could figure out what had happened to his game. It took about 90 minutes or the length of the three Metallica albums for Doolittle to seem to get to the root of the problem. In his next game on Tuesday, Doolittle earned his 10th save – without giving up a run and striking out three batters in his inning of relief against the Braves in Atlanta on Monday.
AROUND THE HORN
… The Blue Jays are batting just .219 as a team and are trying to avoid becoming just the seventh team since 1890 to bat .218 or less; the 1910 White Sox hold the record for lowest team average during the previous 130 seasons with a minuscule .211 season average followed by the 1908 Dodgers (.213), the 1968 Yankees (.214), the 1972 Rangers (.217), the 1910 Browns (.218) and 1963 Mets (.219).
… Wednesday marked the 97th anniversary of the 1922 Supreme Court ruling that granted Major League Baseball its unique antitrust exemption; associate justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the famous unanimous opinion, which was also signed by Chief Justice (and former President) William Howard Taft and associate justices – Joseph McKenna, William R. Day, Willis Van Devanter, Mahlon R. Pitney, James C. McReynolds, Louis D. Brandeis and John H. Clarke.
… Cavan Biggio, the son of the Hall-of-Famer Craig, accomplished something his father could not do during his 20-year career; the younger Biggio, who was just called up by the Blue Jays, played at Rogers Centre in Toronto and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in his first four games in the bigs.
… When Max Scherzer starts for the Nationals this season, the team is 2-10, which is the worst team record by any starter in the bigs; since he arrived in 2015 the team had recorded an 85-46 record when he had started prior to this season.
… The Cubs’ Cole Hamels finally ended his 343 consecutive game streak of recording at least one strikeout when he failed whiff any Astro batters on Monday; the only pitchers during the previous 111 years to have longer streaks were – Nolan Ryan (382 games between the years of 1979-92), Randy Johnson (351, 1989-2000), Javier Vazquez (349, 2000-2010) and Dwight Gooden (349, 1984-1997).
… Larry Vanover became the 85th umpire to work 3,000 career games when the crew chief served as the first-base umpire for the White Sox-Twins game in Minneapolis on May 24; Vanover began umpiring major-league games in 1991.
… Major-League Baseball’s annual amateur draft begins on June 3 and according to Baseball America, the state of California has the most prospects, 92, in the magazine’s top-500 eligible players – followed by Texas’ 53, Florida’s 47, Georgia’s 31 and North Carolina’s 26.
… The Padres became the 29th and final visiting team to play a game at the new Yankee Stadium when they opened a three-game series against the Yankees on Monday; the last time, the Pads had visited the Yanks was in 2008 when the new stadium was under construction.
… The White Sox’ grounds crew used three tons of “Quick Dry” in an attempt to make the field playable after 1.75 inches of rain fell on Guaranteed Rate Field before the game between the Royals and the Pale Hose was suspended in the fifth inning on Monday; for the weather obsessed, the 1.75 inches of rain is the equivalent of 112,000 gallons of water that drenched the surface of the field.
… On Tuesday, the Braves and the Nationals met for the first time this season; the only pairs of division rivals that haven’t met yet are the Brewers and Pirates (who play each other for the first time in Pittsburgh on Thursday) and the Yankees and Blue Jays (who don’t meet until June 4 in Toronto).
… For the first time since he joined the A’s in 2015, Khris Davis isn’t leading the team in home runs (12) after 56 games because he’s on the injury list; Matt Chapman leads the team with 14 through Thursday.
… Christian Yelich of the Brewers and Trevor Story of the Rockies are the only players in the majors with double digits in homers and stolen bases through Thursday’s games; Yelich had 21 homers and 10 stolen bases while Story had 13 homers and 10 stolen bases.
… Lance Lynn became the 10th pitcher this season to post consecutive games of 10 or more strikeouts; the Ranger righty joins Shane Bieber (Indians), Matthew Boyd (Tigers), Mike Clevinger (Indians), Gerrit Cole (Astros), Jacob deGrom (Mets), James Paxton (Yankees), Chris Sale (Red Sox), Blake Snell (Rays) and Zack Wheeler (Mets).
… Freddie Freeman needs two doubles to the help the Braves join the Yankees (11 players) and Red Sox (6 players) as the only teams to have six or more franchise players record 300 career doubles in the regular season; the five previous Braves to reach 300 two-base hits were Hank Aaron (600), Chipper Jones (549), Eddie Mathews (338), Andruw Jones (330) and Dale Murphy (306).
… Friday marks the 55th anniversary of the longest major-league doubleheader played; the nine hour and 52 minute twin bill between the Giants and Mets at just-opened Shea Stadium on May 31, 1964, featured a nine inning first game (a 5-3 Giant win) that spanned two hours and 29 minutes, but a 23-inning second game, won by the Giants 8-6, lasted seven hours and 52 minutes.
Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score
Edited by Rick Wacha
Copyright 2019, Sports Features Group