By Bill Arnold and Rick Wacha
OVER THE LONG HAUL
The ideal situation for a closer is to have him pitch an inning or less for the save, but several closers are making an art form of going four outs or more to close out their team’s win. Thirteen of the 31 saves Josh Hader has earned have come by way of recording at least four outs. Since debuting in 2017 the Milwaukee Brewer closer has recorded 20 such saves, while registering a minuscule 0.23 ERA in 39.1 innings of work. This season the Brewers’ closer has been particularly impressive in those 13 saves with a tidy 0.36 ERA in 24.2 innings. Taylor Rogers of the Minnesota Twins is the only other closer this season to register at least 10 saves when recording four-or-more outs. Rogers has earned 11 of his 25 saves with at least four outs. In those games he’s registered a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings. The 11 relievers who have recorded the most four-out or longer saves through Thursday were:
|Reliever||Team||Saves Total||Saves 4+ outs|
|Derek Law||Blue Jays||4||4|
RIGHT SPOT, RIGHT TIME
Oakland A’s turned a highly unusual, 6-1-4 double play during their Sept. 7 game against the visiting Detroit Tigers. The odd play occurred when the Tigers, in the top of the first inning, had runners on first and second with one out. Cleanup batter Christin Stewart popped up a towering – but playable – foul ball down the third-base line. The A’s third baseman, Matt Chapman, went into foul territory to shag the pop up, but the ball was pushed back into fair territory by the wind and Chapman ended up missing the catch. Tiger baserunners at first and second were momentarily frozen after the third base umpire, Larry Vanover, didn’t make the anticipated “infield fly” call. A’s shortstop Marcus Semien alertly scooped up the ball and quickly flicked it to pitcher Chris Bassitt, who stepped on third for the force out and then fired the ball to second baseman Jurickson Profar, who touched second to register the second out. According to the fielding files of Retrosheet it was the first 6-1-4 double play to be recorded in a major-league game since 1933, which is as far back as the files go.
AROUND THE HORN
… The firing of the President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski by the Red Sox on Sunday leaves the team with an interim quartet of senior officials that includes Senior Vice President of Major League and Minor League operations Raquel Ferreira to run the team; Ferreira has been suddenly catapulted into a position where she is the highest-ranking female to make decisions in Major League history.
… Dave Dombrowski leaves the Red Sox after producing five winning seasons, three playoff appearances, a World Series Championship and helping the Sox set a franchise record for wins (108) last season; the President of Baseball Operations had a 395-277 record (.588 winning percentage) during his three full (2016-2018) and two partial (2015 and 2019) seasons in Beantown.
… On Monday night the Braves won their 90th game of the season, which is the 18th time since 1962 that the organization has reached 90 wins; only the Yankees (25 seasons), Dodgers (20) and Red Sox (19) have more 90-win seasons.
… Tim Anderson is trying to join Luke Appling (1936 and 1943) and Frank Thomas (1997) to become the only White Sox players to win a batting crown; if the shortstop wins the title, then he’ll become the first player in major-league history that is ranked last among qualifying players in walks (141st with just 12 free passes) to win a batting championship.
… The Giants recorded their major-league leading fourth 1-0 win of the season when they edged the Dodgers on Sept. 7 in Los Angeles.
… Cesar Hernandez needs two more doubles this season to help the Phillies become the ninth major-league team in MLB history and just the second N.L. team to have six or more batters to each have at least 30 doubles and 10 home runs; the previous eight teams were the 2016 Red Sox, the 2014 Tigers, the 2005 Indians, the 2004 and 2003 Red Sox, the 2001 Marlins, the 1999 White Sox and the 1993 Blue Jays.
… The Astros are attempting to join the Yankees (2002-04), Braves (1997-99), Orioles (1969-71), Cardinals (1942-
44) and A’s (1929-31) as the only teams to produce three consecutive seasons of 100 or more wins; through Thursday, the Astros were 95-53 and are on pace to win 104 games.
… Pirate rookie Bryan Reynolds is attempting to become the first N.L. rookie to win a batting crown; through Thursday the outfielder is fifth in the senior circuit with a .325 average.
… Fifteen of Matt Chapman 32 homers for the A’s have come in the seventh inning or later to lead the A.L.; Mets’ rookie Pete Alonso leads the Majors with 17 long balls launched in the seventh inning or later.
… Cubs’ rookie shortstop Nico Hoerner, who was called up to replace the injured Javier Baez, had three hits and four RBIs in his MLB debut in San Diego on Monday; the Stanford alum is the first player from the 2018 Amateur Draft to make it to The Show.
… When Yu Chang of the Indians homered on Monday night, the infielder joined infielder Chin-lung Hu (Dodgers – 2007), pitcher Hung-Chih Kuo (Dodgers – 2007) and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin (Red Sox – 2018) as the only Taiwanese-born players to hit home runs in the majors.
… Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, who leads the majors in home runs with 47, is trying to become the first Met to win a home run title; the closest a Met had come to winning a long-ball title was in 1976 when Dave Kingman was tied with the Phillies’ Mike Schmidt with 37 homers on Sept. 28, but when the season ended five days later (Oct. 3) Schmidt had edged out Kingman for the crown with 38.
… Outfielder Bryan Reynolds tied Hall-of-Famer Paul “Big Poison” Waner‘s Pirates’ rookie mark – set in 1926 – for doubles when he slashed his 35th of the season on Monday night against the host Giants.
… Ian Kinsler is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a herniated cervical disc, which leaves the Padre infielder one career hit shy of 2,000, a much coveted milestone.
… Red Sox star Mookie Betts needs two home runs to join Hall-of-Famers Lou Gehrig (5 times), Stan Musial (4), Hank Greenberg (4), Chuck Klein (3) and Rogers Hornsby (3) as the only players to slug at least 40 doubles, five triples and 30 home runs in three or more seasons.
… On Monday night, in his 1,249th game, Buster Posey of the Giants laid down his first career sacrifice bunt; Edwin Encarnacion (1,916 games), Ryan Braun (1,716), Joey Votto (1,705), Carlos Santana (1,421) and Freddie Freeman (1,335) the only active players with more games played who have never advanced a runner with a sac bunt.
… Royals’ manager Ned Yost needs to coax one more victory from his 55-win, 92-loss team to become the 45th manager to reach the career 1,200-win milestone.
… On Thursday the Nationals will finish their first-ever series at the Twins’ ballpark, Target Field, which opened in 2010; the Giants are the last remaining team that hasn’t played at the ballpark, but next season’s schedule finally has them there between May 4-6.
… With his average at .303 after Thursday, Freddie Freeman stands a good chance of joining Lance Richbourg (1927-30), Wally Berger (1930-33), Tommy Holmes (1944-48), Hank Aaron (1955-59, 1961-65) and Chipper Jones (1998-2003) as the only Braves’ batters to hit .300 or higher for four consecutive seasons.
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