This Week's Random Baseball Observations
OK, you probably saw the one about the Yankees becoming the first team to hit three grand slams in one game. But that wasn’t the most interesting baseball factoid from the past week.
On Wednesday, the Mariners beat the Indians 9-2 and knocked Josh Tomlin out of the box in the fifth.
Tomlin had pitched at least five innings in each of his previous 37 major-league starts. That’s impressive, but it doesn’t seem particularly remarkable. Until you realize that Tomlin and John Farrell (now the Blue Jays manager) are the only pitchers since 1919 to pitch at least five innings in their first 37 starts. That amazed me.
I looked up Dwight Gooden, who started his career about as well as any pitcher in history. Gooden went 3 1/3 innings in his second start and lasted 2 1/3 in his sixth start, along with several other short outings in his rookie season.
— As for the Yankees, perhaps the most interesting part of their three slam day was this: Derek Jeter batted four times with the bases loaded. Or maybe this: New York trailed 7-1 at one point, making it the Yankees’ biggest come-from-behind rally since 2006.
— Trivia time: Jeter this year became the first player to have 3,000 hits with the Yankees. Which seven other players had at least 2,000 hits with the franchise?
— The day before Seattle scored nine runs against the Indians, it put up 12 runs in the second game of a doubleheader. That was the third time all year and the first time in 103 games the Mariners had reached double-figures. The first time in 103 games! By comparison, the Red Sox have scored in double-figures 20 times this year, and the Yankees have done it 16 times.
— Even with Seattle’s offensive woes, the Giants are last in the major leagues in runs scored.
— Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez homered on three consecutive pitches this week. According to Elias, he’s the first player to do that since the immortal Hee-Seop Choi in 2005. Choi hit 40 home runs in his career, and 2005 was his final season in the majors.
— Trivia answer: Lou Gehrig (2,721), Babe Ruth (2,518), Mickey Mantle (2,415), Bernie Williams (2,336), Joe DiMaggio (2,214), Don Mattingly (2,153), and Yogi Berra (2,148).
— More trivia: Which non-Hall of Famer (among those who are eligible) played in the most major-league games?
— With one month to go in the season, there are some good races for the top individual awards. These would be my votes if the season ended today:
AL MVP: Jose Bautista
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL MVP: Ryan Braun
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
We’ll discuss these more on the blog in the coming weeks.
— The Phillies are 83-46, putting them on pace for 104 wins. How has that vaunted rotation worked out? Well, Philadelphia’s starting pitchers are 62-33 with a 2.92 ERA, averaging 7.8 strikeouts and 1.9 walks per nine innings.
The last team to win as many as 104 games in a season was the 2004 Cardinals, who went 105-57 but got swept in the World Series by the Red Sox.
— Trivia answer: Rusty Staub appeared in 2,951 games, 12th on the all-time list. Omar Vizquel is 13th all-time with 2,904 games thus far.