Archive for June, 2012

Aaron Hill Matches 81 Years Of Baseball History

June 29, 2012 1 comment

Aaron Hill has raised his average 45 points in June

If you’re a baseball player, it sounds nice to have your name stand alone alongside a guy with “Babe” and “Herman” in his name.

Well, Aaron Hill isn’t exactly in line with the formally known George Ruth, but what the 30-year old did tonight was certainly historic.

With a double in the first, a single in the third, a home run in the fourth, and a triple in the sixth, The Diamondbacks second baseman hit for Major League Baseball’s second cycle this season. The first one was completed by … hey, how about that, Aaron Hill. Thus, Hill became just the second player since 1900 to record two cycles in one season. The only other member of that club is Floyd “Babe” Herman. A fine hitter in his own right, and you’ve got to give him points for having “Caves” as a middle name.

Herman’s two single-season cycles came in 1931 while playing for the Brooklyn Robins. By 1932, the Robins became the Dodgers. Herman’s two cycles in 1931 occurred 67 days apart. Hill had to wait a mere 11 days to join him.

Herman is also one of two players — along with New York Yankee Bob Meusel — who hold the record for three cycles in a career. Hill’s got some time to reach that mark. Hell, he might do it by July 4th. For now, Hill is now one of the 19 players with two career cycles.


Random Notes About The Mets 17-1 Blowout Of The Cubs

June 28, 2012 2 comments

Bet he was happier than usual Wednesday

Games like the one at Wrigley on Wednesday just make me giddy. Every baseball game has some measure of quirk to it, but the lopsided results that generate all kinds of crazy numbers that I wish I could tangibly swim in every morning. First, some facts about today’s accomplishments from the Metropolitans:

  • Those 17 runs were the most produced in a game by the Mets in more than 18 months.
  • That margin of victory was New York’s largest since another 17-1 game back in 1999 at the spacious Astrodome. That was a six-hit, three-homer night for the immortal Edgardo Alfonzo. And actually, the Mets have scored exactly 17 runs four times in franchise history. Three of those four games had a 17-1 final score.
  • As HardBallTalk has pointed out, David Wright, Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy helped the Mets become the first team since 2007 and just the fourth since 1918 to have a quartet with four RBIs each in a single game. It was the third time this season that the Mets had a trio of players record three hits each.
  • Scott Hairston collected as many RBIs in one at-bat — a sixth-inning grand slam — as he had in his previous 58 at-bats. But he’s got nothing on my long-lost cousin Daniel Murphy. Read more…

The Yankees Lead Baseball In Home Runs. If They Keep It Up, You Can Forget About Them Winning The World Series

Curtis Granderson leads the Yankees with 21 home runs. If he knew what’s good for him, he’d stop that nonsense right now.

When you predict that a team isn’t going to win the World Series in June, there’s about a 97 percent chance you are going to be correct. So I’m not really going out on a limb here with the Yankees, and I’m using only one simple statistic from which to draw my conclusion, but here it is.

In 1983 and 1984, the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers went back-to-back, winning those respective championship after leading Major League Baseball in home runs during the regular season. From 1985 forward, only one team who set the mark in home runs has gone on to win the World Series. Bashing ballclubs don’t usually end their final postseason game with a win.

It’s not the current playoff format, but since the most recent format began in 1995, the top team in homers ….

1995: Cleveland Indians (207): Make the Series, lose to the Braves in 6. Albert Belle led the way with 50. He finished second that year in the MVP race to Mo Vaughn, which made no fucking sense. It must have been those six extra steals. Oh, and the fact that everyone in the media hated Belle, and because baseball is covered by 17-year-old girls. And from where did Mo Vaughn find the speed to steal 11 bases?

Digressing from that, the Braves were second in the National League, eighth overall, with 168 shots.

1996: Baltimore Orioles (257): That broke a 35-year-old record for team power, but the Orioles lost to the Yankees in the ALCS. The Yankees won the World Series with 166 home runs, the third-lowest total in the AL. Brady Anderson launched 50 homers for the O’s, and no one cared to ask if something illegal was going on.

1997: Seattle Mariners (264): Hey, whadiya know! It took just one year for that Baltimore record to fall. Oh, these boys of summer, everybody’s just having fun! And looking huge. But the Mariners have never won a World Series, of course. They lost in the first round to those Orioles in four games. Paul Sorrento, who hit 25 home runs for that ’95 Indians squad, had 31 home runs for the Mariners this year. He’d then hit 28 through the final two seasons of his career.

The Marlins shocked the much more powerful Indians to win the Series. A week after that celebration ended, Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga publicly lit every player he had on fire. Read more…

A Fact Of Nature: Weather Heats Up, Baseballs Fly Out

Jason Heyward provided 1/21st of Wednesday’s home run total in the majors

Summer officially began Wednesday. At 4:09 p.m. Pacific Time, if you need to know the exact minute. If you didn’t know, baseball pretty much signaled the change of seasons for us. Right on cue, temperatures went up and baseball went with them.

There were 42 homers hit today. That doesn’t come close to the record, which I believe is still 62 from July 2, 2002, but it’s still impressive. It’s certainly no coincidence that three of the four day games on the schedule provided some serious fireworks.

The Yankees (four) and Braves (five) combined for nine home runs. That’s the most in the four-season history of the new Yankee Stadium. In Atlanta’s case, there’s probably a better explanation for the power explosion than just the 94-degree heat: Philip Joseph Hughes.

The Diamondbacks tied a franchise record with six home runs versus the Mariners in an always fun football-score game, 14-10. There was one that didn’t quite make it. It was the third time Arizona had hit six. Aaron Hill homered for the fourth consecutive game and has 10 hits in his past 16 at-bats.

The Brewers and Blue Jays hit a total of five home runs, including No. 20 for both Ryan Braun and Edwin Encarnacion.

The Royals-Astros game was the only one played with the warmth that didn’t have a home run. That fact raises this question: What the hell is their problem? Hey, guys: Play along or get the f— out.

Well, at least summer is here. That’ll probably squash all of these no-hitters and one-hitters and talk of pitching domination. Unless pitchers start hitting home runs every night. In that case, I give up.

One More Note On One-Hitters

Including Robert Allen Dickey’s gem from Monday night, there have been six one-hitters completed by starting pitchers this season. There were seven such games in all of 2011. The record is 20 CG one-hitters in 1988.

If you make one-hitters a team effort, this season’s number jumps to 11. The past couple of years have seen some pretty high totals — 23 in 2010, 19 in 2011. The record for team one-hitters in a season is 24. Guess what year that was? Yeah, surprise, 1988.

Just bringing this up because we’ve had three one-hitters in the past six days, and we’re still a few weeks away from reaching the midpoint of the season. And if it keeps up, I’m sure you’ll have casual fans and pundits clamoring for baseball’s brass to fix this “problem.”

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R.A. Dickey Is Making One-Hit Shutouts Look Easy

We have no say. Opinions are meaningless. R.A. Dickey is our overlord now. Resistance is futile.

The Master pitched his second consecutive complete-game one-hitter Monday night against the Baltimore Orioles. In what has clearly been his best season as a major leaguer, Dickey may have pitched the best game of his career on Monday night.

Well, other than the game he pitched just five days ago.

Dickey struck out a career-high 13 Orioles to move his record to 11-1. That strikeout total topped what was Dickey’s career high of 12, which he set Wednesday versus Tampa Bay. In that game, he gave up one unearned run. Outside of that one hit allowed, Dickey’s only blemishes Monday — if you really want to nitpick and call them that — were the two walks he issued. Still, his game score of 96 was one better than the 95 he registered versus the Rays.

Read more…

Being Shut Out By A Bunch Of Relief Pitchers

Obviously, the Philadelphia Phillies’ offense hasn’t been the greatest this year. Not really their fault, they are doing what they can with what they have. They are fifth in the majors in batting average, but are around the middle of the pack in runs, home runs and OPS. That’ll happen when you are forced to play on without one of the best offensive second basemen of the past six seasons, and a first baseman with four 40-HR seasons on his ledger through that same time period.

But on Friday, just when you would think their offense had caught a small break, the Phillies found a way to do something that hasn’t been done in a decade. Or rather, they found a way NOT to do something. Specifically, score against almost nothing but relief pitchers.

Read more…