Beyond the Box Score

By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire

The 3,000-hit club will admit a new member soon, third baseman Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers. Through Friday, the 38-year-old Beltre was just two hits away from becoming the 31st major-leaguer to reach 3,000. In the 94 major-league seasons from 1876 to 1969, just eight players reached 3K (Cap Anson – 1897, Honus Wagner – 1914, Nap Lajoie – 1914, Ty Cobb – 1921, Tris Speaker – 1925, Eddie Collins – 1925, Paul Waner – 1942, Stan Musial – 1958). But in the 48 seasons since, twenty-two players (soon to be 23) have reached the milestone. Beltre will enter the club with over 10,475 at bats, the fifth most of any member trailing only Cal Ripken, Jr., (10,803 ABs), Rickey Henderson (10,710), Craig Biggio (10,645) and Dave Winfield (10,559). And he will have played more than 2,769 games, eighth most behind Henderson (2,979 games), Carl Yastrzemski (2,848), Winfield (2,840), Al Kaline (2,825), Rafael Palmeiro (2,809), Ripken (2,800) and Biggio (2,781). The 22 major-leaguers who have joined the 3,000-hit club from 1970 to the present are (age in years and days):

Player, Team, Year, Age, AB, GP
Hank Aaron, Braves, 1970, 36.101, 9,566, 2,460
Willie Mays, Giants, 1970, 39.073, 9,802, 2,639
Roberto Clemente, Pirates, 1972, 38.043, 9,454, 2,433
Al Kaline, Tigers, 1974, 39.279, 10,096, 2,825
Pete Rose, Expos, 1978, 37.021, 9,690, 2,370
Lou Brock, Cardinals, 1979, 40.056, 10,324, 2,629
Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox, 1979, 40.021, 10,418, 2,848
Rod Carew, Angels, 1985, 39.307, 9,101, 2,417
Robin Yount, Brewers, 1992, 36.358, 10,473, 2,708
George Brett, Royals, 1992, 36.138, 9,779, 2,559
Dave Winfield, Twins, 1993, 41.348, 10,559, 2,840
Eddie Murray, Indians, 1995, 39.204, 10,392, 2,764
Paul Molitor, Twins, 1996, 40.205, 9,750, 2,411
Tony Gwynn, Padres, 1999, 39.120, 8,874, 2,284
Wade Boggs, Rays, 1999, 41.052, 9,151, 2,430
Cal Ripken, Jr., Orioles, 2000, 39.234, 10,803, 2,800
Rickey Henderson, Padres, 2001, 42.286, 10,710, 2,979
Rafael Palmeiro, Orioles, 2005, 40.294, 10,393, 2,809
Craig Biggio, Astros, 2007, 41.196, 10,645, 2,781
Derek Jeter, Yankees, 2011, 37.013, 9,607, 2,362
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, 2015, 39.327, 10,035, 2,631
Ichiro Suzuki, Marlins, 2016, 42.299, 10,333, 2,452

… Through Friday, the Dodgers had won 50 consecutive games in which they led at any point, an on-going MLB record.
… The Red Sox and Twins are the only teams in the majors that have yet to hit a grand slam this season.
… On Thursday, Yankees starter CC Sabathia joined Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson, and Mickey Lolich as the only left-handed pitchers to strike out 2,800 or more batters in the bigs.
… On Wednesday, Carlos Gomez joined Jeff Tackett (1992) and the elder Delino DeShields (1999) as the only major-leaguers since 1913 to enter a game as a pinch-hitter and finish with at least three plate appearances, zero at bats and at least two RBIs; the Rangers reserve had a sac fly, was hit by a pitch, drew a walk and drove in two in three PAs.
… According to Inside Edge, Ivan Nova of the Pirates leads all MLB starters having enticed batters to chase 34.4 percent of the 1,280 pitches he’s thrown out of the strike zone since 2016.
… First baseman Yonder Alonso of the A’s, through Friday, led all MLB players this season with a .639 (23-for-36) batting average when he puts the first pitch of a plate appearance into play.
… The Giants have hit the fewest homers at home this season connecting for only 26 taters at AT&T Park; the Dodgers lead the bigs with 91 dingers at Dodger Stadium.
… With a win against the Mets this weekend, the Mariners would join the Red Sox (222 wins), Yankees (222), Angels (210), Cubs (204), Rangers (204), Tigers (202) and A’s (201) as the only teams to post 200 interleague wins.
… Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays leads all batters this season with 154 plate appearances in which he has gone to a three-ball count.
… On May 1, the Dodgers were 14-13; since then, they’ve gone 58-18.
… The Tigers have played five nine-inning games this season that lasted more than four hours.
… Pat Valaika of the Rockies, Lonnie Chisenhall of the Indians and Adam Lind of the Nationals lead the majors in pinch-hit RBIs this season; Valaika has 11 while Chisenhall and Lind have nine apiece.
… In the Rockies-Cardinals game on Tuesday, MLB experimented with cutting the time between innings from two minutes and five seconds to one minute and 45 seconds in an effort to speed up the game; the contest lasted three hours and 11 minutes, six minutes longer than the average nine-inning game this season.
… Through Friday, the A.L. held a slim one-game lead over the N.L. in 2017 interleague play, 103-102; the N.L. hasn’t won an overall interleague season since 2003.
… On Monday, the Reds joined the 1993 Cardinals, 1986 Braves and 1894 Beaneaters) as the only major-league clubs since 1876 to turn a triple play and have a player hit four homers in a game in the same season; on Monday, the Reds turned a triple play against the Yankees and, on June 6, Reds’ infielder/outfielder Scooter Gennett hit four homers against the Cardinals.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score
Copyright 2017, Sports Features Group


By Bill Arnold

A major-leaguer’s performance is usually measured season by season but a look at the leaders between All-Star Breaks highlights those who have continued to play well from one season to the next. Between the 2016-17 Breaks, Joey Votto leads all qualifying major-league batters with a .358 batting average. Khris Davis of the Oakland Athletics is tops with 47 home runs while Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies drove in the most runs with 133. Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals took home the All-Star to All-Star Triple Crown of pitching with 20 wins, a 2.44 ERA and 293 strikeouts. Here are the 2016-2017 All-Star-to-All-Star leaders:

Average (minimum 400 at bats)
Joey Votto, Reds, .358 (206-for-576)
Daniel Murphy, Nationals, .342 (178-for-520)
Jose Altuve, Astros, .341 (213-for-625)
Jean Segura, Dbacks-Mariners, .338 (182-for-538)
Justin Turner, Dodgers, .335 (162-for-483)

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, 132
George Springer, Astros, 129
Paul Goldschmidt, Dbacks, 126
Joey Votto, Reds, 118
Ender Inciarte, Braves, 117

Home Runs
Khris Davis, A’s, 47
Brian Dozier, Twins, 41
Joey Votto, Reds, 41
Jay Bruce, Reds-Mets, 38
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies, 37
Nelson Cruz, Mariners, 37
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays, Indians, 37

Runs Batted In
Nolan Arenado, Rockies, 133
Joey Votto, Reds, 123
Nelson Cruz, Mariners, 117
Albert Pujols, Angels, 113
Mookie Betts, Red Sox, 107
Khris Davis, A’s, 107

Miguel Sano, Twins, 213
Khris Davis, A’s, 196
Chris Davis, Orioles, 192
Wil Myers, Padres, 191
Danny Espinosa, Nationals-Angels, 182

Joey Votto, Reds, 109
Paul Goldschmidt, Dbacks, 103
Brandon Belt, Giants, 102
Carlos Santana, Indians, 96
Bryce Harper, Nationals, 95

Max Scherzer, Nationals, 20
Dan Straily, Reds-Marlins, 17
Dylan Bundy, Orioles, 16
Carlos Carrasco, Indians, 16
Corey Kluber, Indians, 16

ERA (minimum 150 innings)
Max Scherzer, Nationals, 2.44
Corey Kluber, Indians, 2.66
Ervin Santana, Twins, 285
Chris Sale, White Sox-Red Sox, 2.85
Jon Lester, Cubs, 2.98

Max Scherzer, Nationals, 293
Chris Sale, White Sox-Red Sox, 288
Chris Archer, Rays, 250
Robbie Ray, Dbacks, 244
Yu Darvish, Rangers, 238

Alex Colome, Rays, 43
Kenley Jansen, Dodgers, 41
Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays, 40
Jim Johnson, Braves, 37
Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox, 37

Home Runs
Ricky Nolasco, Twins-Angels, 36
Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees, 35
Dylan Bundy, Orioles, 33
A.J. Griffin, Rangers, 33
John Lackey, Cubs, 33

Copyright 2017, Sports Features Group

Beyond the Box Score

By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire
Stats through Thursday

Major-league teams have completed the first two months of the 2017 regular season and there have been some surprises, both good and bad. For the last several years, Fangraphs has calculated daily probabilities for each team making the playoffs based on past performance and projected performance over the rest of season. Through Thursday, this season’s probability grid indicated that several clubs might fade over the next four months while others may improve. The Houston Astros had the best chance (99.9 percent) of making the playoffs followed by the Washington Nationals (99.1 percent). Two teams that have done surprisingly well in the first two months of 2017, the Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Twins, are not projected to make the postseason with probabilities of 8.6 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively. The following chart shows each team’s current record and position in its division along with its probability of making the playoffs per Fangraphs (records and probabilities through Thursday; PP – playoff probability):

AL East
Team Record Pct. GB PP
Yankees 34-23 .596 75.9%
Red Sox 32-27 .542 3.0 81.8%
Orioles 31-27 .534 3.5 25.2%
Rays 31-31 .500 5.5 22.6%
Blue Jays 29-31 .483 6.5 28.6%

AL Central
Team Record Pct. GB PP
Twins 30-26 .536 11.3%
Indians 29-28 .509 1.5 90.2%
Tigers 29-30 .492 2.5 22.2%
Royals 26-33 .441 5.5 3.0%
White Sox 25-33 .431 6.0 0.1%

AL West
Team Record Pct. GB PP
Astros 43-18 .705 99.9%
Angels 31-32 .492 13.0 5.6%
Mariners 30-31 .492 13.0 21.3%
Rangers 27-32 .458 15.0 6.4%
A’s 26-33 .441 16.0 6.0%

NL East
Team Record Pct. GB PP
Nationals 38-21 .644 99.1%
Braves 26-32 .448 11.5 0.3%
Marlins 26-33 .441 12.0 8.5%
Mets 25-32 .439 12.0 12.6%
Phillies 21-37 .362 16.5 0.0%

NL Central
Team Record Pct. GB PP
Brewers 32-29 .525 8.6%
Cubs 30-29 .508 1.0 89.3%
Reds 29-30 .492 2.0 1.2%
Cardinals 26-32 .448 4.5 26.6%
Pirates 26-34 .433 5.5 4.2%

NL West
Team Record Pct. GB PP
Rockies 39-23 .629 78.4%
Diamondbacks 37-25 .597 2.0 67.5%
Dodgers 36-25 .590 2.5 99.1%
Giants 25-37 .403 14.0 4.6%
Padres 23-38 .377 15.5 0.0%

… On Saturday, the A’s and Rays will play the first regularly scheduled doubleheader in the majors since 2011 (Angels at A’s on July 17) and just the third since May 26, 2001, when the Twins hosted the A’s; the Rays intend to make it a special day at Tropicana Field with throwback uniforms in the first game, a banner parade between contests and specialty food items at concession stands including hamburger helper served in a cone, turkey TV dinners and fried Twinkies.
… According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Reds infielder/outfielder Scooter Gennett tied Mark Whiten for the second fewest career homers (38) before hitting four homers in a game when he accomplished the feat against the Cardinals on Tuesday; Bobby Lowe (1894) had the fewest with 28 while Carlos Delgado and Willie Mays had the two highest career totals with 299 (2003) and 281 (1961), respectively, when they each hit four.
… The Yankees were able to hold the Blue Jays hitless with runners in scoring position (0-for-24) for their entire four-game series in Toronto this past weekend; the Bombers were just the 11th team to hold an opponent hitless in RISP situations for 24 or more at bats in a three- or four-game series since the stat began to be accurately tracked in 1974 (the Rockies set the record in a 2007 series in D.C. holding the Nationals hitless in 28 such ABs).
… When J.T. Realmuto caught Edinson Volquez’s no-hitter on June 3, he became the first catcher born in the 1990s to catch a major-league no-no; the Marlins backstop was born on March 18, 1991.
… The Tigers lead the majors with three, four-hour nine-inning games this season; the Dodgers, with two such lengthy contests, are the only other team that has played more than one this year.
… The Marlins’ Edinson Volquez threw the 150th N.L. no-hitter when he blanked the Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on June 3; the right-hander needed just 98 pitches (38 sinkers, 33 changeups, 20 knuckle-curves and 7 fastballs) to throw the first no-no of 2017.
… Only Nolan Arenado (15 at 3B – Rockies), Addison Russell (10 at SS – Cubs), Mookie Betts (10 at RF – Red Sox) and Byron Buxton (10 at CF – Twins) had registered double-digit totals in defensive runs saved at one position this season through Wednesday.
… Pirates manager Clint Hurdle took advantage of a loophole in the replay rules on June 4 to get an extended view of a disputed play on the ostensible third out of the top of the seventh; because the singing of “God Bless America” started before Hurdle’s 30-second review window had closed, he had an additional minute (the length of the song) to scrutinize the out call which he, then, successfully challenged.
… Scott Feldman of the Reds, through Thursday, led all major-league pitchers having thrown 91 pitches this season with a 3-2 count on a batter.
… The Cubs lead the majors with 49 homers this season by players 25 years and under while the Rangers lead the A.L. with 33 by youngsters.
… Miguel Sano could become the first Twins third baseman to be elected to start an All-Star Game since Harmon Killebrew in 1970; through this week’s balloting, the 24-year-old held the top spot over Manny Machado of the Orioles.
… Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out 14 Dodgers on Tuesday, the fifth time in his career he had K’ed 14 or more in a game; with that performance, the right-hander joined Randy Johnson (19 times), Nolan Ryan (16), Pedro Martinez (8) and Roger Clemens (7) as the only MLB pitchers with at least five games in which they whiffed at least14.
… Through June 11, the Cubs will have appeared on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball four times this season, more than any other team; the Yankees, Cardinals and Mets have made three appearances apiece on the program.
… Albert Pujols became the ninth batter to hit 600 home runs in the majors when he connected on June 3 against the Twins; in the first 126 seasons of major-league baseball (1876-2001), just three batters (Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron) reached that milestone but, in the past 16 years, six more have joined the club.
… Through Thursday, there had been 4,690 replay reviews in the majors since 2014.
… No triples were hit in any major-league game on June 3, the first time that had occurred since May 27, 2008, a span of 3,295 days.
… According to John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions using a formula based on strikeouts per nine innings and batting average on balls in play, Max Scherzer of the Nationals (38 percent), Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers (34 percent), Chris Sale of the Red Sox (31 percent), Lance McCullers of the Astros (26 percent) and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals (21 percent) are the most likely candidates to throw the next no-hitter in the bigs.
… Since shifting to the outfield midway through the 2010 season, Alex Gordon of the Royals leads all outfielders in the majors with 79 outfield assists.
… Since being shifted to the six hole in the Pirates lineup on May 26, Andrew McCutchen has batted .341 (15-for-44); prior to the change the center fielder was batting third and hitting .200 (34-for-170).
… The Charleston RiverDogs of the Class-A South Atlantic League ran a three-day promotion this week saluting the 843 area code which encompasses the South Carolina Lowcountry where Charleston is located; members of the team wore special 843 jerseys.
… Closer Corey Knebel had recorded at least one strikeout in each of his 31 appearances for the Brewers this season through Thursday; Aroldis Chapman set the record in the bigs since 1900 with at least one punch out in 37 straight in 2014.
a … According to Benjamin Hill of Promo Watch, there will be five Star Wars nights in the minors this Friday and Saturday; the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Class-A Midwest League and the Daytona Tortugas of the Class-A Florida State League will celebrate the sci-fi franchise on Friday, June 9, while the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Triple-A International League, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals of the Double-A Texas League and the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class-A California League will host tributes on Saturday, June 10.
… The Yankees, Mets and Marlins were the only major-league teams, through Thursday, that had yet to win a game this season in which they scored two or fewer runs.
… The Dodgers are the only major-league team not to have played an interleague game this season, their first will occur on June 13 when they travel to Cleveland to face the Indians for a three-game set.
… If his legs hold up and his mind stays clear, 99-year-old Pirates usher Phil Coyle plans to return to PNC Park next season; the Pittsburgh native, who began his career at Forbes Field in 1938, is the oldest working usher in the bigs.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score
Copyright 2017, Sports Features Group


By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire

The San Diego Padres lead the majors with the highest percentage of RBIs produced by players under the age of 30. Through Thursday, 138 of the Pads 147 ribbies, or 94.6 percent, came from the under 30 set. As one would expect, the Padres have one of the younger rosters in the bigs at an average age of 27.0 years. In contrast, the Toronto Blue Jays, one of the older teams at 29.1 on average, had the highest percentage of runs driven in from players who are 30 or older (67.9%, 112 of 165). The Yankees, with an average age of 28.3 years, are transitioning from an older to a younger lineup with 60.2 percent of their RBIs produced by players under 30. The 30 and over and under 30 RBIs for each major-league team, through Thursday, were:

Team, 30 or older, Pct,, Under 30, Pct,,
Twins, 18, 11.5%, 138, 88.5%
Rays, 40, 20.8%, 152, 79.2%
Royals, 39, 32.2%, 82, 67.8%
Indians, 56, 35.2%, 103, 64.8%
Rangers, 72, 37.9%, 118, 62.1%
White Sox, 61, 38.1%, 99, 61.9%
Yankees, 82, 39.8%, 124, 60.2%
Red Sox, 70, 41.7%, 98, 58.3%
Tigers, 80, 43.0%, 106, 57.0%
Astros, 93, 46.3%, 108, 53.7%
Angels, 82, 48.0%, 89, 52.0%
Mariners, 100, 51.5%, 94, 48.5%
Orioles, 98, 56.6%, 75, 43.4%
A’s, 97, 62.6%, 58, 37.4%
Blue Jays, 112, 67.9%, 53, 32.1%

Team, 30 or older, Pct,, Under 30, Pct,,
Padres, 8, 5.4%, 139, 94.6%
Marlins, 9, 5.7%, 149, 94.3%
Diamondbacks, 23, 11.8%, 172, 88.2%
Cubs, 32, 17.2%, 154, 82.8%
Phillies, 31, 18.5%, 137, 81.5%
Dodgers, 46, 23.8%, 147, 76.2%
Brewers, 51, 24.1%, 161, 75.9%
Reds, 53, 28.0%, 136, 72.0%
Cardinals, 58, 35.6%, 105, 64.4%
Giants, 57, 42.5%, 77, 57.5%
Pirates, 64, 45.4%, 77, 54.6%
Rockies, 94, 49.5%, 96, 50.5%
Nationals, 123, 53.2%, 108, 46.8%
Braves, 104, 62.7%, 62, 37.3%
Mets, 119, 63.0%, 70, 37.0%

… Mark Marquess, on May 14, joined Augie Garrido (2,935 games), Gordie Gillespie (2,846), Mike Martin (2,679) and Gene Stephenson (2,515) as the only college baseball head coaches to manage at least 2,500 games; Marquess, the head coach at Stanford, is retiring at the end of this season after a run of 41 years at the helm of the Cardinal and having compiled a record of 1,619-876-7 through Thursday.
… The Rangers ran off five straight wins (May 11-14) that were decided in the seventh inning or later; the 2013 Giants were the last team in the bigs to win five straight in the seventh or later.
… According to the stat tracking service Inside Edge, the Pirates led the majors through Thursday with a 37.5 percent success rate in hit-and-run plays; conversely, the A’s, Astros, Mets, Red Sox and Twins had all yet to execute a successful hit-and-run in 2017.
… Former A.L. umpire and MLB umpire supervisor Steve Palermo passed away at the age of 67 in Overland Park, Kansas, on May 14; Palermo’s on-field umpiring career was cut short when he was shot in the back while trying to help a robbery victim in 1991 but he continued his career as a supervising umpire and was one of the principals involved in preparing the first MLB Umpire Manual.
… Journeyman outfielder Dan Robertson became the first Indians player to wear the number 99 when he was called up from the minors on Sunday; the only other Indians player to wear 99 was a fictional one, Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the movie “Major League.”
… The Astros started the 2017 season by going 28-12 and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, three of the last four teams to begin a season with that mark went on to win the World Series (the 2005 White Sox, 2007 Red Sox and 2016 Cubs); the only team that did not translate such a fast start into a World Series win was the 2010 Rays.
… The Indians bullpen has posted a 1.04 ERA since April 20 (a span of 24 games) to lower its relief mark to 1.90, the lowest in the majors through Thursday.
… The Mariners led the majors in scoring first having done so in 69 percent of their games through Thursday; however, getting a jump has not translated to success with the M’s in fourth place in the A.L. West and a 20-22 mark.
… When starters Bronson Arroyo of the Reds and John Lackey of the Cubs matched up on Tuesday, they broke their own record of 791 combined starts for opposing starters; their combined total on Tuesday was 799.
… Currently, starter Bartolo Colon of the Braves is the only active major-leaguer who played in the Astrodome; when Adrian Beltre of the Rangers comes off the DL, there will be two active players who played in the defunct Houston venue.
… Rangers ace Yu Darvish reached 50 wins in the majors in the second fewest games of any Asian-born pitcher when he registered a victory against the Phillies on Tuesday; the Japanese-born Darvish needed just 109 games to reach the milestone with only Chien-Ming Wang of Taiwan needing fewer (87).
… Luis Severino of the Yankees, through Thursday, led all starters in the bigs this season with the fastest average pitch at 92.9 mph (minimum 500 pitches) while R.A. Dickey of the Braves had the slowest average at 77.5 mph; among relievers, Trevor Rosenthal of the Cardinals had the highest average at 97.1 mph (minimum of 200 pitches) while Brad Ziegler of the Marlins had the lowest at 79.1.
… Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports notes that Reds rookie pitcher Austin Brice is the first player born in Hong Kong to reach the majors.
… According to stat wiz Doug Kern, Mariners reliever Tony Zych, who’s last on the all-time alphabetical roster of major-leaguers, recorded his first career save on Monday.
… Through Thursday, the A’s had used a different lineup in each of their last 36 games and manager Bob Melvin had unveiled 39 different lineups in the club’s first 41 contests.
… Marlins pitchers lead the majors having given up 10 bases-loaded walks this season.
… Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, through Thursday, had converted a major-league leading 35.5% of double play opportunities into double plays (11 of 31) among pitchers with at least 25 DP opp’s this season.
… Since May 3, Buster Posey had struck out just once in 53 plate appearances.
… According to Bill Chuck of, Jered Weaver has seen his ERA increase every season since he posted a 2.41 mark in 2011; the Padres starter posted a 2.81 ERA in 2012, 3.27 in 2013, 3.59 in 2014, 4.64 in 2015, 5.06 in 2016 and has a 6.05 mark so far this season.
… A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso, through Thursday, had beaten shifts 65.4 percent (17-for-26) of the time this season to lead the majors.
… The Brewers are the only major-league team that’s in the top three for both homers and stolen bases.
… The Giants’ 17-inning victory against the Reds on May 12 began a five-game win streak for the club and improved their chances of playing in a division playoff series from 3.7 to 8.0 percent.
… Austin Bibens-Dirkx finally made his debut with the Rangers on Wednesday night, 10 days after being called up; the only Rangers callup that waited longer to make his debut was pitcher Kevin Brown who cooled his heels for 25 days on the big-league roster before making his debut in 1986.
… After Thursday’s win, the Brewers were six games over .500 for the first time since September 17, 2014, when they were 79-73.
… Tuesday marked the 52nd anniversary of the releases of Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” album and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” LP.
… On Tuesday night, center fielder Mike Trout of the Angels joined Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott as the only big-leaguers to record 600 runs, 500 RBIs and 500 walks prior to their age-26 campaign.
… The St. Paul Saints of the independent American Association named their new mascot, a live pig, “Alternative Fats.”

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score
Copyright 2017, Sports Features Group


By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire
No major-league pitcher wants to give up a grand slam but, if he pitches long enough, he probably will. The slam-less streak of San Francisco Giants starter Johnny Cueto ended at 1,662.1 innings pitched on April 21 when Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story hit a bases-loaded homer off him in the fourth inning. A few hurlers, though, manage to have long careers without surrendering a four-run homer. Jim Palmer holds the record going 3,948 innings, his entire 19-year career, without allowing a slam. The former Baltimore Orioles ace faced 213 batters with the bases loaded over 56 innings without giving up a big fly. Cueto's teammate Matt Cain leads all active starters with 1,983.2 career slam-less innings facing 125 batters in 31.1 innings with the bases loaded. The 10 pitchers with the longest slam-free streaks in the bigs are (* - active; BF - batters faced):
Pitcher           Career    Loaded   BF
                  IP        IP       Loaded
Jim Palmer        3,948.0   56.0     213
Freddy Garcia     2,246.0   37.0     137
Mike Krukow       2,190.2   37.2     148
Joaquin Andujar   2,153.0   40.1     156
Mike Boddicker    2,132.2   32.0     125
Gary Peters       2,081.0   36.1     132
Matt Cain*        1,983.2   31.1     125
Clayton Kershaw*  1,788.1   26.2     97
Tim Lincecum      1,682.0   35.0     124
Eric Show         1,655.0   32.2     113

 … Nationals shortstop Trea Turner produced the 16th cycle in Coors Field history on Tuesday night and the second at the Denver ballpark this season; since opening in 1995, Coors has accounted for nearly 20 percent of all cycles accomplished in the bigs and is closing in on the active record of 17 held by Fenway Park in Boston which debuted a bit earlier in 1912.
 … The Cardinals and Giants, through Friday, were the only major-league teams that had yet to record an outfield assist this season.
 … After batting cleanup on April 23, Elvis Andrus had finally batted in all positions in the lineup in his career; this year alone, the Rangers shortstop has batted second, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.
 … Through Friday, the Giants, Phillies, Royals and Rockies were the only major-league clubs that had yet to produce a three-run tater this season.
 … Jake Arrieta and Kris Bryant of the Cubs will make guest appearances on the season finale of the NBC series Chicago Fire on May 16.
 … Umpires have started wearing an "MJ" patch honoring former umpire Mark Johnson in addition to the memorial patch for Russ Goetz they adopted at the start of the season; Johnson, who passed away last October, had a 21-year career (1,979 games) and remains the only MLB umpire born in Hawaii.
 … When the Rays called up pitcher Chih-Wei Hu, he became the first Taiwanese player for the team and the 12th in major-league history; the right-hander joins the Marlins' Wei-Yin Chen as the only active Taiwanese players in the bigs.
 … Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki sold his loft-condo in the downtown arts district in Los Angeles during Spring Training for $2.45 million; the Marlins' ageless star bought the unit, located in the 1920's era Biscuits Company Lofts building, nearly 10 years ago.
 … The nine World Series championships won by the Yankees since 1958 have all come when a Democrat occupied the Oval Office.
 … On Monday, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly agreed to sell the club for $1.3 billion to a group led by former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and former Florida governor Jeb Bush; if the deal is approved by the other MLB owners, Loria will realize a 720 percent profit on the $158.5 million he paid for the team in 2002.
 … Stat wiz Bill Chuck notes that Astros ace Dallas Keuchel has given up only five runs this season; four have come on solo homers which means that only one of the other 31 baserunners he's allowed (on 18 hits, nine walks, one hit batsman and three errors) came around to score.
 … The Angels, through Friday, led the majors having used 19 pitchers this season; the Reds and Padres led the N.L. having used 18.
 … The Blue Jays are the only major-league team that had yet to record a win streak of least two games this season through Wednesday.
 … On Tuesday, Brewers first baseman Eric Thames became the 18th different player to hit at least 11 homers in April in the majors.
 … In all, 160 Jewish ballplayers had seen duty in the major leagues through Wednesday.
 … According to Baseball America, Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri, will host the most games of any ballpark that is home to both a full-season minor-league team and a college team in 2017; the park will be the site of 70 games of the Double-A Texas League Springfield Cardinals, 24 games of the Missouri State Bears and 12 to 15 MVAC (Missouri Valley Athletic Conference) Tournament games for a total of 106 to 109 contests this season.
 … Stat wiz Doug Kern notes that Monday was the first time since August 15, 1945, that the Cubs and White Sox won games on the same day while scoring at least 11 runs each.
 … The Giants, through Friday, were the only major-league club that had not hit a homer in either the first inning or the ninth inning of a game this season
 … The NCAA Division II Great American Conference championship softball tournament will feature a matchup between the Southern Arkansas Muleriders and the Arkansas - Monticello Cotton Blossoms.
 … Two 30-homer players from last season, Kyle Seager of the Mariners and Jose Abreu of the White Sox, had yet to hit a round-tripper this season after 82 and 81 plates appearances, respectively, through Friday.
 … New Era, the official provider of caps for MLB, is selling a commemorative Yankees 2000 World Series Championship cap that features an image of new Yankee Stadium which did not open until 2009.
 … The Rangers and Red Sox were the only big-league teams that had yet to record a pinch hit in 2017 through Friday.
 … Reliever Sergio Romo is the 226th person to play for both the Giants and Dodgers.
 … Infielder Adam Rosales of the A's owns eight of the 10 fastest home run trots for outside-the-park taters since 2015 when Statcast began timing such things; the other two in the top 10 are owned by the Reds' Billy Hamilton.
 … The Pirates called up the first Lithuanian-born major-leaguer, pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas (born in Vilnius), on Monday then sent him down to Triple-A on Wednesday to call up the first South African-born major-leaguer, second baseman Gift Ngoepe (born in Pietersburg).
 … According to SABR historian Trent McCotter, Bryce Harper has recorded three four-hit games this month; the record for four-hit efforts in a month is six shared by Ross Barnes (June, 1876) and Billy Hamilton (August, 1894).
 … Mike Trout joined Darin Erstad (1998) as the only Angels players to record at least five homers, five stolen bases and 15 RBIs in the month of April.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score
Copyright 2017, Sports Features Group



Beyond the Box score

By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire

Stats through Thursday

Los Angeles Dodger manager Dave Roberts was given the heave-ho for the first time in his professional playing, coaching and managerial careers when he was tossed by home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the eighth inning on April 8 in a game against the San Francisco Giants. Roberts’s ejection leaves managers Pete Mackanin of the Philadelphia Phillies and Andy Green of the San Diego Padres as the only current major-league skippers who have yet to be ejected from a professional game either as a player, coach or manager. Bobby Cox holds the record for most career managerial ejections with 161 while Gary Sheffield holds the record for ejections as a player with 33 and Cal Ripken, Sr., had the most as a coach with 24. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy leads all active skippers with 68 total career ejections. Below are all the current big-league managers ranked by career ejections through Thursday (note: PE – playing ejections, CE – coaching ejections, ME – managing ejections):

A.L. Managers
Manager Team PE CE ME Totals
Mike Scioscia Angels 2 0 41 43
Terry Francona Indians 1 1 39 41
Ned Yost Royals 0 0 38 38
Bob Melvin A’s 0 0 35 35
Joe Girardi Yankees 5 0 29 34
John Gibbons Blue Jays 0 0 32 32
Buck Showalter Orioles 0 0 29 29
Brad Ausmus Tigers 10 0 8 18
Robin Ventura White Sox 4 0 12 16
John Farrell Red Sox 0 2 13 15
Paul Molitor Twins 5 3 3 11
A.J. Hinch Astros 2 0 7 9
Kevin Cash Rays 1 0 5 6
Jeff Banister Rangers 0 0 5 5
Scott Servais Mariners 1 0 0 1

N.L. Managers
Manager Team PE CE ME Totals
Bruce Bochy Giants 0 0 68 68
Clint Hurdle Pirates 1 3 46 50
Joe Maddon Cubs 0 1 43 44
Terry Collins Mets 0 0 36 36
Fredi Gonzalez Braves 0 0 26 26
Don Mattingly Marlins 7 0 19 26
Dusty Baker Nationals 3 1 20 24
Mike Matheny Cardinals 2 0 11 13
Bryan Price Reds 0 2 5 7
Walt Weiss Rockies 0 0 4 4
Chip Hale Diamondbacks 1 0 2 3
Craig Counsell Brewers 0 0 2 2
Dave Roberts Dodgers 0 0 1 1
Andy Green Padres 0 0 0 0
Pete Mackanin Phillies 0 0 0 0

… Major League Baseball will honor the anniversary of the breaking of its color barrier with the 12th league-wide Jackie Robinson Day on Friday; however, at least some MLB clubs began celebrating the day in 1998 and, since then, the Dodgers, fittingly, have the best record on Robinson Day at 12-5 while the Phillies have the worst at 4-8.
… Six Jewish players made Opening Day rosters in the bigs this season down from 10 last season; forty-two Jewish players were on minor-league rosters at the start of the season.
… On Wednesday, Chris Davis of the Orioles hit the 12,000th home run by the home and away teams during Red Sox games at Fenway Park since the yard opened in 1912; the only active major-league venue with more than 12,000 in a single team’s games is the Cubs’ ivy-covered home, Wrigley Field, with 12,787 through Thursday.
… According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, 50 Star Productions of Centerville, Utah, will rent one of those gigantic U.S. flags often used in Opening Day ceremonies for $6.200; that price, though, doesn’t include shipping costs or travel costs for the 50 Star staff who assemble the enormous flags on-site.
… The youngest player in the minor leagues is Red Sox farmhand Anderson Espinoza of the Greenville (SC) Drive of the South Atlantic League; through Friday, the right-handed pitcher was 18 years and 37 days old.
… Victor Martinez needs three RBIs to join Miguel Cabrera (1,449), Andres Galarraga (1,425), Bobby Abreu (1,363) and Magglio Ordonez (1,216) as the only Venezuelan-born major-leaguers to record 1,000 RBIs.
… According to ESPN stat guru Doug Kern, the 2015 regular season and playoffs lasted 210 days, five hours and 16 minutes starting at 6:17 p.m. EDT on April 5, 2015, and ending at 12:33 a.m. EST on November 2, 2015.
… On Monday, all MLB umpires wore an “EA” patch to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emmett Ashford breaking the color barrier for major-league umpires becoming the first full-time African-American ump in the bigs in 1966; since Ashford’s debut, fourteen other black or Latino umpires have officiated on a regular, full-time basis in the majors including five who are currently active.
… The Dodgers unveiled a new batting helmet at their home opener on Tuesday; the blue headgear features the first-ever 3D team logo on a MLB club’s helmet.
… On Tuesday night, Dee Gordon joined Justin Smoak (2013) and Justin Turner (2014) as the only big-leaguers since 2013 to see 16 pitches in one at bat; the second baseman faced Mets reliever Jim Henderson for seven minutes before singling to start the Marlins’ game-winning rally.
… Tigers fan Bill Dugan had the game of his life at the team’s game versus the Pirates on Monday when he caught five foul balls in the span of eight innings; sitting behind home plate, the 39-year-old snagged three pop ups and two ricochets off the press box.
… The 2016 Opening Day roster for the Yankees, at an average age of 29 years and 99 days, was their youngest since 1992 (29 years and 52 days on average).
… The Nationals have added the 31st President of the U.S., Herbert Hoover, to their collection of racing Presidents; Hoover played baseball for Stanford during his college years and, while in office from 1929 to 1933, he attended nine major-league games, including three World Series contests, while throwing out six first pitches.
… Albert Pujols of the Angels eclipsed Babe Ruth (37 years and 127 days in 1932) to become the third youngest major-leaguer to record at least 550 homers and 1,700 RBIs when he drove in his 1,700th run at the age of 36 years and 84 days on April 9 against the Rangers; Alex Rodriguez was the youngest to reach the combined milestone at 34 years and 69 days of age in 2009 followed by Hank Aaron at 35 years and 217 days in 1969.
… The Pirates’ PNC Park is offering a Cracker Jack and Mac Dog this season; the concoction features a foot-long, all beef hot dog, Cracker Jack, mac and cheese, salted caramel sauce and fried jalapenos all wrapped in naan (no word if the purchaser receives the prize from the Cracker Jack box).
… MLB names maven Diane Firstman notes that Phillies relief pitcher Daniel Stumpf (suspended for 80 games by MLB on Thursday) is the third Stumpf to make it to the bigs joining Bill (1912-13) and George (1931-36).
… Through Thursday, the Giants led all MLB teams since 2011 with 18 homers by pitchers; staff ace Madison Bumgarner has hit 12 of those blasts.
… On June 10, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of Allentown, Pennsylvania, the Yankees Triple-A affiliate in the International League, will become the Cheesesteaks for a day in honor of their “Salute to Philadelphia” promotion; the team will ditch their usual uniforms for ones with a cheesesteak logo.
… White Sox starter Jose Quintana leads all active starters since the start of the 2012 season with 53 no decisions.
… In the first week of the season, MLB clubs employed 1,089 defensive shifts as compared to 694 in the first week of last season, 484 in 2014 and 212 in 2013.
… Starting pitcher Marco Estrada became the first player activated from a disabled list this season when the Blue Jays brought him back on April 10.
… One of the few remaining baseball record compilations still published in book form, “A Unique Look at Big League Baseball” by Joe Taxiera, is available for purchase on Amazon.
… Indians starter Corey Kluber has made eight April starts since April 24, 2014, and has gone 0-6.
… After winning at home on April 10, Angels pitcher Jered Weaver moved into fourth place among starters (minimum of 125 starts) since 1913 with a .712 winning percentage trailing only Lefty Grove (.791), Ron Guidry (.717) and Lefty Gomez (.713).
… The Cubs, through Thursday, were the only team in the majors that had not allowed an opponent 10 or more hits in a game.
… The Rockford (IL) Rivets of the independent Northwoods League created a set of bobbleheads depicting the four members of the band Cheap Trick; the band started out in Rockford and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score
Copyright 2016, Sports Features Group

Beyond the Box Score


By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire
Mike Sandlock, the oldest former major-league player, passed away at the age of 100 years and 170 days on Monday. According to historian Bill Carle, Sandlock was the 18th ex-big-leaguer to reach the century mark. Sandlock spent five seasons in the bigs between 1942 and 1953 playing for the Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He turned 100 in October 2015. He became the oldest ex-player when Connie Marrero died at 102 in 2014. Eddie Carnett, who will turn 100 on October 21 of this year, is now the oldest living former major-leaguer. Chester “Red” Hoff lived the longest after playing in the bigs passing away in 1998 at the age of 107. The 18 former MLB players who lived for a century or more were:
Player           Born        Played   Age at death
Red Hoff         5/08/1891   1911-15  107
Connie Marrero   4/25/1911   1950-54  102
Bob Wright      12/13/1891   1915     101
Ace Parker       5/17/1912   1937-38  101
Tony Malinosky   10/7/1909   1937     101
Karl Swanson     12/17/1900  1928-29  101
John Daley        5/25/1887  1912     101
Bill Otis        12/24/1889  1912     100
Rollie Stiles    11/17/1906  1930-33  100
Billy Werber      6/20/1908  1930-42  100
Ray Cunningham    1/17/1905  1931-32  100
Charlie Emig      4/05/1875  1896     100
Mike Sandlock    10/17/1915  1942-53  100
Howdy Groskloss   4/10/1906  1930-32  100
Milt Gaston       1/27/1896  1924-34  100
Ed Gill           8/07/1895  1919     100
Ralph Miller 3/15/1873  1898-99  100
Ralph Erickson    6/25/1902  1929-30  100

Each new baseball season, a few major-league teams honor people connected with the club who passed away during the offseason. This year the Chicago White Sox are wearing an “Eddie” patch to honor their co-owner, Eddie Einhorn, who passed away in February. The Oakland A’s sported “Tony” and “Hendu” patches on Opening Day to honor former players Tony Phillips and Dave Henderson who died in February and December, respectively. The Giants are wearing patches on their left sleeves to honor former players Jimmy Davenport (Davy 12) and Hall-of- Famer Monte Irvin (Monte 20). The Atlanta Braves are wearing a left-sleeve “Bobby” patch for former coach Bobby Dews who passed in December. And the Arizona Diamondbacks are honoring Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Joe Garagiola with a patch. Garagiola, who passed away last month, neither played nor called games for the D’backs but his son, Joe, Jr., is a longtime executive with the team.

… According to the good folks at the Elias Sports Bureau, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was the majors’ active leader for consecutive games played at 165 straight through Saturday; following Machado were Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun at 158, Giants third baseman Matt Duffy at 124, Indians DH Carlos Santana at 116 and Rays third baseman Evan Longoria at 109.
… This season’s youngest and oldest players on Opening Day were, respectively, reliever Roberto Osuna of the Blue Jays at 21 years and 56 days of age and Mets starter Bartolo Colon at 42 years and 315 days of age.
… Seventeen players made their MLB debuts in their teams’ first games of 2016; ten of the newbies were born in the U.S., four hailed from South Korea and one each started life in the Dominican Republic, the Virgin Islands and Cuba.
… The city of Montreal seems to have made a good case for bringing big-league baseball back to the province of Quebec; the two exhibition games between the Red Sox and Blue Jays played at Olympic Stadium last week drew a combined 106,102 fans and, since 2013, the seven exhibition contests played at the aging venue have drawn a total of 349,226 fans or 49,889 per game.
… The Twins have unveiled a new adult beverage at Hrbek’s, the dining club at Target Field named for former Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek; the concoction is called a Buffalo Chicken Bloody Mary which features a Bloody Mary cocktail garnished with a chicken wing, celery, blue and cheddar cheeses, a pepperoni stick, a pepperoncini and an olive.
… When Seung-hwan “Stone Buddha” Oh made his big-league debut in relief for the Cardinals against the Pirates on Sunday, he joined Chin-lung Hu, Fu-te Ni and Chia-jen Lo as the only major-leaguers with two-letter last names.
… David Ortiz, after hitting a homer and a double for the Red Sox on their Opening Day on Tuesday, raised his extra-base hit rate to 11.69 per 100 plate appearances (1,107 EXH in 9,470 PA) which currently puts the DH seventh all-time (minimum of 5,000 plate appearances) behind Hank Greenberg (12.81), Babe Ruth (12.77), Lou Gehrig (12.32), Albert Belle (11.85), Juan Gonzalez (11.84) and Albert Pujols (11.70).
… Mariners ace Felix Hernandez needs three more wins, 15 more strikeouts and to maintain his 3.11 ERA to join Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks – 188/2.83/2,077), Walter Johnson (Senators – 417/2.17/3,509), Christy Mathewson (Giants – 372/2.12/2,504), Steve Rogers (Nationals/Expos – 158-3.17/1,621) and Dave Stieb (Blue Jays – 175/3.42/1,658) as the only major-league pitchers to lead their franchises in wins, strikeouts and ERA; through Wednesday, “King Felix” had 143 wins, a 3.11 ERA and 2,148 K’s.
… The Rays are offering two free tickets to a future game and a T-shirt to any patron who can eat a pound each of sliced brisket, pulled pork, BBQ chicken wings, macaroni and cheese and French fries and four slices of Texas toast.
… Since his debut in 2008, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has posted ERAs of 4.26 in 2008, 2.79 in 2009, 2.91 in 2010, 2.28 in 2011, 2.53 in 2012, 1.83 in 2013, 1.77 in 2014, 2.13 in 2015 and, after one start, 1.20 in 2016.
… Since his managerial debut in 2012, Cardinal skipper Mike Matheny trails only Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Royals head honcho Ned Yost in postseason wins; Bochy has 23, Yost has 22 and Matheny has 21 over that span.
… Carlos Correa, at 21 years and 196 days of age, became the second youngest major-leaguer since 1913 to hit a home run and steal a base on Opening Day when he did so against the Yankees on Tuesday; the youngest to accomplish the feat was Tony Conigliaro of the Red Sox in 1965 at the age of 20 years and 95 days.
… Forty-one-year-old pitcher Jamey Wright hung up his cleats for good last week when the Dodgers released him; during his 22-season professional career, the right-hander played for 21 different teams (10 in the majors and 11 in the minors).
… The A’s made two errors in Monday’s opener against the White Sox; last season, the team led the majors in miscues with 126 and was third with 29 multi-error games trailing only the Pirates (36) and Brewers (30).
… After earning the win on Opening Night against the Mariners, Rangers starter Cole Hamels was 6-0 in his first six decisions at Globe Life Park and joined Barry Zito (8-0) and Yu Darvish (7-0) as the only pitchers to win at least their first six games at the ballpark in Texas.
… Rockie shortstop Trevor Story, in his MLB debut on Monday, joined Jason Giambi, Shawn Green, Jonny Gomes and Joey Votto as the only batters to hit two homers off pitcher Zack Greinke in one game; Greinke was making his debut with the Diamondbacks.
… The Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League are wearing blue and pink plaid alternate uniforms this season.
… Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran are close to joining Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504) and Chipper Jones (468) as the only switch-hitters to hit at least 400 homers in the bigs; through Saturday, the pair of Yankees sat at 396 and 393, respectively.
… The Rays are the only pro sports team in Florida that allows their fans to bring their own food and selected drinks to games.
… There were 492 millionaires on Opening Day rosters.
… The A’s, for the first time since they moved to Oakland in 1968, had no player under the age of 25 on their Opening Day roster; it appears (but can’t be confirmed) to be only the second such occurrence in their 116-year franchise history with the first coming in 1902 when they played in Philadelphia.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score

Copyright 2016, Sports Features Group




By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire

Every major-league team will find itself trailing in a number of games each year but those clubs that can find a way to prevail in a majority of those contests are more likely to have winning seasons. The St. Louis Cardinals had the majors’ most comeback wins in 2015 with 44 while the Pittsburgh Pirates had the best comeback winning percentage at .717. The Cincinnati Reds posted the worst comeback mark at .323 while the Oakland A’s had the most comeback losses with 48. Just six teams had 40 or more comeback wins this year and all of them made the playoffs: the Cardinals (44), Pirates (43), Kansas City Royals (41), Houston Astros (41), New York Yankees (40) and New York Mets (40). The chart below shows the record and winning percentage for each big-league team this season in games in which they fell behind:

American League
Team Record Pct.
Royals 41-24 .631
Indians 34-21 .618
Yankees 40-30 .571
Astros 41-31 .569
Angels 37-31 .544
White Sox 32-30 .516
Rangers 33-31 .516
Blue Jays 36-35 .507
Rays 36-36 .500
Orioles 34-35 .493
Mariners 32-36 .471
Twins 33-40 .452
Red Sox 27-36 .429
Tigers 24-37 .393
A’s 28-48 .368

National League
Team Record Pct.
Pirates 43-17 .717
Cardinals 44-23 .657
Mets 40-28 .588
Cubs 35-25 .583
Dodgers 35-30 .538
Padres 35-31 .530
Nationals 34-38 .472
Giants 27-32 .458
Phillies 33-40 .452
Rockies 28-36 .438
Brewers 28-36 .438
Diamondbacks 29-38 .433
Braves 26-35 .426
Marlins 29-41 .414
Reds 21-44 .323

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy made some unusual choices when he pinch hit for starter Jake Peavy in the fifth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies on October 3. Bochy brought in pitcher Madison Bumgarner to hit for Peavy and, after Bumgarner singled and later reached third, the Giants skipper called on another pitcher, Mike Leake, to run for Bumgarner. Doug Kern of ESPN notes that the last time a major-league manager used such a gambit was on September 18, 2007, when St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had pitcher Adam Wainwright hit for reliever Randy Flores in the seventh inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies then had pitcher Anthony Reyes run for Wainwright.

… The A’s became the first team since 1900 to have the worst record in their league but lead their circuit in team shutouts; the club finished with the worst mark in the A.L. at 68-94 (.420) but posted a league-best 15 team shutouts.
… Bill Chuck of notes that Adam Wainwright’s twitter handle is “@UncleCharlie50” suggesting the pitcher’s affinity for the curveball, aka “Uncle Charlie;” in the past three seasons, Wainwright has thrown 7,174 pitches of which 27.3 percent have been curves.
… The Blue Jays led the majors with a substantial positive run differential of 221 in 2015; the highest run differential in the bigs since 1901 belonged to the 1939 Yankees who scored 411 more runs than they gave up.
… Ichiro Suzuki became the first native Japanese position player to be used as a pitcher in a major-league game when he took the mound in the eighth inning of the Marlins’ game against the Phillies on October 4; the 41-year-old outfielder was the 23rd position player used as a pitcher this season.
… The players who made the most errors in the majors at each position in 2015 were Scott Kazmir (A’s/Astros) at pitcher with seven, Miguel Montero (Cubs) at catcher with 12, Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) at first with 23, Rougned Odor (Rangers) and Kolten Wong (Cardinals) at second with 17, Marcus Semien (A’s) at short with 35, Chase Headley (Yankees) at third with 23 and Lorenzo Cain (Royals) in the outfield with 10.
… The catchers on the Cardinals and Reds combined for a total of nine homers this season equaling the total put up by the Giants’ pitching staff.
… The 2015 season must have been a nightmare for the Yankees’ clubhouse manager; with all the injuries and trips between the minors and majors, 21 Yankees shared just five uniform numbers (31, 40, 53, 64 and 65) while no other major-league club had more than three players use the same number during the season.
… Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon joined Honus Wagner (1904, 1907-08) and Jackie Robinson (1949) as the only N.L. players to win the league’s batting and stolen base crowns in the same season.
… The Braves led the majors with 93 games (57.4 percent) this season in which they scored three runs or fewer; the Blue Jays played the fewest such games with just 56 (34.6 percent).
… Before the Blue Jays played their first postseason game since 1993, members of Ontario’s legislature decided to show their support for the team by passing a resolution allowing members of the Provincial Parliament to wear team jerseys and caps while in session to support the team.
… According to the good folks at Elias Sports Bureau, the Reds (0-13) had the dubious distinction of joining the 1918 A’s (0-10-1), 1928 Phillies (0-15) and 1978 Astros (0-15) as the only big-league teams to play at least 10 Sunday road games in a season and win none of them.
… MLB has begun selling “authenticated” champagne corks from the clubhouse celebrations of all this year’s playoff teams; numbered authenticating holograms were stuck to each cork on each bottle.
… Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre led all major-leaguers in scoring and driving in the same number of runs this season with 83 of each; Matt Duffy of the Giants led all N.L. players with 77 runs scored and driven in.
… At the end of the season, new Brewer GM David Stearns, at 30 years of age, was younger than seven of his club’s players.
… Giants rookie Kelby Tomlinson became the 15th major-leaguer, and the first since Joe Connolly of the 1923 Indians, to hit a grand slam and an inside-the-park homer for his first two career dingers; the second baseman was the first Giants player to accomplish the feat since Art Devlin in 1905.
… The Reds’ Joey Votto (3,000 pitches seen), the Angels’ Mike Trout (2,981), the Mets’ Curtis Granderson (2,970) and the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt (2,917) were the only major-league batters to see more than 2,900 pitches in 2015; the Astros’ Jose Altuve saw the fewest (2,227).
… Shelby Miller of the Braves joined Jose DeLeon (1991), John Dopson (1988), Pat Zachry (1980), Bob Steele (1917), Elmer Jacobs (1917), Walt Leverenz (1913), Frank Allen (1913), Jim Pastorius (1908) and Fred Glade (1905) as the only big-league pitchers to make at least 25 starts and post an ERA of 3.05 or lower in a season but earn fewer than six wins.
… When the N.L. Central’s Cardinals, Pirates and Cubs finished 2015 first, second and third in wins in their league, it marked the first time since divisional play began in 1969 that the teams with the best three records in a league for one season all came from the same division.
… With the start of their Division Series against the Blue Jays on Thursday, the Rangers will have played all three major-league teams with bird nicknames in the postseason; the club matched up against the Orioles in the 2012 A.L. Wild Card game and the Cardinals in the 2012 World Series.
… Max Scherzer of the Nationals threw 68 fastballs, 20 sliders, 12 curves, six changeups and three cutters during his no-hitter against the Mets on October 3.
… On September 27, Dana DeMuth became the 22nd umpire to officiate in 4,000 or more MLB games when he oversaw the action at second base in an Indians-Royals contest; during his 32-year career, DeMuth has officiated in nine LDS’s, five LCS’s, five World Series and three All-Star Games.
… The Nationals hit the fewest triples in the majors at home this season with just three at Nationals Park while visiting players hit a total of eight three-baggers there.
… The Brewers’ Kyle Lohse (99 earned runs), the Twins’ Phil Hughes (76), the Yankees’ Nathan Eovaldi (72) and the Marlins’ Brad Hand (55) were the only pitchers who allowed 50 earned runs or more this season without giving up an unearned run.
… Fill-in umpire Carlos Torres is just the second native Venezuelan to officiate in the majors; full-timer Manny Gonzalez was the first.
… Astros ace Dallas Keuchel has the phrase “Okie Doke” stitched into his glove to honor his home state of Oklahoma.
… The Rangers joined the 1991 Braves, 1998 Cubs, 2007 Cubs and 2008 Rays as the only big-league teams to make the playoffs after finishing last in their league the previous season.
… Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that just six players from the Red Sox Opening Day roster (Xander Bogaerts, Craig Breslow, Brock Holt, Wade Miley, Alexi Ogando and David Ortiz) were still active at the end of the season.
… Yankees first and second basemen Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder joined Bill Abstein and John “Dots” Miller of the 1908 Pirates and Richie Sexson and Enrique Wilson of the 1998 Indians as the only pairs of rookie teammates to start a postseason game on the right side of the infield.
… Evan Longoria became the first third baseman since Pete Rose (1975-77) to play at least 160 games at the hot corner in three consecutive seasons; the Rays infielder played in 160 games in 2013, 162 in 2014 and 160 in 2015.
… Outfielder Christian Yelich was batting a feeble .178 after 24 games for the Marlins on May 22 but found his stroke and batted .329 (127-for-386) over his final 102 games to end the season at .300.
… The Rangers were the only team in 2015 that did not hit a grand slam.
… The Phillies, who finished with a 63-99 record, drew 1,831,080 fans to Citizens Park this season, the fewest since the park opened in 2002.
… On the final day of the season, the Giants set a major-league record by using 11 pitchers in a nine-inning game.
… Including Wednesday’s Wild Card Game, there have been 1,440 postseason games played in the bigs.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score
Copyright 2015, Sports Features Group

Beyond the Box Score

By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire

The long-range fortunes of a major-league franchise often hinge on the quality of its minor-league organization. In addition to providing replacements for departing players, a pool of young, relatively inexpensive, talent is a hedge against skyrocketing major-league salaries. The combined record of a big-league club’s affiliates indicates the talent pool from which it will draw in the future. This season, the Houston Astros edged the Arizona Diamondbacks to lead all minor-league organizations with a .553 winning percentage. It’s the second straight year that the D’backs have had the second best organization. All but one of the Astros’ affiliates posted winning records. The Miami Marlins’ seven minor-league affiliates posted the worst winning percentage (.418) and all but one, the Marlins of the short-season rookie Gulf Coast League, posted losing marks. The farm systems of the Astros and Tampa Bay Rays had the most winning teams with seven each while that of the Washington Nationals featured no winning records among seven clubs. Below are the 2015 minor-league organizational records for each major-league franchise including all Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A, Short-season, Rookie, Dominican and Venezuelan League affiliates (WS – winning season):

Team Affiliates (WS) Record WPct.
Astros 9 (7) 502-405 .553
Twins 7 (4) 403-356 .531
Yankees 10 (6) 514-455 .530
Rangers 8 (5) 441-396 .527
Indians 7 (5) 393-373 .513
Rays 9 (7) 461-440 .512
Orioles 8 (6) 430-413 .510
Blue Jays 8 (3) 414-419 .497
White Sox 7 (3) 377-383 .496
Royals 8 (3) 407-425 .489
Red Sox 8 (3) 402-441 .477
Tigers 8 (3) 395-438 .474
A’s 7 (2) 351-405 .471
Mariners 8 (4) 392-444 .469
Angels 7 (2) 344-419 .451

Team Affiliates (WS) Record WPct.
Diamondbacks 8 (5) 455-382 .544
Cubs 8 (5) 444-385 .536
Pirates 8 (5) 447-388 .535
Mets 9 (5) 484-423 .534
Phillies 8 (6) 447-391 .533
Giants 7 (5) 403-363 .526
Dodgers 7 (4) 392-372 .513
Cardinals 8 (5) 423-409 .508
Braves 7 (4) 373-386 .491
Reds 8 (3) 404-427 .486
Padres 7 (3) 361-405 .471
Rockies 7 (1) 366-421 .465
Nationals 7 (0) 357-410 .465
Brewers 7 (1) 332-424 .439
Marlins 7 (1) 321-447 .418

… Beginning next week, Pope Francis I will make his first visit to the United States since his election on March 13, 2013; since that date through Thursday, there had been 7,051 major-league games played, the Cardinals (a Vatican favorite?) had the best record going 279-191, Chris Davis of the Orioles had hit the most HRs (121) and pitchers Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Max Scherzer of the Nationals had won the most games (51).
… According to historian Pete Palmer, Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall became only the second outfielder since 1946 to record two assists on the same play when he fielded a single in the second inning against the Tigers on September 10 and became part of a 9-3-6-4-9-2 double play tagging the batter in a rundown between first and second then throwing home to get another runner trying to score; the only other outfielder to record two assists on one play over that span was Astros right fielder Brian Bogusevic on September 7, 2011.
… Through Thursday, 75 pitchers, from every team except the Marlins and Padres, had taken no-hitters through at least five innings this season but just six completed the no-no (Chris Heston – Giants, Max Scherzer – Nationals, Cole Hamels – Phillies, Hisashi Iwakuma – Mariners, Mike Fiers – Astros and Jake Arrieta – Cubs); though no pitcher has recorded a perfect game this season, four have taken perfectos through seven innings (Scherzer, Marco Estrada – Blue Jays, Colby Lewis – Rangers and Madison Bumgarner – Giants).
… According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers, after defeating the Astros to take a half-game lead in the A.L. West on Tuesday, became the sixth team since the start of divisional play in 1969 to take sole possession of first place in their division for the first time in a season after 144 games; the five other clubs that jumped into first place after 144 were the 1973 Mets (after 154), 1978 Yankees (144), 2006 Twins (162), 2007 Phillies (160) and 2012 A’s (162).
… The Braves had posted a .259 winning percentage (15-43) in the 58 games they had played since the All-Star Break through Thursday, the 12th worst second-half winning mark since 1914; five days before the Break, the club was a respectable 42-42.
… The five catchers used by the Mariners this season (Mike Zunino, Jesus Sucre, Steve Baron, John Hicks and Welington Castillo) could achieve the dubious distinction of being the worst hitting catching corps since 1901; their combined batting average was .15618 (77-for-493) through Thursday while the current record-holders are the backstops for the 1909 Superbas (Bill Bergen, Joe Dunn and Doc Marshall) who hit .15769 (82-for-520).
… The tandem of Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, through Thursday, led all pairs of major-league teammates for most combined RBIs with 222 while Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies led the N.L. with 199.
… According to stats guru Bill Chuck of, Yoenis Cespedes leads all big-leaguers with 53 hits (30 singles, 12 doubles, one triple and nine homers) recorded between the seventh and ninth innings this season.
… The last time the Giants made the postseason in an odd year was 2003.
… Indians starter Carlos Carrasco has strung together 15 consecutive outings in which he has recorded five or more strikeouts; the three Indians with longer such streaks were Bob Feller (28 games in 1945-46), Luis Tiant (17 in 1968) and Sam McDowell (16 in 1966).
… September 24 will be the 58th anniversary of the last game played by the Dodgers at Ebbets Field formerly located at Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place in Brooklyn.
… Outfielders Curtis Granderson of the Mets and Justin Upton of the Padres, through Thursday, were the only major-leaguers to own the outright leads in both homers and RBIs for their teams this season.
… Third baseman Manny Machado needed only three more stolen bases through Wednesday to join Paul Blair (1969), Don Baylor (1975), Reggie Jackson (1976) and Brady Anderson (1992, 1996, 1999) as the only Orioles to record seasons in which they recorded at least 20 homers and 20 steals.
… Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine is the only pitcher to record two complete game shutouts at Coors Field, one in 1995 and the other in 1997.
… Tigers rookie James McCann did not commit an error in his first 107 games as a catcher setting a new big-league record surpassing the old mark of 93 errorless games to start set by Frankie Pytlak of the Indians from 1932 through 1934.
… Mike Trout has joined Willie Mays as the only big-leaguers to record at least four consecutive seasons with 25 or more homers, five or more triples and 10 or more stolen bases; Mays did it for six consecutive campaigns (1955-60).
… Before Edgar Martinez took over as hitting coach on June 20, the Mariners were hitting .233 with 177 extra-base hits but, since then, the team has batted .262 with 264 extra-base knocks.
… When David Ortiz poked homers 499 and 500 on September 12, he joined Albert Pujols as the only members of the 500-homer club to reach the milestone by hitting multiple homers in a game; the Red Sox DH also joined Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson as the only sluggers with 500 or more homers and at least three World Series rings.
… In the 16-inning Rockies-Dodgers game on Tuesday night (and Wednesday morning), the clubs combined to use 58 players and 24 pitchers, both MLB records; the Rockies won the marathon, 5-4, with the help of 13 pitchers, another big-league record.
… The Cubs and Mets are the only clubs in the majors to have swept four, four-game series this season; the Cubbies swept the Braves, Mets, Brewers and Giants while the Mets victimized the Marlins, Rockies, Phillies and Braves.
… Tyson Ross needs six more strikeouts to join James Shields as the first pair of Padre pitchers to each post 200 K’s in a season; through Thursday, Shields had 200 whiffs and Ross 194.
… Since August 1, the Dodgers have stolen 32 bases; before that, they had swiped only 21 for the season, the fewest in the majors.
… The last time the Red Sox finished in last place two seasons in a row was when they recorded six straight last place finishes from 1925 to 1930.
… Brad Boxberger of the Rays is the sixth closer to make an All-Star team in a season in which he posted 10 or more losses but 30 or more saves; Boxberger joins Rollie Fingers (1978), Bob Stanley (1983), Willie Hernandez (1985), Lee Smith (1987) and Doug Jones (1989).
… Through Thursday, major-league teams had played 2,221 games in 2015 of which 931 included at least one replay review.
… With September call-ups in full force, major-league managers used 173 pitchers who combined to throw 5,051 pitches in the 16 games played on Tuesday.
… Mike Olt became the 41st player to hit a home run for both the Cubs and White Sox but the first to do so in the same season when he popped his first tater for the South Siders on Wednesday; Olt went long for the Cubs on April 16.
… Eddie Rosario of the Twins became the sixth rookie outfielder since 1901 to reach double digits in doubles, triples, home runs and outfield assists when he hit his 10th long ball of the season on Wednesday.
… Rays PR whiz Dave Haller notes that, when Rays starter Matt Moore tossed seven scoreless innings on Thursday, the team joined the 1906-09 Cubs as the only teams to hurl at least 30 scoreless starts (outings in which a starter gives up no runs) in consecutive seasons.
… The A’s appear set to become the first MLB team since 1901 to record the most losses and the most shutouts of opponents in their league in the same season; through Thursday, the A’s had an A.L. high 84 losses but had thrown 15 shutouts.
… The major-league leader this season for most bases taken due to defensive indifference, through Wednesday, was Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis with eight while Giants first baseman Brandon Belt led the N.L. with five.

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