September 20, 2019

G153: Rays 5, Red Sox 4 (11)

Red Sox - 000 000 202 00 - 4  7  0
Rays    - 000 000 310 01 - 5  8  0
Mitch Moreland hit two home runs, knocking in all four Boston runs, and Rick Porcello (6-3-0-0-6, 87) was Vintage Shroom, but Trevor Kelley walked two batters with two outs in the eleventh and then gave up a game-losing single to Willy Adames (3-for-5, 2 RBI).

Charlie Morton matched Porcello for six innings, allowing only three hits and one walk and striking out seven. Morton could not salt the game away, however, In the seventh, Brock Holt doubled with one out and Moreland hit Dong #16 to center.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Red Sox bullpen ran into its own trouble. Darwinzon Hernández's biggest flaw is his control and that inability to throw strikes was on display Friday night. After giving up a one-out single, Hernández walked Jesús Aguilar and Michael Brosseau on nine pitches (though Ball 2 to Agular should have been called a strike by plate umpire Paul Nauert and perhaps Ball 4 to Brosseau should have been, too). With the bases loaded, Marcus Walden got a force at second, but a run scored and Adames tied the game with a ground-rule double to right. Josh Taylor's wild pitch allowed the Rays to take a 3-2 lead.

Andrew Cashner issued a leadoff, four-pitch walk to Austin Meadows, who scored on Ji-Man Choi's one-out double to right field. But the Red Sox were not quite done. Gorkys Hernández began the ninth inning with a triple to right and, after Brock Holt lined to center, Moreland hit Dong #17 to left. Adames singled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Ryan Brasier retired Joey Wendle to send the game into extras.

Both teams were retired in order in the tenth. Holt walked with two down in the eleventh, but lightning did not strike thrice for Moreland, who fanned. Kelley got two fly outs on six pitches in the bottom half, but never found the third out.

The loss would have officially eliminated the Red Sox from the postseason if they had not already been barred by virtue of Cleveland's win over the Phillies.
Rick Porcello / Charlie Morton
Betts, DH
Vázquez, C
Devers, 3B
Bogaerts, SS
Benintendi, LF
Holt, RF
Moreland, 1B
Bradley, CF
M. Hernández, 2B
As the always-entertaining Jayson Stark would say ... Baseball!
Have you checked your major-league WHIP leaders lately? We'll save you the trouble. They look like this:
Justin Verlander: 0.789
Gerrit Cole:      0.908
Zack Greinke:     0.998
So … notice anything those three guys have in common? Right you are. They all pitch for the same team – those noted ace collectors, the Houston Astros. And how many teams have ever finished a season with three qualifying starting pitchers with a sub-1.00 WHIP? That would be none – in modern history, anyway. (Quibblers alert: The 1884 St. Louis Maroons, of the old United Association, actually had four with a WHIP under 1.00. But big deal. They got to pitch from 50 feet away from the plate back then!) ...

It's Sept. 20, and the Detroit Tigers have won 21 games at Comerica Park all season. The other four teams in their division have won 20 in Comerica, and they just get to stop by a few times a year! (You know how many times the Tigers have won at home on back-to-back days this season? That would be exactly two! One was April 6 and 7, in the second and third home games of the season. The other was Aug. 8 and 9. You know how many times they've done that against teams not known as "the Royals?" That would be zero!) ...

[I]f the Tigers don't win at least two of their final seven home games (against the White Sox and Twins) they're going to finish with the worst record at home of any team since the 162-game schedule became a thing nearly six decades ago:
TEAM          W-L    PCT
1962 Mets    22-58  .275
2019 Tigers  21-54  .280
2013 Tigers  23-58  .284 ...
It was awesome enough that Cavan (Son of Craig) Biggio went cycling Tuesday – and allowed the Biggios to join the Wards (Gary and Daryle) as the only father-son cyclists in history. ... [Cavan] came to the plate with two outs in the ninth in the same position as about a billion other players in history – a triple away from the cycle. But then … he actually hit that triple! ...

Only one other time in the past 129 cycles (dating back 35 years) has any player finished off his cycle that way – via a triple with two outs in the ninth. The guy who hit the other one: Eric Byrnes, on June 29, 2003. (Quibblers alert! If you're one of those sticklers who thinks we should look at two-out triples in the ninth inning or later, then we could add Rondell White (13th-inning triple, on June 11, 1995) to this little club.) ...

Ever heard of a playoff team that went a month without a save – in August and September? Meet the Nationals, who just found a way to perform that astonishing trick. Didn't have a save between Aug. 16 and Sept. 17 – and were still in position to host the wild-card game when they came out the other end of it. ...

That comes to 28 consecutive games without a save. And how many playoff teams in the division play era have ever done that this late in a season? That would be zero, according to STATS. How many have done it at any point in any season? Just two, if you don't count the 1981 strike-year split season (2000 Cardinals: 28 games (July 13-August 11) and 2015 Blue Jays: 34 games (May 5-June 10)). ...

From Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats): "Yu Darvish has 24 strikeouts over his last 9 innings pitched." So who's the last starting pitcher to strike out 24 hitters in nine innings? That would be nobody, obviously. And STATS combed through 45 years' worth of play-by-play data back to 1974 and found that no relief pitcher had done it, either. Closest call: 23, by Josh Hader (last September) and (Kirby Yates, in April-May of this year). Amazing. ...

[T]ake a look at the Yankees' totals for the season (so far):
Home Runs – 292
Doubles   – 277
Yep, leave it to the Yankees to make doubles obsolete. If they keep this up, they would be only the fourth team since 1900 to have this many more homers than doubles!

TEAM           HR   2B
1961 Yankees  240  194
1956 Reds     221  201
1962 Tigers   209  191 ...
A hat tip to NBC Sports Chicago's Chris Kamka for chronicling this unbelievable feat from Cody Bellinger this year: He has hit 45 home runs… Off 45 different pitchers!

So who else has ever done that? No one has ever done that. Of course! And only Albert Pujols (in 2015) has ever even hit as many as 40, off all different pitchers. ...

[A]ll of this happened, in actual life, over the past eight days:

TWO RUNS ON A STRIKEOUT? It's challenging enough to reach base on a strikeout, let alone score two runs. But the Dodgers pulled that off Sept. 12 in Baltimore, thanks to the largesse of Orioles starter Dylan Bunday, who never did get around to covering home in the midst of a two-run strikeout/passed-ball fiasco. Seeing is believing!

SCORING FROM FIRST BASE ON A WALK? Kids, don't try this at home, either. But it happens. Bryan Reynolds drew a walk at Wrigley last Friday. Then the Cubs took turns throwing the baseball all over Chicago. Willson Contreras started it, by trying to throw out Kevin Newman "stealing" second – on ball four. And the next thing they all knew, Newman had scored from first on a walk. Whaaaaat? Take a look at this Bad News Bears outtake!

HOW NOT TO APPEAL? Maybe the Pirates felt guilty about that Kevin Newman run, because on Sunday, they returned that favor, with a play I’ve never seen – the old wild throw while just trying to appeal a stinking call at third base! ...

SOUTH SIDE STORY – How about this for innovative ways to lose, from your Chicago White Sox over the past week: Get 20 hits Tuesday … four of them leave the park … still lose to the Twins, 9-8. According to Chris Kamka, they were undefeated (14-0) in 20-hit, four-homer games in franchise history before that … because of course they were!

Same game: Homer in the top of the 11th inning … then homer in the top of the 12th inning … and still lose! How hard is that to do? So hard, reports Doug Kern, that no team had hit a home run in the top of two different extra innings and found a way not to win in over 30 years – since the Padres did that in the 11th and 13th innings in Montreal, on May 24, 1988. ...

And before we go, here's one final outrageous tidbit about the Giants' visit to Fenway Park this week. If you had a tough time recalling their last win at Fenway before that 15-inning extravaganza Tuesday, maybe that's because… There's almost nobody in America who was alive to see the last one!

The Elias Sports Bureau told us it was the Giants' first win at Fenway since June 3, 1915, back when the Giants played in New York, the Braves were the team they played in Fenway, Woodrow Wilson was president and Babe Ruth was a rookie pitcher with two career home runs. ...

Is it possible the Giants were the first big-league team ever to go 104 years between wins at any ballpark ever built? And that answer is: Yessir! The previous record was held by the Cubs, which sounds about right. They once went a mere 93 years without winning at Fenway – between Game 5 of the 1918 World Series (Hippo Vaughn shutout) and May 21, 2011 (Sean Marshall win in relief of Carlos Zambrano). Didn't you need to know that? Of course you did!

1 comment:

From the Vined Smithy said...

Thanks for the Stark quotes. Great stuff!