Elias Says: July 16, 2017

Bellinger has done it all this year, why not hit for the cycle too?

Cody Bellinger singled, doubled, tripled, and hit his 26th home run of the season in the Dodgers’ 7–1 win at Miami. Bellinger is the first rookie ever to hit at as many as 20 homers and also have a cycle in one season. The previous “record” for home runs by a player who also hit for the cycle during his rookie season was 19, by the Cubs’ Randy Hundley in 1966.

Yankees offense breaks out very late

Didi Gregorius, Austin Romine, and Gary Sanchez drove in runs in the top of the 16th inning of the Yankees’ 4–1 win at Boston. The Bombers hadn’t scored as many as three runs in that late an inning since May 18, 1976. On that date, New York scored five times, highlighted by Lou Piniella’s two-run single, in the 16th inning of an 11–6 win at Cleveland. Only one other major-league team over the last four seasons has put up at least three runs in one frame in the 16th inning or later. That was the Dodgers, who scored four 17th-inning runs at San Diego on May 22, 2016.

Kimbrel suffers first Fenway blown save

Craig Kimbrel allowed a game-tying ninth-inning home run to Matt Holliday, allowing the Red Sox’ game against the Yankees to go to extra innings. Kimbrel entered Saturday a perfect 30-for-30 in save opportunities at Fenway Park (1-for-1 for Atlanta, 29-for-29 for Boston.) That tied the second longest start-of-career streak by any pitcher at any venue since saves became an official statistic in 1969. The two other streaks as long as Kimbrel’s both took place in Milwaukee, by Francisco Cordero at Miller Park (first 32, from 2006 to 2007) and by Doug Henry at County Stadium (first 30, 1991–1993.)

Shaw becomes second first-year Brewer to hit 20 homers

Travis Shaw’s 20th home run of the season broke a 2–2 tie in the eighth inning of the Brewers’ 3–2 home win over the Phillies. Shaw, playing in his 80th game for Milwaukee, ranks second on the team in homers behind Eric Thames (23), who is also in his first season with the Brew Crew. The only other teammates ever to reach 20 homers in 80 or fewer games in their first season with that team were Cleveland’s Ellis Burks and Juan Gonzalez in 2001.

Mets score early, often for second straight game

Pitcher Seth Lugo’s third-inning home run gave the Mets an 8–0 lead and New York cruised to a 9–3 home win over the Rockies Saturday. On Friday, New York led 8–1 after three innings and beat Colorado, 14–2. Over the last seven years, only one other team has scored at least eight runs by the end of the third inning in two consecutive games. That was the Red Sox, at home against the Mariners in August 2015, in games that Boston eventually won by scores of 15–1 and 22–10. It’s the first time the Mets have ever put up eight runs before the start of the fourth inning in two straight contests.

Fulmer continues strong pitching at home

Michael Fulmer allowed two hits and one walk in eight innings of the Tigers’ 11–1 win over the Blue Jays at Comerica Park. Fulmer has won each of his last three home starts while pitching at least eight innings and allowing no more than one walk in each. The only other Detroit pitcher over the last 30 years to do that in three straight home starts (win, 8+ IP, 0 or 1 BB) was Justin Verlander in June 2011.

Dozier leads off second straight game with home run

Brian Dozier hit a leadoff home run in the Twins’ 4–2 win at Houston. It was the second time in a span of less than a year that Dozier has led off consecutive games with homers, having also done so last September. No other player in franchise history has more than one streak of at least two straight games hitting a leadoff home run.

Cabrera’s big leadoff performance not enough for White Sox

Melky Cabrera hit a leadoff home run and later rapped three singles, but the White Sox lost, 4–3 to the visiting Mariners. Chicago, an original member of the American League, won the first five times its first batter produced a leadoff home run and at least four hits, from 1901 to 1994. But since 1995, the Southsiders are 0–4 when getting such a performance from its leadoff batter, with the other losses in 1995 (Lance Johnson), 1997 (Ray Durham), and 1998 (Durham.)

Bottom third of lineup produces for Cubs

The bottom three batters in the Cubs’ starting lineup – Jason Heyward (2 hits, 3 RBIs), Javier Baez (3 H, 2 RBI), and Albert Almora (2 H, 2 RBI) each produced at least two hits and drove in at least two runs in the Cubs’ 10–3 win at Baltimore. It was the third time since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920 that the Cubs’ starting seventh, eighth, and ninth-place batters each did that in the same game. It also happened on June 24, 1975 at Montreal (Manny Trillo, Tim Hosley, and Bill Bonham) and on May 23, 2008 at Pittsburgh (Mark DeRosa, Reed Johnson, and Carlos Zambrano.) Of course, Chicago was able to use a designated hitter on Saturday, which it did not in the previous two such games.

Chapman is the third A’s rookie with a multi-homer game in 2017

Matt Chapman hit two home runs in Oakland’s 5–3 home win over Cleveland. Chapman is the third Athletics rookie to produce a multiple-homer game in 2017, joining Chad Pinder (May 31) and Matt Olson (June 24.) It’s the second season in franchise history in which three different A’s rookies have had at least one multi-homer game. In 1977, Mitchell Page had three, Wayne Gross two, and Jerry Tabb one.

Another big RBI game for Rendon

Anthony Rendon hit two home runs and drove in six runs in the Nationals’ 10–7 win at Cincinnati. On April 30, Rendon homered three times and had 10 RBIs against the Mets. No other player has more than one six-RBI game in 2017. Two other players have had multiple games in one season for the Washington franchise with at least two home runs and six RBIs, and both did so since the team relocated from Montreal in 2005 – Josh Willingham in 2009 and Danny Espinosa in 2016.

Dickerson produces his third four-hit game as a DH

Corey Dickerson hit two singles and two doubles in the Rays’ 6–3 win over the Angels in Anaheim. It was Dickerson’s fourth four-hit game this season, and his third as a designated hitter. The last DH with three four-hit games in one season was David Ortiz in 2014.

Catcher Sanchez hits game-ending homer for Padres

Hector Sanchez’s two-run home run off Steven Okert in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Padres a 5–3 win over the Giants. Sanchez is the second San Diego catcher to hit a walkoff homer against San Francisco. On Sept. 17, 1986, Benito Santiago, in his third major-league game, connected off Mark Davis. Santiago went on to win the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1987. And Davis won the 1989 NL Cy Young Award for the Padres after being traded by the Giants.

Lynn tosses zeros at Pirates and scores a run

Lance Lynn threw six and one-third scoreless innings and also scored a run in the Cardinals’ 4–0 win at Pittsburgh. It was the third time this season that St. Louis won a game in which its starting pitcher scored but did not allow a run (Adam Wainwright on June 1 & Carlos Martinez on June 10.) No other team has more than two wins of this type in 2017.

Rangers finally score in ninth to beat Royals

Shin-Soo Choo’s ninth-inning single drove in the only run in as the Rangers extended their winning streak over the Royals to 12 games with a 1–0 win at Kaufman Stadium. It was the third game this season for both Texas and Kansas City that was scoreless through eight innings, including another against each other (Rangers 1, Royals 0 in 13 innings on Apr. 20.) No other team has played three such games in 2017. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Rangers have won two games against the same opponent in one season that were scoreless through eight innings. Kansas City lost two such games to in a year to the same team once before, to Cleveland in 1989.

Atlanta wins without much help from Freeman

The Braves defeated the visiting Diamondbacks by a score of 8–5 despite an 0-for-5 performance by slugger Freddie Freeman. Over the last two seasons, Atlanta is 8–22 in games that Freeman started but did not reach base safely (via hit, walk, or HBP) and had not scored more than six runs in any of the previous 29 such contests.