Elias Says: August 22, 2017

Hamels improves to 9-1 in 2017, 31-7 in 60 Rangers starts

Cole Hamels improved to 9-1 in the Rangers’ 5-3 win in Anaheim. Hamels also started 9-1 through his first 10 decisions in 2016. Hamels in the fourth pitcher in the expansion era (since 1961) to start back-to-back seasons 9-1 or better in his first 10 decisions. Greg Swindell did it over 1988 and 1989 for the Indians, Curt Schilling did it over 2001 and 2002 for the Diamondbacks and Kevin Brown did it over 2003 and 2004 for the Dodgers and Yankees.

It was Hamels’s 60th start with Texas, and he is now 31-7 (.816) with the team. Hamels is the second pitcher in major-league history with an .800-or-higher winning percentage in his first 60 starts with a team. Jim McCormick started 47-10 (.825) with the Cubs in 1885-1886.

They should call him Grandslamderson

Curtis Granderson hit a seventh inning grand slam at PNC Park that turned a 3-1 Dodgers deficit into a 5-3 lead; they’d go on to win 6-5 in 12 innings, the winning run coming on a Yasiel Puig solo homer. Granderson’s last at-bat with the Mets before being traded was a ninth inning grand-slam against the Yankees, on August 17. Grandy is the first player in major-league history to hit a bases-juiced four-bagger for two different teams over a span of five-or-fewer days. The previous shortest span for hitting grand slams for two separate teams was eight days. Don Lenhardt did that in the 1952 season, hitting a grand slam for the Red Sox on June 2 and one for the Tigers on June 9.

It was the eighth grand slam of Granderson’s career, but the first that was of the behind-to-ahead variety. The Grandyman had previously established himself in the chronicles of grand-slam history: on August 25, 2011, he, Robinson Cano, and Russell Martin all hit grand slams in the same game at Yankee Stadium in a 22-9 Yankees win against the A’s. That was the most grand slams that have been hit by one team in a single game.

Granderson hit one grand slam for the Tigers, four for the Yankees, two for the Mets, and now one for the Dodgers. Five other active players have hit grand slams for four different teams: Adrian Beltre (Dodgers, Mariners, Red Sox, Rangers), Carlos Beltran (Royals, Mets, Cards, Yankees), Justin Upton (D-Backs, Braves, Padres, Tigers), Mark Reynolds (O’s, Indians, Brewers, Cardinals), and Colby Rasmus (Cards, Blue Jays, Astros, Rays).

Abreu Blasts 25th Homer

Jose Abreu hit his 25th home run of the season off Twins’ reliever Nik Turley in the White Sox 7-6 win against the Twins in game one to start a five-game series in Chicago. For Abreu it was his sixth home run in a span of nine games, something that he had not done since April 2014, the first month of his major-league career in a season he won the A.L. Rookie of the Year. Abreu has now hit 25-or-more homers in each of his four major-league seasons. Two other active players started their career with a streak of four-or-more 25 home run seasons: Albert Pujols (12, 2001-2012) and Ryan Braun (6, 2007-2012).

Abreu is also the fourth player to hit 25-plus homers in four straight seasons from the beginning of his career in the American League. The Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio did it in his first six seasons, from 1936-1941, the Orioles’ Eddie Murray did it in his first four seasons, 1977-1980, and the Rangers’ Mark Teixeira did it in his first four seasons, 2003-2006. (Teixeira actually hit 25-or-more homers in his first nine major league seasons, but in his fifth season he was traded from the Rangers to the Braves; he hit 13 and 17 home runs for them that season, respectively.)

Dozier is Mr. Second Half

Brian Dozier hit a three-run homer in the second inning off Carson Fulmer in game two of the twinbill in the South Side of Chicago. The Twins managed a split in the doubleheader, winning game two 10-2. Dozier hit 28 home runs after the All-Star break last season and has already hit 13 post-break home runs in 2017. Dozier’s 13 post-break homers this season are the fourth-most in the majors, trailing Giancarlo Stanton (19), Nelson Cruz (14), and Joey Gallo (14). His 41 overall home runs after the midsummer classic over the last two seasons are by far the most in the majors; Nelson Cruz (34), Justin Upton (33), Khris Davis (32), and Gary Sanchez (30) are the only other players with at least 30.

Grab your tele-Schoop: second baseman eclipses his own O’s record

The Orioles defeated the A’s 7-3 at Camden Yards, hitting four home runs: two by Adam Jones, one by Jonathan Schoop, and one by Welington Castillo. Schoop and Jones went back-to-back in the fifth inning off Chris Smith and Ryan Dull. It was the 11th time that Baltimore went back-to-back this season, tied with the Nationals for the second-most in the majors, trailing the Rays, who’ve gone back-to-back 12 times.

Jonathan Schoop’s home run was his 27th of the season, 26 of them, including this one, come as a second baseman and one came as a shortstop. The 26 home runs at second base broke Schoop’s own record for most home runs as a second baseman in Orioles/Browns franchise history. He hit 25 home runs in 2016, all at second base. Before Schoop came along the record was 20, by Roberto Alomar in 1996.

Indians win on walk-off error

The A.L. Central-leading Indians defeated the A.L. East-leading Red Sox 5-4 in walk-off fashion at Progressive Field, on a play that looked more like a little league walk-off win than a major-league one. After Brandon Guyer lead off the ninth with a double, Roberto Perez, who earlier in the game hit a 3-run homer, sacrificed Guyer to third. First baseman Brock Holt, however, was not content with getting the easy out at first and instead tried to nab Guyer at third, but the throw was wild, and Guyer scampered home as the winning run. The Indians’ had not had won a walk-off game on an error since September 16, 2010, when they won an 11-inning extra inning game against the Angels 3-2 where the winning run scored on an error by Alberto Callaspo.

Rookie Stratton is on fire

Chris Stratton pitched six shutout innings in a 2-0 Giants’ home win against the Brewers. For Stratton it came on the heels of a start that he threw 6⅔ scoreless innings in Washington. Stratton is the first rookie pitcher this season to stitch together back-to-back scoreless starts of six-or-more innings. Five rookie pitchers did it in 2016: Michael Fulmer (four straight starts), Sean Manaea, Junior Guerra, Steven Matz, and Kenta Maeda. Only three other Giants rookies in the last 15 seasons (since 2003) have had back-to-back starts of six-or-more scoreless innings: Matt Cain in 2006, Tim Lincecum in 2007, and Ryan Sadowski in 2009.

Pollack an extra-inning king in Queens

A.J. Pollack hit a two-run 10th inning home run off Erik Goeddel that made the score 3-1 in the Diamondback’s 3-2 win at Citi Field. It was the second extra-inning home run of Pollack’s career. His other came on April 16, 2015, a solo 10th inning off the Giants’ Santiago Casilla at AT&T Park in a 12-inning D-Back’s win there. Pollack now sports a .974 career OPS in extra-innings, well above .797 OPS in innings one through nine.

The D-Back’s record in extra innings this season is 8-3 (.727), fourth best in the majors below the Orioles (9-2, .818), Dodgers (8-2, .800), and Red Sox (11-3, .786). The Mets are 2-6 (.250) in extra innings, tied with the Twins (1-3) for the second-worst record in extras this season, better than only the Tigers (1-4, .200).

The Mets played their first extra-inning game since May 30 – they went 72 straight games without playing an extra inning game, the longest single-season span in team history.

Alonso fuels Mariners win in Atlanta

Yonder Alonso, in his 12th game with the Mariners, went 3-for-5 with 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, and 2 runs scored in the Seattle’s 6-5 win against the Braves at SunTrust Park. Alonso now has an eight-game hitting streak during which he is 13-for-30 (.433). Alonso is the fourth Mariners player in the last 30 seasons (since 1988) to join the team mid-season and have a hitting streak of 8-or-more games through 15 games with the team. Ken Griffey, Sr. did it in 1990 after having played for the Reds (12 game hitting streak), Mark Whiten did it in 1996 after coming over from the Braves (9 games), and Brian Hunter did it in 1999 after playing for the Tigers (9 games).

The Mariners have now won their last five games against the Braves, their second-longest current winning streak against any team. They have won their last six games against the Tigers.