Elias Says: April 14, 2017

Travis d’Arnaud caps big game with 16th-inning homer

Travis d’Arnaud went 4-for-6, including a three-run, second-inning triple and a go-ahead home run in the 16th frame of the Mets’ 9–8 win at Miami. Since runs batted in became an official statistic in 1920, only two other players have collected at least four hits and four RBIs, including a game-winning home run in the 16th inning or later, in one game – George Brett against the Orioles on May 28, 1979, and Adrian Gonzalez against the Reds on May 25, 2008. And of course neither Brett nor Gonzalez had play 16 innings behind the plate like d’Arnaud did on Thursday.

For second straight game, Mets allow a grand slam, still win

Marcell Ozuna’s first-inning grand slam put the Mets in an early hole in their 16-inning win Thursday night. It was the second consecutive game that New York won despite allowing a home run with the bases loaded – the Phillies’ Maikel Franco hit a four-run shot on Wednesday night. Only two other teams in major-league history have won two straight games despite allowing a grand slam in each – the Brewers in September 1983 and the Rockies in July 2003.

Rangers’ ninth-inning pitching woes continue

The Rangers led 8–0 before allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of their 8–3 win over the Angels in Anaheim. Texas has surrendered 16 ninth-inning runs in nine games in 2017. That’s the third-highest total allowed by any team in major-league history over its first nine games of a season. The Milwaukee Brewers (not the current version but the ancestors of today’s Orioles) gave up 18 in 1901, the American League’s first season. And the Mariners surrendered 17 in 1997.

Gomez hits his second leadoff homer for Texas

Carlos Gomez hit his 11th career first-inning leadoff home run in the Rangers’ 8–3 road win over the Angels. Gomez hit two leadoff homers for the Twins, seven for the Brewers, and Thursday’s was his second for Texas. The only other active players who have more than one leadoff home run for three different teams are Shin-Soo Choo (for Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Texas), Dexter Fowler (Colorado, Houston, Chicago Cubs), and Denard Span (Minnesota, Washington San Francisco.)

Anderson is much improved in 2017

Brett Anderson tossed five scoreless innings against his former team, lowering his ERA to 0.84 in the Cubs’ 4–0 home win over the Dodgers. Last season Anderson posted an ugly 11.91 earned-run average in 11⅓ frames for Los Angeles. Since the National League officially began compiling earned runs in 1912, Anderson’s ERA is the lowest over the first two starts of a season by any Cubs pitcher who allowed at least nine ER per nine innings the previous year. The previous “record” was set 100 years ago by Harry Weaver. Weaver, whose ERA was 10.13 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1916, cut that number to 1.84 over his only two starts in 1917.

Anderson’s leadoff homer isn’t a rally-killer

Tim Anderson hit a home run on Josh Tomlin’s first pitch of the game, and the White Sox went on to score four more times in the first inning of their 10–4 win at Cleveland. The Southsiders’ five runs were their highest total in a first inning that started with a home run since April 17, 1954, when Chico Carrasquel’s leadoff blast off Art Houtteman started a five-run frame in an 8–1 Chicago win, also at Cleveland.

Hicks hits go-ahead homers from both sides of the plate

Switch-hitter Aaron Hicks drove in the first run of the game with a solo home run off right-hander Matt Andriese in the first inning, and then provided the winning margin with a two-run shot off lefty Xavier Cedeno in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 3–2 home win over the Rays. Only one other player in the last five seasons (2013 to date) has hit go-ahead home runs from both sides of the plate in one game. That was the Brewers’ Jonathan Villar against the Cubs on Sept. 7, 2016.

Braun homers at his favorite road park

Ryan Braun hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning of the Brewers’ 5–1 win at Cincinnati. It was Braun’s 21st career homer at Great American Ball Park. The only active players with as many home runs as a visitor at any stadium since 2007, Braun’s first season in the majors, are Jose Bautista (24 at Fenway Park) and Miguel Cabrera (21 at Progressive Field.)

Bottom two in O’s lineup drive in runs

Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy, batting eighth and ninth respectively in the Orioles lineup, each had RBI hits in the fifth inning of Baltimore’s 2–1 win at Toronto. It was just the third time since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920 that the Orioles franchise won a game by a score of 2–0 or 2–1 in which its eighth- and ninth-place batters both drove in runs. On April 6, 1992, Chris Hoiles and Billy Ripken had RBIs in a 2–0 win over Cleveland in the first-ever game at Camden Yards. And on April 12, 2014, David Lough and Schoop drove in the runs in a 2–1 home win over the Blue Jays.

Haley fans six in first save

Justin Haley recorded six of his 10 outs via strikeouts, earning his first major-league save in the Twins’ 11–5 win at Detroit. The last pitcher to collect at least six strikeouts in any save was the Royals’ Danny Duffy, also at Detroit on Sep. 20, 2015 (6 SO in 4 IP.) That also happened to be Duffy’s first (and to date, only) save in the majors. Haley is the 21st reliever to strike out six-or-more batters in his first big-league save since the statistic became official in 1969. Only one of the previous 20 went on to save as many as 90 games. That was Tom “Flash” Gordon, who fanned six in two-and-one-third innings for Kansas City at Texas in 1989. Gordon finished his career with 158 saves, although he wouldn’t earn more than one in a season until 1997.

Bogaerts comes through in the clutch

Xander Bogaerts’s eighth-inning RBI single provided the winning margin for the Red Sox in their 4–3 win over the Pirates at Fenway Park. Bogaerts, in his fifth major-league season, is a lifetime .313 batter in late-inning pressure situations. That’s the highest average by any active player with at least 150 at-bats in those situations.

Rockies beat MadBum despite short outing by starting pitcher

The Rockies beat Madison Bumgarner and the Giants, 3–1, despite losing their starting pitcher, Jon Gray, to a toe injury after three innings. No team whose starting pitcher failed to record at least 10 outs had beaten San Francisco in a game started by Bumgarner since Colorado did so on June 15, 2014. Juan Nicasio started and pitched two innings for the Rockies that day. The only other time Bumgarner himself was charged with a loss in such a game was in his second major-league start, on June 26, 2010. The Red Sox’ Clay Buchholz left that game after one inning, but Boston won, 4–2.

Vargas shows excellent command in first two starts

Jason Vargas walked one and struck out eight in seven-and-two-thirds scoreless innings of the Royals’ 3–1 home win over the A’s. In his first start of the season, Vargas had one walk and six strikeouts in a win at Houston. The only other Royals pitchers to issue no more than one walk and strike out six-or-more batters in each of their first two starts of a season are Ervin Santana and James Shields, both in 2013.

Wilson’s first playoff goal comes at perfect time

Tom Wilson’s first career goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs was the overtime winner for the Capitals in their 3–2 series-opening victory against the Maple Leafs. Wilson is the first player ever whose first NHL postseason goal was an overtime tally for the Capitals. Wilson is the first NHL player this year to score an overtime goal for his first career goal in postseason play. Three players did that in 2016: the Islanders’ Thomas Hickey and Alan Quine, and Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson.

Marner’s playoff career gets off to fast start

Rookie Mitch Marner, making his NHL playoff debut, gave the Maple Leafs a quick 1–0 lead in Game 1 of their series against the Capitals when he scored a goal only 95 seconds after the opening faceoff. Marner is the first NHL player to score a goal within the first two minutes of his Stanley Cup playoff debut since April 10, 2008, when Sergei Kostitsyn of the Canadiens scored 34 seconds into his first postseason game. Before Marner, the last debutant to do that while playing for the Maple Leafs was Andy Blair in 1929. The 19-year-old Marner (he’ll turn 20 on May 5) is the first teenager to score a playoff goal for the Leafs since Daniel Marois score once at age 19 against the Red Wings in 1988.

Rinne pitches road shutout in playoff opener

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne notched the second playoff shutout of his NHL career with a 1–0 victory in Chicago in Game 1 of the Predators’ first-round series against the Blackhawks. Rinne is the sixth goaltender in the NHL’s expansion era (i.e., 1968 to date) to post a 1–0 road shutout in his team’s first game of a playoff year. The other netminders to do that were the Blues’ Glenn Hall in 1968 (at Philadelphia), the Sabres’ Bob Sauve in 1983 (at Montreal), the Maple Leafs’ Curtis Joseph in 2001 (at Ottawa in overtime), the Sabres’ Ryan Miller in 2011 (at Philadelphia) and the Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard in 2014 (at Boston).

Ducks get 41 SOG in win

The Ducks had 41 shots on goal in their 3–2, Game 1 win over the Flames. That was Anaheim’s second-highest total of shots on net in a non-overtime playoff game. The Mighty Ducks had 46 shots in a 6–3 win at Edmonton in Game 4 of the 2006 Western Conference Final.