Elias Says: April 25, 2017

Warriors take series after storming out to huge lead

The Warriors tied an NBA playoffs record with 45 points in the first quarter of their series-clinching win over the Trail Blazers on Monday. The other teams to score 45 in the first quarter of a playoff game were the Lakers against the Suns in 1985, Mavericks against the Lakers in 1986 (in a game Dallas won by only two points), and Rockets against the Warriors in 2015.

The Cavaliers and Warriors each swept their first round series. It’s the first time that both teams from the previous NBA Finals each swept their first-round playoff series since 2004 when the Nets swept the Knicks and the Spurs swept the Grizzlies.

Raptors take a 3–2 lead on Bucks by controlling the glass

The Raptors set a team playoff record with 17 unanswered points against the Bucks on Monday, and took a 3–2 lead in their series. Previously, Toronto’s longest streak of points in a playoff game was 13, done three times. Norman Powell led the way for Toronto with 25 points, after he had lead the team in scoring in only two games during the regular-season.

Toronto limited Milwaukee to two offensive rebounds on Monday, tying the second-lowest total for any team in a playoff game in the 45 seasons the statistic has been recorded. The Suns had one offensive rebound against the Lakers in 2006; six other teams have had two, most recently the Lakers in the sixth and final game of the 2008 Finals against the Celtics.

Hawks even series by sharing the load

The Hawks had seven players score in double figures in their win over the Wizards on Monday. Atlanta hadn’t had seven players reach double digits in a playoff game since Game 1 of a first-round series against Detroit in 1986, when Dominique Wilkins led the way with 28 points.

Thames terrorizing Reds

Eric Thames struck again, mashing two home runs, his ninth and tenth of the season, in the Brewers’ 11–7 win over the Reds on Monday. Thames has homered in all five of his games against the Reds this season, after never having faced them before his three seasons in South Korea. The only other player in the modern era to homer in his first five games against one opponent was the Orioles’ Jay Gibbons against Toronto in 2001.

Only three players in major-league history homered at least 10 times in a season before the end of April after not having played in the major leagues the previous year. Andres Galarraga homered 10 times in April 2000 after missing the previous season battling cancer; Jose Abreu (2014) and Trevor Story (2016) each hit 10 homers in April of their rookie season.

Greinke controls the zone

Zack Greinke had 11 strikeouts without walking a batter for Arizona against San Diego on Monday. It was Greinke’s 11th game with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks, which is the fourth-highest total among active players, behind Clayton Kershaw (19), Max Scherzer (15) and Madison Bumgarner (12).

Heyward is hot

Jason Heyward’s first-inning three-run homer was the big blow in the Cubs’ 14–3 win over the Pirates on Monday. Heyward has 11 RBIs over his last four games (1–4–2–4), which is his highest RBI total over a four-game span in the major leagues.

Orioles slug their way back against Rays

Chris Archer entered the sixth inning of Monday’s game in Baltimore not having allowed a home run in 30⅓ innings this season. But he surrendered back-to-back blasts to Hyun Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop and then a go-ahead shot to Adam Jones in the following inning. Archer has allowed nine home runs in three games at Camden Yards since the start of the 2016 season.

Baltimore’s bullpen threw 5⅔ innings after Vidal Nuno wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam without allowing a run. Over the Orioles’ last six games their bullpen has allowed one run in 17⅔ innings and stranded all 10 runners they’ve inherited.

Cain wins without support

Matt Cain threw six scoreless innings and the Giants held on the defeat the Dodgers, 2–1. Cain had not won any of his previous 20 starts in which the Giants scored two or fewer runs, dating back to a 2–1 win over the Phillies on August 1, 2013.

Davidson’s big inning

White Sox rookie Matt Davidson had a pair of RBI hits in Chicago’s eight-run sixth inning on Monday. No other rookie has had a pair of RBI hits in an inning this season and the only one to do so last season was Trevor Story, in a 13-run inning for the Rockies on May 5 at San Francisco.

Royals bats are frigid

The Royals have been held to two or fewer runs in each of their last eight games, the longest such streak in team history, and the longest for an American League team since Detroit’s eight-game streak in September 2005. Kansas City previously had seven-game streaks of that kind in 1990 and 2004. Kansas City went 2-for-30 as its team batting average dropped to .199. At 19 games, this is the furthest into any season that the Royals’ team batting average stood under .200.

Blackmon turns deficit into lead

Charlie Blackmon homered off Nationals reliever Enny Romero to turn a 4–3 deficit into a 5–4 advantage for the Rockies. It was only Blackmon’s second (of 80) major-league home runs that put the Rockies in the lead in the seventh inning or later. His other go-ahead homer in the late innings was also against the Nationals. On August 27, 2016, Blackmon hit a two-run homer in the top of the 11th inning to put the Rockies ahead for good at Nationals Park.

Dozier does damage

Brian Dozier’s three-run double provided all the runs the Twins would need in their 3–2 win over the Rangers on Monday. Dozier entered the game with a .122 batting average (5 for 41) with the bases loaded, with only one extra-base hit. The only active player with a lower bases-full batting average (minimum: 40 plate appearances) was Tyler Flowers (.111), although Dozier has now jumped ahead of Justin Smoak (.123).