Elias Says: Sept. 10, 2017

Wake the Dodgers up when September ends

The Rockies eked out a 6–5 victory over the Dodgers, marking the ninth consecutive loss for Los Angeles and the team’s 14th loss in its last 15 games. Who could have imagined that the Dodgers, who won 14 of 15 games earlier this year, would find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum in the very same season? The 2017 Dodgers became just the fourth team in major-league history to win 14 of 15 games and lose 14 of 15 games within the same season:

After losing their season opener in 1914, the Pirates went on to win 15 of their next 16 games. Their hot streak did not last, however, as by the end of May, Pittsburgh was out of first place for good. The Pirates then lost 14 of 15 games in September.

The Phillies lost 15 of 16 games early in the 1955 season, but Philadelphia finished the season with a .500 record thanks in part to a span of 14 wins in 15 games in July.

The Kansas City Athletics finished 1959 with a 66–88 record, a season that included 14 wins over 15 games in July and 14 losses over 15 games spanning August/September.

Indians’ win streak hits 17

The Indians scored a run in three straight innings to erase an early deficit, then five Cleveland relievers combined for four scoreless innings to preserve the team’s 17th consecutive victory, a 4–2 win over the Orioles. Saturday’s game marked the first of the Indians’ 17 straight wins in which Cleveland was not the first team to score. Cleveland’s 16-game stretch of scoring before its opponent tied the longest streak in the majors over the last 25 seasons. The Indians themselves compiled a 16-game streak of that kind in July 2013. The last team prior to Cleveland to score before its opponent in 16 consecutive games was the Brewers, who established a modern record by scoring first in 21 consecutive games in the 1990 campaign.

Jay Bruce gave Cleveland the lead for good with a run-scoring single in the fourth inning. Bruce became the 10th different Indians player to produce a game-winning RBI during their winning streak. Jose Ramirez has the most game-winners for Cleveland over that span with three. Edwin Encarnacion, Roberto Perez, Carlos Santana, and Giovanny Urshela have each recorded two game-winning RBIs during their team’s streak. And five players have one apiece – Greg Allen, Bruce, Austin Jackson, Francisco Lindor, and Tyler Naquin. (One of the Indians’ wins during their current streak had no game-winning RBI as Cleveland’s go-ahead run scored on a passed ball.)

A cycle in Chicago

Jose Abreu’s triple in the eighth inning clinched a cycle for the Cuban slugger in the White Sox’ 13–1 victory over the Giants. Abreu is the first player born in Cuba to produce a cycle in a major-league game. He’s also the seventh player this season to record a single, double, triple, and home run in a game, joining Wil Myers (April 10), Trea Turner (April 25), Carlos Gomez (April 29), Nolan Arenado (June 18), Cody Bellinger (July 15), and Evan Longoria (August 1). There have been only two seasons in major-league history with more cycles than this season; there were eight such games in both 1933 and 2009.

Padres mount huge comeback at Arizona

The Padres stunned the Diamondbacks by plating six runs in the top of the ninth inning to cap an 8–7 comeback victory at Chase Field. San Diego became the third team this season to win a game after overcoming a deficit of five or more runs in the ninth inning. The Angels erased a six-run deficit in the ninth inning against the Mariners on April 9, and the Blue Jays won via walkoff over the Angels on July 30 after trailing by six entering their half of the ninth inning.

The Diamondbacks had never before lost a game in which they had led by five or more runs entering the ninth inning, having won their first 436 games of that kind before Saturday. That leaves four active franchises that have never lost a game in which they entered the ninth inning with a lead of five or more runs – the Marlins, Padres, Rangers, and Rockies.

Sale razes Rays

Chris Sale struck out eight batters over six scoreless innings to lead the Red Sox to victory over the Rays. Sale has recorded 57 of his 278 strikeouts this season against Tampa Bay. That’s the highest strikeout total for any pitcher against a particular opponent since Randy Johnson struck out 68 Padres hitters in 2001. Sale’s strikeout total against the Rays is the highest single-season mark for a Red Sox pitcher versus any team. The previous high for Boston was 56 strikeouts for Smoky Joe Wood against the St. Louis Browns in 1912.

Inciarte wins it with a walk

Tie score, bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the ninth. A dream situation for any hitter, where one swing of the bat could bring instant victory. Ender Inciarte found himself in that situation on Saturday and failed to swing at even one pitch. Good thing he didn’t, since all four of Kyle Barraclough’s pitches to Inciarte were ruled outside of the strike zone, forcing in the go-ahead run for the Braves in their 6–5 win over the Marlins. Inciarte became the first Braves player since Andruw Jones on July 26, 2005 to end a walkoff win by walking on four pitches. Inciarte is also the third player this season to cap a victory with a four-pitch walk, joining the Orioles’ Seth Smith (April 26) and the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez (September 4).

Brewers batter former champs

Chase Anderson complemented his five scoreless innings with a pair of RBIs at the plate, helping the Brewers pile up 15 runs in their rout of the Cubs. Not only was that run total a season-high for Milwaukee, it also represented the franchise’s highest score in a game against a team that won the previous year’s World Series. The Brewers’ previous high in such a game was 14 runs, which they achieved against the Tigers in 1985.

Back to Anderson, who became the second pitcher this season to end his day’s work without allowing a run while producing multiple hits and RBIs as a batter in that same game. Julio Teheran pitched seven scoreless innings at Nationals Park on July 8 and helped his own cause with a pair of singles that drove in three runs for the Braves. Anderson became the third pitcher in franchise history with such a game, joining Fred Talbot (1969 Seattle Pilots) and Kyle Lohse (2014 Brewers).

Severino amazing in no-decision

Luis Severino dazzled the Rangers on Saturday, allowing just one hit and one run over seven innings while striking out 10. Severino has allowed one run or fewer in 15 of his starts this season. That’s the most such starts for any major-league pitcher this season, and it’s the most starts in a season for a Yankees pitcher since Mike Mussina allowed one run or fewer in 16 starts in 2001.

Severino became the 14th pitcher in Yankees history to reach double-digits in strikeouts in a game while allowing no more than one hit. Only one of the previous 13 to do so for the Bombers was younger at the time than the 23-year-old Severino. Al Downing was 22 years old when he struck out 10 White Sox batters in a one-hit shutout on July 2, 1963 at Yankee Stadium.

A’s walk all over Astros

The A’s put on a walkathon in their matinee victory over the Astros on Saturday. Oakland’s batters drew 13 bases on balls in Saturday’s doubleheader opener, including five free passes with the bases loaded. That’s the second time in the last 15 seasons that A’s batters drove in at least five runs via walks in a single game; Oakland also coaxed five walks with the bases loaded on Sep. 5, 2008 at Baltimore. No other major-league team has produced such a game over that 15-season span.

Astros reliever Reymin Guduan accounted for a good part of Houston’s wildness, issuing walks to the last five batters he faced in the eighth inning. Only one other pitcher in the expansion era – that is, since 1961 – surrendered a walk to five consecutive batters after entering the game in relief. Jason Davis also did that on April 24, 2005 for the Indians at Seattle. On the plus side, Davis faced nine Mariners batters without allowing a hit. He also finished his outing with more walks issued (five) than outs recorded (four).

Oakland rolls 11 twice

The Astros only walked one batter in their second matchup against the A’s on Saturday, but it was all the same to Oakland, which put up another 11 runs in the nightcap to sweep the doubleheader. The A’s became the first team in just under nine years to score at least 11 runs in each of two games on the same day. On Sept. 13, 2008, the Twins scored 12 runs in each of two games at Baltimore.

Heck of a (half) season for Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins homered to put the Phillies on the scoreboard in their 5–4 win over the Nationals. Hoskins’s 14 home runs are the most for any player in his first 30 major-league games, surpassing Kevin Maas who homered 12 times in his first 30 games in 1990. Hoskins also became the first player – rookie or veteran – to hit at least 14 home runs in a season without appearing in a game until August. Hoskins surpassed Ted Williams, who served with the Marines in 1953 and did not play a game for the Red Sox until August 6. Despite his prolonged absence, “The Splendid Splinter” managed to hit .407 with 13 home runs in just 37 games that season!

Hoskins has also accumulated 32 hits and 31 RBIs in his 30 major-league games, making him one of three active major-leaguers to produce at least 30 hits and 30 RBIs through 30 games. The other active players who did that: Jose Abreu (32 hits, 33 RBIs) and Albert Pujols (42 hits, 34 RBIs).

Montero overcomes walks to win

Rafael Montero has won each of his last three starts, including Saturday’s 6–1 victory for the Mets over the Reds. Montero has found success despite a recent lofty walk rate – he surrendered four walks at Cincinnati on August 30, five versus the Phillies on September 4, and five more against the Reds on Saturday. Montero is the first pitcher since Felix Doubront in April 2013 to earn a win in three consecutive starts despite allowing at least four walks in each game. Three other Mets pitchers have had three-game streaks of that kind – Nolan Ryan (three consecutive starts in 1971), Ron Darling (two streaks of three games, one in 1984 and one in 1985), and David Cone (five game-streak in 1992).

One-and-done has new meaning for Twins

Pitch limits were at an all-time low for Twins relievers in Kansas City on Saturday. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Buddy Boshers relieved Ryan Pressly and threw one pitch to Eric Hosmer; it was hit for a single. Tyler Duffey then replaced Boshers and threw but one pitch, which was grounded down the left-field line by Salvador Perez for an RBI double. After Duffey stuck around for a no-pitch intentional walk, Taylor Rogers took his turn for the Twins, retiring Brandon Moss on one pitch before taking his leave. Alan Busenitz finished off the inning for Minnesota, throwing five pitches (what stamina!) to finish off the frame.

It had been a little more than 10 years since the last time that a major-league team had as many as three pitchers throw exactly one pitch in a game. The circumstances were quite similar on Aug. 21, 2007, with the Royals at bat in the eighth inning. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen used a new pitcher for every batter in the inning. Ehren Wassermann recorded the first out on six pitches, then he gave way to Mike Myers, who was pulled after allowing a first-pitch single. Ryan Bukvich wasn’t much better, allowing a single on his only pitch as well. Matt Thornton cleaned up the damage with his one pitch, coaxing a double-play groundball from Alex Gordon to end the inning.