1st Pitch: Slumping Sophomores

Quick Hits: The sophomore slump has hit a few players hard this year. Let’s take a look a few guys struggling to duplicate their rookie seasons:

* Chris Coghlan hit .319 against LHP in 2009, but is batting just .207 this year.

* Gordon Beckham hit .323 with RISP last year, but that number has dropped to .083 this season.

* Garrett Jones led all rookies with 21 homers last season, all of which came after he got ahead in the count 1-0. This season, he’s batting just .167 when ahead 1-0, compared to .349 last season.

* Rick Porcello’s struggles have come primarily against lefties, who are hitting .389 against him this season – over 100 points higher than their .281 mark last season.

Today’s Trivia: Today is Lou Whitaker’s 53rd birthday. Since he retired in 1995, who has played the most games at second base for the Tigers?

Highest Pct of Extra Bases Taken

Today’s Leaderboard: Baseball-Reference tracks a stat called percent of extra bases taken. It’s the percentage of times a runner advances more than one base on a single and more than two bases on a double, when possible. There’s a certain element to the stat that’s out of the base runner’s control (where the ball is hit, fielder’s arm, etc) but a higher percentage typically corresponds to a better base runner. Here are this year’s leaders.

Key Matchups: Not many pitchers can say they own Albert Pujols, but Wandy Rodriguez is one of the few. Among pitchers whom Pujols has faced at least 25 times, no one has held him to a lower batting average than Rodriguez. In 40 plate appearances against Rodriguez, Pujols is batting just .212 with one home run.

Don’t be surprised if Ryan Spilborghs gets a start for the Rockies tonight in the second game of their double header. Spilborghs has six hits in 11 at bats against Jamie Moyer, including two home runs.

Trivia Answer: Damion Easley played in 795 games at second base for the Tigers from 1996 to 2002. Trailing him are Placido Polanco (625), Omar Infante (235) and Mark Lewis (144).