1st Pitch: Whose fans are showing up?

Today’s Trivia: Putz

Roger Clemens finds himself back in the news today, so let’s take a look back at the Rocket’s playing days. Clemens won seven Cy Young awards – his first in 1986 and last in 2004. Five pitchers finished second behind Clemens in Cy Voting once, but one pitcher did it twice. Who is he?

Bonus question: Clemens not only won the Cy in 1986, he was the MVP as well. Who was runner-up to Clemens that year in MVP voting?

Quick Hits:

The Philadelphia Phillies are expected to chalk up their 100th straight home sellout on Thursday. The last game the Phillies did not sell out was July 6 of last season when they drew 41,548 for a game against the Reds. Let’s take a look at some parks that have seen attendance boosts or attendance swoons since last season.

Note: all comparisons are through the same number of home games for each season, so since the Reds have played 62 home games this season, their figures are compared to the numbers through 62 home games of last season (not through all 81 home games).

• It is no surprise that the Minnesota Twins are seeing the biggest boost, though they have a new park to thank. They’re drawing more than 10,200 fans per game MORE than they did last season at the Metrodome.

• In the non-new-ballpark category, hats off to the Colorado Rockies. They’re getting a 2,700 fans-per-game boost over last year, even though they made the playoffs last season.

• Give the consistency award to the fans at Busch Stadium. Their change this year is a whopping one, yes one, fan less per game. They averaged 40,846 last year and this year are bringing in 40,845.

• Hardest hit this year is the New York Mets, whose honeymoon with Citi Field has worn off. They’re seeing a decrease of more than 6,000 fans per game.

• And someone wake up the fans in Tampa. Though the Rays are in a division battle and have one of the best records in MLB, their attendance is down by almost 1,400 fans per game.

• Overall, 11 teams are drawing more fans per game this year compared to last, while the 19 others find themselves in the red. The average, through the same number of home games in each season, is 380 less fans per game this year.

Today’s Leaderboard:

Today is the anniversary of Eddie Gaedel and his only career plate appearance. So to honor the 3'7" big leaguer, here are the modern-day Gaedel's, or at least as close as we can get. As you can see, there are plenty of varying body types on this list:

Most Four-Pitch Walks This Season by Players Under Six Feet Tall:

5'11'' Prince Fielder - 16

5'11" Shin-Soo Choo - 13

5'11" Pablo Sandoval - 12

5'10" Andrew McCutchen - 12

5'11" Bengie Molina - 12

5'11" Blake Dewitt - 12

Excludes intentional walks

And, just for fun, let’s use Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to connect Gaedel with Fielder, his modern-day “counterpart”.

Eddie Gaedel played with Jim Dyck for the 1951 Browns...

• Dyck played with Frank Robinson for the 1956 Redlegs...

• Robinson played with Dennis Eckersley for the 1975 Indians...

• Eckersley played with David Bell for the 1996 Cardinals...

• and Bell played with Fielder for the 2006 Brewers.

Thursday's Key Matchup:

Put it this way: Joe Mauer is batting .256 in his career against pitchers named Mark Buehrle and .329 against pitchers not named Mark Buehrle. There are only two pitchers (Justin Verlander and John Danks) who Mauer has faced more in his career than Buehrle. He’s batting better than .340 against each of them while Buehrle has held him to 11 hits in 43 at-bats.

Trivia Answer:

Randy Johnson was the two-time bridesmaid, finishing behind Clemens in 1997 and 2004. And get this, it happened once in the AL and once in the NL. Clemens the Blue Jay beat Johnson the Mariner in 1997 and Clemens the Astro beat Johnson the Diamondback in 2004.

The MVP runner-up in 1986 was Don Mattingly, who batted .352 that season with 31 HR and a .967 OPS. Only one pitcher was among the top nine vote-getters that season, and it was Clemens.