Quick Hits: Sure, they are having great seasons, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a weakness. With help from ESPN Stats & Info's Mark Simon and Dan Braunstein, here are some top performers who have one very specific split where they are not producing.
Ubaldo Jimenez has allowed 11 runs in the sixth inning, compared to just nine in the first five innings combined. Opponents are hitting .333 in the sixth and .176 in all other innings.
It must be something about the sixth… Albert Pujols is hitting .178 in the sixth inning and .325 in every other inning combined.
Joey Votto is hitting just .148 when leading off an inning, but .354 in all other situations.
Prince Fielder is hitting .179 on at-bats ending on the first pitch when the league average is .341.
Miguel Cabrera is hitting .120 against teams with “Sox” in their name, and .356 against everyone else.
Joe Mauer is hitting just .230 with nobody out, but .330 if there are outs in the inning.
David Wright is hitting just .205 with two outs, but .349 with less than two outs.
Billy Butler is hitting .095 in full counts, but .337 in all other counts.
Opponents are hitting .395 off of Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first inning, but just .191 after.
Opponents are hitting .314 against Roy Halladay to lead off an inning, but just .223 for subsequent at-bats in the inning.
Bud Norris may not fit into the category of players have solid seasons, but this one is almost too bizarre. On the first pitch, opponents are hitting .778 against Norris. If he gets beyond the first pitch, opponents are hitting just .263.
Today’s Trivia: Jim Thome is two home runs away from tying Harmon Killebrew for 10th on the all-time list. Killebrew turns 74 today. He is one of four players to have 140 RBI and 140 walks in the same season. Who are the other three?
Today’s Leaderboard: Josh Hamilton still has two games to go in June, but is hitting .470 for the month. He’s on pace for the fifth-best June batting average over the last 25 years. In 2004, Ivan Rodriguez hit .500 for the month while with the Tigers. Yet, Hamilton is not even the highest Ranger on this list. Mark McLemore hit .472 for Texas in June 1996, but hit just .261 in every other month of that season.
Highest June Batting Average, Last 25 Seasons
Key Matchups: Andre Ethier is 18-for-33 (.545) lifetime against Matt Cain, whom he faces on Tuesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the fourth-highest batting average for an active NL batter against a current NL pitcher (min. 25 AB). The best belongs to Albert Pujols, who is a .593 hitter against Paul Maholm.
Kevin Youkilis is just 3-for-28 in the regular season against James Shields, a .107 average that is his second worst against any pitcher he’s faced 20 times (.050 against Erik Bedard is his worst). He was actually hitless in his first 18 at-bats against Shields. But ironically, Youkilis crushed Shields in the 2008 postseason, going 3-for-6 with a home run.
Trivia Answer: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Mark McGwire are the only other players with a 140-RBI and 140-walk season. Ruth is the only player to accomplish it twice.