1st Pitch: Clutch pitching performances

Quick Hits: Today in Quick Hits, let’s take a look at some pitchers who rise to the occasion when faced with a tough situation.

•3-4-5 hitters are 0-16 this season with RISP against Tim Hudson, easily the worst opponents BA in the majors.

•Tony Sipp has allowed just one base runner (a walk) against 20 batters faced with RISP.

•3-4-5 hitters are batting .135 against Barry Zito, the lowest average in the majors.

•Opponents are 0-15 against James Shields with runners on second and third.

•Opponents are 0-8 against Scott Linebrink with the bases loaded this season.

Today’s Trivia: Through the 1995 season, only nine catchers had ever hit 35 home runs in a season. In 1996, three more were added to the list – the most in any one season in baseball history. One of the players was Todd Hundley, whose birthday is today. Can you name the other two?

Highest Opp OPS vs 3-4-5 Hitters

Min. 50 Batters Faced

Today’s Leaderboard: CC Sabathia hasn’t quite lived up to lofty expectations this season. A key reason has been his inability to shut down the heart of his opponents lineup. 3-4-5 hitters are batting .309 with league-high eight home runs and a 1.102 OPS against Sabathia this season. Those numbers put him in some unwanted company:

Key Matchups: Adrian Beltre is red hot, which is bad news for Brian Bannister. In his career against Bannister, Beltre is batting .455 (5-11).

Javier Vazquez’s struggles are unlikely to end tonight in Minnesota. A number of Twins have had success against Vazquez in his career including Justin Morneau (.350 BA, 6 HR), Delmon Young (.438 BA) and Michael Cuddyer (.343 BA, 2 HR).

Trivia Answer: Mike Piazza (36) and Terry Steinbach (35). It was a career high for both, at the time. Piazza would go on to hit 40 the following season. Steinbach had never hit more than 16 prior to ’96 and never hit more than 14 after