Elias Says: June 27, 2017

Catcher Contreras homers in first PA of first start as leadoff batter

Willson Contreras, making his first major-league start as a leadoff batter, hit a first-inning home run off Gio Gonzalez in the Cubs’ 5–4 win at Washington. Contreras is the first catcher in the Cubs’ 141 seasons in the National League to hit a first-inning leadoff home run. And he’s the first major-league player in the modern era (since 1900) to hit a leadoff homer as a catcher in his first big-league start out of the leadoff slot.

Herrmann also goes deep in first opportunity as starting leadoff hitter

Chris Herrmann, usually a catcher but playing left field on Monday, led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run in his first career start as a leadoff batter and the Diamondbacks went on to beat the Phillies, 6–1. June 26, 2017 was the first day in major-league history on which two different players (Herrmann and Contreras) hit leadoff homers in their first starts out of the leadoff slot.

Nolasco’s extremely unlikely win

Ricky Nolasco, who entered Monday with a record of 2–9 (.182) in 2017, threw six-and-one-third shutout innings as the Angels ended the Dodgers’ 10-game winning streak with a 4–0 win at Chavez Ravine. Only two other pitchers in major-league history who entered a game with a winning percentage below .200 (minimum 6 decisions) earned a victory over a team on a double-digit winning streak. “Big Mike” Sullivan (2–12, .143) of the Cleveland Spiders beat the New York Giants in 1894, and the Phillies’ John Buzhardt (3–13, .188) defeated the Milwaukee Braves in 1961.

Shark continues best run of control by a Giants hurler in 103 years

Jeff Samardzija didn’t issue a walk in six-and-one-third innings of the Giants’ 9–2 win over the visiting Rockies. Over 11 starts since the end of April, Samardzija has allowed a total of just three bases on balls. That’s the fewest walks issued by any Giants pitcher over an 11-start span since Christy Mathewson in 1914 (also 3.)

Cleveland wins big after overcoming bigger deficit

The Indians trailed 9–2 in the fourth inning before scoring the game’s final 13 runs in their 15–9 home win over the Rangers. Cleveland’s six-run margin of victory was the largest by any team that trailed by at least seven runs since the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 15–9 after falling behind, 9–0 on April 21, 2012. And it was the second-largest win of that type in franchise history. The Tribe beat Tampa Bay, 20–11 on May 7, 1999 after trailing, 10–2. Roberto Alomar and David Justice each drove in five runs in that game.

Jose Ramirez (3 hits, 3 runs) led a balanced Cleveland offense that featured seven players producing at least two hits and two runs. That tied the team record for number of players having multiple hits and runs, done most recently in 2009 against the Yankees and before that in the previously mentioned comeback win over the Devil Rays in 1999.

Montgomery finishes fantastic June

Jordan Montgomery, in what was likely his final appearance of the month, allowed one run in seven innings to earn a 6–5 road win over the White Sox. Barring a surprise appearance over the next four days, Montgomery will finish June 4–0 with a 2.59 ERA. No Yankees rookie had gone 4–0 or better with an ERA below 3.00 in one month since reliever Ron Davis in September 1979 (4–0, 1.96.) The last Bombers rookie to do that as a starting pitcher was Stan Bahnsen in May 1968 (4–0, 1.93.)

Big, late rallies fall just short for Nats, Sox

The Nationals and White Sox both scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning but fell one run short in losses to the Cubs and Yankees respectively. Monday was the second day in major-league history on which two teams scored at least four runs in the bottom of the final inning of one-run, nine-inning losses. On August 5, 1929, the Pirates scored five times in the last inning of an 11–10 loss to the Giants, and the Reds scored four times in their last at bat of a 7–6 defeat at the hands of the Phillies.

Sale reaches 10 wins in 16 games for Boston

Chris Sale, in his 16th appearance of his first season with the Red Sox, improved to 10–3 in 2017 with a 4–1 home win over the Twins. The last pitcher to reach 10 wins within his first 16 career appearances for Boston was Josh Beckett in 2006.

Pham thrives in first leadoff start of the season

Tommy Pham, making his first start as a leadoff batter in 2017, scored three runs and stole a base in the Cardinals’ 8–2 win over the visiting Reds. The only other St. Louis players in the last 30 years to produce three runs and a steal in their first leadoff start of a season are Ozzie Smith (May 16, 1990) and Brendan Ryan (May 27, 2010.)