Elias Says: July 9, 2017

Frazier strikes early into career, hitting walkoff homer in sixth game

In just his sixth major-league game (and 20th MLB at-bat), Clint Frazier hit a three-run, walkoff home run off Brewers All-Star Corey Knebel to give the Yankees a 5-3 victory on Saturday. Frazier became the third Yankees player with a walkoff home run within his first 10 major-league games. Phil Rizzuto did so in his 10th game, on April 23, 1941, hitting a two-run home run off Red Sox starting pitcher Charlie Wagner in the 11th inning. And on September 24, 1999, in his sixth game in the majors, Alfonso Soriano hit a solo shot in walkoff fashion in the 11th inning off the Rays’ Norm Charlton.

Frazier is the fourth player in major-league history to hit a walkoff homer within his first 20 major-league at-bats off a pitcher selected to that season’s All-Star Game. He joins the Tigers’ Bob Patrick in 1942 (off Eddie Smith of the White Sox), the Braves’ Bill Bruton in 1953 (off the Cardinals’ Gerry Staley), and the Angels’ Eduardo Perez in 1993 (off the Twins’ Rick Aguilera).

Entering Saturday’s game, rookies were homerless in 88 at-bats against Knebel over his four seasons in the majors. This season, rookies were hitting .087 (2-for-23, two singles) versus Knebel before Frazier’s homer.

Walk, Don’t Run

The Dodgers earned their 60th win of the season, coming away with a walkoff victory in the bottom of the 10th inning versus the Royals. And this truly was a “walk”-off, as Royals pitcher Scott Alexander entered a tie game in the 10th and proceeded to walk all four batters he faced, with the game ultimately ending on a walkoff walk to Cody Bellinger as Chase Utley came in to score the winning run. In the expansion era (since 1961), only one other team won on a walkoff walk in which every batter in that final half inning walked. The Cubs defeated the Giants in this fashion on June 6, 1962. The Giants pitcher in that final inning was Don Larsen, who was not quite as perfect as he was in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Larsen walked four straight Cubs batters (and threw a wild pitch).

The Dodgers are the first team to reach 60 wins this season, the second time in the last 40 seasons in which they were the first team in the majors to hit that mark. Los Angeles was the first to 60 wins in the 2009 season.

DeJong’s big day has all sorts of significance

Cardinals rookie shortstop Paul DeJong went 4-for-4 with a home run, three doubles, and two RBIs in a 4-1 win over the Mets. DeJong is the first Cardinals shortstop (rookie or not) in the modern era (since 1900) with at least four extra-base hits in a game.

DeJong is the second rookie shortstop in the modern era with four-or-more extra-base hits in a game, joining the Padres’ Khalil Greene. Greene went 4-for-6 with two home runs and two doubles on August 13, 2004 at Cincinnati.

In his first ever game against the Mets, on Friday, DeJong went 3-for-4 with a home run and a double. In the modern era, DeJong’s six extra-base hits over his first two games versus the Mets are the most for any player over his first two games against a particular team.

Porcello reaches 11 losses before the break

Rick Porcello was sharp on Saturday, allowing just one run over eight innings, but that was not enough as the Red Sox fell to the Rays, 1-0. Porcello, last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner, suffered his 11th loss of the season on Saturday. Only two other reigning Cy Young winners had that many losses prior to the All-Star break: Mike McCormick in 1968 (11) and Gaylord Perry in 1973 (14).

Only one other Red Sox pitcher had 11-or-more losses prior to the All-Star break: Marty Pattin in 1973 (10-12 record at the break).

Teheran and the Braves win in dominating fashion

Julio Teheran tossed seven scoreless innings and drove in three runs in the Braves’ 13-0 rout at Nationals Park against the NL East’s top team. Over the last 10 years, only one other team had a shutout win by that many runs versus a division-leading team this late in the season. On August 1, 2013, the Cardinals defeated the NL Central-leading Pirates by a 13-0 final score.

Teheran is the first Braves pitcher to allow no runs in the same regular-season game in which he drove in at least three runs since Pete Smith tossed seven shutout innings and had three RBIs on May 7, 1989 against the Expos. It is worth noting that since then, Tom Glavine did this for the Braves in a postseason game, in Game 7 of the 1996 NLCS versus the Cardinals (seven shutout innings and three RBIs in a 15-0 Braves’ victory).

Happ off to impressive start through 50 games

Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber connected for back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning on Saturday, the only Cubs’ runs in a 4-2 loss to the Pirates. Happ has had quite the start to his career, with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs in 50 major-league games. Only one other Cubs player had that many home runs and RBIs through his first 50 games in the majors. That was Kyle Schwarber, who had 13 homers and 38 runs batted in over his first 50 games from June to September 2015.

No support for Verlander

Justin Verlander surrendered just one run over 6 2/3 innings, but he was not provided with any run support in the Tigers’ 4-0 loss to the Indians. Over the last five seasons (since 2013), the Tigers have been shut out in 14 of Verlander’s starts. Three other pitchers have had no run support in as many starts over that span: Jeff Samardzija (18 starts), John Lackey (15), and Julio Teheran (14).

Verlander has made 52 starts versus the Indians in his career, the most starts for any active pitcher against a particular opponent. The Tigers have been shut out in six of those starts, including Saturday night’s matchup.

Hamilton steals three more bases, increasing season total to 37

Billy Hamilton opened the matchup between the Reds and Diamondbacks on Saturday night by drawing a leadoff walk, stealing second base, and coming around to score the game’s opening run on a Zack Cozart triple. Hamilton later stole two more bases, giving him 37 on the season. That is the third season in which Hamilton had at least 35 stolen bases before the break (38 in 2014 and 44 in 2015). Among players to debut over the last 30 years, the only other player to reach that mark at the break in three different seasons was Jacoby Ellsbury (in 2008, 2009, and 2013).

Beltre belts homers on first pitch of at-bat

Adrian Beltre hit a two-run home run on the first pitch of his third-inning at-bat to give the Rangers the lead for good in their 5-2 win over the Angels. It was Beltre’s eighth homer of the season and the second he had hit on the first pitch (also doing so on June 27 off the Indians’ Cody Allen). Beltre hit 10 first-pitch homers last season, tied with Khris Davis for fifth-most in the majors (Robinson Cano, Chris Davis, Freddie Freeman, and Adam Jones each had 11).

Pair of A’s have 20 homers before the break

Yonder Alonso’s solo home run gave the A’s an early 2-0 lead over the Mariners on Saturday night, in a game they would go on to win, 4-3. Alonso’s homer was his 20th of the season, becoming the second A’s player to reach that mark in 2017 (Khris Davis has 24 home runs). Over the last 25 years, the only other season in which multiple Athletics players had at least 20 home runs by the All-Star break was in 2014. Brandon Moss had 21 at the break that season, while Josh Donaldson had 20.

Hedges delivers game-winner in second consecutive game

Padres catcher Austin Hedges hit a game-winning RBI single in the seventh inning of a 2-1 win over the Phillies on Saturday. That marked the second straight game in which Hedges delivered the game-winning RBI for his team, coming through with a game-winning sac fly in the ninth inning on Friday night. It has been over four years since the last time a Padres catcher had the game-winning RBI in back-to-back team games; Nick Hundley did so in April 2013. Before that, it had not happened since Mike Piazza in May 2006, in his lone season in a Padres uniform.

Jays’ duo takes care of business

Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki each hit three-run homers in the Blue Jays’ 7-2 victory over the Astros on Saturday. That marked the 10th game in which Donaldson and Tulowitzki each homered as members of the Blue Jays; Toronto sports a 9-1 record in those games. That one loss came earlier this season, when each hit a solo homer in a 10-8 loss to the Rays.

Before Donaldson’s home run on Saturday, he had been homerless in 80 consecutive at-bats, the longest such streak of his major-league career.

Orioles allow first run, but come out on top

After surrendering the first run of the game, the Orioles came back to score five unanswered runs (including a two-run home run by Jonathan Schoop) in their triumph over the Twins. Entering Saturday, Baltimore had lost each of its last eight games when its opponent scored first, the second-longest active streak in the majors (behind the Angels’ streak of nine, which was extended to 10 games on Saturday).

White Sox win a close one

Tim Anderson’s home run to lead off the ninth inning put the White Sox up for good, as they downed the Rockies, 5-4, at Coors Field. Entering Saturday, the White Sox sported a record of 11-29 (.275) in one-run games on the road since the start of the 2016 season, the third-lowest winning percentage in the majors over that span (Rays 6-21, .222; Padres 9-29, .237).

Low scoring games throughout the majors on Saturday

There were 103 runs scored in 15 games on Saturday, for an average of 6.9 runs per game. That was the second-lowest runs per game on a particular day this season (minimum 15 games played), behind 6.1 per game on May 27 (97 runs in 16 games).