Elias Says: August 5, 2017

Darvish delightful in Dodger debut

Yu Darvish racked up 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings in his Dodgers debut against the Mets at Citi Field on Friday. Darvish became the second pitcher this season to reach double-digits in strikeouts without allowing a run in his first game for a team following a midseason trade; Jose Quintana struck out 12 over seven scoreless innings in his Cubs debut on July 16.

Only two other pitchers since 1893, when the distance from the mound to home plate was set at 60 feet 6 inches, struck out 10 or more batters without allowing a run in his debut for a new team after pitching for another team earlier in the season. Phil Douglas struck out 10 in a complete-game shutout in his first game for the Cubs on Sep. 15, 1915 after stints with the Reds and the Dodgers earlier that season. Rich Harden also enjoyed a 10-strikeout, no-run debut for the Cubbies, doing so on July 12, 2008 after a midseason trade from the A’s.

Murphy mashes in Wrigleyville

Daniel Murphy went deep in the top of the first inning, his first of two homers on the day, helping the Nationals defeat the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Over the last two seasons, the Nationals are 8–0 in games in which Murphy went deep in the first inning. That’s at the opposite end of the spectrum from Murphy’s experiences with his previous ballclub. In his final two seasons with the Mets (2014–15), New York was 0–5 when Murphy homered in the opening frame.

Wrigley Field has certainly been the “Friendly Confines” for Murphy – he has 33 hits in 85 at-bats at the Cubs’ home park, good for a .388 batting average. By the way, that’s not including his 6-for-10 barrage at Wrigley in the 2015 postseason, which helped the Mets sweep the Cubs in the NLCS. The only player with at least 80 at-bats at Wrigley Field and a higher batting average than Murphy is Eddie Murray, who batted .395 at that ballpark in his Hall-of-Fame career.

Moreland clears Green Monster for walkoff winner

Mitch Moreland entered Friday’s Sox v. Sox game as a defensive replacement for Hanley Ramirez, though his offense ended up being the story for Boston. Moreland’s fly ball in the 11th inning found the seats atop the Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a 3–2 walkoff win over the White Sox. Moreland’s game-ending home run was the fourth in the majors this season by a player who was not in his team’s starting lineup to begin the game; the first three were hit by JT Riddle (April 16), Devin Mesoraco (June 2), and Trey Mancini (June 7). With Friday’s win, the Red Sox improved to 10–3 in extra-inning games this season, tying the Giants (10–6) for the most such wins in the majors.

Colon notches complete-game win

Bartolo Colon went the distance for the Twins on Friday to earn his first win since signing with Minnesota last month. At age 44, Colon became the oldest player to record a complete-game win in the last seven seasons. The last player that threw a complete game and earned a win at an older age than Colon was Jamie Moyer, who was 47 years young when he held the Padres to two runs over nine innings for the Phillies on June 5, 2010. Colon did stake his claim as the oldest player with a complete-game win for the Twins/Senators franchise, besting Connie Marrero who was 43 at the time of his last complete-game victory for the Senators in 1954.

Including Friday’s performance, Colon has thrown a complete game for eight different major-league teams: the Indians, Expos, Angels, White Sox, Yankees, A’s, Mets, and Twins. Only two other pitchers that debuted in the modern era – that is, since 1900 – pitched a complete game for at least eight different ballclubs. Mike Morgan did so for nine different teams, and Doyle Alexander did so for eight teams.

Friday’s game marked Colon’s first win at Target Field, which is the 40th venue at which Colon has recorded a win. Only three other pitchers in the modern era have notched a win at 40 or more stadiums – Randy Johnson (43), Jamie Moyer (42), and Pedro Martinez (40). The all-time record holder is Tim Keefe, who won 342 games at 47 different stadiums from 1880 to 1893.

Have baseball, will travel

Jaime Garcia’s winning streak ended on Friday night after allowing six runs (five earned) in his debut with the Yankees against the Indians. Garcia, who earned a win in his final start for the Braves on July 21 as well as his only start for the Twins on July 28, did put his name in the record books in another way, becoming the first pitcher in major-league history to start a game for three different teams over a span of 15 days. The previous shortest span for a pitcher making a start for three different teams was 23 days, a mark set by Ed Daily in 1890 (Brooklyn Gladiators of the American Association, New York Giants, Louisville Colonels of A.A.) and tied by Ron Darling in 1991 (Mets, Expos, Athletics).

Up(ton) up and away

Justin Upton’s eighth-inning grand slam off Orioles reliever Mychal Givens made a winner of Justin Verlander on Friday. Upton also homered with the bases loaded in Verlander’s last start on July 30, making him one of two players over the last five seasons to hit a grand-slam home run in consecutive starts by a particular pitcher. Bryce Harper homered with the bases full on April 14, 2016 versus the Braves and did so again five days later at Miami, providing four runs of support for Stephen Strasburg in each instance.

Beckham looking like a #1 talent in Baltimore

Tim Beckham also had a big night at Camden Yards on Friday, going 4-for-4 in his fourth game with the Orioles. Beckham has produced multiple hits in each of his first four games with Baltimore. No other active player recorded at least two hits in each of his first four games with his current team. Beckham’s 11 hits in four games since joining the Orioles are the most by any player in his first four games for the Orioles/Browns franchise. Beckham surpassed Sammy West, who rapped 10 hits in his first four games for the St. Louis Browns in 1933.

Paxton keeps on winning

James Paxton extended his streak of consecutive starts with a win to seven after vanquishing the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Paxton, who allowed two runs in six innings to earn the win, became the third pitcher in Mariners history to record a win in seven consecutive starts. Scott Bankhead won seven consecutive starts for Seattle in 1989, as did Jamie Moyer in 2003.

Another one-run win for Rockies

DJ LeMahieu’s RBI-single in the bottom of the eighth inning put the Rockies ahead to stay in their 4–3 comeback victory over the Phillies. The win boosted Colorado’s record to 14–6 (.700) in games decided by one run, which is the best such record in the majors. The Rockies had never posted a winning percentage of .600 or better in one-run games for a season entering this year. Colorado finished 12–20 (.375) in games of that kind last season, which was the worst winning percentage among National League teams and third-worst in the majors.

Iglesias slams door on Cardinals

Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve a 3–2 win for the Reds over the Cardinals. Iglesias compiled a 5.06 ERA in three starts against St. Louis as a rookie in 2015. Since the start of the 2016 season, Iglesias has pitched 15 innings in relief versus the Cards without allowing a run. Cardinals batters have batted .120 versus Iglesias since the start of last season, including 16 strikeouts in 50 at-bats.

Iglesias has notched a save in six wins for the Reds over the Cardinals this season. That’s the most saves for a Reds pitcher against the Cardinals in a single season since 1969, when saves first became an official statistic. The only other relief pitcher this season with at least six saves against a particular opponent is Wade Davis, who has saved seven wins for the Cubs against St. Louis.

Astros blast off against Blue Jays

Tyler White produced four run-scoring hits on Friday, helping the Astros blow out the Blue Jays. White had a RBI-double and run-scoring single in the fourth inning alone, then he hit a two-run homer and a solo shot in his final two times at the plate. White’s five RBIs are tied for the most by an Astros player in a game this season; five other players have reached that mark for Houston this year, with George Springer doing so twice. The only other team that has seen at least six of its players drive in five or more runs in a game this season is the Rangers, who have also had six players reach that total.

The only season in which more than six players produced a 5-RBI game for Houston was the 2000 campaign, when seven Astros players did so.

Nothing but goose eggs for Woodruff in MLB debut

Brandon Woodruff was terrific in his major-league debut on Friday, combining with three Brewers relievers to hold the Rays scoreless at Tropicana Field. Woodruff, whose first attempt at a major-league debut in June ended with an injury in pre-game warm-ups, struck out six over 6⅓ scoreless innings to earn the win. Only one Brewers pitcher finished his major-league debut with more scoreless innings than Woodruff. On July 28, 1997, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays, Steve Woodard held Toronto to one hit over eight scoreless innings in his major-league debut. Woodard struck out 12 in that game, which would be the highest strikeout total of his 94 starts in the major leagues.

Angels single-mindedly batter A’s

A smallball attack sparked a late-inning rally for the Angels in their 8–6 victory over the A’s. Los Angeles rallied from a four-run deficit by scoring six runs in the sixth and seventh innings, with all six runs coming home via singles. Friday’s win marked the sixth time this season that the Angels overcame a deficit of four or more runs in a win, which is tied with the Royals for the most such comeback wins this season.

The Angels became the fourth team this season to score eight or more runs in a game with none of the runs scoring on an extra-base hit. The Red Sox scored nine runs in that fashion against the Rangers on May 24, while the Rays (April 19 versus the Tigers) and Indians (June 1 against the A’s) scored eight times with no run-scoring extra-base hits.