Elias Says: August 23, 2017

Cleveland and Boston pull off a stunner

The Cavaliers and Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade on Tuesday, with Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas switching teams. It’s the first time that two players who competed against each other in an NBA Finals or semifinal series, never mind two players coming off All Star seasons, were traded for each other in the offseason. And it’s the first time that two players coming off a season in which they averaged at least 25 points per game were traded for each other.

Fister gives up only one hit – to first batter

Doug Fister allowed a leadoff home run to Francisco Lindor on Tuesday, but that was the last hit he allowed and he went the distance in Boston’s 9–1 win over Cleveland. Fister became the first pitcher to throw a complete-game one-hitter after allowing a leadoff home run since Jack McDowell went all the way for the White Sox on July 14, 1991 after Paul Molitor homered to start the bottom of the first inning. No other Red Sox pitcher has ever had a game like Fister’s.

Nunez finds the power

Eduardo Nunez homered for the fifth time in 21 games since joining the Red Sox in Boston’s win on Tuesday, after he hit only four home runs in 302 at-bats for the Giants earlier this season. No other player in major-league history has homered five times in his first 25 games for a team after playing for another major-league team earlier that season, getting at least 300 at-bats, and producing fewer than five home runs.

An oddity in Cincinnati

Anthony Rizzo wound up playing third base in the ninth inning of the Cubs’ wild win over the Reds, although he didn’t have to field a ball. He’s the first left-handed thrower to play third base since Don Mattingly played three games there, including two starts, in August 1986.

Tough loss for Reds

The Cubs defeated the Reds on Tuesday, 13–9, despite being out-homered by Cincinnati, 4–0. Teams that allowed at least four more home runs than they hit were 3–56 entering Tuesday’s game, with one of the wins by the Reds against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday.

Homers aplenty in Philly

The Marlins and Phillies combined for 14 home runs in their doubleheader on Tuesday, which the Marlins swept by scores of 12–8 and 7–4. That ties the second-most home runs in a doubleheader in major-league history. The Cubs and Milwaukee Braves hit 15 home runs in a twinbill at Wrigley Field on May 30, 1956; the Philadelphia A’s and Yankees banged out 14 homers on May 22, 1930 at Shibe Park; and the White Sox and Rangers slugged 14 homers at Comiskey Park II on August 28, 1998. More notes on the home runs in Philadelphia on Tuesday:

Marcell Ozuna, Andres Blanco and Tommy Joseph all went deep in each game of the doubleheader. Blanco and Joseph became the first major-league teammates to homer in each end of a doubleheader since Barry Bonds and J.T. Snow did so for the Giants at Wrigley Field on August 25, 1999.

Ichiro Suzuki came off the bench to slug a three-run home run in the first game. At 43 years old, Ichiro is the second oldest player ever to hit a pinch-hit home run, behind Julio Franco, who hit four of them after turning 44 years old.

Rhys Hoskins homered in the first game, giving him six home runs over his last eight games, something that no other Phillies rookie has ever done. He’s also the first Phillies player to hit six home runs in his first 12 games in the major leagues.

Sanchez kills two more baseballs

Gary Sanchez slugged two home runs, his 24th and 25th of the season, in the Yankees’ win over the Tigers on Tuesday. He’s the first player to hit 25 home runs for the Yankees in a season before turning 25 years old (which Sanchez won’t do until December 2) since Don Mattingly blasted 35 home runs in 1985, when he turned 24 years old on April 20.

Pujols ruins a debut

Albert Pujols slammed his 610th home run in the major leagues on Tuesday, against Nick Gardewine, who was making his major-league debut for the Rangers. The only other homers that Pujols has hit off a pitcher who was making his major-league debut were against Casey Daigle in 2004 and Dillon Overton last year.

Taylor comes through with two more clutch hits

Chris Taylor drove in three runs with a pair of RBI singles in the Dodgers’ win in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Taylor was hitting only .235 with runners in scoring position at the All-Star break but with his 2-for-3 RISP performance on Tuesday he’s batting .536 (15-for-28) in that situation since the hiatus, highest in the major leagues (minimum: 20 RISP at-bats).

Alexander earns first save in the major leagues

Scott Alexander got his first major-league save in tough circumstances on Tuesday. With the bases loaded and a 2–0 count on Pat Valaika, Ned Yost summoned Alexander from the bullpen to replace Kelvin Herrera. Alexander induced a ground out on his second pitch and the Royals escaped with a victory. The only other pitcher this season to get his first lifetime save after entering the game with the bases loaded and a one-run lead was the Cardinals’ Matt Bowman on July 1 against the Nationals.

Archer fans 10 Blue Jays again

Chris Archer struck out 10 Blue Jays batters on Tuesday after fanning 10 Toronto batters in his last start, on Thursday. The only other pitcher this season to make consecutive starts against the same team and reach double digits in strikeouts in each game was Jacob deGrom against the Nationals in April.

Martinez hits 10th home run for Arizona

J.D. Martinez slugged his 10th home run in his 29th game for the Diamondbacks in their win over the Mets on Tuesday. He’s the third player to join a team this season and hit at least 10 home runs in his first 30 games for them, along with Eric Thames (Brewers) and Matt Adams (Braves).

Walker hits and runs

Neil Walker went 2-for-4 and scored the game-winning run in the Brewers’ 4–3 win in San Francisco on Tuesday. Walker has hit safely in all eight games he’s played for the Brewers, the third-longest start-of-tenure hitting streak by any player to debut with a team this season. Tim Beckham hit safely in his first 12 games for the Orioles and Magneuris Sierra began his major-league career with a nine-game hitting streak for the Cardinals.

Polanco keeps homer streak alive

Jorge Polanco homered for the third straight game in the Twins’ win over the White Sox on Tuesday, tying the longest homer streak by a shortstop in Twins history. Their only other players to do that, including their 60 years as the Washington Senators, were Zoilo Versalles (three times) and Roy Smalley, Jr. (in 1980).

Road teams owned Tuesday

Road teams went 12–4 across the major leagues on Tuesday, tying their most wins on one day this season. The visitors won 12 of 15 games played on April 12.