Elias Says: Aug. 31, 2017

Big day for Inciarte

Ender Inciarte went 5-for-5 with four RBIs in the Braves’ win in game one of their doubleheader against the Phillies. It’s the second time this season that Inciarte went 5-for-5 or better with at least four RBIs in a game; he went 5-for-5 with five RBIs at Cincinnati on June 4. Only three other players since 1920, the first season in which RBIs were kept as an official statistic, had two games in one season in which they went 5-for-5 or better with at least four RBIs: Joe Carter for the Indians in 1986, Jeff Kent for the Giants in 1999 and Kris Bryant for the Cubs in 2016.

Inciarte followed up his Game 1 performance by going 3-for-5 with an RBI in Game 2 giving him eight hits and five RBIs for the day. Prior to Inciarte, the last player with at least eight hits and five RBIs on one day was Tony Oliva for the Twins on June 29, 1969. Oliva went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the first game of a doubleheader played at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, and 5-for-5 with five RBIs in Game 2. The only other Braves player with that many hits and RBIs on one day was Buck Jordan on August 25, 1936, when the team was located in Boston (8 hits, 6 RBI).

Strasburg does it with his arm and bat

Stephen Strasburg did it with his arm and his bat in the Nationals’ win over the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon. Strasburg pitched a six-hit shutout and hit a solo home run in the victory. The only other player in Expos/Nationals history to throw a shutout and hit a homer in the same game was Floyd Youmans on June 8, 1986 against the Phillies. Youmans pitched a one-hitter and hit a two-run homer off Mike Maddux.

With the win, Strasburg improved his career record to 80-45. The only other active pitcher to reach 80 wins in 125 or fewer decisions was Jon Lester. Lester reached career win #80 in his 118th decision (80-38).

Moreland supplies offense off the bench

Mitch Moreland’s two-run pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead, one inning later Moreland drove in two runs with a single. Moreland is the sixth Red Sox player since 1920 to go 2-for-2 or better with at least four RBIs in a game in which he did not start. The five other Red Sox players to have a game like that were Joe Cicero (1930), Del Wilber (1953), Pete Daley (1957), Bob Montgomery (1974) and Mike Lansing (2000).

Bauer is hot

Trevor Bauer threw six solid innings in the Indians’ win over the Yankees in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon. Bauer is 7-0 with a 2.45 ERA over his last eight starts dating back to July 21. Prior to Bauer, the last Indians pitcher to go 7-0 or better with an ERA under 3.00 over an eight-start span was Cliff Lee in 2008 (7-0, 2.01 ERA).

Indians’ starting pitchers taking charge

Ryan Merritt followed up Trevor Bauer’s Game 1 performance with a solid performance of his own as the Indians swept a doubleheader and a three-game series against the Yankees. The Indians have won seven straight games and the starting pitcher has earned the win in all seven. It’s the fourth time in the last 60 years the Indians won seven or more straight games with the starting pitcher earning the win in all of them. They won seven straight like that in 1958, nine in a row in 2002 and nine straight in 2016.

Cleveland’s starting pitchers have a combined 1.62 ERA during the seven-game winning streak.

The Cubs are Happ-y to have him

Ian Happ hit his 20th home run of his career in his 89th game in the Cubs’ win over the Pirates. That’s the fewest games to 20 career major-league home runs in Cubs history. The previous record was 97 games to 20 homers by Kyle Schwarber.

Happ is the eighth rookie this season to reach the 20-homer mark, the most in one season in major-league history. The previous record of six was done in 1964, 1987, 2006 and 2016.

Castillo goes 4-for-4 with three RBIs

Wellington Castillo went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs in the Orioles’ win over the Mariners. Only two other players in Orioles franchise history went 4-for-4 or better with at least three RBIs in a game as a catcher: Hank Severeid for the St. Louis Browns against the Yankees on May 11, 1925 (4-for-4, 4 RBI) and Andy Etchebarren for the Orioles on September 28, 1973 against the Indians (4-for-4, 3 RBI). Neither Severeid nor Etchebarren homered in the game.

Castillo is the first player in the major leagues this season to have a game like that as a catcher.

Beckham records 47th hit of the month

Tim Beckham got a hit in the Orioles’ win over the Mariners, his 47th in the month of August. That’s the second-most hits in a calendar month for an Orioles player since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954. Cal Ripken set the Orioles record when he recorded 53 hits in September 1983.

Morrison and Souza homer in the same game again

Logan Morrison, Steven Souza and Adeiny Hechavarria all hit home runs in the Rays win over the Royals. It was the ninth time this season that Morrison and Souza homered in the same game, matching the second-most for any pair of teammates in the major leagues this season. Giancarlo Stanton and Marcel Ozuna have homered in the same game ten times this season and Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez homered in the same game nine times this season.

The nine times that Morrison and Souza homered in the same game is the most for any pair of players in Rays history. The previous record of eight was done three times: Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist in 2009, Pena and Evan Longoria in 2009, Longoria and Melvin Upton, Jr. in 2011.

Another 10-win season for Verlander

Justin Verlander earned his tenth win of the season by pitching six solid innings and recording his first career RBI in the Tigers’ win over the Rockies in Colorado. It was the 11th time in his career that Verlander reached double-digit wins, all for the Tigers. Four other pitchers had at least 11 seasons with ten or more wins in a Tigers uniform: Hooks Dauss (14 such seasons), Mickey Lolich (12), Jack Morris (11) and George Mullin (11).

Ray K’s 10 Dodgers

Robbie Ray struck out 10 Dodgers on Wednesday night becoming only the third pitcher since 1955 to strike out 10 or more batters against a team that was 50 or more games over .500. Cleveland’s Sam McDowell had 10 strikeouts in a game against the Orioles (101-45) on September 14, 1969 and Montreal’s Floyd Youmans turned the trick against the Mets (104-54) on October 2, 1986. Despite the high strikeouts total, McDowell and Youmans were the losing pitchers in those games.

Three-hit game for Elvis

Elvis Andrus rapped out three hits in the Rangers’ win over the Astros on Wednesday night, the 99th three-hit game of his career, all as a shortstop. Only two active players have more three-hit games as a shortstop than Andrus: Jose Reyes (163) and Hanley Ramirez (116).

Montero pitches gem

Rafael Montero, who entered the game with a 2-9 record and an ERA of 5.64, threw 8⅓ shutout innings in the Mets’ 2-0 win over the Reds. Only two pitchers in Mets history threw at least eight innings without allowing a run despite entering the game with an ERA of 5.50 or higher and 25 games pitched: Galen Cisco at Wrigley Field on July 29, 1965 (9 IP, 5.52 ERA, making his 30th appearance of the season) and Pat Misch at Florida on September 27, 2009 (9 IP, 5.59 ERA, 26th appearance).

Broxton and Knebel save Brewers

Keon Broxton’s home-run saving catch preserved the Brewers’ win over the Cardinals and the 30th save for Corey Knebel. Twelve of Knebel’s saves have come in the month of August, tying the franchise record for saves in month. Francisco Rodriguez saved 12 games for the Brewers in April 2014.

Padres pitchers showing pop

Travis Wood hit a home run in the Padres’ win over the Giants. Clayton Richard homered on Sunday in Miami. It’s the first time in team history that the Padres had two home runs by pitchers over a four-game span.

Berrios was berry good

Jose Berrios pitched seven scoreless innings in the Twins’ win over the White Sox on Wednesday night. It was the ninth time this season that a Twins starting pitcher did not allow a run in an outing of seven or more innings, tying them with the Red Sox and Indians for the most such games in the American League.

Berrios is 7-0 with a 2.45 ERA over his last seven home starts. Only one other Twins pitcher over the last 20 seasons won each of seven consecutive home starts within one season. Kevin Slowey did it in 2009.