Elias Says: September 12, 2017

Peterson debuts for Saints

Adrian Peterson, in his debut for the Saints, ran for nine yards on the first play from scrimmage of the New Orleans-Minnesota game on Monday night. With that play, Peterson became the first NFL player ever to win a league MVP award for one team and then face that team in his first game after he left them. Peterson was the league MVP for the 2012 season. That happened several times in other sports leagues––including Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson and Ichiro (among others) in Major League Baseball, and Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley in the NBA.

Vikings march 95 yards late in the first half

The Vikings’ victory over the Saints was highlighted by a 95-yard scoring drive late in the first half which ended with a touchdown on a pass from Sam Bradford to Stephon Diggs. Minnesota had only three TD drives of 80 yards or longer last season---the fewest in the league---and none in its final nine games. Meanwhile, the Saints gave up eight TDs in the final two minutes of the first half last season, tying the Packers for the league high.

Bradford: eight completions of 20-plus yards

Sam Bradford passed for 346 yards and three TDs in the Vikings’ win over the Saints, including eight pass plays of at least 20 yards. It was the most 20-yard completions for any Vikings quarterback in one game since Brett Favre had eight against the Cardinals in 2010.

Siemian shines for Denver

Trevor Siemian threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score in guiding the Broncos to a 24-21 victory over the Chargers. Siemian was only the second Broncos player in the last 12 years with multiple TD passes and a TD run in a Denver victory. Peyton Manning connected on four TD passes and ran for one in a thrilling 51-48 victory over the Cowboys in 2013. For the record, John Elway had nine such games in his career with the Broncos.

Lindor leads the Indians to a 19th consecutive win

The Indians extended their winning streak to 19 games with an 11–0 victory over the Tigers on Monday. The longest winning streak in major-league history is 26 games by the 1916 New York Giants, who were managed by the legendary John McGraw. The 2017 Indians are only the fourth big-league team to post a single-season winning streak of 19 games or longer since then. The other clubs are the 1935 Cubs (21 straight wins), 1947 Yankees (19) and 2002 Athletics (20).

Francisco Lindor was the hitting star for the Indians in Monday’s game, banging out two hits, including a bases-loaded triple, scoring two runs and driving in four. Lindor is the Indians’ team leader in hits (27), runs scored (17), home runs (8, tied with Jose Ramirez) and runs batted in (18) during this winning streak, all while hitting exclusively in the first slot in the batting order.

Another four-hit game for Abreu

Jose Abreu banged out four hits for the White Sox in their 11–3 win over the Royals in Kansas City. It was Abreu’s fourth four-hit game since August 19 and sixth game with four hits this season, the most by any major-league player. In the expansion era (i.e., 1961 to date), the only other White Sox players to produce at least six games with four or more hits in one season are Harold Baines in 1984 (eight) and Lance Johnson on 1995 (seven).

Hamels reached double-figures in wins for the ninth time

Cole Hamels improved his record to 10–3 this year with a win against the Mariners in Arlington on Monday. This is the ninth time in Hamels’ 12 seasons in the major leagues that he’s reached double-figures in wins. The only other active left-handed pitchers with at least nine seasons of 10-plus wins are CC Sabathia (14) and Jon Lester (9).

Greinke isn’t rewarded for another top-notch start

Zack Greinke pitched to no decision in his start for the Diamondbacks against the Rockies on Monday, despite allowing only two runs in seven innings. It was the 11th game this season in which Greinke pitched at least seven innings and gave up no more than two runs, third-most among National League pitchers, behind Clayton Kershaw (15) and Max Scherzer (12).

Estrada cages the Orioles again

Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada pitched five innings and allowed two runs in his victory against the Orioles in Toronto. Estrada, who won in Baltimore on August 31, is 3–0 with a 3.23 ERA in his five starts versus the Orioles this season and 5–8 with a 5.35 ERA in 25 starts against other teams this year. Estrada is the only pitcher in the major leagues with as many as three wins against the Orioles this season.

Frazier comes through with runners on base

The Yankees beat the Rays, 5–1, in the first game of their three-game series which was moved to Citi Field, the home of the Mets, from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, due to Hurricane Irma. The Yankees scored all of their runs in the fourth inning, with a three-run homer by Todd Frazier capping the five-run outburst. Frazier has struggled all season when hitting with runners on base. Entering play on Monday his .180 batting average with men on base this season was the second-lowest in the major leagues among players with at least 150-at-bats in those situations, ahead of the Rangers’ Rougned Odor (.176).

Bucs rookie gets his first major-league win

Pirates rookie lefthander Steven Brault notched his first win in the major leagues with a victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee in which he pitched six innings and allowed no runs and one hit. The only other pitchers currently on a major-league roster who pitched six innings or more and allowed no runs and no more than one hit in their first career win in the big leagues are Archie Bradley, Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Duffey and Phil Hughes.