Elias Says: July 27, 2017

Dodgers’ magic continues

Justin Turner hit a walk-off single in the Dodgers’ 6-5 comeback win as Los Angeles improved to 40 games above .500 at 71-31 on the season. The Dodgers have reached 40 games above .500 the fastest (in games) since the 2001 Mariners started 61-21. Only one other Nationals League team in the expansion era (since 1961) reached 40 games above .500 as fast as the 2017 Dodgers: the 1970 Reds did it in 100 games (70-30). It is the second-fastest that the Dodgers have reached +40 in their history: they started the 1942 season 69-29.

The Dodgers walk-off win was their eighth of the season, the most in the majors. Six other teams have seven: the Diamondbacks, Angels, Royals, Nationals, A’s, and Pirates. It was the fourth walk-off RBI of Turner’s career: he had two with the Mets, on a hit by pitch and double, and one with the Dodgers, a single on June 17 of last season, in the 10th inning vs. the Brewers.

Runless in Seattle: Sale and Red Sox blank M’s

The Red Sox blanked the Mariners, 4-0, in Seattle, with a dominating Chris Sale lifting his record to 13-4. He pitched seven shutout innings in which he allowed just three hits and one walk, striking out 11. Sale, who made his final start of the month today, has struck out 211 batters. That’s the most strikeouts for a pitcher entering the month of August since 2002, when Randy Johnson had 215 and Curt Schilling had 212 strikeouts entering August. Among Red Sox pitchers, only Roger Clemens in 1988 had more strikeouts through July (232).

Sale is now 25-6 (.806) with a 2.24 ERA in 36 starts against the American League West. Only two pitchers since the beginning of the divisional era (1969) have a winning percentage of .800 or higher and sub 2.50-ERA against one division: Pedro Martinez did that against two different divisions, the A.L. Central (32-5, .865, 2.09) and A.L. West (40-6, .870, 1.92), and Jose Fernandez did it against the N.L. East (16-3, .842, 2.03).

Marlins defeat Rangers 22-10!

The Marlins defeated the Rangers, 22-10, in Texas, the second-most runs ever scored in an interleague game; the Marlins lost, 25-8, in Boston on June 27, 2003. The total of 32 runs was the most runs scored in any game since Aug. 15, 2015, when the Red Sox topped the Mariners, 22-10. That was the only other game in the last nine seasons (since 2009) with 32-or-more runs.

All nine players in the Marlins’ starting batting order had hits and RBIs in the game; only two other teams in the last five seasons (since 2013) have had games like that: the A’s in beating the Twins, 18-3, on Sept. 11, 2013, and the Nationals on June 2 of this season in a 13-3 win in Oakland. It was the first Marlins game like that in franchise history.

The Marlins 2-3-4-5-6 batters all scored at least three runs. Only two other teams since 1900 have done that in a game: the Pirates against the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) in a 19-1 win on June 11, 1904, and the Red Sox in a 29-4 win over the St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles) on June 8, 1950. Hall of Famers Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner were the Pirates’ 3-4 batters in that 1904 game, while Ted Williams batted third for the Red Sox in the 1950 game.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 33rd home run of the season, surpassing Aaron Judge for the major-league lead. It’s the first time that Judge hasn’t had at least a share of the major-league home-run lead since he hit his 16th home run of the season, tying Mike Trout for the big-league lead, on May 28.

Yankees fans are very uproarious lately

Didi Gregorius homered in his third straight game in the Yankees’ 9-5 defeat of the Reds, which completed a two-game sweep in the Bronx. Gregorius has four total homers in his last three games, becoming the first Yankees shortstop to hit four home runs over a three-game span. Eight other Yankees shortstops had three homers over three games, the last before Gregorius being Derek Jeter, who did it in 1997, 2004, and 2012.

Blue Jays, asleep in their nests for 8 innings, treat fans to amazing walk-off win

The Blue Jays won in late dramatic fashion, 3-2, over the A’s. Oakland rookie starter Paul Blackburn, in his fifth big-league start, limited Toronto to two hits over seven innings, but Justin Smoak tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, and the next batter, Kendrys Morales, won it on a walk-off home run, both off Santiago Casilla.

It was the first game this season in which a team tied it in the bottom of the last inning with a homer, and won it that same inning with a walk-off homer. There were four games like that in 2016, the last by the Astros against the Rays on August 26: Carlos Correa’s homer tied the game and Evan Gattis hit the walk-off. The Blue Jays have won two other games like that in franchise history: on April 19, 1983 against the Indians, with homers by Cliff Johnson and Lloyd Moseby, and on June 14, 1986 against the Tigers, with back-to-back shots by Cliff Johnson and Buck Martinez.

That Hosmer’s so hot right now

Eric Hosmer has played on a World Series winner, has been an All-Star Game MVP, and now he finally hit his first grand-slam home run. In the Royals’ 16-2 win at Comerica Park, Hosmer stroked five hits, scored five runs and knocked in six, with his grand-slam contributing to all of that. Only 12 other players have produced a game with five hits, five runs scored, and six RBIs since 1920, when the major leagues began recording RBIs, including by Hall-of-Famers Babe Ruth, Willie Stargell, and Cal Ripken, and no player has done it more than once. The only other player to do it either this season or last was Anthony Rendon on April 30 of this year against the Mets (six hits, five runs scored, 10 RBIs).

Unlikely shutout win for Phillies

The Phillies entered the game with a record of 34-64, facing an Astros team that entered at 67-33. But the City of Brotherly Love showed no such love for the Astros, shutting them out, 9-0. It marked the first time since 1934 that a big-league team that stood at least 30 games under .500 had shut out an opponent at least 30 games over .500, and had won by a margin of at least nine runs.

In that 1934 season, the White Sox entered a game at Detroit on September 27 with a 51-97 record, against a Tigers team that stood at 99-52 and had already clinched the American League pennant. The Pale Hose won it, 11-0, as future Hall-of-Famer Luke Appling homered and scored three runs and fellow Hall-of-Famer Al Simmons scored twice for Chicago.

DeJong hits another one gone

Paul DeJong homered in the Cardinals’ 10-5 win over the Rockies, the fourth home run in his last five games and his 14th in his 49th major-league game. Among players to debut with the Cardinals, DeJong has the second-most home runs through 50 games with the team, behind Albert Pujols (16). After Pujols and DeJong come J.D. Drew (10) and Ken Boyer (9).

Diamonbacks get help from new acquisition and their good old legs

The Diamondbacks defeated the Braves, 10-3, winning the series in Arizona, two games to one. J.D. Martinez, playing his fifth game with Arizona, hit two two-run homers in four at-bats, and now has three homers and seven RBIs with the D-Backs. Three other players over the last 15 seasons (since 2003) had at least three homers and seven RBIs in their first five games with a team after switching teams during the season: Mark Teixeira with the Braves in 2007 (3 HR, 7 RBI), Manny Ramirez with the Dodgers in 2008 (3 HR, 7 RBI), and Ben Zobrist with the Royals in 2015 (3 HR, 7 RBI).

Ketel Marte became the sixth player this season to hit an inside-the-park home run, joining Charlie Blackmon (two), Brian Dozier, Ezequiel Carrera, Orlando Arcia, and Joey Gallo. That total of seven inside jobs is the highest in a season through games of July 26 since 2012, when there were also seven through July 26.

Marte’s inside-the-park home run came one batter after Daniel Descalso hit a two-run triple that broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning. The last team to hit a triple and an inside-the-park homer in consecutive plate appearances was the Rangers – over 30 years ago. On September 22, 1984, Alan Bannister of the Rangers tripled against the-then California Angels in the top of the eighth inning. Gary Ward then slugged an inside-the-park homer.

Washington finally erupts

After the Brewers had blanked the Nationals, 8-0, on Tuesday night, Jimmy Nelson held the Nats scoreless through six innings on Wednesday. But the Nationals got on the board with a Daniel Murphy homer in the seventh inning and erupted for a seven-run eighth to defeat the Brewers, 8-5. The Nationals had not scored in 17 consecutive innings entering the seventh, their longest drought of this season. The Brewers had gone 18 innings without allowing a run, their longest streak since they had a 19-inning run in May-June 2015.

The Nationals hit four doubles in the eighth, by Brian Goodwin, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Lind, and Pedro Severino. That was their most doubles in a single inning since July 1, 2013, when they hit four in the third inning, also at home against the Brewers, by Jordan Zimmermann, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Desmond.

No Corn for Orioles when Cobb pitches

Alex Cobb earned the win for the Rays in a 5-1 win against the Orioles, allowing one run on four hits and one walk in seven innings, striking out six. Cobb has had success against the Orioles: in 11 starts against them, he’s 5-2 with a 2.54 ERA Among the 33 active pitchers with at least 10 starts against the Orioles, Cobb has the lowest ERA, lower than Marco Estrada (2.66), Jon Lester (2.78), David Price (2.81), and Matt Garza (2.89).

Indians stay red hot

The red hot Indians defeated the Angels, 10-4, at home to extend their winning streak to six games, over the course of which they’ve outscored their opponents, 50-18. It’s the second span of six games this season in which the Indians have won each game and have outscored their opponents by 30 runs. They had a six-game winning streak from June 15 to June 19 in which they outscored opponents, 52-13. This is the second season in Indians history in which they had two distinct six-game spans in which they won all games and outscored opponents by 30. They also did it in 1933.

The Indians scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, collecting six singles and a double. The last time that the Indians scored seven runs in an inning in which they hit no home runs and no more than one extra-base hit was on July 25, 2006, in the first inning against the Tigers.

Brandon belts game-winning double

Brandon Belt’s seventh-inning go-ahead double proved to be the game-winner in the Giants’ 2-1 win over the Pirates as the Giants took the rubber game of the series. Belt went 4-for-12 in the series, with all hits being doubles. This was the third series of three-or-fewer games in Belt’s career in which he delivered four extra-base hits: he also did it in a three-game series against the Padres in May 2015 (three doubles, one triple) and a three-game series in Colorado (in which Belt only played 2 games) in May 2016 (four doubles).

Mets’ Matz Recent Struggles Continue

Steven Matz allowed 6 runs on 9 hits in 3 innings and took a loss to fall to 2-4 in the Mets 6-3 loss in San Diego. Matz had back-to-back 7-inning scoreless starts on June 28 at Miami and July 3 at Washington, but since then he’s 0-3 in 4 starts with 14.18 ERA. That’s the highest ERA for a Mets pitchers over a span of four starts since Johan Santana had two overlapping spans in July-August 2012 with an ERA as high as 17.36, which was also the highest in the history for a Mets starter over four starts. Earlier that season, on June 1 vs. the Cardinals, Santana threw the franchise’s solo no-hitter.