December 13, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Friday, July 05, 2013
White Sox 3, Orioles 2: A walkoff homer for Adam Dunn won it, but seven shutout innings -- with 11 strikeouts -- from Jose Quintana helped make it possible.
Athletics 1, Cubs 0: Offense-lovers need not apply. Dan Straily allowed only one hit in seven shutout innings. Travis Wood had six shutout innings of his own. The only run of the game scored on a passed ball.
Rays 7, Astros 5: Yunel Escobar drove in three runs, including a tiebreaking double in the 11th. The Rays have won five of six.
Yankees 9, Twins 5: A trip to Target Field was just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees, who sweep the four-game series. Yankees hitters beat the tar out of Kyle Gibson, led by Vernon Wells' three-RBI day.
Royals 10, Indians 7: The Tribe had a five-run lead in the sixth inning but they gagged it away in the bottom half of that inning when Lorenzo Cain hit a grand slam and George Kottaras hit a solo shot. The pen continued to bleed like a stuck pig as the Royals added five more in the seventh and eighth. Now Cleveland heads home to host the Tigers in a four game series which will maybe tell us if the Indians are going to, once again, hit the skids after a good first half.
Phillies 6, Pirates 4: Cole Hamels allowed one earned run in seven and a third and the bullpen -- try as it did to blow it -- held on and Hamels won his first game in a month. Gerrit Cole lost his first game ever. The Pirates dropped two of three to the Phillies.
Diamondbacks 5, Mets 4: Well that was pretty nuts. Game-tying homers in the 13th and 14th innings but still not enough for the Mets. Thanks to the extras and overall slow play this series was the longest four-game series played -- in terms of actual game-time -- in 24 years.
Red Sox 8, Padres 2: Sox batters rattled off 18 hits and the Padres lost their sixth in a row. Boston has won 12 of 14.
Nationals 8, Brewers 5: Wilson Ramos came back after 44 games on the DL and hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh. That on top of a two-run single in the fifth. Welcome back, Wilson.
Marlins 4, Braves 3: Craig Kimbrel came into a 3-3 tie in the ninth, walked two of the first three batters he faced and the gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Donovon Solano which proved to be the game-winner. Or loser, depending on your point of view.
Rockies 9, Dodgers 5: Michael Cuddyer's great season continues as he hit a homer and drove in three. Carlos Gonzalez left the game with a strained back. He's supposed to be OK.
Tigers 11, Blue Jays 1: No Miguel Cabrera? No Omar Infante? No problem. Justin Verlander tossed seven shutout innings and the Tigers bats, led by Austin Jackson's 4 for 5, 3 RBI night, had no problem beating up on Esmil Rogers and the rest of the Jays staff.
Rangers 5, Mariners 4: Two solo homers for Adrian Beltre. The second one kicked off a four-run seventh inning which brought Texas back from behind.
Angels 6, Cardinals 5: Josh Hamilton hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth and then Erick Aybar singled in the game-winner to complete Edward Mujica's blown save as the Angels take two of three from St. Louis.
Giants vs. Reds: POSTPONED: The rain to the wind said, 'You push and I'll pelt.' They so smote the garden bed That the flowers actually knelt, And lay lodged--though not dead. I know how the flowers felt.”
Sixty years ago today was, on the face of it, as routine a day as you could have. Certainly it was as routine as it got for Robin Roberts. He took the mound for the Phillies and completed what he started. So far, so normal.
True, but just leaving it there would be like noting that Joe DiMaggio got a hit in some game in the summer of 1941. It wasn’t what Roberts did on that day that was so impressive, but the streak he was on. You see, Roberts etched his name in the workhorse Hall of Fame when he completed his 28th consecutive start.
Now, that isn’t any all-time record. A deadball pitcher named Jack Taylor owns that distinction with 187 straight complete games in the early 20th century. Yeah, but those deadball pitchers are a different breed entirely. Complete games became harder to earn from 1920 onward.
Since 1920, the record for most consecutive completed starts is 28, held by two pitchers. First is former White Sox starter Ted Lyons. Oddly enough, it was his last 28 starts that Lyons completed: his final three in 1941, all 20 in 1942, and then (after WWII) the final five starts of his career in 1946.
Yeah, but even as impressive as Lyons’ streak is—he’s the only pitcher since 1918 to qualify for the ERA title while completing all of his starts—it still isn’t quite as impressive as what Roberts did. He was what’s called a “Sunday pitcher.” He pitched once a week, in the then-typical Sunday doubleheader. He had plenty of time to rest up between starts to stay fresh. His 28 complete games came in 102 games for the Phillies.
Part of what made Roberts’ achievement so amazing was that he took the ball constantly. In 1952, when he began his streak, Roberts led the NL in starts with 37. No one else had more than 35. In 1953, Roberts would start 41 games—eight more than any one else in the league. That’s ….something! And remember, these were starts he constantly completed. Roberts threw 676.2 innings in 1952-53, over 100 ahead of runner-up Warren Spahn (555.2 innings).
In all the years since then, the closest anyone has come to Roberts' achievement was 1980 A’s pitcher Rick Langford, who Oakland manager Billy Martin had complete 22 straight starts.
Roberts began his streak on Aug. 28, 1952, when he topped the Cardinals, 10-6, for his 21st victory of the year. That began an eight-game winning streak that led to Roberts ending the year with a 28-7 record. The most memorable game came on Sept. 17, 1952, when he went the distance in a 17-inning game against Brooklyn. Yeah, that’s earning a complete game.
That would be Roberts’ only extra-inning complete game until July 5, 1953, when he finished off his streak in a 10-inning shutout victory over the Pirates. Of course, Roberts did know it was the end of the streak that day. But sure enough, he was pulled in the eighth inning the next time out, his first early shower in over 10 months.
But in that span, Roberts appeared in 29 games, with 28 starts (all completed, of course), threw 257.1 IP, allowed 233 hits, gave up 80 runs (72 earned), surrendered 22 homers, and just 48 walks, while fanning 131. His ERA was a sterling 2.57, and last but not least, he had a record of 21-7.
Roberts could do this because he was a great workhorse, and he had a manager that liked to ride his stars as much as he could. Veteran skipper Steve O’Neill managed four clubs for all or part of 14 seasons, and half of the time his club led the league in complete games. O’Neill became Phillies manager in late June 1952, and two months later Roberts streak began.
Ultimately, the complete-game streak helped Roberts pitch his arm off. He was incredibly dominating in his 20s but just a journeyman in his 30s (and often not even that). But his 20s were good enough to get him into Cooperstown. And he was never better than that amazing 28-straight complete-game streak in 1952-53 that ended 60 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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