THT Daily: Key Returns for the playoffs

Major League News for September 22

Yesterday’s Results
Today’s Games
Standings
Game of the Day
Yesterday’s Home Runs
Player News
Stats


Yesterday’s Results
American League
BAL     4  DET     3    (Recap and Boxscore) Benson: 8 IP, 3 R
BOS     6  MIN     0    (Recap and Boxscore) Beckett: 8 IP, 0 R; Ortiz: 2 HR (52 for season)
SEA     9  CHA     0    (Recap and Boxscore) Woods: 7 IP, 0 R
OAK     7  CLE     4    (Recap and Boxscore) Kendall: 4 RBI; Harden returns: 3 IP, 1 R, 7 K

National League
FLA     5  NYN     2    (Recap and Boxscore) Sanchez: 7 IP, 2 R; Pedro: 5 IP, 4 R
HOU     6  STL     5    (Recap and Boxscore) Berkman: 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI
MIL     9  SF      4    (Recap and Boxscore) Alou: 2 HR; Bell: 3-4, 3 RBI
ATL     6  COL     3    (Recap and Boxscore) Andruw: 4 RBI (now at 120); Smoltz: 7 IP, 3 R
LAN     5  PIT     2    (Recap and Boxscore) Billingsley: 5 IP, 2 R
SD      3  ARI     1    (Recap and Boxscore) Williams: 5.2 IP, 1 R


Today’s Games
Visitors                         Home                             Starts
FLA - Nolasco R. (11-9, 4.56)    PHI - Hamels C.* (8-8, 4.21)       7:05
MIN - Silva C. (10-13, 5.88)     BAL - Cabrera D. (7-10, 5.10)      7:05
STL - Marquis J. (14-15, 5.82)   HOU - Hirsh J. (3-4, 5.59)         7:05
BOS - Tavarez J. (3-4, 4.89)     TOR - Lilly T.* (14-12, 4.44)      7:07
CHC - Hill R.* (6-6, 4.12)       CIN - Michalak C.* (1-3, 4.88)     7:10
WAS - Astacio P. (4-5, 6.38)     NYM - Maine J. (5-5, 3.42)         7:10
NYY - Wang C. (17-6, 3.64)       TB - Shields J. (6-7, 4.82)        7:15
ATL - Hudson T. (12-11, 4.83)    COL - Fogg J. (9-9, 5.68)          8:05
SF - Sanchez J.* (3-0, 3.38)     MIL - Davis D.* (10-11, 4.87)      8:05
DET - Ledezma W.* (2-3, 3.81)    KC - Hudson L. (7-5, 5.46)         8:10
SEA - Meche G. (11-8, 4.34)      CWS - Contreras J. (13-8, 4.08)    8:35
CLE - Byrd P. (9-8, 4.77)        TEX - Eaton A. (6-4, 4.77)         8:35
LAA - Weaver J. (11-2, 2.15)     OAK - Zito B.* (16-9, 3.91)       10:05
PIT - Gorzelanny T.* (2-3, 3.62) SD - Young C. (10-5, 3.63)        10:05
ARI - Vargas C. (11-9, 4.96)     LAD - Lowe D. (14-8, 3.69)        10:40


Standings

The graphics next to each team are called “sparklines.” They depict each team’s performance over the last month. Each “up” bar is a victory and a “down” bar is a loss. There are horizontal lines for home games and red bars represent games decided by two runs or less. “PWins” is short for Projected Wins, based on each team’s Run Differential, and is often a better measure of a team’s true strength. Other team graphs and stats can be found on our Team Page.

American League East        Pwins  Diff
NYA     92  60 .605    0.0   90      2      
BOS     82  71 .536   10.5   77      5      
TOR     80  72 .526   12.0   80      0      
BAL     67  86 .438   25.5   66      1      
TB      58  94 .382   34.0   60     -2      
American League Central
DET     91  62 .595    0.0   91      0      
MIN     90  62 .592    0.5   87      3      
CHA     85  68 .556    6.0   85      0      
CLE     70  82 .461   20.5   82     -12     
KC      58  94 .382   32.5   58      0      
American League West
OAK     89  63 .586    0.0   81      8      
LAA     82  70 .539    7.0   77      5      
TEX     77  76 .503   12.5   82     -5      
SEA     74  79 .484   15.5   74      0      

National League East         Pwins Diff
NYN     92  60 .605    0.0   87      5      
PHI     79  73 .520   13.0   79      0      
FLA     76  77 .497   16.5   77     -1      
ATL     75  78 .490   17.5   79     -4      
WAS     66  86 .434   26.0   65      1      
National League Central
STL     80  71 .530    0.0   78      2      
HOU     74  78 .487    6.5   76     -2      
CIN     74  78 .487    6.5   71      3      
MIL     70  83 .458   11.0   67      3      
PIT     65  88 .425   16.0   67     -2      
CHN     62  91 .405   19.0   64     -2      
National League West
SD      80  72 .526    0.0   80      0      
LAN     80  73 .523    0.5   81     -1      
SF      75  77 .493    5.0   73      2      
ARI     72  80 .474    8.0   75     -3      
COL     71  82 .464    9.5   78     -7      

Wildcard Standings
American League
MIN     90  62 .592    0.0
CHA     85  68 .556    5.5
LAA     82  70 .539    8.0
BOS     82  71 .536    8.5
TOR     80  72 .526   10.0
National League
LAN     80  73 .523    0.0
PHI     79  73 .520    0.5
FLA     76  77 .497    4.0
SF      75  77 .493    4.5
ATL     75  78 .490    5.0


Game of the Day

All three contending teams in the AL Central lost yesterday, and Detroit maintained its half-game lead over the Twins. It was the Orioles who did the Tigers in, scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth on Melvin Mora’s double. Kris Benson pitched a fine game for the O’s.

Detroit loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the fifth inning but didn’t score. According to Elias, it was the fourth time this season that the Tigers had the bases full with nobody out and did not score in that inning, tying Seattle and Toronto for the highest total in the major leagues.

Nearly a thousand disgruntled Orioles fans walked out of the game in the fourth inning, culminating a demonstration aimed at team owner Peter Angelos, who has been in charge of the team during its club-record run of nine straight losing seasons.

DETROIT (3) VS BALTIMORE (4) - FINAL

DETROIT                ab  r  h rbi bb so lob   avg
C Granderson cf         4  2  2  1   1  1   1  .266
A Gomez lf              4  0  1  0   0  1   1  .281
S Casey 1b              4  0  0  0   0  0   4  .237
M Ordonez rf            4  1  1  2   0  0   3  .295
C Guillen ss            3  0  1  0   1  0   3  .311
M Stairs dh             4  0  1  0   0  2   2  .241
B Inge 3b               4  0  0  0   0  2   1  .250
N Perez 2b              3  0  1  0   0  0   1  .200
 a-M Thames ph          0  0  0  0   1  0   0  .257
 R Santiago pr          0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .224
V Wilson c              3  0  1  0   0  0   1  .277
 b-C Monroe ph          1  0  0  0   0  0   1  .258

Totals                 34  3  8  3   3  6  18

a-walked for N Perez in the 9th;  b-flied out to center for V Wilson in the 
9th.

BATTING: 2B - C Granderson (30, K Benson); C Guillen (39, K Benson). HR - M 
Ordonez (24, 1st inning off K Benson 1 on, 2 Out), C Granderson (16, 3rd inning 
off K Benson 0 on, 0 Out). RBI - M Ordonez 2 (100), C Granderson (61). 2-out 
RBI - M Ordonez 2. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - M Stairs 1, C 
Guillen 2. Team LOB - 7. 
 
FIELDING: DP: 1 (C Guillen-N Perez-S Casey). 
 
BALTIMORE              ab  r  h rbi bb so lob   avg
C Gomez 2b              5  0  2  0   0  0   4  .330
M Mora 3b               3  0  1  2   2  0   1  .273
N Markakis rf           5  0  1  0   0  0   4  .295
M Tejada ss             5  1  3  0   0  0   1  .330
R Hernandez c           3  1  0  0   1  2   4  .277
K Millar 1b             2  0  1  1   1  0   0  .261
C Patterson cf          3  0  0  0   0  2   6  .271
F Tatis dh              1  0  0  1   1  0   2  .264
 a-B Roberts ph-dh      1  1  1  0   0  0   0  .292
D Newhan lf             3  0  0  0   0  3   3  .241
 J Fiorentino pr-lf     0  1  0  0   0  0   0  .263

Totals                 31  4  9  4   5  7  25

a-singled to right center for F Tatis in the 8th.

BATTING: 2B - K Millar (24, N Robertson); M Mora (25, F Rodney). SF - F Tatis. 
RBI - K Millar (58), F Tatis (8), M Mora 2 (80). Runners left in scoring 
position, 2 out - C Gomez 1, M Tejada 1, C Patterson 4, N Markakis 2. GIDP - M 
Mora. Team LOB - 12. 
 
BASERUNNING: SB - M Mora (11, 3rd base off N Robertson/V Wilson), B Roberts 
(36, 3rd base off F Rodney/V Wilson), J Fiorentino (1, 2nd base off F Rodney/V 
Wilson). 
 
FIELDING: Outfield assists - C Patterson (C Guillen at 1st base). DP: 1 (C 
Patterson-K Millar). 
 
----------------------------------------------------
    DETROIT         - 201 000 000   --   3
    BALTIMORE       - 000 200 02x   --   4
----------------------------------------------------

DETROIT                      ip       h   r  er  bb  so  hr    era
N Robertson                   6       5   2   2   5   5   0   3.66
J Grilli (H, 8)                 2/3   2   0   0   0   1   0   4.25
J Walker (H, 13)                1/3   0   0   0   0   1   0   2.05
F Rodney (L, 7-4; B, 4)       1       2   2   2   0   0   0   3.44

BALTIMORE                    ip       h   r  er  bb  so  hr    era
K Benson (W, 11-11)           8       8   3   3   2   4   2   4.49
C Ray (S, 33)                 1       0   0   0   1   2   0   2.86

WP - N Robertson. HBP - C Patterson (by N Robertson); K Millar (by J Grilli); 
D Newhan (by F Rodney). Pitches-strikes: N Robertson 98-58; J Grilli 14-9; J 
Walker 4-3; F Rodney 31-19; K Benson 111-66; C Ray 21-11. Ground balls-fly 
balls: N Robertson 4-9; J Grilli 0-1; J Walker 0-0; F Rodney 1-2; K Benson 
5-14; C Ray 0-1. Batters faced: N Robertson 28; J Grilli 5; J Walker 1; F 
Rodney 6; K Benson 33; C Ray 4. 
 
UMPIRES: HP--Chuck Meriwether. 1B--Jerry Crawford. 2B--Brian Onora. 3B--Phil 
Cuzzi. 

T--2:47. Att--17,877. 
Weather: 75 degrees, partly cloudy. Wind: 4 mph, right to left.

The following graph tracks the game’s Win Probability, courtesy of Fan Graphs.

image


Yesterday’s Home Runs

The following stats are provided by Hit Tracker, which logs the projected distance of each home run (if it were to land uninterrupted at field level) and its “standard” distance, which is corrected for weather conditions. You can read their daily updates at the Hit Tracker Blog.

Hitter                    Pitcher                    True Dist  Std. Dist.  HR #
Berkman, Lance      HOU   Carpenter, Chris  STL         456         454      43
Holliday, Matt      COL   Smoltz, John      ATL         468         450      30
Ortiz, David        BOS   Guerrier, Matt    MIN         445         426      52
Alou, Moises        SF    Bush, Dave        MIL         429         426      19
Sizemore, Grady     CLE   Harden, Rich      OAK         427         412      25
Saenz, Olmedo       LAD   Youman, Shane     PIT         425         412      11
Berkman, Lance      HOU   Carpenter, Chris  STL         414         412      42
Ibanez, Raul        SEA   Vazquez, Javier   CWS         403         412      29
Hillenbrand, Shea   SF    Bush, Dave        MIL         414         411      21
Ortiz, David        BOS   Santana, Johan    MIN         434         408      51
Beltre, Adrian      SEA   Riske, David      CWS         412         405      20
Granderson, Curtis  DET   Benson, Kris      BAL         394         398      16
Bell, David         MIL   Morris, Matt      SF          395         393       9
Jones, Andruw       ATL   Kim, Byung-Hyun   COL         393         388      37
Alou, Moises        SF    Bush, Dave        MIL         387         384      20
Lowell, Mike        BOS   Guerrier, Matt    MIN         376         376      18
Ordonez, Magglio    DET   Benson, Kris      BAL         361         352      24


Player News

Player news items are provided by CBS SportsLine.com.

Oakland SP Rich Harden returned to the mound Thursday against the Cleveland Indians. He threw 55 pitches in three innings recording seven strikeouts, yielding two hits, an earned run and a walk. The Athletics won 7-4 but Harden did not factor in the decision.

Another pitcher on the mend, Pedro Martinez, had a no-hitter through four innings, but the Marlins tagged him for four runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-1 lead and Willie Randolph removed Martinez after that half inning.

David Ortiz hit his 51st and 52nd home runs on Thursday night, breaking the Red Sox’s single-season record of 50 by Jimmie Foxx in 1938. Foxx continues to hold the Athletics’ single-season home run record.

Lance Berkman hit two home runs in Houston’s 6-5 win against St. Louis. According to Elias, this is the sixth straight year in which Berkman has homered on Sept. 21. That’s one shy of the major-league record on any date. Lou Gehrig hit a home run on June 8 in seven straight seasons, from 1932 through 1938.

San Francisco’s pitchers walked six Milwaukee batters in the fifth inning. The Brewers scored five runs in that stanza in their 9-4 victory. It was the third time this season that San Francisco’s pitchers issued six walks in an inning. Only one other team has done that even once this year: Baltimore on April 7.

The Atlanta Braves have exercised the team’s 2007 option with John Smoltz, ensuring the right-hander will return for his 19th season with the team. The announcement was made before Smoltz started for the Braves at Colorado Thursday night, and came one day after the Braves agreed on a 2007 contract with closer Bob Wickman. General manager John Schuerholz said he told Smoltz Wednesday of the team’s plans to exercise the option. “John has been a constant for this organization, both with his pitching and his leadership, and our plan to exercise this contract option for next season was never in question,” Schuerholz said. He’s 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA, heading into his start Thursday against Colorado.

Two of the criticisms of Alex Rodriguez in Tom Verducci’s current article in Sports Illustrated are Rodriguez’s poor clutch hitting and his struggle to hit fastballs. At the intersection of those two charges is this amazing statistic: During his three seasons with the Yankees, A-Rod has batted .105 with runners in scoring position against pitchers who averaged at least one strikeout per inning (in the season in question). That’s four hits in 38 at-bats, with one home run and 16 strikeouts. (Source: Elias)

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said pitcher Carl Pavano won’t throw anymore this season. “He’s still experiencing shoulder pain,” Cashman said. “Because of the broken ribs, he altered his mechanics.” Pavano hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since June 2005 because of shoulder, back, buttocks and elbow injuries. He broke the ribs in an Aug. 15 car crash he didn’t disclose to the team until after he made three minor league rehab starts. He had been scheduled to throw Friday in Tampa. Pavano agreed to a $39.95 million, four-year contract as a free agent after the 2004 season, then went 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 17 major league starts before getting hurt. Cashman didn’t know whether Pavano would need to have a rehab plan during the offseason.

Jason Giambi has a small ligament tear in his left wrist and will miss the New York Yankees’ series this weekend against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Giambi had a third injection in the wrist Thursday, when he was examined in New York by hand specialist Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser and team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon. The Yankees said MRI and CT scans didn’t show any changes from previous results, which showed the tear and tendinitis. “We’ll have to see how he comes out of it,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “There’s no doubt he’ll be able to play through it. The question is: Will he get his stroke back?” New York said he might need surgery after the season if pain continues.

With the Yankees having clinched their ninth straight AL East title on Wednesday, Gary Sheffield is likely to take over at first base starting Friday. Sheffield, sidelined since May 29 and coming off wrist surgery, has been worked out at first base during his rehabilitation.

Giants OF Barry Bonds is still wishy-washy on the topic of retirement. So, as the Giants head into their final homestand of 2006 starting Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it could mark the last time Bonds is in a Giants uniform. The 42-year-old Bonds would like to finish his career in San Fran. Yet he repeatedly has said his future is in the hands of the Giants. “Did you read the quotes that I’d like to stay at home? That hasn’t changed,” Bonds said of next year, which likely would be his final season. “I’m not at an age where I can pick where I play. If you want me, call me. … I don’t even know what I’m going to do. Right now, I’m going to wait until the offseason, take care of my family and talk to my son and my wife. (The Giants are) the ones who are iffy, not me.”

The Reds said pitcher Eric Milton will have arthroscopic surgery Friday on his left elbow. He is expected to be ready for spring training. Milton went 8-8 with a 5.19 ERA in 26 starts for the Reds this season.

Reds outfielder Ryan Freel will miss the rest of the season because of a hairline fracture of his left thumb, the team said Thursday. Freel was injured Tuesday night while diving for Luke Scott’s first-inning triple in Houston. He finished that game and started Wednesday’s game before leaving in the fourth inning. Freel hit .271 with 30 doubles and 37 stolen bases this season.

RHP Salomon Torres became the fourth pitcher in major-league history to appear in 90 games in a season. Mike Marshall (twice), Kent Tekulve (three times)and Wayne Granger are the only pitchers to accomplish that feat.

OF Jeff Francoeur has started all 152 games this year. Only four players in franchise history have played 162 games, the last being OF Andruw Jones in 1999.

Manager Mike Hargrove said RHP Felix Hernandez will make his final start of the season Saturday at Chicago. Hernandez has already thrown 179 innings and Hargrove doesn’t want to expose the 20-year-old’s valuable arm to more wear and tear, so he’ll be shut down for the rest of the season after Saturday.

The Indians recalled 1B Michael Aubrey, OF Jason Dubois, UTL Lou Merloni, UTL Mike Rouse and OF Brad Snyder from the minors, but they are not to report to the team. Also, the Indians sent RHP Jake Dittler and LHP Jason Stanford outright to Triple-A Buffalo of the IL.

The Diamondbacks recalled IF Alberto Callaspo from Triple-A Tucson after the Sidewinders won the Pacific Coast League title.

Justin Morneau is just one RBI from tying Harmon Killebrew (1962) for second on the team’s single-season list with 126. Killebrew also owns the club record with 140 in 1961.


THT Stats

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