MLB Notebook: Posey latest great catcher in rivalry
From 1901-2011, 37 National League catchers finished a season qualifying for the batting title with an OPS of at least .900. From the perspective of team affiliation, the Dodgers and Giants were responsible for 14 of those 37, with the Dodgers doing the heavy lifting in this partnership.
Mike Piazza compiled five of those seasons while playing the entire year in Dodgers blue, while Roy Campanella had four, Babe Phelps had one and Paul Lo Duca chipped in with one. On the other side of the rivalry, the Giants' three came from Chief Meyers in 1912, Walker Cooper in '47, and Dick Dietz in '70. But in 2012, Buster Posey (.926 OPS) is threatening to do his part to make things at least a little closer.
In the Giants' 3-2 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday, which brought Los Angeles to within 4 1/2 games of San Francisco, Posey went 2-for-3 with a walk and a double. He also threw out three potential base stealers. Posey's offensive work pushed his line for the season to .325/.402/.524. No NL catcher has finished with a .300/.400/.500 line since Piazza in 1997.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez drove in the go-ahead run with a ninth-inning double, his 20th extra-base hit since joining the Dodgers. Ramirez's extra-base-hit percentage with Los Angeles is 10.9 -- back in line with his big years with the Marlins. From 2006-09, Ramirez had 10.7 percent of his plate appearances conclude with an extra-base hit. From '10 through his final game with the Marlins this year, that percentage was down to 7.9.
Los Angeles is a half-game out of the second NL Wild Card spot, trailing the Cardinals, who lost on Saturday.
In the Nationals' 7-6 win over the Marlins, Bryce Harper hit his 18th homer of the season. His 18 are the third most for any teenager in history. Tony Conigliaro hit 24 (all in 1964) and is followed by Mel Ott, with 19. Ott had one in '27 and 18 in his age-19 season in '28.
Harper has 45 extra-base hits this season. Those 45 are the fourth most for any player in history in his age-19 season or younger. Ott had 48 in 1928, Phil Cavarretta had 48 in '35, and Conigliaro had 47 in '64.
Kris Medlen allowed two runs in six innings and picked up the win as the Braves defeated the Mets, 11-3.
Medlen improved to 7-0 in eight starts since being inserted into the rotation on July 31. In 55 2/3 innings, he has allowed five earned runs (six runs total) for a 0.81 ERA, has struck out 53 with seven walks, and he is holding the opposition to a .479 OPS.
The Braves have now won each of Medlen's past 19 starts -- a streak that began on May 29, 2010. It is the longest streak since the 2001 Yankees won 20 consecutive starts by Roger Clemens.
Atlanta's Brian McCann homered and doubled in a four-hit day at the plate. With one more home run this season, McCann would join Johnny Bench as the only catchers in history to have at least six 20-homer campaigns through their age-28 season. Bench had seven of them.
The Reds defeated the Astros, 5-1, with Bronson Arroyo allowing one run in seven innings and Jay Bruce hitting his 33rd home run.
Arroyo has won five consecutive decisions and owns a 2.40 ERA in 41 1/3 innings during the streak. With Arroyo's 12th victory of the season, the Reds have a trio of 12-game winners (Johnny Cueto has 17, Mat Latos has 12) for the first time since 1992 (Tim Belcher, Jose Rijo and Greg Swindell).
Bruce's 33rd home gave him 70 extra-base hits -- the most for a Reds outfielder since Adam Dunn had 77 in 2005.
The Rangers' Yu Darvish fanned eight in an eight-inning, two-hit, two-run, no-decision. Darvish has struck out 196 batters this season -- the most for a rookie in Senators/Rangers franchise history. With four more K's, Darvish would become the 16th rookie pitcher since 1893 to reach 200. Dwight Gooden, with 276 in 1984, had the most.
Josh Hamilton became the sixth different player in Senators/Rangers franchise history to hit 40 homers in a season. Hamilton joins Juan Gonzalez (five seasons with 40-plus homers), Frank Howard (three), Rafael Palmeiro (three), Alex Rodriguez (three) and Mark Teixeira (one).
The Angels tagged Justin Verlander for six extra-base hits -- including a homer to lead off the game by Mike Trout -- and defeated Verlander and the Tigers, 6-1.
The Angels are only the third team to touch up Verlander for at least six extra-base hits. The Blue Jays did it once in 2009 and again in '10. The long ball from Trout marked the fourth time this season Verlander had allowed a leadoff homer. Those four are the most in the Majors.
With their victory over the Tigers, Los Angeles has won 10 of its past 11. During this stretch, the Angels, who are now two games out of the second American League Wild Card spot, have posted a team ERA of 1.84 and a team OPS of .816.
Here and there
Mark Buehrle fanned five to reach 1,500 strikeouts for his career. The Miami southpaw was the 185th pitcher in history to reach the milestone and the 59th left-hander to get there. Among the full 185, Buehrle's strikeout rate of 5.09 per nine innings is 138th, in between Chief Bender (5.10) and Jim Palmer (5.04).
In the Orioles' 5-4 win over the Yankees, Mark Reynolds went 1-for-3 with his 21st home run of the season, giving him nine in his past nine games and seven this season against the Yankees. Reynolds is the first Orioles player with at least seven against New York since Ramon Hernandez had that many in 2006.
Making his third Major League appearance, Chris Archer fanned 11 in a seven-inning, four-hit, two-run no-decision. Archer is the third pitcher in Devil Rays/Rays team history to strike out as many as 11 in one of his first three games. Dan Wheeler fanned 12 in his third career appearance on Sept. 12, 1999, and Matt Moore struck out 11 in his third outing on Sept. 22, 2011.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.