MLB Notebook: Pitching key for streaking Tigers
Verlander's big night continues Detroit hurlers' 10-game run of dominance
In a summer that has been notable for streaks, it takes something special for any single sustained performance to catch the viewer's eye. With what the Tigers' pitchers have done over their past 10 games, they certainly can make a claim on that end.
During its 10-game winning streak, Detroit's pitching staff owns a 1.16 ERA, having allowed 13 runs (12 earned) in 93 innings. This most recent run of excellence represents the ninth time in the live-ball era a Tigers club has had a winning streak reach double digits. Of the nine, the 1.16 team ERA in this one is the second lowest, behind only the 1.10 ERA posted during 10 straight wins in September 1949.
Tuesday, Justin Verlander threw eight innings of one-run ball, Miguel Cabrera doubled in a run, and the Tigers topped the Indians, 5-1. Over the past five seasons, Verlander has had 24 games in which he's finished an outing with at least eight innings pitched and no more than one run allowed. Those 24 since 2009 are the sixth most in the Majors for this span, behind the totals from Felix Hernandez (42), Cliff Lee (37), Clayton Kershaw (27), Roy Halladay (26) and Cole Hamels (25).
Cabrera, with his RBI double, reached 100 RBIs for the 10th time in his 11-season career. He is the third player to have at least 100 RBIs in 10 of his first 11 seasons, with Albert Pujols also doing it in 10 of 11. Al Simmons opened his career with at least 100 in each of his first 11 years.
With 1,223 career RBIs, Cabrera is currently tied with Jeff Bagwell for the sixth most in history for any player through his first 11 seasons. He is also the fourth player in history to have 10 seasons with 100 or more RBIs through his age-30 season, with no player having more. The other three: Jimmie Foxx, Alex Rodriguez and Pujols. Cabrera currently owns the seventh-most RBIs for any player through his age-30 season. Pujols had the sixth most, with 1,230.
Among all players in history through their age-30 season, Cabrera is third in doubles, ninth in extra-base hits and seventh in total bases.
Braves make it an even dozen
The Braves defeated the Nationals, 2-1, and have now won 12 in a row. During the 12-game winning streak -- the longest in the Majors this season (the Braves had been tied with the Blue Jays at 11) -- Atlanta has outscored its opponents (the Cardinals, Rockies, Phillies and Nationals) 71-28.
Atlanta has held its opponent to one run or no runs 26 times this season -- the sixth most in the Majors. Here are the teams with at least that many, along with each club's record in those games: Dodgers (29-1), Cardinals (27-1), Tigers (25-3), Rays (27-0), Pirates (26-1) and Braves (25-1).
Hats off to Harper
The Nationals' Bryce Harper hit his 17th home run of the season, giving him 39 in his career. Harper owns the fourth-most home runs in history for any player through his age-20 season, sitting behind Mel Ott (61), Tony Conigliaro (56) and Rodriguez (41).
With three more home runs, Harper would join Conigliaro as the only players in history to have at least 20 long balls in both their age-19 and age-20 seasons.
Albers tosses gem in debut
Twins left-hander Andrew Albers made his Major League debut and threw 8 1/3 innings of four-hit, no-run ball, and Minnesota shut out Kansas City, 7-0.
Albers was the 58th pitcher since 1916 to have his debut finish with at least eight shutout innings. Of those 58, only one other -- Mike Fornieles on Sept. 2, 1952 -- did it for the Senators/Twins franchise. In that game, Fornieles threw a one-hit shutout.
Among the 58 pitchers to finish their debut with at least eight shutout innings, Albers -- at 27 years and 304 days -- was the third oldest. Tot Pressnell was 31 years and 256 days old on April 21, 1938, when he twirled a nine-hit shutout to lead his Brooklyn team past Philadelphia. On Aug. 5, 2008, Chris Waters allowed one hit in eight shutout innings and his Orioles defeated the Angels, 3-0. Waters was 27 years and 354 days old.
Red Sox outslug Astros
Boston's 15-10 win over Houston featured several notable individual performances. David Ortiz went 4-for-4 with a walk and has had 14 games with the Red Sox in which he has reached safely at least five times. That total is the eighth most for Boston since 1916. Ted Williams, naturally, leads with 65.
Jacoby Ellsbury scored four times, driving in three runs (on a pair of homers) and walking twice. He was the first Red Sox leadoff hitter with a four-run, three-RBI, two-walk game since Ellis Burks on June 10, 1987. Ellsbury was the first Red Sox leadoff hitter with a two-homer, two-walk game since Burks on June 10, 1987.
Brandon Workman allowed six runs in relief and picked up the win. He was the first Red Sox relief pitcher with a line featuring six or more runs allowed and a win since Tom Sturdivant on Aug. 6, 1960. Yes, both occurrences took place on August 6. The time before that, it happened on Aug. 7, 1955.
Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway tied a modern era MLB record with four passed balls in an inning, with his four coming in the first. Lavarnway, who was catching knuckleballer Steven Wright, is the first catcher with four passed balls in an inning since the Rangers' Geno Petralli on Aug. 22, 1987 (seventh inning). In that game, Petralli was the batterymate of knuckleballer Charlie Hough. The only other instance since 1901 of a catcher with four passed balls in an inning also featured a backstop having to contend with a knuckleballer. On Sept. 10, 1954, Giants catcher Ray Katt had four in the eighth inning with Hoyt Wilhelm on the mound.
Beltran, Adams power Redbirds
Carlos Beltran hit his 20th home run of the season, Matt Adams connected for his third pinch-hit homer of the year, and the duo helped St. Louis to a 5-1 win over Los Angeles that ended the Dodgers' 15-game road winning streak.
The long ball gave Beltran his 11th 20-homer season, tying him with Lance Berkman for the fourth most in history for a switch-hitter. Eddie Murray had 16, while Mickey Mantle and Chipper Jones each had 14. All told, Beltran has 354 home runs in his career, the fifth most for any switch-hitter, behind Mantle, Murray, Jones and Berkman (who is fourth, with 366).
Adams' three pinch-hit homers this year are the most for a Cardinals player since Ryan Ludwick had three in 2007. No Cardinals player has had more since Carl Sawatski had four in 1961.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.