If you’re a major league player whose name is mentioned in the same sentence as Babe Ruth, you’ve done something pretty special. Just ask St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn.
Lynn is in his fourth season in the majors. He has compiled a 38-19 record. He had a “no decision” in his team’s loss last night to the Brewers. This season he is off to a 4-1 start with a 3.60 ERA. It’s a good start, but where does the Babe Ruth reference come in, you ask?
Of Lynn’s 38 career wins, 12 of them have come in April. In fact, he is 12-1 in April in his career, a .923 winning percentage. Of all the pitchers in MLB history who have started 10 or more games in April (and March), Lynn’s 12-1 record and .923 winning percentage is third all-time. Based on research using Baseball-Reference.com, Lynn falls behind Ray Fisher (7-0) and Babe Ruth (13-1).
(Note: Baseball-Reference.com has monthly split records for pitchers dating back to 1914. Fisher did pitch from 1910-1913, but monthly records are not available.)
Lynn is not the only active pitcher who has an outstanding record in April. A pair of Colorado pitchers Juan Nicasio and Tyler Chatwood both have career April records above .800; Nicasio is 7-1, .875, Chatwood 5-1, .833 in April games. Yu Darvish of the Rangers is 10-2, .833 in his career in April.
Following are the pitchers who have winning percentages above .800 in April games (minimum of 10 games started in April to qualify for the list).
Ray Fisher: 9-0, 1.000
Babe Ruth: 13-1, .929
Lance Lynn: 12-1, .923
Lefty Williams: 10-1, .909
Brandon Webb: 18-2, .900
Harry Gumbert: 17-2, .895
Juan Nicasio: 7-1, .875
Nino Espinosa: 7-1, .875
Hugh McQuillan: 11-2, .846
Dontrell Willis: 15-3, .833
Luke Hamlin: 10-2, .833
Dick Woodson: 5-1, .833
Yu Darvish: 10-2, .833
Tyler Chatwood: 5-1, .833
Pedro Martinez: 35-8, .814
Max Lanier: 13-3, .813
Pat Zachary: 13-3, .813
Damian Moss: 4-1, .800
Tommy Greene: 4-1, .800
Armando Galarraga: 8-2, .800
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The loud cheer you heard last week when the NFL schedule was announced came from the offices of the Chicago Bears. The 2014 NFL schedule includes 37 games that will be played on either Thursday, Saturday or Monday instead of the regular Sunday allotment of games. The Bears, along with the Eagles and Redskins will play in four of those games each. The reason the Bears are excited to play a quarter of their games on non-Sundays this upcoming season is that they have actually played better on those non-Sundays over the past 10 seasons.
The Bears are 75-64 (a .540 winning percentage) on Sundays since 2004. In those non-Sunday contests over the past decade they are 14-7 (a winning percentage of .667). That’s a difference of .127 percentage points. The San Francisco 49ers were pretty happy about getting three non-Sunday games on their schedule; they have a +.279 better winning percentage on non-Sunday games than Sunday games over the past 10 seasons.
Here’s a look at how well each of the 32 NFL teams have played in games on non-Sundays since 2004 and how it compares to their performance in Sunday contests in the past 10 seasons. The analysis is broken down by most non-Sunday games scheduled for the 2014 regular season.
Four non-Sunday games in 2014
Chicago: Non-Sunday games 14-7 .667. Sunday games 75-64 .540 (+.127 difference)
Philadelphia: Non-Sunday 12-14 .462, Sunday 77-56-1 (-.116)
Washington: Non-Sunday 7-13 .350, Sunday 59-81 .421 (-.071)
Three non-Sunday games in 2014
Dallas: Non-Sunday games 21-13 .618, Sunday games 66-60 .524 (+.092 difference)
Green Bay: Non-Sunday 13-14 .481, Sunday 83-49-1 .628 (-.147)
Indianapolis: Non-Sunday 17-5 .773, Sunday 94-44 .681 (+.092)
New Orleans: Non-Sunday 14-11 .560, Sunday 77-58 .570 (-.010)
New York Giants: Non-Sunday 14-10 .583, Sunday 76-60 .559 (+024)
New York Jets: Non-Sunday 8-13 .381, Sunday 71-68 .511 (-130)
Pittsburgh: Non-Sunday 19-7 .731, Sunday 86-48 .642 (+.089)
San Diego: Non-Sunday 13-10 .565, Sunday 87-50 .635 (-.070)
San Francisco: Non-Sunday 15-6 .714, Sunday 60-78-1 .435 (+.279)
Seattle: Non-Sunday 11-5 .688, Sunday 77-67 .535 (+.153)
Two non-Sunday games in 2014
Arizona: Non-Sunday games 3-9 .250, Sunday games 68-80 .459 (-.209 difference)
Atlanta: Non-Sunday 10-12 .455, Sunday 80-58 .580 (-.125)
Baltimore: Non-Sunday 11-12 .478, Sunday 84-53 .613 (-135)
Carolina: Non-Sunday 7-9 .438, Sunday 73-71 .507 (-069)
Cincinnati: Non-Sunday 6-9 .400, Sunday 76-68-1 .528 (-.128)
Denver: Non-Sunday 17-12 .586, Sunday 76-55 .580 (+.006)
Detroit: Non-Sunday 4-12 .250, 46-98 .319 (-.069)
Houston: Non-Sunday 5-8 .385, Sunday 65-82 .442 (-.057)
Kansas City: Non-Sunday 10-7 .588, Sunday 56-87 .392 (+.196)
Miami: Non-Sunday 6-16 .273, Sunday 60-78 .435 (-.162)
New England: Non-Sunday 20-5 .800, Sunday 104-31 .770 (+.030)
St. Louis: Non-Sunday 3-10 .271, Sunday 48-98-1 .330 (-.059)
Tennessee: Non-Sunday 10-8 .556, Sunday 66-76 .465 (+.091
One non-Sunday game in 2014
Buffalo: Non-Sunday games 3-6 .333, Sunday games 60-91 .397 (-.064 difference)
Cleveland: Non-Sunday 4-8 .333, Sunday 47-101 .318 (+.015)
Jacksonville: Non-Sunday 5-9 .357, Sunday 66-80 .452 (-.095)
Minnesota: Non-Sunday 8-14 .364, Sunday 69-68-1 .504 (-.140)
Oakland: Non-Sunday 3-15 .167, Sunday 46-96 .324 (-.157)
Tampa Bay: Non-Sunday 4-8 .333, Sunday 62-86 .419 (-.086)
The Portland Trailblazers have a 2-1 series lead over the Houston Rockets in the first round of the NBA playoffs. For the Blazers, a win over Houston would give them their first playoff series win since 2000. Entering this year’s playoffs, this was the longest drought for a playoff series win in the NBA.
Another of this year’s playoff teams, the Toronto Raptors, have not won a playoff series since 2001. The Raptors are currently down one game to two in their series against the Brooklyn Nets.
Three teams who did not make the playoffs this year have won gone a decade (or more) since winning a playoff series. The Milwaukee Bucks have not won a playoff series since 2001; the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sacramento Kings have not won a series in the post-season since 2004.
Of the eight teams that won at least one playoff series last season, all except one (the New York Knicks) made the playoffs this year.
Following are the last years in which each NBA team last won a playoff series.
Last year winning a playoff series, team(s)
2001: Milwaukee, Toronto
2004: Minnesota, Sacramento
2005: Charlotte (have never won a playoff series in franchise history), Washington
2008: Detroit, New Orleans
2009: Denver, Houston
2010: Cleveland, Orlando, Phoenix, Utah
2011: Atlanta, Dallas,
2012: Boston, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Philadelphia
2013: Chicago, Golden State, Indiana, Memphis, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City, San Antonio
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The Brewers won their 16th game of the 2014 season last night, 5-2 over the San Diego Padres. They have the majors best record at 16-6, and they reached the 16-win mark in the month of April for only the fourth time in team history.
With six games remaining in the month of April, is it possible that the Brewers could do something that has never been done in major league baseball history? It’s possible…
In 2003, the New York Yankees ended the month of April with a 21-6 record. It is the most wins by the end of April in the history of major league baseball. The Brewers, if they win their next three games at home against the Cubs, and then sweep the Cardinals in St. Louis in a series ending April 30, would end the month with 22 wins, a new record.
Let’s take a step back. Here’s a few possible scenarios for the Brewers as they close out the month of April.
If the Brewers win two of their next six games this month:
* Their 18 wins would make them only the 25th team in MLB history to end the month of April with at least 18 wins. The last team to win 18 or more by the end of April were the Boston Red Sox last season (they won 18 by April 30; they went on to win the World Series… more on that in a minute).
If the Brewers win three of their next six games this month:
* Their 19 wins would make them the seventh team in MLB history to win 19 or more games by the end of April. Last team to do so were the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 (they won 20 before April 30 that season)
If the Brewers win four of their next six games this month:
* Their 20 wins would make them only the fourth team in history to win 20 or more games by the end of April. They would join Seattle (20 wins in 2001), the Yankees (21 in 2003) and the Diamondbacks (20 in 2008) as the only teams to win 20 or more by the end of April.
If the Brewers win five of their next six games this month:
* They would tie the Yankees for the record for most wins by the end of April (21)
If the Brewers win all six of their remaining games this month:
* Their 22 wins would set the MLB record for most wins by the end of April.
A lot of “ifs” in the above scenarios. As stated above, if the Brewers can get at least two wins before the end of the month they will hit the 18-win mark, something that has been done only 24 times in MLB history. Of those 24 teams that did win 18 or more by the end of April in a season, 17 of those teams made the playoffs that year. Of the 24 teams, five went on to play in the World Series that season: Detroit (18 in 1984), Oakland (18 wins in 1989), San Diego (19 in 1998), the Yankees (21 in 2003) and Boston (18 in 2013). The Tigers, A’s and Red Sox won the World Series that year; the Padres and Yanks were on the losing end that season.
One final note: The Brewers 16 wins this season tie them with the 1998 and 2007 Brewers teams that also won 16 games by the end of April. Both of those team ended April with 16-9 marks. The Brewers best record by the end of April was in 1987 when the Brew Crew entered May of that season with an 18-3 record.
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Ryan Braun on Saturday hit a pair of home runs (one in the 7th inning and another in the 9th) to give the Brewers an 8-7 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. For Braun, it was his second game of the young 2014 season with two or more HRs (he hit three in a game earlier this season against the Phillies). Last season, in a year Braun would likely want to forget, he did not have a multi-HR game.
The multi-HR game on April 19th was the 20th of Braun’s career. He is now only two away from the Brewers club record held by Prince Fielder who had 22 multi-HR games in his career with the Brew Crew. Here’s a look at the Brewers players with 10 or more multi-HR games in their careers in Milwaukee.
Multi-HR games with the Brewers
22: Prince Fielder
20: Ryan Braun
19: Gorman Thomas
14: Robin Yount, Greg Vaughn, Corey Hart, Cecil Cooper, Jeromy Burnitz
12: Richie Sexson, Rob Deer
11: Dave Nilsson
10: Ben Oglivie, Geoff Jenkins
Since he came into the league in 2007, Braun’s 20 multi-HR games ranks tied for eighth. Since 2007, Albert Pujols has 30 such games, most in the majors. He is followed by four players with 22 (Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista), two with 21 (Mark Teixeira and Miguel Cabrera) and Braun and Adam Dunn with 20.
The MLB leader for career multi-HR games is not a surprise. Babe Ruth had 72 such games, edging out HR career leader Barry Bonds who had 71. In addition to Ruth and Bonds, nine other players have had 50 or more multi-HR games in their careers: Sammy Sosa (69), Mark McGwire (67), Willie Mays (63), Hank Aaron (62), Alex Rodriguez (60), Ken Griffey, Jr. (55), Jimmie Foxx (55), Frank Robinson (54) and Manny Ramirez (54).
One final note on Braun’s multi-HR games: The Brewers are 16-4 in games when Braun hits two or more home runs. In fact, the Brewers have now won 11 straight when Braun has a multi-HR game. Their last loss was on June 7, 2009.