Longest no-hitter droughts in the majors
L.A.’s Josh Beckett on Sunday tossed the first no-hitter of the 2014 MLB season. It was the Dodgers’ first no-hitter since Hideo Nomo had a no-hitter on September 17, 1996, a span of almost 18 seasons.
Beckett’s Dodgers became the 19th MLB team to have a no-hitter since 2000; it was the 35th no-hitter this century.
Of the 11 teams that have not had a no-hitter since 2000, the San Diego Padres are the only team that has never had one of their pitchers toss a no-hitter in franchise history. Of the other 10 teams, the Cleveland Indians currently have the longest gap since their last no-hitter; the Indians last no-hitter was May 15, 1981 when Len Barker threw a perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s a span of over 33 years!
Following are the franchises/teams that have not had a no-hitter this century and when their last no-hitter took place.
San Diego Padres: Have never had a no-hitter in franchise history.
Cleveland Indians: May 15, 1981
Milwaukee Brewers: April 15, 1987
Toronto Blue Jays: September 2, 1990
Baltimore Orioles: July 13, 1991
Washington Nationals: July 28, 1991
Kansas City Royals: August 26, 1991
Atlanta Braves: April 8, 1994
Texas Rangers: July 28, 1994
Pittsburgh Pirates: July 12, 1997
New York Yankees: July 18, 1999
Of the 35 no-hitters since 2000, the Boston Red Sox have the most with four. The White Sox. Miami, Philadelphia and San Francisco each have had three no-hitters this century.
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White Sox rookie Jose Abreu looks to make history
Chicago White Sox rookie slugger Jose Abreu last weekend last weekend went on the 15-day disabled list with an ankle injury. While this two-week sabbatical may not be a big deal early in this season, missing 14-15 games may be a big deal when we look back at Abreu’s season in early October.
Abreu has slugged 15 home runs in his first 44 games this season. That works out to a pace of about 55 home runs for the season if Abreu had not missed any games. Only one rookie has hit more than 40 home runs in their initial season: Oakland A’s rookie Mark McGwire had 49 HRs in 1987 in his first season in the league. In fact. McGwire is the only rookie to hit 40 or more home runs in a season.
Looking back, we see that 25 rookies have hit 30 or more home runs in a season. Of those 25, 14 were selected as Rookie of the Year in their league that season. The last rookie to hit 30-plus HRs was in 2012 when the Angels Mike Trout hit 30.
Here’s a look at the rookies who have hit the most HRs in their first season in the league.
Mark McGwire, 49, 1987
Frank Robinson, 38, 1956
Wally Berger, 38, 1930
Albert Pujols, 37, 2001
Al Rosen, 37, 1950
Mike Piazza, 35, 1993
Ron Kittle, 35, 1983
Rudy York, 35, 1937
Hal Trosky, 35, 1934
Ryan Braun, 34, 2007
Walt Dropo, 34, 1950
Of the 11 players above, seven were selected as Rookie of the Year that season.
Abreu’s 15 HRs this season already places him 13th on the White Sox all-time list for HRs by a rookie. The team record in Ron Kittle’s 35 in 1983.
Will Abreu make a run at McGwire’s 49?
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Brewers winning without scoring a lot of runs
Sitting atop the National League Central with a 26-15 record, the Milwaukee Brewers have surprised most baseball pundits (and probably a few of their own fans) with a great start to this 2014 season. The Brewers have used great pitching (starters and bullpen) and timely hitting to have the largest division lead in the N.L. (five games over the Cardinals).
One of the reasons for the great start by Milwaukee has been their ability to win games where they don’t score a lot of runs. Through games of Thursday, May 15, the Brewers have played in the third most games where they scored five or fewer runs (33). They have, however, won 18 of those 33 (a .545 winning percentage). They are the only team to have a winning percentage over .500 in games when they scored five or fewer runs.
Looking back at baseball history, only 81 teams ended a season with a winning percentage over .500 in games where they scored less than six runs in a game. Should the Brewers keep this pace, they would become the 82nd. It’s interesting to note that of the 10 teams that have the highest season winning percentage in games where they scored five or fewer runs, nine of the 10 made the World Series in that season (five actually won the title that season; one team, the 1904 New York Giants reached their mark in a year when no World Series was held). The Chicago Cubs of 1906 hold the mark for the highest winning percentage in such games; they were 66-36 (a .647 winning percentage) in games with five or fewer runs that year.
Speaking of current pace, the Brewers are on a pace to win 103 games. They have won 18 of their 26 games with five or fewer runs (69.2% of their victories). If they continue at that pace, they would win 71 games with five or fewer runs. The 1907 Cubs hold the record for most wins in a season with five or fewer runs in a game, 78. The 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers are the only other team to win 70+ games with less than six runs in a games. They won 71 that season. Since 2000, the 2013 Pirates have the most wins in a season in games with five or fewer runs, 61.
Since 2000, only two teams had a winning percentage over .500 in games where they scored less than six runs. The 2001 Seattle Mariners were 46-40 (.535) in such games; the 2005 White Sox were 57-52 (.523). The Sox won the title that season.
Just to give you a little perspective for this stat, consider that through games of May 15 this season teams that score six or more runs in a game are 291-49, a .856 winning percentage. The Brewers are actually one of five teams who are undefeated in games when they score six or more runs in a game (San Francisco, St. Louis, Kansas City and Atlanta).
Great pitching will help the Brewers continue winning games when they score less than six runs in a contest. We’ll see if they can keep this pace.
NFL Draft: Inside the First Round since 2000
We finally end this long wait for the NFL Draft to begin when the selection of college players by NFL teams begins Thursday May 8. That first day of the three-day, seven-round draft will feature 32 selections in the first round. Rounds two and three will happen on Friday, while the remainder of the draft will conclude on Saturday with rounds four through seven.
Round One usually receives the most hype.. So let’s take a look back and see some of the statistical patterns that have emerged for Round One and of each of the 32 teams since 2000.
For the sake of this article, let me offer a few definitions. First, I’ve broken down the draft choices into five distinct categories: defensive playmakers (linebackers and defensive backs), defensive line (nose tackles, defensive tackles and defensive ends), offensive playmakers (tight ends, quarterbacks, running backs and receivers), offensive line (centers, guards and tackles) and kicking specialists (punters and placekickers).
Here are ten stats you may not know about the first round draft choices made in the NFL Draft since 2000.
1. There have been 445 players drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2000. The New York Jets have had the most first-round choices since 2000 with 19. Miami and Tampa Bay have had the fewest with 11 each.
2. Of the 445 first-round picks since 2000, 146 were offensive playmakers, 114 were defensive playmakers, 111 were defensive line, 73 were offensive line, one was a kicking specialist.
3. Of the 32 NFL teams, 13 have drafted more defensive players than offensive players in the first round since 2000 (Carolina, Dallas, Green Bay, Houston, Kansas City, New England, New Orleans, NY Giants, NY Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis). Thirteen teams have drafted more offensive players than defensive players in the first round since 2000 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tampa Bay). Six have drafted the same number of offensive players as defensive players in the first round since 2000 (Buffalo, Denver, Minnesota, San Francisco, Tennessee, Washington).
4. Of the 445 players drafted in the first round since 2000, 225 were defensive players, 219 were offensive players, one was a kicking specialist (Oakland selected Sebastian Janikowski in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft).
5. The Oakland Raiders have drafted the most defensive playmakers in the first round since 2000 with eight. Five teams (Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacks0nville and Philadelphia) have each only drafted one defensive playmakers in the first round this century.
6. The New York Jets have drafted the most defensive linemen in the first round since 2000 with eight. Three teams (Baltimore, Cincinnati and Oakland) have each drafted only one defensive lineman in the first round this century.
7. The Detroit Lions have drafted the most offensive playmakers in the first round since 2000 with nine. Two teams (Dallas and Philadelphia) have each drafted only one offensive playmakers in the first round this century.
8. Pittsburgh and Seattle have each drafted the most offensive linemen in the first round since 2000 with five each. Eight teams (Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, NY Giants, Oakland, San Diego, Tennessee) have each drafted only one offensive lineman in the first round this century.
9. The Detroit Lions have the largest disparity when comparing offensive to defensive picks in the first round since 2000. The Lions have drafted 13 offensive players and only four defensive players in the first round since 2000, a difference of nine more offensive players.
10. Four teams have a +5 disparity when comparing the number of defensive selections to offensive selections in the first round since 2000. The Houston Texans have drafted nine defensive players and only four offensive players in the first round since 2000; the Jets have drafted 12 defensive and 7 offensive; Oakland has drafted nine defensive and four offensive; and the Rams have drafted 11 defensive and six offensive in the first round since 2000.
How many teams will stay true to form with regards to their first round picks in the past 14 seasons? We’ll find out on Thursday.
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Why this year’s first round of the NBA playoffs have been the best ever
If you are an NBA fan, this year’s NBA playoffs (the first round) have been unlike any other year. Prior to this year’s playoffs, there were 14 seven-game series in the first round in the last 11 years. Five of the first-round series this year will go to a deciding seventh game. Dating back to 2003 when the NBA went to seven-game series in the first round, the most first-round series in a season that went to a deciding seventh game were two (it happened in four different post seasons).
As mentioned above, the NBA went to a seven-game format in the first round of its playoffs beginning in 2003. Here’s a look at some stats from first-round series since 2003.
* In the 96 first-round series from 2003-14, 54.2 percent have gone to either six or seven games. The six games that went to at least a sixth game this year ties last year’s mark. The most first-round series to go six or seven games since 2003 was seven back in 2003, the first year of the new format.
* Nineteen of the 96 first-round series (19.8 percent) since 2003 have now gone the full seven games. The five this year tops the previous best of two first-round series going to a seventh game (2003, 2005, 2009 and 2012).
* Of the previous 14 teams that won a seven-game series in the first round since 2003, only five won their next series. No team that won a seven-game series in the first round of the NBA playoffs has won their next series since 2008.
* Of the 19 first-round series that have now gone seven games, the #4-#5 seed match-up and the #3-#6 seed match-up have each happened six times. the #2-#7 seed match-up has gone to seven games three times since 2003, the #1-#8 seed match-up has gone to a seventh game four times.
* Of the 11 eventual NBA champions since 2003, only one (the 2008 Boston Celtics) went to a deciding seventh game in the first round in the year they won the title. The Miami Heat last year became the first team since the new format in 2003 to sweep their first-round series and win the title that year. Five NBA champs in the last 11 years won their first-round series in five games, four won their first-round series in six games.
* Miami’s four-game sweep of Charlotte this year extends the streak of at least one first-round series going only four games. There have now been 18 first-round sweeps in the NBA playoffs since 2003. Of the previous 17 (those prior to Miami’s sweep this year), 13 also won their next series. Of the 17 teams that won their first-round series in four games, six advanced to the NBA Finals that year. Of the six, only Miami last year won the title that season.
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