Category Archives: Baseball

Today’s Sportstat: October 10, 2019

Washington Nationals make history

It was an itch that certainly needed to be scratched… especially for their long-suffering fans.

With their win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Divisional Series, the Washington Nationals are going to the National League Championship Series (NLCS) for the first time in the history of the franchise in Washington.

As a point of historical perspective, the Nationals have been in existence since 2005. Prior to that, the franchise called Montreal home where the Expos played from 1969 to 2004. They then left Montreal for D.C. and a new start as the Nationals in ’05.

The Expos made the post-season only once in their history, losing in the NLCS three games to two in 1981. It was the first and only time the franchise had made it to the NLCS until this year, the longest drought of all franchises. In fact, of the current 30 franchises, 26 have played in either an ALCS or NLCS this century. The four teams that had not played in the ALCS or NLCS this century prior to this year were Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Washington.

Here’s a look at the last time each MLB team has played in the ALCS or NLCS with a chance to reach the World Series.

American League
Chicago White Sox-2005
Tampa Bay-2008*
L.A. Angels-2009
Kansas City-2015
N.Y. Yankees-2019

National League
San Diego-1998
San Francisco-2014
N.Y. Mets-2015
Chicago Cubs-2017
L.A. Dodgers-2018
St. Louis-2019

*At the time of this post, the ALDS series between Tampa Bay and Houston had not been decided, therefore their years may not be current


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Today’s Sportstat: October 5, 2019

Where are they now? World Series winning managers since 2000

You would think that winning a World Series would give a manager a certain degree of job security. Think again.

Just this year, we saw that three of the last seven managers to win a World Series are no longer with that team: Bruce Bochy, who won three titles with the Giants (2010, 2012 and 2014) retired after the 2019 season; Joe Madden, who guided the Cubs to a World Series in 2016, was fired (or better stated, his contract was not renewed) at the conclusion of this year; and, Ned Yost, who led the Royals to a championship in 2015, decided to retire after the ’19 campaign.

Here’s another take on this: Of the 15 different managers who won a World Series since 2000, only three are now still managing in the majors: Terry Francona (he won two World Series with the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007) who is now the skipper of the Cleveland Indians, and Houston manager A.J. Hinch (he won the title in 2017 with the Astros) and Boston manager Alex Cora (he won with the Red Sox last season), are still with the teams they led to the title.

Here’s a look at the World Series winning managers since 2000 and where they are now.

2000: Joe Torre, New York Yankees (last managed in 2007). Now MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer

2001: Bob Brenly, Arizona (last managed in 2004). Broadcaster

2002: Mike Scioscia, Anaheim (last managed in 2018). Stepped down after the 2018 season

2003: Jack McKeon, Florida (last managed in 2005). Retired in 2011 after a short stint as San Diego interim manager.

2004: Terry Francona, Boston (still managing… current Cleveland skipper).

2005: Ozzie Guillen, Chicago White Sox (last managed in 2011). Broadcaster

2006: Tony LaRussa, St. Louis (last managed in 2011). Vice-President of the Boston Red Sox

2007: Terry Francona, Boston (see above-2004))

2008: Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia (last managed in 2013). Phillies hitting coach in 2019

2009: Joe Girardi, New York Yankees (last managed in 2017). Broadcaster

2010: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (last managed in 2019). Retired in 2019.

2011: Tony LaRussa, St. Louis (see above-2006)

2012: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (see above-2010)

2013: John Farrell, Boston (last managed in 2017). Broadcaster

2014: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (see above-2010)

2015: Ned Yost, Kansas City (last managed in 2019). Retired in 2019

2016: Joe Madden, Chicago Cubs (last managed in 2019). Fired/Contract not renewed in 2019

2017: A.J. Hinch, Houston (still managing the Houston Astros)

2018: Alex Cora, Boston (still managing the Boston Red Sox)

A couple of men on the above list are being mentioned as candidates for managerial openings that are (or will be) available; Girardi could wind up with the Cubs, a team he played seven seasons for in two stints. Madden, a former Angels minor leaguer, has been mentioned as a strong candidate for the Angels opening, and there has been talk that Farrell is ready to get back into the dugout as a manager.

So… stay tuned.


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Today’s Sportstat: October 3, 2019

Four stats you may not know about Christian Yelich’s 2019 season

The Milwaukee Brewers 2019 season ended with their Wild Card loss to the Washington Nationals, but we’ll never know if things might have been different had Christian Yelich not missed the last 15 games of the season (and the Wild Card contest) due to a fractured right knee cap he sustained in a September 10 game against the Cardinals.

Yelich ended the season with a .329 batting average and had enough plate appearances at the time of his injury to qualify for the National League batting title, his second consecutive N.L. batting crown. He also had 44 home runs and 30 stolen bases. It will also be interesting to see how much support Yelich gets for the N.L. MVP Award; will missing the last 15 games of the season cost him a legit shot at a repeat MVP honor? My guess is that the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger will win the honor; he was the best player on a team that had the best record in the National League. Yelich will certainly receive a lot of support for the award and will likely finish in the Top 3.

All that being said, Yelich had a memorable 2019 campaign. Here are four stats you may not know about his 2019 season.

40-30 Player: Yelich and Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. both had 40 or more HRs and 30 or more stolen bases in 2019, making them the first pair of 40-30 players in the majors since 1997. Acuna ended the year with 41 homers and 37 steals, while Yelich reached 40-30 with 44 HRs and 30 swipes. Acuna and Yelich were the first 40-30 players since Yelich’s current teammate, Ryan Braun, had 41 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 2012. (Acuna became the youngest 40-30 in MLB history at age 21.)

Acuna and Yelich became the 10th and 11th players to reach 40-30 in a season. It has been done now 13 times in baseball history with Barry Bonds and Jeff Bagwell doing it twice in their careers.

The first player with a 40-30 season? There’s another Milwaukee connection… Hank Aaron did it for the Milwaukee Braves with 44 home runs and 31 steals in 1963.

Back-to-Back Batting Titles: Yelich became the 26th player in MLB history to win back-to-back batting titles. It has now been done 12 times in the National League; the last time was Larry Walker in 1998-99. There have been 14 back-to-back batting title winners in the American League; the last time was in 2016-17 when Houston’s Jose Altuve won consecutive A.L. batting crowns.

The back-to-back batting champs: American League… Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Al Simmons, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Ferris Fain, Tony Oliva, Carl Yastrzemski, Rod Carew, Wade Boggs, Nomar Garciaparra, Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve; National League… Honus Wagner, Jake Daubert, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Tommy Davis, Roberto Clemente, Pete Rose, Bill Madlock, Dave Parker, Tony Gwynn, Larry Walker, Christian Yelich.

Forty or more HRs, less than 100 RBIs: Although Yelich had 44 home runs for the season, he fell short of the 100-RBI mark, finishing with 97 RBIs for the season. He became the 23rd player in MLB history to have 40 or more HRs in a season with less than 100 RBIs. Four players did it twice in their careers: Adam Dunn, Hank Aaron, Joey Gallo and Mickey Mantle.

Alfonso Soriano holds the Major League record for most home runs in a season with less than 100 RBIs with 46; he had 46 HRs and 95 RBIs in 2006. Barry Bonds in 2003 and Harmon Killebrew in 1963 each had 45 homers with less than 100 RBIs in a season; Yelich is tied with two other players with 44 homers in a season with less than 100 RBIs.

Joey Gallo holds the MLB record for fewest RBIs in a season with 40 or more home runs; in 2017 Gallo had 41 HRs and only 80 RBIs for the Texas Rangers.

The Brewers have another member of this club… former first baseman Chris Carter had 41 home runs and 94 RBIs for the Brew Crew in 2016.

Back-to-Back seasons with a .325 batting average: Yelich became the first Brewers player in team history to hit .325 in back-to-back seasons (must have had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title to be on this list). He also became the third Brewers player with enough qualifying plate appearances to have two seasons with the Brewers with a .325 or higher batting average. The others: Jeff Cirillo (1996 and 1999) and Paul Molitor (1987 and 1991).

Ty Cobb and Cap Anson hold the MLB record with 19 seasons with a .325 or higher season batting average. They are followed by Tris Speaker (14 seasons), Stan Musial (13 seasons) and Ted Williams, Eddie Collins and Honus Wagner (12 seasons each).

Most of the above players ended their careers well before 1960 (Musial ended his career in 1962). There are four players who had eight or more seasons with a .325 (or higher batting average) since 1960: Wade Boggs and Rod Carew had nine seasons each, while Albert Pujols and Tony Gwynn had eight seasons each where they hit .325 or higher in a campaign.



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Today’s Sportstats: September 12, 2019 (Bonus)

Brewers Mike Moustakas hits two HRs on his birthday

Mike Moustakas was the hero in the Brewers’ 7-5 win over the Miami Marlins on September 11. He hit a pair of two-run home runs in the contest. What made it all the more celebratory for “Moose” was that the two long balls came on his 31st birthday.

Moustakas became the 43rd player in MLB history to hit two or more home runs in a game on his birthday. He was the second player to do so this season; the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hit a pair of home runs on his 27th birthday, April 21, versus the Brewers. Moustakas also became the second Brewers player to hit two or more HRs in a game on his birthday… Jose Hernandez did it for the Brew Crew on July 14, 2002 against the Pirates on his birthday.

Three of the 43 players in this group have hit two or more homers in a game on their birthday twice in their careers: Duke Snider, Justin Morneau and Kirk Gibson each hit a pair of home runs on their birthdays in two different seasons.

Nomar Garciaparra holds the MLB record for most home runs in a game on a birthday with three. He did that on July 23, 2002 as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Garciaparra had three home runs and eight RBI in Game Two of a doubleheader against Tampa Bay on his 29th birthday.

Back to Moustakas… previous to his two HRs on his birthday this season, he had not had much success on his birthdays in previous years. Prior to the 2019 season, Moustakas was 3-for-17 (.176 batting average) with no home runs on his birthday.


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Today’s Sportstat: September 4, 2019

Gavin Lux’s MLB debut is one for the ages

Kenosha, Wisconsin native Gavin Lux made his Major League debut on September 2 and it was a memorable one. Lux started at second base in the Dodgers’ 16-9 win over Colorado and had two hits, including a double, and scored three runs in five at-bats.

He became the 28th player in Major League history to have two or more hits and score three or more runs in his MLB debut; he was also the first Dodgers’ player to do so.

Here’s a few more stats from that game that you may not know:

  • Lux’s current manager, Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts, is also one of the 28 players in MLB history to have two or more hits and score three or more runs in his first career game. Roberts did it on August 7, 1999 as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Roberts had three hits (including a double) and scored three runs in his MLB debut.
  • Lux is the seventh player to have two or more hits and three or more runs in his MLB debut this century. The others: Kevin Frandsen (San Francisco, 2006), Andrew McCutcheon (Pittsburgh, 2009), J.P. Arencibia (Toronto, 2010), Jonathan Schoop (Baltimore, 2013), Joey Gallo (Texas, 2015) and Cedric Mullins (Baltimore, 2018).
  • Another member of this select group of 28 is former NBA star Danny Ainge. He made his baseball debut on May 21, 1979 and had three hits and scored three runs for the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Another member of the 28 is Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. He had three hits and scored three runs in his MLB debt on May 3, 1936.
  • The first player to have two or more hits and score three of more runs in his MLB debut was Carson Bigbee on August 24, 1916.
  • The 28 players in this group saw their team win the game where they accomplished this rare feat 26 times and lose only twice in these games.
  • Twenty of these 28 occasions occurred at home for the record-setting players.
  • Lux was the sixth second baseman to accomplish this feat, tied with center fielders for the position that has accomplished this feat most often..
  • If we consider that Lux also had an extra-base hit (a double) in addition to his two hits and three runs scored in his first career game, he becomes the 19th player in MLB history to have two or more hits, score three or more runs, and have at least one extra-base hit in a Major League debut.


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