MLB WEEKEND GAME NOTES

CHICAGO CUBS AT BALTIMORE

The Cubs dropped two out of three to the Pirates over the weekend, including Sunday’s game by a score of 14-3. Chicago allowed 10 runs in the first inning of that game, its most allowed in any inning over the last five seasons.

The Orioles beat the Twins on Saturday and Sunday to earn a four-game split in Minnesota last weekend. Their 11 runs on Sunday were their most since scoring 15 against the Cardinals on June 17. Baltimore scored in double digits twice in the month of June.

This will be the fourth-ever series between these teams, and just the Cubs’ second trip to Baltimore. The first came in 2003, when they won two of the three games. Chicago is 6-3 against the Orioles all-time.

Mike Montgomery allowed seven runs (all earned) in 2.1 innings in his last start against the Brewers at Wrigley on July 6. He also pitched 3.0 innings of relief in Sunday’s 14-3 loss to the Pirates, allowing two runs (both earned).

Kevin Gausman gave up six runs (five earned) in 4.0 innings against the Twins on July 7, taking a no-decision. That followed back-to-back starts in which he had allowed zero runs and six hits over 12.1 innings, going 2-0 in those games.

Trey Mancini is hitting .434 against fastballs this season, second in the majors among qualified batters (Ben Gamel, .455). Kris Bryant is the Cubs’ best hitter against fastballs at .294, 77th in MLB.

 

BOSTON AT NY YANKEES

The Yankees hold a significant edge over the rival Red Sox this season, going 4-1 versus Boston thus far this season (outscoring the Red Sox 27-7 in those games). New York’s 1.20 ERA versus Boston this season is its lowest against any single opponent since its 1.00 ERA versus San Francisco in 2013.

The Yankees capped off the first half of the season with a 5-3 home loss to the Brewers, and their 7-18 record since June 13 is the worst in MLB. Their .280 winning percentage over those 25 games is their worst over a 25-game span since May 23 — June 17, 1995 (also 7-18).

Boston fell to Tampa Bay 5-3 on Sunday for its fourth loss in its last five games prior to the All-Star break (that five-game stretch immediately followed its six-game winning streak). With a record of 50-39, the Red Sox find themselves at the top of the AL East standings at the break for the first time since 2013.

Michael Pineda is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five starts versus the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Pineda got the win in his lone start versus Boston this season, allowing just one run (zero earned) in 7.0 innings pitched at Yankee Stadium on June 8 (a 9-1 Yankees win).

Drew Pomeranz notched his third consecutive win and ninth overall last Friday by pitching 6.0 innings and allowing just two runs at Tampa Bay. In six career appearances versus the Yankees (five starts), Pomeranz is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA, his lowest ERA against any current divisional rival.

Home Run Derby champion, Aaron Judge, wrapped up his first half with a 1-for-4 day versus the Brewers on Sunday, extending his hitting streak to seven games, two games away from tying the longest streak of his career. Judge is batting .370 with three home runs during the streak.

 

TORONTO AT DETROIT

The Blue Jays split a four-game series with the Astros in Toronto last weekend, the first home series they haven’t lost since they split a two-game series with the Rays on June 13-14, going 4-9 at home since then, and 5-5 on the road.

The Tigers won the third game of their series with the Indians on Sunday, avoiding a sweep. Their 39 pre-All-Star break wins are their fewest since 2003, when they had just 25.

Since the start of the 2014 season, Toronto is 13-6 against Detroit, their best record against any AL team in that span. In those games, the Jays have outscored the Tigers by an average of 5.74 to 3.74.

Aaron Sanchez allowed eight runs (five earned) in just 1.2 innings at home against the Astros on July 7, dropping to 0-2 on the season. It was his first start since May 19, after missing several weeks due to a finger laceration.

Justin Verlander allowed just one run in 6.2 innings in Cleveland on July 8, but took the loss, falling to 5-6 this year. Verlander is 3-4 in his career against the Blue Jays, with one of the wins being one of his two career no-hitters (2011).

Kevin Pillar has been great against the Tigers in his career, hitting .400 (20-for-50) in 15 career games against them. Only Yadier Molina (.406) and Matt Holliday (.403) have higher career batting averages against Detroit (minimum 40 PA).

 

SEATTLE AT CHICAGO WHITE SOX

The Mariners split a four-game series at home against the Athletics last weekend, helped by a 4-0 win on Sunday. It was their eighth shutout of the season — only the Indians and Dodgers (nine each) have more.

The White Sox dropped two out of three in Colorado last weekend, including a 10-0 blowout loss on Sunday. It was the fifth time since 2014 that Chicago has been shutout and allowed at least 10 runs, the most in MLB in that timespan.

Chicago won three of four in Seattle in May, outscoring the Mariners 26-3 in their three wins. The White Sox have only lost the season series once since 2010, going a combined 41-18 against Seattle since then.

James Paxton allowed two runs (both earned) in 7.0 innings against the Athletics on July 7, improving to 7-3 this year. Paxton has now posted three consecutive quality starts, after a six-start span that never saw him get past 5.1 innings.

James Shields allowed six runs (all earned) in 4.2 innings in Oakland on July 4, taking a no decision. Shields made three starts in April before going on the DL, allowing one run in each of them. Since returning on June 18, he’s allowed 17 earned runs in 19.2 innings across four starts.

Ben Gamel is hitting .431 in the Mariners’ wins this season, but just .197 in their losses — that .234 difference is the biggest in the majors among qualified batters. Avisail Garcia is hitting .406 in wins and .238 in losses; his .168 difference is the third-biggest in the AL.

 

MINNESOTA AT HOUSTON

The Twins split a four-game series at home against the Orioles last weekend, winning the first two before dropping games on Saturday and Sunday. The Twins are 20-28 (.417) at home, but 25-15 (.625) on the road — the .208 difference is the biggest in MLB.

The Astros split a four-game series with the Blue Jays in Toronto last weekend, scoring a total of 31 runs in their two wins, and six runs in their two losses. Their 19-1 win on Sunday was the biggest margin of victory in franchise history, surpassing a 17-run win over the Cardinals in 2007.

Houston swept Minnesota in a three-game series at the end of May, outscoring the Twins by a combined 40-16 over those three games. Since the start of last season, the Astros are 8-2 against Minnesota.

Jose Berrios allowed four runs (three earned) in 6.0 innings against the Orioles on July 6, improving to 8-2 in 11 starts this year. The second-year pitcher is having a much better season than his rookie campaign — through 14 starts last year, he was 3-7 with an 8.02 ERA, compared to a 3.53 ERA this season.

Charlie Morton allowed one run over 6.0 innings against the Blue Jays on July 7, getting the win and improving to 6-3 on the season. Morton struck out just three batters, tied for his lowest total of the season, but allowed just four hits, also tied for the fewest he’s allowed this year.

Max Kepler hit just .215 in June, but is hitting .467 in July — the .252 jump is the biggest in the majors among qualified batters. Carlos Correa has also jumped from .294 to .500, giving him the third-biggest increase in MLB.

 

TEXAS AT KANSAS CITY

The Rangers swept a four-game series versus the Royals earlier this season from April 20-23 in Texas, their fourth series sweep of at least four games versus Kansas City all-time (Texas’ most such sweeps versus any team that is currently not a member of the AL West).

In their final game before the All-Star break, the Rangers were shut out, 3-0, at home versus the Angels, just their second time being shut out this season and their first since their 11th game of the season (April 15 at Seattle). Texas managed just two hits in the game, tied for its fewest of the season (done four other times).

The Royals were swept in their final series of the first half, losing three games at Dodger Stadium. That three-game series was Kansas City’s fifth time being swept this season, though the other four times all occurred in April.

Mike Moustakas finished the first half with a single-season career-high 25 home runs, the most ever by a Royal prior to the break. Moustakas is tied for fifth in MLB in home runs — the only Royals all-time to finish in the top five in MLB in home runs are Steve Balboni (36 in 1985, good for fourth) and John Mayberry (34 in 1975, tied for fifth).

Martin Perez has allowed exactly one run in each of his two career starts versus the Royals, but did not earn a decision in either start because he was given just one run of support in each. Perez is 0-2 versus AL Central clubs this season (neither start was versus Kansas City), and the Rangers are just 1-4 when he starts on the road.

The Royals are just 4-13 in games Jason Hammel has started this season, the second-worst record by any player with at least 15 starts (the Phillies are 3-12 in Jerad Eickhoff’s starts this year). Hammel hasn’t gotten much run support this season — his 3.33 run support average is the third lowest in MLB among ERA qualifiers.

 

CLEVELAND AT OAKLAND

The Indians won three of four games at home versus the Athletics earlier this season from May 29 — June 1, outscoring the A’s, 23-10, over the four games (including an 8-0 shutout in the series finale). Indians pitchers struck out 59 batters over the four games, tied for the second-most strikeouts by any team in a single series in the last 100 years.

Cleveland won five of its seven series played from June 16 through the end of the first half (including winning two of three at home versus Detroit in the Indians’ final series prior to the break). Cleveland’s 15-9 record since June 16 is the third best in MLB over that span behind only the Dodgers’ (20-3) and Astros’ (15-7) respective records.

Despite winning four of their final six games prior to the All-Star break, the Athletics finished the first half with the most losses in the AL (50). Oakland has allowed 470 runs this season, tied with Baltimore for the most in MLB; the A’s have allowed the most runs in MLB twice since moving to Oakland in 1968 (1982 and 1997).

Jose Ramirez has totaled 49 extra-base hits this season, the third most by an Indian prior to the All-Star break all-time behind Albert Belle (58 in 1994) and Jim Thome (53 in 1998). Ramirez’s 49 extra-base hits are tied with Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall for the second most in MLB this season (Colorado’s Nolan Arenado has 50).

Carlos Carrasco is 7-1 with a 2.38 ERA and .197 opponent batting average in nine road starts this season. His seven road wins are tied for the most in MLB (also the Angels’ JC Ramirez and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer).

Over his last three starts, Sonny Gray has recorded a 1.71 ERA while holding opponents to a .130 batting average. However, in two starts versus Cleveland since the start of last season (each of which were on the road), Gray is 0-2 with a 15.75 ERA (14 earned runs in 8.0 innings), and Indians hitters went 17-for-38 against him (.447 average).

 

TAMPA BAT AT LA ANGELS

The Rays have won each of their last five road games versus the Angels, including a three-game series sweep the last time they faced them at Angel Stadium from May 6-8 last season. Tampa Bay is 21-9 in road games versus Los Angeles since 2010, tied for its most road wins versus any non-AL East team over that span (also versus Minnesota).

The Rays entered the All-Star break with a 47-43 record, good for one of the two AL Wild Card spots, after entering last season’s All-Star break with a 34-54 record (17.5 games out of first place in the AL East). Tampa Bay’s 13-win improvement prior to the All-Star break from last season to this one is tied with Minnesota for the second-largest in MLB (Arizona, plus-15).

The Angels entered the All-Star break having lost each of their final three series of the first half, going 3-6 and being outscored by 22 runs (45-23) over the nine games. That stretch gave the Angels a losing record (45-47) at the All-Star break for a second consecutive season, the only time in Mike Scioscia’s tenure as Angels manager (2000-2017) that the team has entered the break with a losing record in consecutive seasons.

Corey Dickerson entered the All-Star break with 44 extra-base hits, tied for the third most by a Ray prior to the All-Star break all-time. The only Rays with more extra-base hits prior to the break are Aubrey Huff (49 in 2003) and Jose Canseco (46 in 1999).

Rookie Jake Faria pitched 6.0 innings of one-run ball versus Boston on July 6 (his last start before the break) to earn his fourth career win (Faria is 4-0). Faria is just the second Ray all-time to win each of his first four career decisions as a starter (also James Shields, who won his first four decisions as a starter in 2006). No Ray has won his first five career decisions as a starter.

Ricky Nolasco allowed a season-high eight runs at Texas in just 1.2 innings pitched in his last start before the break last Friday after holding his opponent scoreless in each of his two previous starts. The eight runs allowed are the most Nolasco has allowed since August 31, 2014 at Baltimore (also allowed eight runs).

 

PITTSBURGH AT ST. LOUIS

The Cardinals have not yet faced the Pirates in Pittsburgh this season (St. Louis is 4-2 in six home games versus the Pirates). The Cardinals won each of their last two series played at PNC Park last season, going 5-1 over the six games and outscoring the Pirates by 22 runs (46-24) or 3.67 runs per game.

The Cardinals entered the All-Star break with a 43-45 record, their first season with a losing record entering the break since 2007 (40-45). The nine-season streak (2008-2016) with a winning record entering the All-Star break is the second-longest streak in franchise history (13 straight from 1941-1953).

The Pirates won five of their last six games prior to the All-Star break but still own just a 42-47 record, the team’s worst record entering the break since 2010 (30-58), the season before Clint Hurdle took over as head coach (John Russell managed the 2010 squad that finished 57-105, the worst record in baseball).

Andrew McCutchen was batting .200 (34-for-170) through games of May 23, the 10th-lowest batting average in MLB (minimum 150 plate appearances). Since then, McCutchen is batting .404 (59-for-146), the highest batting average in MLB (minimum 150 plate appearances). McCutchen entered the break with 93 hits, his most prior to the All-Star break since 2014 (115).

Mike Leake’s 10 career wins versus the Pirates are the second most by any pitcher since 2010 (Leake’s rookie season) behind only Johnny Cueto’s 14. Leake is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts versus Pittsburgh this season.

Gerrit Cole has posted a 1.80 ERA in seven starts versus NL Central division rivals this season, the fifth-lowest ERA by any pitcher versus his own division (minimum five starts) behind Jason Vargas (1.63), Rich Hill (1.67), Dallas Keuchel (1.69) and Clayton Kershaw (1.78).

 

WASHINGTON AT CINCINNATI

The Nationals have taken two of three from the Reds thus far in 2017, outscoring them 26-14 in those three games. Washington’s .360 batting average versus Cincinnati this season is its highest against any team.

Washington wrapped up its first half with a 10-5 win against Atlanta on Sunday, its league-leading 15th time scoring 10 or more runs in a game. The Nationals are in first place in the NL East at the All-Star Break for the fourth-straight year.

The Reds were able to seal a series win at Chase Field versus the Diamondbacks on Sunday with a 2-1 victory. The win improved their record to 7-12 in one-run games, which still ranks second-to-last in the National League (Philadelphia — 11-23).

Gio Gonzalez lost his third consecutive start last Thursday, allowing three runs over 6.0 innings versus the Braves. It is Gonzalez’s longest losing streak since May 23-June 9, 2016 when he lost four-straight starts.

With a loss on Friday in Arizona, Tim Adleman’s record worsened to 5-6 on the year. He allowed three earned runs over 5.0 innings in the game. He has now allowed at least one home run in eight-straight starts, longest such streak of his career.

With a 2-for-3 effort on Sunday, Anthony Rendon extended his current hitting streak to seven games, which is tied for his longest streak since September 8-17, 2015 when he had a nine-game streak. Over the streak, he is batting .400 with a 1.060 OPS.

 

COLORADO AT NY METS

This is the first meeting between the Rockies and Mets this season; the Rockies won six of seven versus New York in 2016 after the Mets went 7-0 versus Colorado in 2015. Dating back to 2013, New York is 11-3 against Colorado at Citi Field, outscoring the Rockies 50-29 in those games.

The Rockies defeated the White Sox at home on Sunday before the All-Star break, 10-0, to take two of three in the series. It was their 13th time this season scoring 10 or more runs, second most in the NL (Washington — 15).

The Mets fell to the Cardinals on Sunday in St. Louis, 6-0, their fifth loss in their past six games (outscored 36-14 in those six games). They currently sit 12.0 games back of the Nationals in the NL East, their most games out of first place at the All-Star break since 2003 (21.0 games back).

In his second game back from the DL, Jon Gray picked up the win last Friday after allowing just two earned runs over 5.2 innings. The Rockies have won each of Gray’s five starts this season, but are just 1-2 in his three career starts versus the Mets.

Jacob deGrom notched his ninth win of the season last Friday with a 7.0 inning, five-strikeout effort in St. Louis. DeGrom has won each of his last five starts, tied for the longest streak of his career (also July 8 — August 2, 2014); deGrom has recorded a 1.62 ERA while holding opponents to a .170 batting average during the streak.

With three hits on Saturday, T.J. Rivera extended his hitting streak to eight games (the longest streak of his career). Over the streak, Rivera is batting .448 with two homers and a 1.242 OPS (he had just two home runs in his first 53 games this season).

 

LA DODGERS AT MIAMI

The Dodgers won three of four home games versus the Marlins from May 18-21, their first series win versus Miami since winning two of three games at Marlins Park from June 26-28, 2015 (Los Angeles went just 1-6 versus the Marlins last season).

The Dodgers swept each of their final two series of the first half to enter the All-Star break with a 61-29 (.678) record, their highest win percentage entering the break since going 58-26 (.690) in 1955 (the Dodgers went on to win their first World Series title that season).

The Marlins finished the first half by sweeping a three-game series at San Francisco, their third sweep of the season. Miami collected at least 10 hits in each of its last eight games prior to the All-Star break (July 2-9) and is hitting .320 this July, the second-highest batting average in MLB this month (Houston — .350).

Justin Turner has recorded a .385 batting average (15-for-39) at Marlins Park over his career. Eight of his 15 hits have gone for extra bases (five doubles, one triple and two home runs); his .718 career slugging percentage at Marlins Park is the highest by any player all-time (minimum 45 plate appearances).

Brandon McCarthy is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in two career starts versus the Marlins, including a 1-0 complete game shutout win on May 18, 2013 at Marlins Park (his only career appearance at Marlins Park). McCarthy has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his five road starts this season.

Dan Straily is 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA at home this season, the fifth-lowest home ERA in MLB (minimum eight home starts). Miami has won each of Straily’s last four home starts, giving the righty 18 runs of support compared to the eight runs he has allowed over that span.

 

ARIZONA AT ATLANTA

The Diamondbacks and Braves will meet for the first time this season on Friday after the Diamondbacks won the 2016 season series, 5-2. The Braves are 13-7 in their last 20 games versus the Diamondbacks at home, however (outscoring them 95-66 in those games).

Arizona fell to Cincinnati, 2-1, on Sunday which marked its eighth loss in its last 11 games. It was the Diamondbacks’ 30th one-run game of the season, second-most in MLB (Philadelphia — 34). They are 18-12 in those games.

The Braves fell to the Nationals on Sunday with a final score of 10-5 as they split the series at two games apiece. Atlanta’s .483 winning percentage at the All-Star Break is its best since 2014 when they were 52-43 (.547) at the break.

Taijuan Walker allowed a season-high five earned runs over 5.0 innings on Saturday against the Reds, receiving his first losing decision since May 13. That streak of five straight starts without a loss was his longest since September 14, 2015-April 25, 2016 when he also had five straight.

R.A. Dickey allowed just one run over 7.0 innings on Friday but failed to receive a decision in Washington. Dickey owns a 1.00 ERA in his past four starts, lowest in the National League since June 19 (among qualified players).

Paul Goldschmidt extended his active hitting streak to six games with a 1-for-4 day versus the Reds on Sunday. Goldschmidt is batting just .177 with a single home run in 18 games in Atlanta in his career, but this will be his first appearance at SunTrust Park.

 

PHILADELPHIA AT MILWAUKEE

The Phillies lost two of three at home against San Diego last weekend, finishing the first half with just 29 wins. The 29 wins are tied with the 2015 season for their fewest before the All-Star break since 1997, when they were 24-61.

The Brewers won two out of three in New York against the Yankees last weekend, improving to 9-2 in their last 11. Their 50 pre-All-Star break wins are the fourth-most in franchise history (1979 — 54, 2014 — 53, 2008 — 52).

This will be the first meeting between the teams this season. Since the 2013 season, the teams are 7-7 against each other in games played in Milwaukee, with the Phillies holding a slight edge in runs scored, 62-59.

Nick Pivetta allowed three runs (all earned) in 7.0 innings against the Padres on July 7, his fourth quality start in his last five starts. He took a no-decision, leaving his record at 2-4 this season. Pivetta has received zero runs in support in four starts this year.

Zach Davies allowed two runs (both earned) in 6.0 innings against the Cubs in Chicago on July 6, earning a win and improving to 10-4 in his 18 starts this year. In his 34 career starts prior to this season, he had just 14 total wins.

Travis Shaw has been having an incredible season in his first year with the Brewers — his OPS has increased from .726 with Boston last season to .938 this year — that .212 increase leads the NL, second in MLB only to Yonder Alonso’s .251 jump.

 

SAN FRANCISCO AT SAN DIEGO

The Giants are just 2-4 against the Padres this season and are on pace to record their first losing record versus their division rival since 2014 (went 9-10 versus San Diego). San Francisco relievers own a 10.26 ERA versus San Diego this season compared to just a 3.76 mark against all other opponents.

San Francisco was swept at home by Miami to finish off the first half of the season, capped off with a 10-8 defeat on Sunday. The Giants lost their last four games before the break, and their 56 losses are their most all-time at the All-Star break.

The Padres finished off the first half of the season with a 7-1 road loss to the Phillies in which they left 11 runners on base, just the eighth time they have left 10 or more runners on base (tied for the fewest in the NL) with the Rockies.

Madison Bumgarner is expected to return for the Giants on Saturday following a DL stint that has kept him out since mid-April; prior to the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA. In his past 10 starts versus San Diego, he is 4-3 with a 2.71 ERA and three complete games.

Clayton Richard did not receive a decision in his last start before the break, allowing just one run over 6.0 innings last Friday. Richard’s 58.7 ground ball percentage and 3.17 ground ball/fly ball ratio are both tops in the National League (among ERA qualifiers).

Buster Posey, San Francisco’s lone All-Star, leads all catchers (based on primary position this season) in AVG (.324), OBP (.406), and OPS (.904) among batting title qualifiers. Posey’s nine career home runs at PETCO Park are his third most at any ballpark, behind only his 48 at AT&T Park and 12 at Coors Field.