Random notes and musings from the world of baseball, September 7, 2021.

Max Scherzer 3,000 K watch: Facing the Cardinals last night, Dodgers ace Max Scherzer struck out 13 batters, bringing his career total to 2,994. Once he reaches the 3,o00 strikeout milestone, he will be one of just 19 pitchers with that many.

Miguel Cabrera 3,000 hit watch: It’s looking more and more unlikely that the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera will reach 3,000 hits this year, as the aging slugger hasn’t managed a hit since September 3 and still stands 36 away from the magic number. It would have been difficult for him to reach it, anyway, but now it looks like he’ll have to wait until next year.

Greinke has six seasons of 200-plus Ks. (Wikipedia).

Zack Greinke 3,000 K watch: I was going to start the countdown for Greinke once he got within 200 strikeouts of 3,000 … but he Ked just one batter his last time out and still stands at 2,799 for his career. He’s averaged as many as 10.5 K/9 IP in a season (2011) and holds an 8.1 mark for his career, but this year his number is down to just 6.2.

Arauz arises: Red Sox infielder Jonathan Arauz is hitting .169 in 59 at-bats this season, with a .136 mark over the past week. But he’s making his knocks count—two of his last three hits were dingers, while the third was a double. So despite his anemic average, his slugging percentage over the past seven days was still .455.

Ty Cobb when he doesn’t K: Over the past month, Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer is hitting .362—on balls in play. But he has also struck out 36 times in 86 at-bats, giving him a line of .244/.333/.419 with 4 home runs, 9 walks, 14 runs scored and 13 RBI.

Trevor turning it around: After another solid performance yesterday (5 IP, 2 ER), Mets pitcher Trevor Williams now owns a 1.50 ERA in 18 innings since joining the club in August. He pitched for the Cubs earlier in the year and had a 5.06 mark in 58 2/3 innings with them.

Jarlin’s amazing: Since 2019, Giants reliever Jarlin Garcia owns a 2.34 ERA and 181 ERA+ in 119 appearances. With San Francisco last year, he had an astounding 0.49 ERA and 893 ERA+ in 19 games; this year, his marks are 2.33 and 179, respectively. Over the past month, he’s surrendered a single run in 16 innings. And he’s bucked the trend by not being a strikeout pitcher: He’s averaged just 7.2 K/9 IP for his career.

Two Davis birthdays: Two Davis’ of note were born on this day. Wade Davis, who for four years (2014-2017) was one of the premier relief pitchers in the game, turns 36. With the Royals in 2014 and 2015, he had an ERA of 0.97 in 140 appearances and he gave up more than one earned run in a game just once each year. During his incredible four-year stretch, he surrendered more than 2 runs just once. Curt Davis, who started and relieved in the 1930s and 1940s, was also born today. In 13 seasons, he won 158 games—including 19 in his rookie campaign, 1934—and made two All-Star Games.

He’s better than your team: Babe Ruth’s single season home run totals tied or exceeded those of an entire team’s 94 times in his career.

Lots of Ks, just to take the L: On September 15, 1969, facing the Mets, Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton struck out 19 batters, including the last three he faced, tossed a complete game … and lost, 4-3. He has company. A few years later, on August 20, 1974, The Angels’ Nolan Ryan Ked 19 Tigers in an 11-inning complete game, but lost 1-0; Detroit’s starter Mickey Lolich went the distance that day, too. On June 24, 1997, Seattle’s Randy Johnson had 19 strikeouts in a complete game loss against Oakland.

Wainwright leads active pitchers with 27 career complete games. (Wikipedia).

Complete game losses still happen: Though hurlers rarely pitch more than 6 or so frames nowadays, complete game losses aren’t yet a vestige of the past. The most recent nine inning example was on April 26 of this year, when the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright went the distance in a losing effort against Philadelphia. It’s happened 29 times since 2010.

Halladay went the distance: The last pitcher to toss a complete game of 10-plus innings and win? Roy Halladay, on April 13, 2007. The last pitcher to toss a complete game shutout of 10-plus innings and win? Roy Halladay, on September 6, 2003.

Excellent in the minors and majors: Pitcher Larry Jansen was 122-69 with a 2.77 ERA in 11 minor league seasons; in the majors, he was 122-89 with a 3.58 mark over nine campaigns, making him 244-158 with a 3.19 ERA overall. He had two 20-win seasons with the New York Giants (1947 & 1951) and was also the last hurler to win 30 games in a minor league campaign. In 1946, he was 30-6 with a 1.57 ERA in 38 games for the Pacific Coast League’s San Francisco Seals.

RBI king: Most RBI in a season by a batter with fewer than 10 home runs? You have to go back to 1899 for that. Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty had a league-leading 137 RBI on 9 dingers that year. One-hundred-plus ribbies with fewer than 10 big flies doesn’t happen often nowadays—Paul Molitor was the last to do it with 9 homers and 113 RBI in 1996. Before him, Tom Herr managed it in 1985 with 8 dingers and 110 RBI. Before Herr, Hall of Famer George Kell did it in 1950 (8 HR, 101 RBI).

Jones was 20-4 with a 1.24 ERA with the Philadelphia Stars in 1934. (Wikipedia).

Probably not worth it: In the fall of 1938, Negro league pitcher Slim Jones, low on funds, had a hankering for some booze but no money to buy it. He sold his overcoat to purchase a bottle of whiskey, promptly got pneumonia and died.

Reliving the dream: Rick Wolff played in the Tigers system in 1973 and 1974. Later a sportswriter, he reprised his role as player when he spent 3 games with the Single-A South Bend White Sox in 1989 for a story for Sports Illustrated. Going 4-for-7 with 3 RBI, he had the highest batting average (.571) on the team that year.

World traveler: Pitcher Len Picota played in the affiliated minors from 1984 to 1993, mostly in the Cardinals system. After that, he toured the world, spending time in Taiwan, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and his native Panama. In 2001, he joined the Expos in spring training, eight years after his last stint in affiliated ball, but was released before Opening Day.


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