Random notes and musings from the world of baseball, September 10, 2021.

Miguel Cabrera 3,000 hit watch: As I write this, the Tigers have already played today and Miguel Cabrera managed a couple more hits. He now has 2,973 on the year and is just 27 away from 3,000 for his career. Detroit has 20 games left. It’ll be close.

Baseball Prospectus ranked Adell baseball’s #2 prospect in 2019 and 2020. (Wikipedia).

Here comes Adell: Angels phenom Jo Adell impressed no one in his first big league stint in 2020, when he batted just .161 in 124 at-bats. Call them rookie jitters. Over the past week, the top prospect is hitting .450 with 3 home runs, 8 RBI and 4 runs scored. Los Angeles has not impressed this season, posting a 69-71 record thus far … but Adell gives them hope for the future.

Pillar of success: Every time the Mets seem like they are done, something—or someone—crops up that gives me a little more hope. This time, it’s outfielder Kevin Pillar. Since August 28, he’s slashed .355/.444/.806 with 4 home runs, 10 RBI and 8 runs scored. Its been a rough season for Pillar, who’s hitting just .222 overall and who was clocked in the face by a pitch earlier this year.

Don’t mess with Nestor: Yankees hurler Nestor Cortes Jr. has worked in the shadow of Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole this year, but his performance has been excellent. His season began in relief on June 4 and through July 9, he worked a 1.05 ERA in 22 innings; since then he has started all but one game and posted a mark of 3.59, but that is under control—over his past 5 starts, his ERA is 2.70.

Props to Woodford: Cardinals pitcher Jake Woodford didn’t have an effective first part of the season, carrying a 5.08 ERA through July 31. Demoted to Triple-A Memphis in early August, the righthander returned earlier this month and has performed like an ace. In two starts since returning, he has 8 strikeouts and just 2 walks allowed in 9 1/3 innings of work; his ERA was 0.96 and batters hit .161 against him.

Flick was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1963. (Wikipedia).

Two triples, twice in a row: Since 1901, the only player to hit 2 or more triples in a game twice in a row was Hall of Famer Elmer Flick. He did it with the Indians on July 6 and 7, 1903. The record for most consecutives games with at least one triple belongs to the Pirates Owen Wilson, who had 6 in 5 games from June 17 to June 20, 1912. He had 36 that year, a record. The Red Sox Nomar Garciaparra worked a triple 4 games in a row from May 31 to June 4, 2003; he was the most recent player to do that.

A single, a double and a triple: Instances of players hitting a single, double, and triple in consecutive games aren’t exceptionally rare. Since 1901, it has happened 27 times. But since 2000, it’s occurred just twice: By Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki on May 12 and 13, 2001—his rookie year!—and by the Brewers Alex Sanchez on April 13 and 14, 2003. For a while there, it was a feat of the elites: from 1949 to 1967, the only players to do it were Stan Musial (1949), Brooks Robinson (1960), Roberto Clemente (1965) and Pete Rose (1967).

The feared men: Not surprisingly, Barry Bonds holds the record for most games in a row with at least one intentional walk, with 6. In that span, which ran from April 28 to May 7, 2004, he had the wonky totals of 13 at-bats, 15 walks, a .231 batting average and a .643 on-base percentage. Four players have drawn IBBs five games in a row—Tim Raines in 1987, Will Clark in 1988, Bonds in 2002 and Juan Soto last year. Bonds drew an intentional walk four games in a row nine times.

Led in everything, but … Ty Cobb led the league in just about everything at least once. Major categories he never paced the loop in: Games played, plate appearances, walks, strikeouts, hit by pitches and sacrifice flies. He had over 700 plate appearances twice, in 1915 and 1924, but finished second in the league both times.

Not even once: The all-time leader in sacrifice hits is Hall of Famer Eddie Collins, who had 512 in his career—120 more than anyone else. Yet, he never led the league in that category and placed second just once, in 1923.

It’s fitting: Babe Ruth’s first home run, hit on May 6, 1915 when he was with the Red Sox, came against hurler Jack Warhop, a career Yankee. Warhop also surrendered Ruth’s second home run less than a month later.

Gibson managed the Diamondbacks from 2010 to 2014, leading them to the postseason in 2011. (Wikipedia).

MVP, but not an All-Star: 1988 National League Most Valuable Player Kirk Gibson never made an All-Star team—in 1988 or otherwise. That’s quite astonishing, as he earned MVP votes three other times and finished with five 20-20 campaigns.

In common: What do Mickey Lolich, Tris Speaker and Max Lanier have in common? All three were natural right-handers, but switched to being lefties after suffering childhood injuries like broken arms.

Football hero: Dutch Meyer spent six years in the big leagues, mostly in the ‘40s, hitting .264 in 286 games. Though he later became a successful minor league manager, leading his clubs to two league championships, he is largely forgotten. Expect, perhaps, to Texas Christian University football fans. As their kicker in the 1936 Sugar Bowl, he kicked the winning field goal, helping the school best Louisiana State University with a baseball-esque score of 3-2.

Move over, Joe: In 1894, Chicago Colts shortstop/third baseman Bill Dahlen hit safely in 70 of 71 games. He ran a streak of 42 straight, then went hitless in game 43, then hammered out another run of 28 games with hits.

Moncallo passes away: Bernie Moncallo, who managed in the Brewers minor league system in the mid-1990s despite never playing professionally, passed away September 3 at 65.

Random notes and musings from the world of baseball, September 9, 2021.

Another late-night edition. The vagaries of real life get in the way sometimes.

Estrada’s power surge might be short-lived, as he owns a career slugging mark of .406. (Wikipedia).

Gotta love Estrada: Giants utilityman Thairo Estrada is making his presence known, slugging .727 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI over the past week. On September 6 at Colorado, he went 3-for-5 with a couple dingers and 3 RBI. He was a .214 career hitter before this season; he’s hitting .277 this year.

Yoshi’s cranking: The Pirates’ Yoshi Tsutsugo was a slugger in Japan, smashing 45 homers for the Yokohama Bay Stars in 2016 and 38 in 2018. His time stateside hasn’t worked out so well, as he owns a .199/.301/.396 slash line in 111 games over two years here. He started 2021 with a .120 average in 25 at-bats for the Dodgers, who released him August 14. Perhaps a change of scenery is all he needed—since joining Pittsburgh on August 16, he has 7 home runs, 15 RBI and a .286/.349/.768 line.

 A.J. is A-OK: Diamondbacks rookie hurler A.J. Alexy has started off on the right foot, allowing just two hits and no runs in 11 frames over two starts so far. His 5 walks are a little disconcerting, but not unexpected—he averaged 4.4 per 9 frames in the minor leagues.

Effross is a winner: Relief pitchers usually don’t rack up too many decisions, but that didn’t stop Cubs rookie Scott Effross from winning 2 of his first 4 outings with Chicago. In 5 2/3 frames in his short career, he has 7 strikeouts and no walks allowed.

The ballad of Matt Harvey: It astonishes me how far current Orioles pitcher Matt Harvey has fallen. He was nicknamed “The Dark Knight of Gotham” and (most gallingly) “the Real Deal.” In his first full season, 2013, he had a 2.27 ERA and 157 ERA+, while averaging 9.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. After missing 2014 to injury, he returned in 2015 and posted a 2.71 mark in 29 starts. Ahh, his glory years with the Mets. Look at him now: In 28 starts this year, he is 6-14 with a 6.27 ERA; he averages about 4 2/3 innings per outing. Since 2017, he is 21-38 with a 6.15 ERA.

Keuchel has underwhelmed: The rise of current White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel was swift, and so was his decline. In the three years prior to his Cy Young Award-winning 2015 campaign, when he went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts for Houston, he was 21-27 with a 4.16 ERA. Since that excellent season, he’s posted a 3.74 ERA and this year, he’s 8-9 with a mark of 5.33.

Losing All-Star: The last time a pitcher made the All-Star team the same year he led his league in losses was 2019. That season, the Marlins Sandy Alcantara lost 14 games for that 57-105 club. On the bright side, he led the league in complete games and shutouts, with 2 each.

Mikolas spent 2014 to 2017 in Japan, going 31-16 with a 2.34 ERA in the Land of the Rising Sun. (Wikipedia).

Winner, loser: And the last hurler to lead the league in wins one year then losses the next? Miles Mikolas. After pacing the NL with 18 victories in 2018, he went the opposite direction and led the loop with 14 losses the next year. It wasn’t a horrible season, as he walked less than 2 batters per 9 innings, on average, and posted a higher strikeout rate than the previous campaign, but it was no 2018. That year, he finished 6th in Cy Young voting.

Wore two legendary numbers: Babe Ruth wore number 3, Mickey Mantle wore number 7. Which Yankee wore both? Outfielder Cliff Mapes. He wore the Bambino’s number in 1948 and the Mick’s number from 1949 to 1951.

That’s a lot of ejections: You think umpires eject too many players nowadays? On July 19, 1946, the White Sox were playing Boston at Fenway Park when umpire Red Jones kicked all fourteen Chicago players and coaches from the bench. Jones was known for having a short fuse, leading American League umpires in ejections in both 1946 and 1948.