Punchless Mets could make history

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Earlier in the week, I highlighted the Mets’ year-long power outage.
Nothing much has changed since then, as they are still dead-last in
home runs with 81 (did you know the Yankees have 220? Yikes.) and Gary
Sheffield still leads the team with 10 home runs despite not actually
appearing in a game since August 28.




While noting the remarkable lack of
punch in the Mets’ lineup on Monday, it got me to thinking of who had
the least home runs in a season, but still lead their team in home
runs. I started on Baseball Reference, but found that exercise pretty
tedious, so I asked for the help of our friends at
Baseball Prospectus, and here’s what they found:



Modern Era, 1900-2008



Three way tie with 1 HR as the maximum:



1918 Senators – Walter Johnson, Joe Judge, Howie Shanks & Nick Altrock – 1

1908 White Sox – Ed Walsh, Fielder Jones & Frank Isbell – 1

1909 White Sox – Dave Altizer, Ed Hahn, Gavvy Cravath & Patsy Dougherty – 1



Retrosheet Era, 1954-2008



1981 Twins – Roy Smalley – 7

1981 Indians – Bo Diaz – 7



Wild Card Era, 1995-2008



1995 Phillies – Mark Whiten, Gregg Jefferies & Charlie Hayes – 11

1995 Expos – Moises Alou, Tony Tarasco & Sean Berry – 14

2008 Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman & Lastings Milledge – 14



This Decade



2008 Nationals – Zimmerman & Milledge – 14

2001 Orioles – Chris Richard & Jay Gibbons – 15

2008 Giants – Bengie Molina – 16



And so, if things stay the same, the
Mets will have the lowest team leader in home runs since Bo Diaz and
Roy Smalley led their respective clubs with seven home runs in 1981.
Right now the Mets have 21 games left with Sheffield at 10, Daniel
Murphy at nine, and Carlos Beltran and David Wright with eight. There
might be a reason to tune into the Mets after all, even if they are
threatening 90 losses for the first time since 2004.




Again, thanks to Eric Seidman, Will Carroll and our friends at Baseball Prospectus. Please pay them a visit.

Bumgarner: dirt bike adventure was “definitely not the most responsible decision”

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Madison Bumgarner talked to the press yesterday about his dirt bike injury and its fallout.

While there is some speculation that the Giants may change their approach to Bumgarner’s contract situation at some point as a result of all of this, yesterday Bumgarner noted that the organization has been supportive as have his teammates. He said he apologized to them as well for an act he characterized as “definitely not the most responsible decision.”

As for the wreck itself, Bumgarner was a bit embarrassed to say that it wasn’t the result of doing anything cool or spectacular on the bike. Sounds like he probably just laid the thing down. Guess it makes no real difference given that he’s injured either way, but you’d hope to at least get a cool story out of it. Alas.

Here’s video of him talking to the press. The best and most accurate takeaway from it: when he says “it sucks.” Yep.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 14, Pirates 3: The Chicago Bears won only one game by as big a margin all last season as the Cubs won by here. Jason Heyward hit his third home run in four days and drove in four runs overall. He and his rebuilt swing are batting .294/.342/.456 with three homers and 16 RBI in 18 games.

White Sox 12, Royals 1: Both Chicago teams scored a couple of touchdowns last night. The White Sox just need a better placekicker for the PATs. DH Matt Davidson homered, doubled and drove in four. Davidson leads the White Sox in home runs with four and is tied for the team lead with 14 RBI. He’s not even an everyday player.

Orioles 6, Rays 3: Baltimore was down 3-1 on a crappy night, weather-wise, at Camden Yards. Then Hyun Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop hit homers in the sixth followed by an Adam Jones two-run homer in the seventh too chase Chris Archer. Archer after the game:

“There was a few pitches I wish I could have back,” Archer said. “That’s baseball. Going into my next start, I plan on executing at a higher level. Even if it is just three or four pitches I have to execute, it has to be done.”

I would like to see one of those graphs which track how often words are used but only for major league pitchers’ use of the word “execute.” I bet it’s almost at zero until about 2000-03 or so, and then it shoots way the hell up. Probably all traceable to some pitching coach who decided to make himself sound more scientific. Everyone’s “executing” pitches these days. Very few guys are “throwing” them.

Rockies 8, Nationals 4: The Nats’ seven-game winning streak comes to an end. The Rockies snapped it by coming from behind. They were down 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Mark Reynolds hit a two-run homer to bring them close. The following inning Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run shot of his own to give Colorado a lead they would not relinquish. Blackmon said the pitch was in his “where I hit balls far” zone. See, isn’t that way more evocative than “executing” pitches? Bring more vernacular to the discourse, pitchers. It plays way, way better than this faux precision jazz.

Brewers 11, Reds 7: Eric Thames continues his early season rampage. Two more homers here, a solo shot in the first and a two-run blast in the second. The second one gave Milwaukee a five-run lead. Cincinnati would threaten for a brief period but the Brewers put up ten runs on Amir Garrett before the end of the fourth inning and that’s just too dang much to overcome. Had a conversation with a big Reds fan yesterday who was cautiously optimistic about his team’s early season play and asked me if it was sustainable. I told him “the pitching will be exposed soon.” I didn’t realize how soon it’d be.

Twins 3, Rangers 2: One hit — a three-run double from Brian Dozier in the fifth — was all Minnesota would get and all they would need. The hit was preceded by Martin Perez walking the bases loaded. The batters: the 6, 8 and 9 hitters. That’s . . . bad.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 6: Zack Greinke allowed one run over six and struck out 11. He’s had one clunker on the year — five runs allowed to the Dodgers on April 14 — but otherwise Greinke has been the Greinke of old this season: a 2.93 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 31 strikeouts to six walks in 30.2 innings.

Angels 2, Blue Jays 1: Jesse Chavez tossed six innings of one-run, four-hit ball. The Blue Jays have scored four runs or less in 14 of their 18 games this season. That’s not good. The Angels’ runs came from a Mike Trout triple followed by an Albert Pujols single in the fourth and Cameron Maybin scoring on a fielder’s choice with a diving slide to beat the throw to the plate in the fifth.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: Matt Cain was excellent, tossing six shutout innings, but Hyun-Jin Ryu was almost as good, allowing only one run over six. Ultimately bad base running dooms Los Angeles. Chris Taylor was thrown out stealing in the eighth inning with Corey Seager at the plate. Then Justin Turner was picked off of second to end the game.