Tim Lincecum shuts out Mets for 50th career victory

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Last night Tim Lincecum shut out the Carlos Beltran-led Mets for his 50th career victory, which certainly seems like an impressive total for a fourth-year pitcher with 109 career games. But exactly how impressive?
According to Baseball-Reference.com Lincecum is the 51st pitcher in baseball history with at least 50 wins in his first 109 games (unfortunately there’s no way to filter “starts” instead of “games” so some guys get overlooked).
Here are the highest win totals of all time through 109 career games:

Dwight Gooden         65
Roger Clemens         63
Tiny Bonham           62
Mike Mussina          61
Mark Mulder           60
Vic Rasci             60
Tom Seaver            58
Dave Ferriss          58
Hank Borowy           58
Dazzy Vance           57

And here are the highest win totals through 109 career games for active pitchers:

Andy Pettitte         56
Tim Hudson            56
Barry Zito            55
Chien-Ming Wang       55
Roy Oswalt            55
Freddy Garcia         55
Joe Saunders          53
Justin Verlander      52
Jon Lester            52
Dontrelle Willis      50
Jered Weaver          50
Kevin Millwood        50

On one hand, 50 wins through 109 games probably isn’t as impressive as it first appears. On the other hand, evaluating Lincecum based on his win total is sort of silly to begin with given that, for instance, he tossed 225 innings with a 2.48 ERA last season and got the run and bullpen support to win just 15 games. Based on his pitching alone, he’s performed well enough to have 60 wins by now.

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

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The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.