Tim Lincecum made his 150th career start last night and lost to the Cubs, serving up three homers for the first time in five seasons.
Even after the Cubs took him deep three times Lincecum still has the lowest rate of homers per nine innings among all active pitchers with at least 150 career starts:
TIM LINCECUM 0.58
Chad Billingsley 0.66
Tim Hudson 0.72
Derek Lowe 0.72
Roy Halladay 0.74
On the flip side, here are the all-time leaders in allowing three or more homers in a game:
Jamie Moyer 31
Jack Morris 30
Robin Roberts 29
Jose Lima 26
Warren Spahn 24
And there’s a decent chance Jamie Moyer will add to his total before Lincecum serves up three homers for a second time.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.