Phillies starter Cole Hamels lost his eighth game this afternoon as he was vastly out-dueled by Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg in the Nats’ 6-1 victory. Hamels allowed five runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings, striking out six and walking one as his ERA was actually lowered to 4.43. The first two months for Hamels have been shocking, reminiscent of his disappointing 2009 season in which he finished with a 4.32 ERA.
Hamels’ eighth loss leads all Major League starters, one ahead of Edwin Jackson and Joe Blanton. It has been an odd year for many assumed top-tier pitchers:
- Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: 2-2, 5.37 ERA
- David Price, Rays: 1-4, 5.24 ERA (on the 15-day DL with strained right triceps)
- Matt Cain, Giants: 3-2, 5.12 ERA
- Tim Hudson, Braves: 4-3, 4.98 ERA
- R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays: 4-6, 4.85 ERA
- Wade Miley, Diamondbacks: 3-4, 4.53 ERA
- Yovani Gallardo, Brewers: 3-4, 4.50 ERA
While Hamels has certainly not been nearly as effective as he has been in years past, you have to wonder how many wins he could have lucked into if he had received better run support.
As expected, Major League Baseball’s league-wide home run record, set in 2000, was tied and surpassed on Tuesday night, both by players named Alex who play for AL Central teams.
Tigers outfielder Alex Presley tied the record at 5,693, per MLB.com’s David Adler, with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against Athletics starter Daniel Gossett. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon broke the record roughly 12 minutes later with a solo home run to lead off the top of the eighth inning against Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera.
Major League Baseball saw the record nearly broken last year, when 5,610 home runs were hit. The only other season above 5,500 was 1999 at 5,528.
Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.
The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.
Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.