Jose Iglesias

Daniel Murphy

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 3, Marlins 1: Amazin.’ Daniel Murphy hit a go-ahead/come-from-behind three run bomb and Mets improve to 15-5. Murphy also made a nifty play in the field the next half-inning. Adrenaline is a hell of a thing. The Mets have a 4.5 game lead in the East and are eight games up everyone’s favorites, the Nationals. Which, wow.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: MookieMania is running wild, brother. Betts with the walkoff RBI single through a drawn-in infield. Betts said he “got a decent pitch to hit.” He’s only 22 but his cliche game is that of a seasoned veteran.

Royals 6, Indians 2: Mike Moustakas got four hits and Alex Gordon drove in two, which ain’t too bad against the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Bonus from this game came from the Royals’ booth, where I am told Fox Sports Kansas City’s Rex Hudler was talking about my annual Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers rankings. Hudler was quoted by viewers as saying “Did you say it was a guy that made that list up?” Yes, Rex, it was. And have a nice, heteronormative day yourself.

Braves 8, Nationals 4: The Braves beat up the Nats in a game that featured some chippiness following a hard Andrelton Simmons’ slide into third base which led to a cut on Yunel Escobar’s hand. There were warnings and then Simmons was hit by a pitch. And even though he wasn’t in the game Jonny Gomes got ejected for running out of the dugout. Which, hey, he has a personal brand to maintain. The key thing here, though, is the Nats are now 7-13 and sit eight games back with only one team in all of baseball — the Brewers — featuring a worse record than them. Which is quite a thing.

Oh, and another broadcast datapoint: the Braves booth which has, in the past, engaged in all kinds of silly and unwarranted hatred and hostility with respect to Bryce Harper here said, at one point, “He’s a good player. Easy not to like him, but a good player.” I suppose that’s progress. Maybe in another year or two they’ll acknowledge that no one gives a crap if they like him.

Yankees 4, Rays 1: Brian McCann homered, Adam Warren pitched effectively and the Yankees’ winning combination so far — good defense, just enough hitting and a shutdown bullpen — kept things chugging along. A-Rod did not tie Willie Mays in this game as he went hitless. But someone asked Brian McCann about it afterward and McCann said A-Rod’s place on the all-time home run list is “an amazing accomplishment.” I presume the Yankees will fine him now given his failure to follow team policy which prohibits the stating of the bleedin’ obvious.

Reds 9, Brewers 6: Jay Bruce homered and drove in three. Jason Marquis allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings. He also hit an RBI single, probably to spite me.

Mariners 3, Rangers 1: Taijuan Walker allowed one unearned run in seven innings in his second solid start following a couple of disasters to open up the season. Both of these teams had to be exhausted, as they didn’t get into Texas until the wee hours of the morning due to severe storms which diverted their flights. Then this one started an hour late due to a rain delay. Hope their cell phones are on Do Not Disturb this morning.

Cubs 4, Pirates 0: Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 and drove in two. Jason Hammel tossed eight shutout innings. The Cubs won their third straight and snapped the Pirates’ five-game winning streak. Bryant has driven in nine in ten games. Scary moment here, though, as a fan was taken away in an ambulance after being hit by a flying bat during an Addison Russell plate appearance.

Tigers 5, Twins 4: Yoenis Cespedes had a homer, a double and three RBI. Jose Iglesias hit a homer and a triple, notching three hits in all. He’s hitting .397. All of us wanted to talk about how the Tigers would do after losing Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello in the offseason, but between those two it’s as if the Tigers added two plus bats to an already potent lineup.

Phillies 4, Cardinals 1: Cole Hamels doesn’t need a ton of run support, so when he even gets a little bit here that’s enough. As it was he struck out nine in seven innings and allowed only one run. Don’t tell anyone, but the Phillies have won three of four and are ahead of the Nats in the standings.

Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 4: Justin Morneau hit a three-run homer in the first. Tyler Matzek limited the Diamondbacks to two runs on five hits in five innings. He had to leave early with a leg cramp, though, and the bullpen just barely held on. The Rockies have won five in a row against Arizona.

Dodgers 8, Giants 3: Joc Pederson and Justin Turner went yard. Pederson also doubled in a run and made a sweet play in the field, ranging back to the wall, catching it with his back to the field and then turned around and doubled off Nori Aoki, who had broke from first on the play. Pederson is hitting .296/.458/.556 on the year and doing that kind of crap in the field. Mercy.

Astros 9, Padres 4: Colby Rasmus homered and drove in three as the Astros won their fourth in a row. Jed Lowrie and Jason Castro also homered. The book on Astros hitters this year was that they’d lead the AL in strikeouts and be near the top of the league in homers. At the moment they lead the AL in strikeouts and are fourth in homers, two off the league lead. So, yep.

White Sox vs. Orioles: Postponed: Unrest in Baltimore continues, which may move this series out of the city and down to Washington or someplace else. Baseball, however, seems very, very unimportant compared to what’s happening there. But this is important. You should probably read this.

Video: Jose Iglesias made a ridiculous play last night

Jose Iglesias
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The Tigers missed Jose Iglesias last year. If you doubt that for a second, watch this nasty play he made last night and ask yourself how many steak dinners Tiger pitchers are gonna buy him this year.

The thing about it is the mustard he got on that throw. Bend over and run in the opposite direction like that and try to throw anything across your body. Does it even go five feet? And even if it does, do you get a fast runner like Brett Gardner like Iglesias did here?

Mercy.

The Tigers are 9-1. Does that mean anything?

Jose Iglesias, Nick Castellanos, Ian Kinsler, Andrew Romine
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The Tigers improved to 9-1 in their first 10 games with a walk-off win against the White Sox on Friday afternoon. Jose Iglesias broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off RBI single to right-center. That followed eight superb innings from starter David Price, who allowed just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out nine.

Does winning nine of your first 10 games mean anything? I used Baseball Reference’s “Streak Finder” to dig out all of the teams that won nine of their first 10 games, dating back to the turn of the millennium. (No team won their first 10 games.) The Tigers have become the ninth team to win nine of 10 since 2000. Here are the other eight:

  • 2002 Indians: Finished 74-88 in third place in the AL Central
  • 2003 Royals: Finished 83-79 in third place in the AL Central
  • 2003 Yankees: Finished 101-61 in first place in the AL East, lost the World Series to the Marlins
  • 2003 Giants: Finished 100-61 in first place in the NL West, lost the NLDS to the Marlins
  • 2009 Marlins: Finished 87-75 in second place in the NL East
  • 2011 Rangers: Finished 96-66 in first place in the AL West, lost the World Series to the Cardinals
  • 2012 Dodgers: Finished 86-76 in second place in the NL West
  • 2013 Braves: Finished 96-66 in first place in the NL East, lost the NLDS to the Dodgers

Of the eight teams to start 9-1, half of them (four) finished in first place, two finished in second place, two finished in third place. None finished in fourth place or lower. Four of the teams reached the post-season with two getting knocked out of the first round while the other two lost the World Series.

The Tigers have a +34 run differential, the best in baseball ahead of the 7-2 Royals at +29. Of the eight teams to have previously started 9-1, three of them had a run differential in the 30’s: the ’02 Indians (+35), the ’03 Yankees (+37), and the ’11 Rangers (+34). Two of the three reached the World Series.

The Tigers are the 10th team since 2000 to start with a run differential in the 30’s. Five of the previous nine teams (including the ’03 Yankees and ’11 Rangers, of course) reached the post-season. Two won their division while three lost the World Series (the other being the 2002 Giants, who were +37 in their first 10 games).

Whether we’re going off of starting record or run differential, recent history seems to suggest that it’s still essentially a coin flip whether or not the Tigers reach the post-season. That being said, with an average of 90 wins, teams that started 9-1 turned out to be highly competitive teams. Tigers fans should be buckled in for a fun season.