The 2014 baseball season ended with an incredible performance by Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, who pitched a shutout in Game 5, then came back three days later to enter Game 7 in the middle of the 5th inning and pitched five shutout innings of relief to finish off the game and the series. A pair of singles were the only base runners Bumgarner allowed as he made himself an easy choice for World Series MVP. I've been busy with other things in the month since that game, but have been wondering about the other greatest relief appearances in World Series history. I couldn't recall anything like what Bumgarner did, but what had I forgotten about, and not been around to see when it happened?
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Friday, October 31, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Pitchers are putting up eye-popping numbers, the likes of which have rarely been seen during the last 20 years. Felix Hernandez has a 2.23 ERA. Only three AL pitchers have beaten that in the last two decades (Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, and Zack Greinke). This year though, he's behind Chris Sale. Yu Darvish has a K/9 rate of 11.35. The only other pitchers to beat that were Randy Johnson, Pedro, and Kerry Wood. Garrett Richards has a home run rate bested only by Greg Maddux in 1994 and Andy Pettitte in 1997. From 1993 to 2013, only four AL pitchers ever posted a FIP of 2.60 or better. In 2014, led by Corey Kluber's 2.43, five pitchers are below that mark. If (like me), great pitching is the baseball you love best, it's an incredible time. One guy tops them all though: Clayton Kershaw is the best.
Friday, July 25, 2014
That original post has been seen by far more people than anything else I've written, due in large part to Jonah Keri and Craig Calcaterra, each of whom spread it to a far wider audience than I could have on my own. In the more than two years since then, I've written a number of other posts relating to the Maddux (many of which can be found through links in the original post).
One thing I haven't written about during are the 13 Madduxes thrown by Greg himself. He's being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend though, and this seems like as good a time as any to run through his personal collection.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Recently Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers had a 39-game hitting streak against the Cleveland Indians ended by an 0 for 4 night. I don't think a hitting streak against a single opponent is quite as impressive as a standard, "every day, no matter the opponent" hitting streak, but it's still pretty cool, made even cooler in Andrus' case, because the streak dated all the way back to his MLB debut on April 6, 2009, when he went 1 for 4 against the Indians. In more than five years to begin his career, Andrus had never played against Cleveland without collecting a hit.
His streak made me wonder about the longest single-opponent hitting streaks in baseball history.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Earlier this season Albert Pujols became the 26th player in MLB history to hit his 500th career home run. Pujols' first two seasons with the Angels did not go especially well, as his offensive numbers were down in almost every category, and while a decline was to be expected, in 2013 that decline felt especially steep. I wondered if his time as a great player had come to an abrupt end. In 2014 though, Pujols' production has rebounded, not to the level of his incredible peak from 2003 to 2010, when he was one of the half dozen best players in baseball every season (those days are over), but to where he was in 2011 and 2012. His strong start had me wondering how each member of the 500-HR club did in the season in which they reached that level, so I set out to investigate.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Henderson Alvarez, a right-handed pitcher for the Marlins is becoming quite a sensation within the world of the Maddux. On Saturday night in Miami, Alvarez (who just turned 24 on Friday) pitched the first Maddux of 2014, shutting out Seattle on just 90 pitches, while allowing only 2 hits and issuing 0 walks. It was the third Maddux of Alvarez's career already, which puts him in select company, especially given his age. Youth wasn't the only factor that made this particular Maddux so notable though, and I don't think any other active pitcher could have generated as many interesting tidbits of Maddux trivia as Alvarez just did.
Monday, March 31, 2014
I haven't had the right World Series winner since 2009, which is bad news for the team I'm picking this year.