Monday, June 16, 2014

Hitting streaks against a single opponent: American League edition

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

In the year of his 500th home run...

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 has become a Maddux icon

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

A Maddux on Opening Day

There have been only two Madduxes* thrown on Opening Day, each of them thrown by a pitcher who went on to have a great season, each of them thrown by a pitcher who now has at least one Cy Young Award in his trophy case (well, I guess their awards might not actually be in a trophy case, they could be on a mantle somewhere, or perhaps one of them is being used to prop a door open). One was thrown in the American League, the other in the National, but they were both thrown in southern California.

MLB 2014 Predictions

Another baseball season is upon us, bringing with it 162 more chances for each of us to live and die a little with our team, and another chance for me to show off my infinite wisdom by making predictions that stand little chance of proving correct.

I haven't had the right World Series winner since 2009, which is bad news for the team I'm picking this year.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

NFL Players born on a Super Bowl Sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest day of the American sports calendar. I'm far from being a huge football fan, but I always get pulled in by the playoffs, and I'll certainly be watching this evening. Because I'm not especially knowledgable about football, I've never written anything about it here, but today I decided to take a look through the records as Pro-Football-Reference.com to find out how many NFL players were born on a Super Bowl Sunday. I don't believe this information will be of any help to you in winning any of your prop bets, but it's something.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Favorite Movies of 2013

After slumping in 2012 and seeing only 47 new movies (the first time since 1996, when I was 16, that I didn't see 50+), I rebounded and saw 52 in 2013. Heading into December, I wasn't sure I'd make it, but a brutal cold front that extended my winter break by two days and made going outside highly unpleasant, all while my fiancee was in Hawaii for work, allowed me to put Netflix to good use and cruise back above the benchmark. Both Netflix and Red Box were a bigger part of my movie-viewing than ever before, so while finding time to get to the theater a gets harder and harder, I was still able to keep caught up on things.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 (It Was a Very Good Year)

Ground Ball With Eyes has been a ghost town of late, with this being my only post in December, after also writing only once in November and once in October too. My absence here has not been due to writing less, in fact it's quite the opposite. At the end of the 2013 season, I took over as managing editor at Let's Go Tribe, and after writing there twice a week or so for the previous year, I've had at least one post up there every since day for more than two months, often more than one, and that's left me with precious little time for other research or writing.

With old daddy Earth fixin' to start one more trip 'round the sun, and everybody hopin' this ride 'round be a little more giddy, a little more gay*, I wanted to take a moment to look back on some of the biggest events of my 2013, which has been one of the most eventful, memorable, and wondrous years of my life.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Greatest Chicago-Area Baseball Players

Baseball talent is not evenly distributed around the United States, for reasons largely having to do with climate. As you'd expect, more MLB players come from warmer parts of the country. Still, any big city is going to produce a fair amount of talent over the years. What kind of team could be built entirely of players from my hometown of Chicago? Place of birth is what I know how to feasibly research, so that's what I'm using. I'm also including the metro area, to get a wider scope. All players included here were born in Chicago or a suburb within 30 miles of the city limits.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Worst 3-season stretches in baseball history

Entering 2011, the Houston Astros had never lost more than 97 games in a season. The Angels were the only other franchise that could say that. In 2011 though, Houston lost 106 games... then they lost 107 games in 2012... and then they lost 111 in 2013. They went from having one of the most impressive track records in all of baseball for avoiding really bad seasons, to putting together one of the worst stretches ever.