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Highlighting the most important, intriguing and bizarre stats in baseball.
Baseball is a numbers game. Always has been. Always will be. And here are a few notable numbers for the opening week of the season: March 31-April 7.
15 Earned runs allowed last Sunday by reigning Cy Young winners
David Price and R.A. Dickey dominated last season and won the 2012 Cy Young awards. Neither was himself last Sunday though. After teammates Alex Cobb and Matt Moore shut down the Indians the two previous games, the Tribe took it out on Price. The lefthander lasted just five innings and surrendered 10 hits and three walks while giving up eight runs. Dickey’s story is similar in that the team he faced was shut out the day before as well. J.A. Happ and three relievers shut out Boston, but Dickey’s knuckler was doing very little dancing on Sunday. He gave up eight runs — seven earned — on 10 hits and two walks before he was lifted with two out in the fifth.
17 RBIs for Baltimore’s Chris Davis
It took the Baltimore DH just four games to reach 17 ribbies. Last season, the first player to drive in that many was Andre Ethier, who reached the mark on April 17 in the Dodgers’ 11th game. His teammate, Matt Kemp, drove in his 17th the following day. Nick Swisher was the first in the American League with 17 RBIs last season. He did so on April 21 in the Yankees’ 15 contest. Josh Hamilton, then of the Rangers, was the only other player to drive in 17 in his team’s first 17 games.
.099 Batting average for the Pittsburgh Pirates infield
First baseman Gaby Sanchez (.063), second baseman Neil Walker (.100), third baseman Pedro Alvarez (.091) and Clint Barmes (.154) are a combined 7-for-71 with three RBIs and only two extra-base hits, both doubles by Barmes. As a team, the Pirates ended the week batting .119 with one home run. They scored just eight runs in their first six games. No wonder why they finished the week 1-5.
69 Win/save combinations for Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera
The two 40-somethings have been toiling in pinstripes for what seems like forever. Actually, it goes back only to 1996 when Mo’s first career save was a win for starter Pettitte. The total of 69 is the most all-time and does not include the 11 postseason win/save combinations for the pair of likely Hall of Famers.
14.05 Combined ERA for five aces last Sunday
It wasn’t just the reigning Cy Young winners who were knocked around last Sunday. In addition to David Price and R.A. Dickey, Matt Cain, Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels struggled as well. The quintet allowed 38 earned runs in just 24.1 innings.
26 Consecutive batters retired by Yu Darvish
Darvish, the emerging ace of the Texas Rangers mowed through the Houston lineup for eight innings before allowing a hit to shortstop Marwin Gonzalez to fall one batter short of a perfect game.
16 Scoreless innings by the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw
While some aces were getting beaten up in their second starts, Kershaw picked up where he left off on Opening Day. In the opener, Kershaw tossed a complete game shutout over San Francisco and helped himself with a home run in the eighth inning to break a scoreless tie. For an encore, he threw seven shutout frames in a win against Pittsburgh.
0-17 Dodgers infielder Luis Cruz goes 0-for-the week
Luis Cruz, filling in for the injured Hanley Ramirez, struggled through a forgettable week. Of the 204 players with enough qualifying plate appearances, Cruz is the only one hitless. He walked once and whiffed four times.
.500 Batting average for Jed Lowrie
The sandwich-round pick of the Boston Red Sox (45th overall) in 2005 was traded to Houston along with Kyle Weiland for Mark Melancon prior to last season. This spring, he was dealt to Oakland with Fernando Rodriguez for Max Stassi, Chis Carter and Brad Peacock. The Oakland shortstop has reached safely in all seven games for the A’s with three three-hit games and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
12 Players with 12 (or more) consecutive Opening Day starts
Most fans could get pretty close to naming the dozen players with a dozen straight starts to open the season. Todd Helton leads the list with 16. Torii Hunter has made 15 straight OD starts with Minnesota, the Angels and this season with the Tigers. Aramis Ramirez, primarily with the Cubs but dating to his days in Pittsburgh, has 14 straight. Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Placido Polanco, Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins have 13 in a row. Adrian Beltre, Adam Dunn, Alfonso Soriano and — perhaps the most surprising — Vernon Wells have 12 each.
16 Consecutive Opening Day starts by Todd Helton
The Rockies’ first baseman has indicated that 2013 would be his final season. He carries the longest consecutive Opening Day starting streak at 16. Amazingly, he and Andres Galarraga are the only two players in history to start at first base for Colorado on Opening Day.
27 All-Star appearances among current Tigers
All 10 players in Detroit’s Opening Day lineup claim at least one All-Star honor. Led by Miguel Cabrera’s seven and Justin Verlander’s five, the Tigers’ opening lineup totals 27 All-Star appearances, the most of any team’s Opening Day lineup.
10 All-Star appearances by Ichiro
New York Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is the only player who started Opening Day for any team with 10 All-Star Games to his credit. All 10 appearances were made wearing a Seattle uniform.
+2 Games over .500 for the AL Central
Only one division in the American League played winning baseball during the season’s first week — and it wasn’t the vaunted AL East. The AL Central finished four games over the breakeven mark with the other two divisions each two games under.