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VOLUME: XLIII ... June 1, 2017


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LATEST NEWS

 

porcellothorMemorial Day checkpoint. Two more no-hitters in May. Rick Porcello (Bur) tossed the second no-no of the year for the Blaze, whiffing 13 at home against Syracuse. The other came from the arm of "Thor". Noah Syndergaard (Hom) struckout 14 during his game, at Kentucky. We had two guys collect 11 hits in a series. Mike Trout (Alb) at Laurel Highlands and Eric Hosmer (Arm) vs Red Lion. Five homers in a series from Eric Dickerson (Ott) vs Kentucky and Edwin Encarnacion (WNY) did the same at Miami and also posted 12 rbi. Jose Fernandez (Mia) whiffed 18 in a game at Kentucky...... We only missed one series in May, Armada & Homestead. That one was postponed to the first weekend in June. Now for some division news.

 

Harwell Div: This division had a short schedule in May of 18 games. Albuquerque's has opened a 7 game lead with a 14-4 month. On the road they were 8-1!. Armada had a stellar 6-2 mark and moved into second by 002 over Western NY after the Falcons put up a blah 9-9 month. Cinci still in fourth, is now 15 back of the Horsemen, was 7-11 in May and in the basement is Ottawa. The Fat Cats closed the gap on Cinci to 4 games after their 10-8 May record..... Caray Div: Syracuse moved into first place after winning 17 of 27. Kentucky fell two games back when they won just 12 of their 27. Havre de Grace still in third but now 13 back was 10-17 last month. Right on the heels of the Bucs we find Laurel Highlands just a game back after their 11-16 record. In the cellar by 4 games is Red Lion. The Steamers were 8-19...... Allen Div: Miami Beach remains on top. The Bears 18-11 month puts them 2 up on Homestead. The Grays were 11-7 last month. Just six out in third place is Burnsville after their 15-12 month. Only a game behind the Blaze is Etiwanda. The Anteaters were a dismal 3-10 at home but an 8-6 away record kept them in the hunt. Knob Noster was 13-14 last month and are now 14 out.

 

Notable team stats: Albuquerque remain our best place to find good pitching. The Horsemen have the best team ERA by quite a bit but that's not to slight Burnsville or Western NY who are also under team 3.50 ERA's. How about those complete game stats by Ottawa! An impressive number of whiffs showing up by the Kentucky pitchers which is the complete opposite of Armada. Good pitching is not what you'll find when you check with Red Lion. The Steamers have a +5 team ERA. Not even close to good pitching can be found at Knob Noster or Laurel Highlands. Both have +5.50 ERA's..... Albuquerque not only has the best pitching, they also have the best hitting. The Horsemen are hitting some 20 points better than the rest of us. You want bombs, then Syracuse or Laurel Highlands is your best bet. Do not look at Armada for round trippers or doubles either. It must be exciting to watch Etiwanda hit with all those triples. Miami Beach & Etiwanda have the most total bases but Albuquerque, despite 9 less games, is doing pretty good. Dickie V would be calling Kentucky All-Indy with all those steals. Burnsville or Western NY sure wouldn't be called that. Laurel Highlands batters sure get hit a lot. Not much of a chance for Gold Glove awards going to any Red Lion players. Team stats can be found below the Top Batting Stats on the STAT page. If they don't match your records you should check with me

 

diazkylehenNotable player stats: Aledmys Diaz (Eti) is the best of the 5 guys hitting over 300. Diaz is also one of two guys with +600 SLG. The other is Miguel Cabrera (Alb) who is the best in that stat. Those two are the only ones with +1000 OPS. We now have five guys with +400 OBP and Paul Goldschmidt (Alb) on top. Kyle Seager (Ken) is knocking in almost .9 runs per game and leads the league. There are three others over 50. Mark Trumbo (Bur) is up to 24 bombs which is four up on a couple of others. David Ortiz (Mia) has more extra base hits than the rest of the league. He's got 20 homers & 20 doubles along with 15 singles. Anthony Rizzo (Kno) and Goldschmidt (Alb) on top of the walks list. Billy Hamilton (Ken) is easily the best at stealing a base. Good thing he's only got a 306 OBP or we'd be talking "Ricky" land..... On the hill Kyle Hendricks (Syr) is just about unhittable. That's an A&B rating ERA and his 0.69 WHIP has a lot to do with it. Hector Neris (Ken) despite being a relief pitcher has worked his way into the top five in ERA. His arm is about to fall off I think. The old man Bart Colon (Mia) and Corey Kluber (Hom) have 10 wins. Robbie Ray (LHi) is whiffing almost 13 per 9 innings and is running away with the K crown but he also has one of the worst ERA's around the league. Innings eater? I think so. Dan Otero (Mia) has taken over the Saves #1 slot. Jerad Eickoff (Red) loses better than the rest. Can Patrick Corbin (Kno) set an all-time record for worst ERA? He got a good chance if he qualifies.

 

cartercorbsHidden Gems: Kyle Hendricks (Syr) is 8-0 and Scott Kazmir (Cin) is 0-7. Nate Karns (Hom) has a revolting 15.45 ERA after 2.3 innings. Maybe even worse is Hector Santiago (Eti) with his 9.75 after 24 innings. That's worse than Pat Corbin!! Jim Johnson (Bur) is a perfect 0.00 after 11 innings. Hector Neris (Ken) has been in 48 games and is 5-0. Fifty-six pitchers haven't pitched at all. Andrew Miller (Hom) has whiffed 43 in 24.3 innings. Brandon Finnegan (LHi) has walked 56 after 91 innings. Clayton Kershaw (Ott) with 33 innings has walked 1. Right down the middle of the plate, Jeff Samardzija (Syr) 92.3 ip and Adam Wainwright (Ott) 98.0 ip have given up 21 in the seats. No one has taken Adam Warren (Bur) deep with 18.7 ip..... Sean Rodriguez (Bur) now the best hitter in the league with a 500 average (1 for 2) while Chris Hermann (Alb) and Jose Bautista (Kno) are 0 for 7. James McCann gets a tip of the cap with his 13 for 126 (091) and only four of those are extra base hits. Lorenzo Cain (Bur) is hitting 385/429/718. That's 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 jacks and 9 singles after 39 at bats. Chris Carter (Hav) 95 whiffs in 241 AB's. Anthony Rizzo (Kno), Jean Segura (Alb) & Derek Dietrich (LHi) have been hit 11 times. Daniel Murphy (Eti) has 6 sac flies. Leonys Martin (Arm) has 2 successful bunts. Wilson Ramos (Cin) & Khris Davis (Bur) have hit into 12 doubleplays. Hyun-Soo Kim (Cin) has yet to hit into one after 242 PA's. Xander Bogaerts (Hom) has been an astonishing 26 errors which is far more than Brad Miller (Kno) who has 18. There are 49 hitters yet to appear in a game.

 

 

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THE SHOW

 

Coffee Sippers - by John Paschal 28

 

coffeeMany players have had just one cup of coffee at the major league level. A broken finger had sidelined Clark Griffith, the staff ace. Stomach trouble had put the kibosh on Jimmy Callahan, a two-time 20-game winner. As for Jack Katoll, the right-hander had been suspended for throwing a ball at an umpire. Enter Frank Dupee. Desperate for short-term pitching help, player-manager Griffith had summoned the former seminarian from a minor league team in Maine to start the Aug. 24, 1901, game for the Chicago White Stockings, who in this inaugural season of the American League held a one-game lead over the Boston Americans. For Dupee, a 24-year-old right-hander from Vermont, the game against John McGraw’s Orioles marked both the beginning and the end of his big league career. Perhaps befitting an emergency starter whose preparation had amounted to 13 games in the New England League, the game—and so the career—neither started nor ended well. Facing a trio of .300 hitters to begin the bottom of the first inning, Dupee walked all three. Skipper Griffith promptly removed him, and Dupee looked on as each runner scored. Dupee would pitch 13 more years in the minors but never would return to The Show. His major league ledger: 0.0 innings pitched, 0-1 record, an ERA of infinity.

 

Dupee is not alone. At the start of 2017, 526 pitchers had been credited with a single major league mound appearance. “A cup of coffee,” of course, is what each is said to have had. And so, henceforth, each will be called a Sipper. It is not an insult. Each achieved what 90 percent of minor leaguers haven’t. He made it to the majors, if only for 15 minutes of infamy. For most of the one-time-only pitchers, the common denominator is easily summarized: HELP! Owing to rainouts, back-to-back doubleheaders, injuries, illnesses, suspensions or any other source of a temporary pitching deficit, the need for immediate mound help began as early as the 1880s and continues to this day. So pitching-deprived were the 1888 Nationals that they gave 40-year-old Civil War veteran John Greening a shot on the mound. As it stands, contemporary pitchers like Tayron Guerrero, who worked two innings for San Diego in 2016, share space with Greening–and Carl Spongberg. In July of 1908, Spongberg joined the defending World Series champion Cubs from the unlikeliest of teams: the Ogden Lobsters of the independent Utah State League. Acting on a word-of-mouth recommendation, Cubs manager Frank Chance had signed Spongberg, sight unseen, to a $300-a-month contract. Behind Mordecai Brown, Ed Reulbach and Orval Overall, the Cubs rotation was thin. In the midst of a long road trip, Chicago needed help. The call came earlier than expected, when on Aug. 1 the Boston Doves exploded for seven first-inning runs and manager Chance inserted Spongberg, fresh of a cross-country train, to begin the second inning. He got pounded, yielding eight hits, seven walks, two hits-by-pitch and seven earned runs in seven innings of the Chicago defeat. The Cubs, ultimately to repeat as World Series champs, gave Spongberg his unconditional release three days later. He would never play pro ball again.

 

In 1906, the Senators sent second baseman Larry Schlafly home to Ohio to recuperate from malaria. There, Schlafly took in a few Canton Chinamen games and came away impressed by pitcher Willy Wilson. Acting on Schlafly’s endorsement, manager Jake Stahl added Wilson to his late-season collection of mound prospects, and on Oct. 6, Wilson got the nod in the second game of the season-ending doubleheader. The righty pitched well in his trial, as much an audition for 1907 as a capper for 1906, by yielding two earned runs in a game called after seven innings. Despite his showing, however, Wilson never returned to the majors, less a victim of injury and wildness than of his chronic bout with the bottle.

 

Auditions also took the form of casting calls. Endeavoring to balance their books, many early-20th-century teams spared no dime for player development. Instead, they scoured amateur and semipro leagues for talent and invited players to try out. In 1922, the Indians conducted a group audition by bringing in 19 local players for a series of exhibitions. Then on Sept. 21, versus the Red Sox, one of the newcomers, Doc Hamann, got his big league opportunity. He failed, yielding six runs without recording an out. A half-century later, in 1976, the Braves gave 24-year-old Al Autry a chance following a rare double rain-out in Los Angeles, which necessitated consecutive doubleheaders. Autry pitched okay, yielding four hits and three earned runs in five innings, but after manager Dave Bristol removed him, Autry never returned to a major league mound. Joe Cleary? He got his shot, in 1945, due to five straight doubleheaders. When it came to overworking pitchers, late-19th- and early-20th-century teams hardly helped themselves. In 1902, after filling two open dates with exhibition games that went 15 and 13 innings, the Cleveland Bronchos invited five area pitchers for tryouts. One, Ginger Clark, earned a roster spot, and on Aug. 10 he got his shot, pitching six relief innings and surrendering four earned runs. Not bad, but it wasn’t good enough. When the Bronchos departed for a 12-game trip, they left Ginger in Cleveland.

 

Though abandoned, Clark would have the company of 525 men. Among the 526 pitchers, 182 were starters. Seventy-seven pitched complete games. Twenty-eight earned victories. Eleven posted saves. Fourteen faced two batters, one faced one, and one faced zero. Seventeen posted ERAs of infinity. Four posted ERAs below infinity but above 100. Six finished without an official ERA. Unknown Lewis—not his given name, yielded a Sipper-high 20 earned runs in his three innings in 1890. In 1912, Allan Travers yielded 24 total runs, the all-time Sipper high. Travers, who got the start in Detroit’s notorious replacement-player game, also yielded the most hits 26. No Sipper has thrown a complete-game shutout. Two reached double digits in innings pitched. In 1913, Hal Schwenk pitched his Browns to an 11-inning victory over the White Sox. And in Cincinnati’s final game of 1920, Monty Swartz suffered a 12-inning loss to the Cardinals. For Chris Haughey, it came on his 18th birthday. New Ulm, Minn. spawned two Sippers—Fred Bruckbauer and Doc Hamann—who ended their careers with infinite ERAs. Two Sippers were named Mike Schultz. They pitched their games exactly 60 years apart to the day. One more thing: If you want your offspring to avoid becoming a Sipper, do not name the child Rufus. The only two players in major league history named Rufus—Meadows, in 1926; and Rufus Smith, in 1927—pitched just one game. Remember that one pitcher who faced one batter? Yep, Rufus Meadows.

 

What all Sippers share is what none had a way to avoid: playing one game, and one game only, at the sport’s highest grade. Some look back in sadness; they never got one more chance. Some look back in gladness; they got that one chance. The rest, like Tayron Guerrero, look now to the future, with hopes of erasing their names from this history.