Elias Says: April 27, 2017

Turner with big offensive numbers over last two games

A night after hitting for the cycle, Trea Turner continued to produce, going 3-for-5 with two extra-base hits (double and home run), three runs scored, and two RBIs in the Nationals’ win versus the Rockies at Coors Field on Wednesday. Over his last two games, he’s totaled five extra-base hits, seven runs scored, and nine RBIs! The only other player over the last 40 years with that many extra-base hits, runs scored, and RBIs over a two-game span was Mike Piazza on May 6 and 7, 1995. Similarly, both of Piazza’s games were at Coors Field, where he totaled the same exact number of extra-base hits, runs scored, and runs batted in as Turner.

Judge-ment Day

On his 25th birthday, Aaron Judge hit a two-run home run off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello in the Yankees’ 3-1 win at Fenway Park. Judge is the third Yankees player to hit a home run on his birthday at Fenway Park, joining Yogi Berra on May 12, 1947 (solo homer on his 22nd birthday) and Roger Maris on September 10, 1966 (solo shot on his 32nd birthday).

Judge has seven home runs on the season, becoming the third rookie over the last 10 years with that many homers before the end of April. He joins Trevor Story (10 in 2016) and Jose Abreu (10 in 2014).

Franco with two grand slams early in the 2017 season

Maikel Franco’s third-inning grand slam proved to be the game-winning hit in the Phillies’ 7-4 victory over the Marlins on Wednesday. That was Franco’s second grand slam of the season, hitting his first on April 12 versus the Mets. Franco is the first player in Phillies history with two-or-more grand slams before the end of April of a single season. Over the last 10 seasons (since 2008), four other players have done this: Joe Crede (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Ike Davis (2014), and Bryce Harper (2016). They each had two by the end of April.

Teheran with another strong performance against the Mets

Julio Teheran allowed just two runs over 6 1/3 innings in the Braves’ win over the Mets at Citi Field. Teheran has surrendered five runs over his last seven starts against the Mets (since June 2015). In the Divisional Era (since 1969), only one other pitcher allowed five-or-fewer runs versus the Mets over a seven-start span: Mike Hampton from August 1997 to May 2001 (five runs allowed). During that span, Hampton had a stint with the Mets in the 2000 season in which they advanced to the World Series, ultimately losing to the Yankees.

Indians’ trio with 15 RBIs through 20 games

Michael Brantley drove in three runs, Carlos Santana had two RBIs, and Jose Ramirez had one RBI in the Indians’ 7-6 victory over the Astros on Wednesday. Cleveland has played 20 games in the 2017 campaign, and each in this trio has reached the 15-RBI mark (Ramirez, 18; Santana, 16; Brantley, 15). The last season in which three Indians players had at least 15 RBIs through the first 20 team games was in 2000, when four did so: Manny Ramirez (21), Travis Fryman (17), Omar Vizquel (16), and Jim Thome (15).

Mariners quiet Tigers’ offense

A day after allowing 19 runs to the Tigers, starter James Paxton and relievers Nick Vincent and Edwin Diaz did not give up a single run in the Mariners’ 8-0 shutout of the Tigers. It’s the third time in the last 40 years in which a team allowed at least 19 runs in one game and then did not allow any runs in their next game, both against the same opponent. On August 1, 2002, the Red Sox lost to the Rangers, 19-7, and then won, 13-0, the next day. And on September 9, 2004, the Tigers allowed 26 runs to the Royals, but then had an 8-0 victory that same day in the second game of a doubleheader.

Lester struggles in Pittsburgh

Jon Lester allowed six runs and 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings in the Cubs’ 6-5 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. Lester is winless in his first five starts of the 2017 season, after sporting a 19-5 record for the Cubs last season. Wednesday’s game was Lester’s 164th regular-season road start of his major-league career, but just the second in which he allowed at least six runs and 10 hits as a visitor. The first was as a member of the Red Sox, when he allowed six runs and 10 hits in an April 2009 loss at Oakland.

Farquhar walks in the winning run on four pitches

With the score tied and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th inning, Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar entered the game and proceeded to issue a four-pitch walk to Seth Smith to give the Orioles the walkoff win on Wednesday. The last time a team lost in this fashion, with a pitcher entering the game and throwing four balls on four pitches to the only batter he faced to give the opponent a “walk-off walk” victory – was on August 20, 2013. Brayan Villarreal of the Red Sox walked the Giants’ Marco Scutaro on four pitches to give San Francisco the win in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Brewers pile up the runs in sweep over Reds

Ryan Braun hit a first-inning, two-run double and the Brewers never looked back as they went to defeat the Reds, 9-4, to complete a three-game sweep at Miller Park. Milwaukee totaled 29 runs in this series, scoring 11 runs on Monday and nine the following day. Since Miller Park opened in 2001, the Brewers have only had one other three-game sweep in which they scored at least 29 runs at that venue; they scored 31 over three wins against the Astros from July 30 to August 1, 2012.

Schimpf and Padres come back late

Ryan Schimpf’s three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning turned a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 Padres’ lead in a game they ultimately won over the Diamondbacks. The last time a Padres player hit a home run to turn a multi-run deficit into a lead in the ninth inning or later was when Justin Upton hit a three-run dinger in the ninth off the Mets’ Jeurys Familia on July 30, 2015 at Citi Field. That homer proved to be the game-winner in a 8-7 victory.

Choo produces from the bottom of the order

Shin-Soo Choo had three hits, three RBIs, and three runs scored while batting in the ninth slot in the order in the Rangers’ 14-3 win over the Twins. Entering Wednesday’s games, Rangers’ starters batting in the ninth slot were hitting just .143 (9-for-63) with five RBIs and five runs scored this season. That .143 mark was the lowest in the American League.

The last Rangers’ starter with at least three hits, three RBIs, and three runs scored out of the ninth spot was Endy Chavez on July 25, 2011, also in a game against the Twins. Chavez went 3-for-3 with three runs batted in and three runs scored.

Garcia is clutch

Avisail Garcia’s two-run home run in the sixth inning gave the White Sox the lead for good on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Royals. Garcia is hitting .441 (15-for-34) with four home runs and 17 RBIs with at least one runner on base this season. His batting average in those situations has increased in each season since 2014, having batted .224 (19-for-85) in 2014, .258 (63-for-244) in 2015, and .289 (46-for-159) in 2016 with one or more runners on.

Celtics struggle from beyond the arc, but make their free throws

The Celtics went 9-for-40 (22.5%) from three-point range, including 1-for-10 from Isaiah Thomas, but they still came out victorious over the Bulls, 108-97, in Game 5 on Wednesday. It’s the fourth playoff game in which a team missed at least 30 three-point attempts. The first two instances were by the Hawks, missing 33 in a first-round loss at Indiana in 2014 and 30 in a first-round loss at Boston in 2016. The Rockets also did so earlier in the 2017 playoffs, missing 31 three-point attempts in their series-clinching Game 5 win over the Thunder on Tuesday.

Thomas was perfect from the free-throw line in the Celtics’ win on Wednesday, making all 11 attempts (and Boston as a team went 23-for-23). He is the second player to go 11-for-11 or better from the free-throw line but make just 10 percent of his three-point attempts in a playoff game (minimum five three-point attempts). The first was John Starks in Game 1 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Knicks and Bulls. Starks was 11-for-11 on free-throw attempts, but he did not make any of his five three-point attempts.

Wall does it all

John Wall had 20 points and 14 assists in the Wizards’ Game 5 win over the Hawks on Wednesday. Wall has totaled 135 points and 54 assists in this series thus far, becoming the second player in Bullets/Wizards history with at least 100 points and 50 assists in one playoff series. The first was Kevin Porter, who had 102 points and 57 assists in a seven-game series against the Buffalo Braves (present-day Clippers) in the 1975 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Wall has had 14-or-more assists in four playoff games in his NBA career, including Games 1 and 5 of this series. Only one other player in the history of the franchise had a playoff game with at least 14 assists; Gilbert Arenas had 14 assists in Game 3 of the 2005 Eastern Conference Semifinals versus the Heat.

Draisaitl joins Gretzky with his four-point game

Leon Draisaitl dished out three assists and added an empty-net goal with just over a minute remaining in regulation in the Oilers’ 5-3 win over the Ducks in Game 1 of their Semifinals matchup. The 21-year-old center is just the second Oilers player with a four-point playoff game before turning 22 years old, joining Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky did so four times, twice in the 1981 playoffs and twice in 1982.

Larsson scores two in the third, including game-winner

Oilers d-man Adam Larsson scored two third-period goals, including the game-winning goal, in Edmonton’s 5-3 Game 1 win over the Ducks. He is just the third defenseman in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to score a pair of third-period goals, including the game-winner of a playoff game. The others are Boston’s Bobby Orr (April 11, 1971 at Montreal) and Calgary’s Randy Holt (April 20, 1981 vs Philadelphia).

Fiddler makes an immediate impact

Vernon Fiddler, who was a healthy scratch during the entire first round, made his 2017 playoff debut in Game 1 of Nashville’s second-round series with St. Louis Wednesday. Fiddler, who scored the game-winning goal with 5:05 remaining in the third period, is the first player in over 25 years to score a third-period, game-winning goal in his first game of a playoff year after missing the entire first round. In Game 4 of Montreal’s second-round series with Boston in 1990, rookie Stephan Lebeau made his playoff debut and scored a pair of third-period goals. The first goal gave the Canadiens a 2-1 lead and the second extended it to 3-1, a lead that they would not relinquish. The offensively-minded Lebeau played in only one other game for Pat Burns’ Canadiens during the 1990 playoffs, scoring a goal in Game 5 of that series.