Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The MLB on TSC: Justin Verlander, Jose Reyes, Todd Helton and Cliff Lee

Time for another edition of the MLB on TSC, where baseball's present always meets baseball's past and facts sometimes are stranger than fiction.

Here goes--


Verlander photo courtesy of Getty Images
The Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander had a rock-solid month of June, finishing 6-0 with a 0.92 ERA. Verlander became only the second Tigers' pitcher since 1913, when earned runs became an official American League statistic, to win six or more games in a calendar month in which he posted an ERA below 1.00. Only Frank Lary had ever accomplished this incredible feat for the Tigers in the, well, ERA-era. Lary was 7-0 with a 0.86 ERA in seven appearances in September 1956, all complete games.


Reyes photo courtesy of Getty Images
New York Mets shortstop-extraordinaire Jose Reyes doesn't let the immortal Ty Cobb rest in peace (see this post also) by accomplishing things that only the great Georgia Peach has been able to accomplish in 140+ years of baseball. Reyes finished June with 45 hits, 29 runs scored, seven triples and 11 stolen bases in 26 games. No other major-league player had ever reached all four of those levels (in those categories) in one month in almost 100 years, since Ty Cobb accumulated 68 hits, 33 runs, eight triples and 15 steals in 30 games in July 1912. Amazing!


Todd Helton photo courtesy of Getty Images
Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton played in his 2000th career game against the Chicago White Sox on June 30. Helton has a .323 career batting average, with 342 home runs and 1,273 RBIs. Before Helton, the last major-league player who was batting above .320 with at least 300 home runs and 1,200 or more RBIs at the 2,000-game mark of his major-league career was the immortal Ted Williams. Williams played his 2,000th game in 1958, and through that point his lifetime batting average was .349, with 463 homers and 1,666 runs batted in. Not bad company for Helton, I would say.



Cliff Lee photo courtesy of Getty Images
In his last start, the Human Torch Cliff Lee got lit up (pardon the pun) by the Toronto Blue Jays. After throwing 3 consecutive shutouts, Lee lost to the Blue Jays 7-4 giving up 7 runs (6 earned). The Blue Jays also snapped Lee's consecutive scoreless innings streak at 34. The 34 consecutive shutout innings were the second longest in Philadelphia Phillies history. Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander had the longest streak (41 innings) in 1911 for the Phillies.

For the record, Alexander had a career record of 373-208 with a 2.56 ERA and pitched 90, yes 90, career shutouts, which is the second highest total ever. The immortal Walter Johnson holds the record with an ASTONISHING 110 career shutouts. To put it in perspective--

Lee, who has 4 shutouts so far this season, has thrown only 9 for his career. The active leader is his teammate Mr. Fantastic Roy Halladay with 19.

Getty Images and Marvel Comics
I think it's safe to say that Mr. Fantastic has a LONG way to go before he catches either Alexander or Johnson in shutouts. No doubt.

Stats courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau and ESPN


  1. The complete game numbers from the old days always fascinate me.

  2. Indeed Mike. Those guys back then must've had rubber arms.