The Herald Bulletin

June 7, 2013

Mike Lopresti: The good, bad and ugly of MLB


The Herald Bulletin

---- — This might sound familiar. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are fighting for the division lead, Miguel Cabrera is near the top in the American League of just about everything involving a bat and there's a big drug scandal brewing.

So what's new in major league baseball?

Actually, lots of things. While we wait to see which marquee names get whacked for performance enhancing drugs, let's ponder the statistics sheet. A lot of numbers suggest fresh faces and strange forces are at work after a third of the season. All statistics were at the close of business Wednesday.

If the season was over, the defending champion San Francisco Giants would not be in the playoffs. But the Pittsburgh Pirates would be.

There have been no no-hitters. But 11 one-hitters.

The leading home run hitter in the National League was Philadelphia's Domonic Brown with 18. He had only 12 in his career coming into this season

The pitcher with the most victories in the majors was 23-year-old Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks, at 9-0. He had six wins to his name before this season.

The National League ERA leader was 22-year-old Shelby Miller of the St. Louis Cardinals, who had pitched in six games before this season.

The top National League rookie was Atlanta catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis, who earlier in his life battled substance abuse and worked as a janitor and in a pizza parlor.

But there was room for old guys, too. The American League leader in saves was 43-year-old Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees. The National League leader was 36-year-old Jason Grilli of the Pirates. Rivera had 608 saves before this season. Grilli had five.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had the top payroll in the game, but were in last place in the National League West.

The Milwaukee Brewers' pitchers had yet to throw a shutout.

The Arizona Diamondbacks' hitters had yet to be shutout.

There were 14 teams in baseball still without a complete game.

The Miami Marlins had only six wins on the road. Just down the street, the Miami Heat already had five wins on the road in the playoffs.

The state of Florida had been its usual unenthusiastic self when it came to going to major league games. The combined average attendance of Miami and Tampa Bay was less than the individual average attendance of seven franchises.

The St. Louis Cardinals were hitting .339 with runners in scoring position, 39 points higher than any other team in baseball.

The three worst-hitting teams in the majors — Miami, Washington and the New York Mets — were all from the National League East.

The Chicago Cubs had scored 240 runs and allowed 240 runs. But they were nine games under .500.

The two highest-paid Atlanta Braves — Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton — were hitting .179 and .153, respectively. But the Braves' lead of 7 1/2 games in the National League East was the largest in the majors.

The Cincinnati Reds had gone 14-7 on the road, after starting the season 1-8.

The Baltimore Orioles had the most home runs in the majors with 84 and also the fewest errors with 19.

They also had at least two extra-base hits in 33 consecutive games. No other team had gone more than 13 games in a row.

Fourteen of the Diamondbacks' 34 wins — 41 percent — had been by one run.

The Cleveland Indians had faced 10 former Cy Young Award winners, and gone 7-3 against them.

In interleague play, the American was up 67-62 on the National, thanks largely to Tampa Bay's 9-1 record.

Because of injuries, the Nationals had last played their expected starting eight on April 14. And pitcher Stephen Strasburg went on the disabled list, too.

Good numbers and bad numbers, in a sport holding its breath, waiting for a wave of drug suspensions that might rattle history.