Sports by the Numbers MLB Stat of the Week
491 The road winning percentage (.491) for Tampa through 61 games. The Rays beat the Indians at home back on August 6, in stunning walk-off fashion -- and then they left for a ten game road trip that skipper Joe Maddon said would be "great" if they could just play .500 ball. It was the first Dog Days road trip in franchise history that was actually important, because they began the trip with a 3.5 game lead over Boston. Well, the Rays are back home now, fresh off a 7-3 trip that saw them pick up a game on Boston and three more games on the Yankees. Tampa leads the East by 4.5, with 39 to go. Six left against Boston, six left against New York -- half on the road, half at home.
4 Tim Lincecum is going to get some Cy Young attention -- but if he got to pitch against the Braves a few more times, he'd win the award unanimously. The Giants phenom now has (4) wins against Bobby Cox and the Braves -- winning all four of his career starts against Atlanta. Shane Reynolds is the only other pitcher in baseball who won his first four career starts against the Braves while Bobby Cox was managing.
7 The jersey number (7) retired by the Houston Astros in honor of Craig Biggio. The ceremony took place on Sunday, and for Biggio this was a well-deserved honor. The guy is going to the Hall of Fame, and even though he never won a ring as a player, there is plenty of talk that he will one day get a shot at it as a manager. Joe Torre and plenty of others got their rings that way, and true baseball fans will be pulling for Biggio to do the same.
12 The Arizona Diamondbacks got dealt a two-hit shutout for the second time in the past (12) days -- and both times the Big Unit was the victim. Randy Johnson is working hard to get his D-Backs an invite to October, but Arizona's offense is not cooperating. On August 6, Johnson lost a 2-0 decision when Jeff Karstens tossed a two-hit shutout for the Pirates -- and after beating Colorado 4-2 in his next start, Johnson lost a 3-0 decision to the Astros on Sunday when Roy Oswalt and Jose Valverde combined for a two-hitter. The last time a pitcher fell victim to a lack of support on that level was back in 1999, when you guessed it, Randy Johnson suffered through three starts in a span of 11 days where the D-Backs were shutout on no hits, one hit, and two hits.
25 Manny Ramirez got (25) hits during his first 16 games with the Dodgers. It looks like this trade is working out a tad better for LA than did signing Andruw Jones, who has only 33 hits in 74 games with his new club. Ramirez hit six home runs among his 25 hits, and he drove home 21 runs. In case you are curious, LA is 10-6 since the trade and has climbed from three games back to being tied for first with 38 to go.
30 Brad Lidge now has (30) saves -- and he has yet to blow one for the Phillies. He struck out the side in the ninth against the Padres on Sunday, which I guess would be more impressive if he had done it against a team that actually has an offense that shows up from time to time -- but nonetheless, he is perfect on the season, and that includes work against some actual major league offenses. He is only the third N.L. pitcher since 1975 to convert 30 consecutive saves to begin a season. The others were Eric Gagne for the Dodgers, and the Padres very own Trevor Hoffman.