Giants and A’s Notes at the 2017 All-Star Game Break – Chuck Nan

 

Khris Davis Crushing (and Striking Out) Like Few Others

  • Slugger Khris Davis hit his 24th home run of the season on July 6. That total is tied for the sixth-most by an Oakland player before the All-Star Game and the most since Mark McGwire hit 31 pre-break home runs in 1997.
  • Has registered 117 strikeouts for the season, which is an Athletics record for strikeouts before the All-Star Break. The previous was 114 by Cust in 2008.
  • Has 66 home runs over the last two seasons, which is the most in the Major Leagues. Edward Encarnacion and Mark Trumbo are next, both with 60 home runs during that period

 

Most Home Runs

At All-Star Break

Athletics Franchise History

Player Year HR
Reggie Jackson 1969 37
Mark McGwire 1987 33
Mark McGwire 1997 31
Jimmie Foxx 1932 30
Mark McGwire 1992 28
Mark McGwire 1996 28
Jimmie Foxx 1934 26
Bob Johnson 1934 25
Khris Davis 2017 24
Mark McGwire 1995 24
Jose Canseco 1988 24
Jimmie Foxx 1933 24

Note: Jackson would finish the season with 47 home runs.

 

Most Strikeouts

At All-Star Break

Athletics Franchise History

Player Year SO
Khris Davis 2017 117
Jack Cust 2008 114
Jose Canseco 1986 104
Reggie Jackson 1972 95
Jose Canseco 1997 94

 

An Old One

  • At the age of 36, Chris Smith earned a spot start on July 8 for Oakland at Seattle. In doing so he became the oldest A’s pitcher ever to make his first Major League start.
  • Smith had made 63 Major League appearances as a reliever, including 13 with Oakland last season, but had never started a game at this level.
  • The oldest A’s pitcher to make his first Major League start was back in the Philadelphia days. Joe Pate did so on May 6, 1926 against the St. Louis Browns, at 33 years, 334 days, according to team officials.
  • In that game, Pate had a no decision and the following pitching line: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB and 0 SO. Pate ended with just two games started in his career.
  • Smith has made 164 starts as a minor leaguer.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Smith became just the fourth Major League pitcher over the last 55 years to make his first start at age 36 or greater (see list immediately below).

 

Pitcher Age

Years / Days

Date Team Opponent IP
Chris Smith 36 / 090 07/08/17 Oakland Seattle 6
Jason Lane 37 / 218 07/28/14 San Diego Atlanta 6
Troy Percival 38 / 052 09/30/07 St. Louis Pittsburgh 1
Danny Boone 36 / 259 09/30/90 (2) Baltimore Cleveland 4 2/3

 

Note on Jason Lane:

Jason Lane became the oldest pitcher to make his first career start on the hill in Padre franchise history at 37. His story doesn’t stop there. If his name sounds familiar, you might recall him hitting 26 home runs for the 2005 Houston Astros in the regular season and then clubbing three home runs in the postseason — including one in the World Series.

 

After Lane’s career year in 2005, he hit just .201 in 2006 and things spiraled downward from there at the plate. He played strictly in the minors in 2008 and then transitioned to pitching in 2009. In 2012, he bounced between Triple-A and Independent ball (with the Sugar Land Skeeters). He did the same in 2013 with Sugar Land and Tucson (the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate). In Triple-A this season, Lane made 19 starts. And now, he has one major-league start under his belt.

 

Oldest Athletics Franchise Starting Pitcher
Pitcher Age

Years / Days

Date Team Opponent IP
Satchel Paige 59 / 080 09/25/65 Kansas City Boston 3
Jack Quinn 47 / 044 08/14/30 Philadelphia Cleveland 3 1/3
Jack Quinn 47 / 028 07/23/30 Philadelphia New York-A 4
Jack Quinn 47 / 022 1930-07-23 Philadelphia Detroit 8
Jack Quinn 46 / 327 05/24/30 (1) Philadelphia New York-A 4

 

Oldest Oakland-Era Starting Pitcher
Pitcher Age

Years / Days

Date Opponent IP
Tommy John 42 / 126 09/25/85 Cleveland 1
Tommy John 42 / 121 09/20/85 Chicago-A 3 1/3
Tommy John 42 / 115 09/14/85 Kansas City 8
Tommy John 42 / 108 09/07/85 New York-A 7
Tommy John 42 / 103 09/02/85 Baltimore 1/3

 

Oldest Oakland-Era Pitcher (Any Role)
Pitcher Age

Years / Days

Date Opponent IP
Doug Jones 43 / 097 09/29/00 Texas 1
Doug Jones 43 / 096 09/28/00 Anaheim 2/3
Doug Jones 43 / 095 09/27/00 Anaheim 1 1/3
Doug Jones 43 / 092 09/24/00 Seattle 1/3
Doug Jones 43 / 091 09/23/00 Seattle 1

 

When Satchel Pitched Again

In 1965, Kansas City Athletics owner Charles O. Finley signed Satchel Paige, 59 at the time, for one game. On September 25, against the Boston Red Sox, Finley invited several Negro league veterans including “Cool Papa” Bell to be introduced before the game. Paige was in the bullpen, sitting on a rocking chair, being served coffee by a “nurse” between innings.

 

He started the game by getting Jim Gosger out on a pop foul. The next man, Dalton Jones, reached first and went to second on an infield error, but was thrown out trying to reach third on a pitch in the dirt. Carl Yastrzemski doubled and Tony Conigliaro hit a fly ball to end the inning. The next six batters went down in order, including a strikeout of Bill Monbouquette.

 

In the fourth inning, Paige took the mound, to be removed according to plan by Haywood Sullivan. He walked off to a standing ovation from the small crowd of 9,289. The lights dimmed and, led by the public address announcer, the fans lit matches and cigarette lighters while singing “The Old Gray Mare.” The double by Yaz was the only blemish.

 

This was another publicity stunt by A’s owner Charlie Finley. By 1965, Paige was more than a star. He was a legend. He’d pitched for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues — and for anyone who would pay him in the offseason — before finally debuting with the Cleveland Indians in 1948. He was the first Negro Leagues player inducted to the Hall of Fame, in 1971.

 

Yes, Paige was famous. Finley had a hunch Paige might still be able to pitch in 1965, but he was dead certain he’d draw a crowd. Finley’s plan with Paige worked, and not just by quadrupling the attendance from the day before.

 

Age Not Slowing Down Rajai Davis

  • Outfielder Rajai Davis, 36, became the oldest player to produce a four-steal game for the Athletics in the team’s 117-year history in the July 5 game. Previously, Bert Campaneris had been the oldest A’s player to swipe four bases in a game when he did so at age 34 in 1976.

 

Young Hero

  • Franklin Barreto’s home run on July 4th was the fourth walk-off for the Athletics this season — the most of any team. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the 21-year-old Barreto is the second-youngest Athletics player with a walk-off home run, trailing only Hall-of-Famer Jimmie Foxx, who was 20 when he hit one for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1928.

 

Blackburn Wins First, But No Ks

  • A solo home run by Seattle’s Mitch Haniger, who starred at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, was the lone blemish for Phil Blackburn. The right-hander, a product of Brentwood High School in the East Bay, didn’t record a strikeout, but utilized three double plays in 7 2/3 innings to keep Seattle at bay and notch his first Major League victory.

 

Oakland Pitcher

7-Plus IP, 0-1 Runs Allowed & Win in First 2 Major League Starts

Career

Game

Pitcher Date Opponent IP R
2 Paul Blackburn 2017-07-06 Seattle 7 2/3 1
2 Vin Mazzaro 2009-06-07 Baltimore 7 1/3 0
2 Greg Smith 2008-04-14 Chicago-A 7 1
2 Rich Harden 2003-07-26 Anaheim 7 1
1 Rich Harden 2003-07-21 Kansas City 7 1
1 Aaron Harang 2002-05-25 Tampa Bay 7 0
1 Joe Slusarski 1991-04-11 Minnesota 7 0
2 Todd Burns 1988-06-18 Texas 8 1
2 Chris Codiroli 1982-09-18 (1) Chicago-A 7 1
1 Mike Norris 1975-04-10 Chicago-A 9 0

 

Bay Area “Home Run Derby” Rewind

Since 1985, Major League Baseball has held the “Home Run Derby” during the All-Star Game festivities. The event has grown significantly from its roots in the mid-1980s, when it was not televised. When the ASG was played in Oakland, the event was in its infancy. By the time it reached the edge of the Bay twenty seasons later, everyone thought there would be a barrage of water landing. One main reason there wasn’t? Barry Bonds did not participate. All in all, both events were disappointments.

 

1987 @ Oakland Coliseum

The Derby’s format was a bit different in its early years: From 1985 to 1990, four or five hitters from each league were simply given two “innings” of five outs each to hit as many home runs as they could, with the league with the highest total declared the winner. Unsurprisingly, this produced some pretty low home run totals — like in 1987, when the entire field combined for just eight home runs. The individual winner? Andre Dawson, who hit four. Ozzie Virgil, Jr. had two and George Bell and the hometown hero Mark McGwire settled for one apiece.

 

2007 @ AT&T Park

Seemingly every kayak in America packed into McCovey Cove for the first Home Run Derby in the history of AT&T Park, but alas, they would go home empty handed. Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau were the featured left-handed hitters participating. Howard hit 58 bombs the year before and had 21 by the All-Star break in 2007. Fielder was on his way to a 50-home run season as well.
 While Howard, Fielder and Morneau combined for 10 home runs, none of them got wet. The field produced a grand total of zero “Splash Landings,” while Vladimir Guerrero cruised to a win over Alex Rios in the final round.

 

Giants Hit the Skids

No matter how you slice and dice the numbers, the San Francisco Giants have endured a rough first-half to the 2017 season. The team has gone from having the best record in Major League Baseball at the All-Star Game Break just one year ago (2016) to having perhaps its worst season in the 135-year history of the franchise.

  • Current Record: 34-56, .378 (On Pace for 62-100, .383)
  • 56 is the Most Losses in Franchise History at All-Star Break (2008 team was 40-55 .421, but had played five more games)
  • Games Currently Behind Division Leader: 27
  • Last Time That Far Behind in July: July 7, 1902
  • Winning Percentage Points Behind Dodgers (Leaders): .300 (.678 – .378) — Largest Gap Ever
  • Record Since the Last All-Star Game: 64-98, .396
  • Record at 2016 All-Star Break: 57-33, .633
  • Win Percentage Point Difference from 2016 to 2017: .255 (= 41-plus games)
  • Record in Second-Half of 2016: 30-42, .417
  • 2017 team has tied club record for worst win-loss record through 90 games played, 34-56 (with 1985 team). That club was 62-100. It was the only 100-loss season in franchise history.
  • Number of 98-Plus Loss Seasons in Franchise History: 2

— 1985: 62-100 (.383)

— 1943: 55-98 (.359)

  • Worst Winning Percentages in Franchise History

— .353 in 1902 (48-88), 53 1/2 Behind

— .359 in 1943 (55-98), 49 1/2 Behind

 

Defense Still Not Impacted

Although the Giants offense has struggled throughout the season, the team has not let it impacted its play in the field. San Francisco has the second-best fielding percentage in the National League and third-best in all of the Major Leagues. In the case of ties, the team with more chances is listed higher.

 

Highest Fielding Percentage – NL
Rank Team Games Errors Pct.
1 Colorado 91 41 .988
2 San Francisco 90 45 .987
3 Miami 87 40 .987
4 Cincinnati 88 45 .986
5 Philadelphia 87 45 .986

 

Highest Fielding Percentage – MLB
Rank Team Games Errors Pct.
1 Kansas City 87 34 .989
2 Colorado 91 41 .988
3 San Francisco 90 45 .987
4 Minnesota 88 43 .987
5 Miami 87 40 .987

 

Huge Strikeout Totals the Major League Norm

  • There have been nine instances in which a player has struck out 200-or-more times in a season in Major League history, all coming since the 2008 season. This has been done by six players.
  • The only time two players had at least 200 Ks in the same season was 2016, when Chris Davis (219) and Chris Carter (206) both did it.
  • SEVEN different batters are on pace to cross that threshold this season.

 

Batters on Pace for 200 Strikeouts in 2017
Player Team Current Pace
Miguel Sano Minnesota Twins 120 228
Khris Davis Oakland A’s 117 215
Keon Broxton Milwaukee Brewers 117 213
Joey Gallo Texas Rangers 112 214
Aaron Judge New York Yankees 109 207
Wil Myers San Diego Padres 109 203
Matt Davidson Chicago White Sox 106 218

 

200-Plus Strikeouts

Major League Season – All-Time

Player Team SO Year
Mark Reynolds Arizona Diamondbacks 223 2009
Adam Dunn Chicago White Sox 222 2012
Chris Davis Baltimore Orioles 219 2016
Chris Carter Houston Astros 212 2013
Mark Reynolds Arizona Diamondbacks 211 2010
Chris Davis Baltimore Orioles 208 2015
Chris Carter Milwaukee Brewers 206 2016
Drew Stubbs Cincinnati Reds 205 2011
Mark Reynolds Arizona Diamondbacks 204 2008

 

Rookies Rake

Only five rookies in Major League history have hit at least 25 home runs before the All-Star break. Two of them (Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger) have accomplished that feat this season.

 

Most Home Runs by Rookie

All-Star Break All-Time

Player Team HRs Year
Mark McGwire Oakland A’s 33 1987
Aaron Judge New York Yankees 30 2017
Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox 29 2014
Cody Bellinger Los Angeles Dodgers 25 2017
Al Rosen Cleveland Indians 25 1950

 

 

 

 

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