Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• You've heard of the Mendoza Line? Pedro Martinez kept his career winning percentage above the Pedro Line as he earned the victory in the Mets' 6-2 win over the Reds. What's the Pedro Line? A career winning percentage of .700 or higher, with at least 200 career victories.
It's called the Pedro Line because he's the only one who has done it. He brought a career record of 203 wins and 87 losses into Thursday's game -- .700 exactly -- and moved to .701 with his win. But his next start will likely be at Boston on Wednesday, and if the Red Sox beat him, then his winning percentage would fall below .700.
• If a .700 winning percentage is good, how about a .710 batting average? Believe it or not, that is David Wright's batting average, based on 22 hits in 31 at-bats, in the last eight games in which Willie Randolph has written him into the cleanup spot in the Mets' batting order.
On Thursday, Wright's average actually fell to .710 (it had been .714 over his previous seven games batting in the four-hole) with his 2-for-3 performance against the Reds. But each of those hits was two-run homer; he now has five homers and 17 RBI -- and a slugging average of 1.355 to go with that .710 batting average -- in his last eight games as the Mets' cleanup hitter.
• Scott Kazmir lifted his record to 9-4 in the Devil Rays' 4-1 win over the Diamondbacks, and he did it by just doing more of what he's been doing so far:
* Kazmir came into the game averaging 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings, the second-highest rate among American League starters this season (Johan Santana averages 9.5). Against Arizona, Kazmir fanned eight batters in 7 2/3 innings, which comes out to -- you guessed it -- 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
* The Diamondbacks got a leadoff double in the second inning and had a runner on second with one out in the third, but neither runner scored as Arizona went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. That reduced Kazmir's already infinitesimal opponents' batting average with runners in scoring position to .149, lowest among American League starters.
• Francisco Liriano and Justin Morneau stole the stage from Roger Clemens in The Rocket's return to the majors. Liriano is now 6-1 in seven starts this season: He went five innings in each of his first two starts, six innings in each of the next two, seven innings in each of the two after that, and went a season-high eight innings Thursday. He has allowed only eight runs and 24 hits in 44 innings as a starter.
Morneau hit his eighth home run of June, the most by any American League player this month. (Wright, with two on Thursday, leads the majors with nine June blasts.)
• You could have attended every Orioles home game for more than 25 years -- since "Orioles' Baseball, Feel It Happen" was blaring at old Memorial Stadium -- and you would have seen it only once prior to Thursday night, when the Orioles took a four-run lead into the ninth inning but lost. The Marlins scored four in the ninth and three in the 10th to take an 8-5 decision.
The only other time over the past quarter-century that the Orioles have lost a home game in which they led by four or more runs heading into the ninth inning came on Aug. 1, 1995, when the Blue Jays scored six in the ninth to upend the Orioles 12-10.
• What are the chances that a starting pitcher who fails to go six innings, allows 11 hits and strikes out nobody will be that game's winning pitcher? Put it this way: From the start of the 2000 season through Wednesday night, 26 starting pitchers had compiled such pitching lines -- with the results being a composite 0-19 record (with seven no-decisions) and an ERA of 14.00.
Don't tell Texas rookie John Rheinecker about those odds. The big left-hander "scattered" 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings -- if that is possible -- allowing only two runs, and with help from his bullpen, he was credited with the victory in the Rangers' 5-3 win over the Padres.
The last starting pitcher who won a game in which he failed to go six innings, allowed 11 or more hits and struck out none was Pittsburgh's Chris Peters, credited with an 11-8 win over the Rockies at Coors Field (where else?) on Aug. 30, 1999.
• Scott Elarton's Kansas City teammates had scored a total of only 51 runs in his first 15 starts this season -- the average of 3.4 per game put him among the five major-league starters with the skimpiest run support this season (minimum: 10 starts) -- so imagine his shock as he rolled to a Thursday afternoon win over Pittsburgh by the score of 15-7.
It was the 157th start of Elarton's career, but it was the first in which any of his teams (the Astros, Rockies, Indians or Royals) had scored as many as 15 runs. In an odd twist, the former high for his team's runs total in one of Elarton's starts was 14 by his Astros in an interleague game at Kansas City on July 8, 2001 -- but he didn't get to enjoy them. He and Houston manager Larry Dierker were ejected when Elarton hit Royals leadoff hitter Rey Sanchez with a pitch in apparent retaliation for Houston's first two batters getting hit with pitches in the top of the first.
Which pitcher started the most major league games without his team scoring 15 or more runs in any of them? Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry: 690 starts with nary a game of such support.
• The Cardinals lost the first two games of their series with the White Sox by allowing 33 runs and 40 hits. They lost the final game of the series by allowing a single hit. Jim Thome had his team's only hit of the game, but his home run also provided the game's only run as the Sox won.
The last time that a major league team won a 1-0 game in which a home run provided the winning team's only hit was last Aug. 23, when the White Sox were the victims of Jacque Jones' home run that led the Twins to victory.
It was the first time in nearly 92 years -- six years before the constitutional amendment permitting women to vote, for cryin' out loud -- that the Cardinals had lost a game in which they had allowed just one hit. That last happened on July 30, 1914, when Dan Griner lost a complete-game 2-1 decision to the Boston Braves. The Cardinals committed four errors in the game; hence, the headline in the Boston Globe: "Cardinals Spoil Griner's Fine Hurling by Their Foozles." Little did the Braves know it then, but they would be forever remembered as the Miracle Braves after arising from last place on July 4 to win the World Series.
• The Blue Jays won in Atlanta, 3-2, as B.J. Ryan collected his 20th save of the season. Ryan reached that plateau nine days before Canada Day (July 1), the earliest in team history that any Jays pitcher has done so. The old record: Randy Myers earned save No. 20 on June 23, 1998.
• The Braves have lost 10 in a row and 18 of 20. It's the first time since 1982 that they have gone 2-18 (or worse) over any 20-game span, and only the second time since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966 (they were 1-19 in 1977).
• You read it here first: By winning the Hart Trophy, Joe Thornton -- who was traded by the Bruins to the Sharks last November -- is the first MVP in either the NHL, the NBA, the NFL or Major League Baseball to win the MVP award for a season in which he played for more than one team.
Thornton's 96 assists were the most in one season by an NHL player since 1992-93, when Adam Oates had 97. Wayne Gretzky (11 times), Mario Lemieux (twice) and Bobby Orr (once) are the only other players to have as many as 96 assists in a single NHL season.
• The Knicks announced that Isiah Thomas would replace Larry Brown as their head coach.
The Knicks were the eighth NBA team that Brown served as a head coach, more NBA teams than anyone else in league history has served in that capacity. New York was the only one of those eight teams that Brown did not lead to a winning record -- in fact, he led each of the seven other teams to records at least 10 games above .500. No other head coach in NBA history is plus-10 or better for even half as many teams as Brown:
* Most NBA teams: Larry Brown, eight; Kevin Loughery and Lenny Wilkens, six; Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, George Karl, and Dick Motta, five.
* Most teams with records 10 or more games above .500: Larry Brown, seven of eight; Mike Fratello, three of three; Pat Riley, three of three; Chuck Daly, three of four; Don Nelson, three of four; George Karl, three of five; Lenny Wilkens, three of six.
• The United States placed only four shots on goal in its three World Cup matches, the lowest total by any team participating in three group-play matches in either of the last two World Cups. (The lowest total in 2002 was six, by Tunisia.)
• Czech Republic failed to advance despite a 3-0 victory over the United States 10 days ago. The last teams not to advance after winning their respective opening matches by margins of three or more goals were Scotland and Hungary in 1982. (Hungary must have really been disappointed after winning its opener over El Salvador by the score of 10-1.)
• When Brazil spots its opponent a goal, it levels the playing field. Almost. Thursday's win over Japan raised Brazil's World Cup record to 14-11-3 when its opponent scores first. No other team in World Cup history has a winning record when conceding the first goal; all other teams combined have won less than 15 percent of such games.
• In tying Gerd Muller's record for career World Cup goals (14), Brazil's Ronaldo also tied the all-time record for career multiple-goal games, set by Sandor Kocsis (all in 1954) and tied by Just Fontaine (all in 1958).
• Ben Curtis shot a 62 during the opening round of the Booz Allen Classic, the lowest round of his PGA Tour career. Curtis' previous low was 64, which he recorded on three different occasions, with the last time coming in the opening round of the 2005 Buick Championship. Like Thursday's 62, all three of those 64s occurred in the opening round of a tournament.
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