Elias Says ...

7/13/2006 - MLB NBA Soccer + more

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

• A tasty leftover from the All-Star Game: Michael Young has eight hits in 11 at-bats this season with runners in scoring position in late-inning pressure situations. Four of those hits came on two-strike counts (although only one was on an 0-2 pitch, as was Tuesday night's game-winner).

Since the 2004 All-Star break, Young's batting average with RISP in LIPS is .471 (16-for-34).

• The Astros traded with the Devil Rays for Aubrey Huff, who might be the left-handed bat for whom Houston has been looking. Against right-handed pitchers this season, the Astros are dead last in the National League in batting average (.249), slugging (.394) and on-base percentage (.321). Huff is hitting .304 and slugging .522 with eight homers against right-handers this season.

• The Hornets acquired Peja Stojakovic in a sign-and-trade with the Pacers. Is it only coincidence that his initials correspond with Pure Shooter?

In each of the past three seasons, Peja has made at least 90 percent of his free-throw attempts and at least 40 percent of his three-point field-goal attempts, while making at least 100 of each. No other player in NBA history has ever had three successive seasons like that.

That three-point proficiency is something that the Hornets have lacked: The team ranked 25th in the 30-team NBA in that category during the past season, after having ranked 29th the previous season and 28th the season before that.

• Marcello Lippi resigned Wednesday as coach of Italy's national soccer team. At one time, such a decision was unheard of. The coach of six consecutive World Cup champions from 1966 to 1986 returned to coach those same teams in the World Cup four years later.

But Lippi will be the fifth consecutive coach since then not to return to the World Cup with his championship team. The others: Franz Beckenbauer (1990 Germany), Carlos Alberto Parreira (1994 Brazil), Aime Jacquet (1998 France), and Luiz Felipe Scolari (2002 Brazil).

• Noteworthy items about players named Wednesday to the MLS All-Star First XI, which will face Chelsea FC on Aug. 5:

* Landon Donovan, who turned 24 in March, was selected for his sixth All-Star game. The only other players in the NBA, NFL, NHL or Major League Baseball who were six-time All-Stars before turning 25 years old are Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky. The youngest six-time All-Star in the NBA is Kobe Bryant (25 in 2004); the youngest in Major League Baseball is Al Kaline (25 in 1960); and the youngest in the NFL is Barry Sanders (26 in 1995).

* Clint Dempsey has scored four goals for the United States this year, including the only one that the Americans put in the old onion bag during the World Cup (the other U.S. score came on an own-goal by Italy's Cristian Zaccardo). That ties him with Taylor Twellman for the most goals for the national side this year.

* Christian Gomez has 21 goals and 15 assists since making his MLS debut in August 2004. Since his first game he ranks fourth in MLS in goals, behind Taylor Twellman (29), Jaime Moreno (22) and Jeff Cunningham (22), and sixth in assists, behind Ronnie O'Brien (19), Moreno (18), Landon Donvan (17), Dwayne De Rosario (17) and Simon Elliott (16).

* Jimmy Conrad, Chris Albright and Eddie Pope, all of whom were on the USA's World Cup roster, were named as the starting defenders for the All-Star squad. Conrad has played 17 games for the National Team, Albright has played 20 and Pope has played 82 -- but they have never been on the field at the same time for the USA.

* Troy Perkins was named as the goalkeeper. Perkins in undefeated in his last 12 games for D.C. United (9-0-3), tying the third-longest undefeated streak for a goalkeeper in MLS history. Jon Busch had an 18-game streak for Columbus over 2004-2005 and Pat Onstad had a 15-game streak for San Jose/Houston over 2005-2006.

* Ante Razov already has 11 goals this season. It's the sixth time in his career that he's scored in double digits, making him the only player in MLS history to do that. His strike partner in the match against Chelsea will be Jaime Moreno, who has five double-digit goal seasons (and is sitting on nine goals this year), making him the only other player with five double-digit goal seasons.