Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• A pair of rookie pitchers started division series games on Wednesday: Boof Bonser (at the Metrodome) and John Maine (at Shea Stadium). It was the 10th time in major-league history that two rookie pitchers started postseason games on the same day.
The Twins sent Bonser to the mound for Game 2 after dropping the series opener. No rookie pitcher had started the second game of a best-of-five series with his team down 0-1 since Cleveland's Jaret Wright in the 1997 ALCS. Wright's victory at Yankee Stadium evened that series at one game apiece.
• Oakland never trailed in either of its two victories against the Twins, which is the recipe for road success in Minnesota. Visiting teams had only six come-from-behind wins at the Metrodome during the regular season; that was the fewest for road teams at any ballpark in the majors.
• The Athletics would seem to be in the driver's seat, considering that in major-league history all but one of the 19 previous teams that won the first two games of a best-of-five postseason series on the road went on to win the series. But there won't be any premature celebrating in Oakland. The only team to lose a best-of-five series under those circumstances was the A's, in the 2001 ALDS vs. New York.
Oakland has lost the last nine games in which it had an opportunity to clinch a postseason series (2000-03, the longest such streak in major-league history), after winning its nine previous potential series clinchers (1973-90, also a postseason record).
• Mark Kotsay became the fourth player in the divisional-play era (since 1969) to hit an inside-the-park home run in a postseason game. Two of the three others, like Kotsay, hit theirs on artificial turf: Graig Nettles at Kansas City (1980 ALCS) and Ray Durham at Minnesota (2002 ALDS). Paul Molitor is the last to do it on a natural grass field (at Anaheim in the 1982 ALCS).
• The Twins were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the series opener and 0-for-5 in those situations on Wednesday. Minnesota's streak of 14 hitless at-bats with runners in scoring positions is the longest drought to start a postseason series since 2001, when the Athletics were 0-for-27 with RISP to begin the division series against the Yankees.
• Consecutive home runs by Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau tied the game in the sixth inning but proved to be Minnesota's only tallies of the afternoon. There have been only three other postseason games in which back-to-back solo homers accounted for all of a team's scoring: Rick Cerone and Lou Piniella for the Yankees in the 1980 ALCS (a 7-2 loss to the Royals); Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager for the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series (a 2-1 win over the Yankees); and Brian Jordan and Ryan Klesko for the Braves in the 1999 NLCS (a 3-2 loss to the Mets).
• Maine, who was 6-5 during the regular season, was the emergency starter for the Mets on Wednesday. Maine became the second rookie pitcher to start his team's postseason opener in a year in which he won fewer than 10 games during the regular season. The other was Jim Beattie for the 1978 Yankees (6-9).
The Mets were victorious despite Maine's short outing (4 1/3 innings). No NL team had won a postseason series opener in which its starting pitcher failed to make it though the fifth inning since the Cardinals beat the Braves 7-5 in the 2000 NLDS (Rick Ankiel, 2 2/3 innings).
• Carlos Delgado waited a long time for his first taste of postseason play and responded by going 4-for-5 with a home run. Delgado became the fifth player in major-league history to collect four or more hits, at least one of which was a homer, in his postseason debut. The others were Mel Ott (1933 Giants), Joe Medwick (1934 Cardinals), Luis Alicea (1995 Red Sox) and Todd Walker (2003 Red Sox).
Delgado's career total of 407 regular-season homers is the fifth-highest for any player at the time of his first postseason round-tripper. Willie Mays had 646 homers before his first postseason shot (1971 NLCS), Sammy Sosa 539 (2003 NLCS), Jeff Bagwell 446 (2004 NLDS) and Dave Winfield 432 (1992 ALCS).
• Kenny Lofton became the first player to appear in the postseason for six different teams (the Dodgers, Braves, Indians, Giants, Cubs and Yankees). But the record might not be Lofton's alone for long: David Wells is expected to start for San Diego on Thursday; the Padres would be the sixth postseason team for Wells.
• Wednesday night's postponement at Yankee Stadium gave us time to take a closer look at Tuesday's opener. The starting lineup in Game 1 was unlike any other. No, it wasn't the Yankees' batting order, comprised entirely of former All-Stars. Teams had posted such a lineup in 15 previous postseason games. The first-of-its-kind batting order actually belonged to the Tigers. It was the first starting lineup in postseason history in which the players in the seventh, eighth and ninth spots all hit at least 25 homers during the regular season (Craig Monroe 28, Marcus Thames 26, Brandon Inge 27).
• Mats Sundin scored the Maple Leafs' only goal of the game on a penalty shot in a 4-1 loss to the Senators. Sundin became only the second player in NHL history to score a penalty-shot goal in his team's first game of a season. Bo Berglund did it for the North Stars in their 1985-86 opener against Detroit.