Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• The Final Jeopardy Answer is: "The Twins in 2002, the Red Sox in 2003, the Yankees in 2004, and the Angels in 2005."
Actually, there are two correct questions. First, "Which teams won Game 1 in each of the last four American League Championship Series?" And also, "Which teams wound up losing each of the last four American League Championship Series?"
• Brandon Inge went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and a walk in the Tigers' 5-1 win at Oakland in Game 1 of the ALCS. He became only the fifth nine-hole hitter to reach base in each of his plate appearances (minimum of four) in a postseason game.
Adam Kennedy had three homers and a single for the Angels against the Twins in Game 5 of the 2002 ALCS; Spike Owen had three singles and a triple for the Red Sox against the Angels in Game 6 of the 1986 ALCS; Julio Cruz of the White Sox had three singles and a walk vs. Baltimore in Game 4 of the 1983 ALCS; and Cincinnati pitcher Dutch Ruether had two triples, a single and a walk in the opening game of the 1919 World Series against the infamous Black Sox, in a game started by one of their alleged conspirators, Ed Cicotte.
• Leading 5-0, Nate Robertson walked Frank Thomas to start the bottom of the fourth, and Jay Payton followed with a double, leaving runners on second and third with none out, and convincing Jim Leyland to make a trip to the mound to talk with his starting pitcher.
You read it here first (but we bet you'll now hear it elsewhere): Robertson was the first pitcher in postseason history to pitch a scoreless inning by striking out three consecutive batters with two runners in scoring position.
• Barry Zito lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his Game 1 start. During the regular season, Zito had lasted at least five innings in 33 of his 34 starts; the only time he didn't came in an opening-night loss to the Yankees, when he was routed after 1 1/3 innings, the crowning blow being a grand slam by a fellow named Alex Rodriguez.
• Oakland's batters went hitless in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position, matching the most hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position by one team in a postseason game. The Cardinals went 0-for-13 in those situations against the Mets in Game 1 of the 2000 NL Championship Series.
• Does Joe Torre deserve credit for leading the Yankees to the postseason for six consecutive seasons since their last World Series victory? Or criticism for not winning a championship over that six-year span? Whatever you decide, know this: Two other managers had longer streaks: Bobby Cox, 10 postseasons without a World Series win (1996-2005) and Tony La Russa, eight (1990-2005).
Note that La Russa's streak was not over continuous seasons. And, of course, his Cardinals are still in the hunt for a title in 2006.
• Torre has compiled a record of 1,079 wins and 699 losses in 11 seasons with the Yankees -- but that's in the regular-season games so casually dismissed by some talk-show hosts, Yankees fans, and perhaps even by some in the organization itself.
Still, Torre's .607 winning percentage represents the best by the Yankees in an 11-season span since the team played .620 ball -- under Casey Stengel, Ralph Houk and Yogi Berra -- from 1954 to 1964. In the interim, only the Braves have managed to fashion a similarly high winning percentage over any span of 11 seasons; Atlanta's best was a .614 winning percentage from 1993 to 2003.
• With Frank Robinson and Felipe Alou having left their managerial jobs in Washington and San Francisco, respectively, the 66-year-old Torre stands as the oldest current big-league manager.
Only two Yankees managers have ever started a season as the oldest manager in the majors. Yogi Berra, a little over a month shy of his 60th birthday, began the 1985 season as the majors' oldest manager. (He was fired 16 games into that season and never managed again.) And Casey Stengel held that designation in each of his last 10 seasons (1951-60) managing the Bronx Bombers.
• Peter Forsberg had a goal and two assists in the Flyers' 4-2 win over the Rangers. It was Forsberg's first regular-season game with three or more points since Dec. 23, 2005 at Pittsburgh (two goals, one assist). Forsberg, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent prior to the 2005-06 season, had seven games with three or more points in his first 28 contests for Philadelphia, but he had gone 34 regular-season games without scoring more than two points in any game prior to Tuesday.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Seahawks to host Packers in season opener
- Pineda ejected for foreign substance on neck
- Aldridge scores 43 as Blazers drop Rockets
- Giants-Lions, Chargers-Cards to open MNF