Elias Says ...
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports.
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan hit a home run off the Mets' Steve Trachsel to lead off the second inning Saturday night in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. Suppan's only career home run in the regular season came off Trachsel in 2005. It's the only instance in major league history in which a pitcher hit a home run off the same pitcher in both the regular season and the postseason.
• Suppan is only the third major league pitcher -- and the first in 66 years -- to hit a home run and throw eight or more shutout innings in one postseason game. Jesse Haines did it for the Cardinals in Game 3 of the 1926 World Series, and Bucky Walters did it for the Reds in Game 6 of the 1940 World Series. Both Haines and Walters pitched shutouts.
• Trachsel became the first starting pitcher to allow five or more runs while recording three or fewer outs in a postseason game since Oakland's Gil Heredia in the 2000 ALDS against the Yankees. The last NL pitcher to do that was the Mets' Al Leiter in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS at Atlanta.
• Darren Oliver pitched six shutout innings after Trachsel was removed from the game. The last two pitchers to throw six or more scoreless innings in relief in a postseason game were Pedro Martinez for the Red Sox (in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS against Cleveland) and Pittsburgh's Bruce Kison (in Game 4 of the 1971 World Series against Baltimore).
• Scott Spiezio, who drove home two runs with a triple in the seventh inning Friday night, gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead with a two-run triple in the first inning Saturday night. Since 1950, only two other players had RBI triples in back-to-back postseason games: George Brett in the 1977 ALCS and Devon White in the 1993 World Series.
• Magglio Ordonez joins the exclusive club of eight major league players who have ended a postseason series with a home run. Bill Mazeroski was the first to do it, with a game-ending shot for the Pirates in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. He was then joined by Chris Chambliss (1976 ALCS for the Yankees), Joe Carter (1993 WS for Toronto), Todd Pratt (1999 NLDS for the Mets), Aaron Boone (2003 ALCS for the Yankees), David Ortiz (2004 ALDS for the Red Sox), Chris Burke (2005 NLDS for the Astros) and now Ordonez.
• Ordonez, who hit a solo game-tying homer in the sixth inning, is only the second player to hit two (or more) home runs in a postseason game, including a game-ender. Chad Curtis did that for the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1999 World Series against the Braves.
• The Athletics had a single and three walks in the eighth inning but failed to score in Game 4 on Saturday, tying a postseason record for most batters reaching base safely in a scoreless inning. Frank Thomas was a big culprit, grounding into a double play.
Thomas, Oakland's cleanup hitter, was 0-for-13 in the ALCS. In the past 10 years, only one other player was 0-for-13 or worse in a postseason series while batting in the heart (third, fourth or fifth) of his team's batting order: Scott Rolen, who was 0-for-15 in the 2004 World Series.
• Milton Bradley was 9-for-18 in the ALCS. Only three other players batted .500 or higher playing on the losing end of a four-game postseason series sweep (minimum: 15 AB): Thurman Munson (.529 in the 1976 World Series for the Yankees), Vic Wertz (.500 in the 1954 World Series for the Indians) and Tony Gwynn (.500 for the Padres in the 1998 World Series).
• The 2006 Athletics are the fourth team to be on both the winning and losing end of a postseason series sweep in the same year. Cincinnati did that in 1995 (NLDS and NLCS), and Oakland has now done it three times: 1981 (ALDS, ALCS), 1990 (ALCS and WS) and 2006.
• The Athletics have lost 10 of the past 12 postseason games in which they faced elimination (dating to 1975), including each of their past five such games (the ALDS finale in every year from 2000-03 and Game 4 of the 2006 ALCS). The last time Oakland won under those circumstances was Game 4 of the 2000 ALDS (an 11-1 drubbing of New York that forced a deciding game at Yankee Stadium).
• The Tigers had a losing record for 12 consecutive seasons, from 1994-2005, the longest streak in major league history broken with a trip to the World Series. The previous record was held by the Boston Braves, who were below .500 in eleven straight seasons, from 1903-13, but reached the World Series in 1914 and swept the Athletics in four games.
• With Game 1 of the 2006 World Series set for next Saturday night in Detroit, the Tigers are scheduled for six days off before playing again. Since 1912, three teams did not play for six days prior to beginning the World Series: the 1946 Red Sox, 1995 Braves and 1996 Yankees. The last team with more than six days' rest before starting the World Series was the 1911 Philadelphia Athletics, who had a seven-day respite.
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