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Nuggetpalooza: Five of last Six!

04.22.11 at 9:36 am ET
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Nuggets and notes from last night, from Wednesday, and from around baseball:

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* – Red Sox starters last six games: 1.37 ERA. First 12 games: 6.71.

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* – It wasn’t easy, but the Red Sox won for the 29th straight time when they allow six or fewer baserunners. Their last such loss came May 28, 2008. It was the first time that the Red Sox have allowed six or fewer baserunners in an EXTRA INNING game since 1998 (first on the road since 1992).

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* – Adrian Gonzalez‘ game-winning RBI double in the 11th inning Thursday night came on a cut fastball, just the 12th cutter he’s seen this season. Six of those cutters have ended plate appearances and A-Gon is now 3-for-6. Each of the last two cutters thrown to him have been turned around for doubles, last night’s off Thompson, and Monday against Octavio Dotel.

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* – The game tying homer that Beckett allowed to Torii Hunter in the 8th came off a two-seam fastball, which had been a decent pitch for him all night as he had thrown 19 of them prior to the home run (average “points per pitch” of +0.63) and the Angels were 0-for-2. Looking at all of Beckett’s pitches last night:

Four-seam fastball – 51 thrown; 2-for-13, 5K; Avg Pts: +1.08 (Third straight start at +1.00 avg pts or above)
Two-seam fastball – 24 thrown; 1-for-4, HR; Avg Pts: -0.04
Curveball – 19 thrown; 0-for-4, 1K; Avg Pts: +0.15 (Last eight curves all were balls)
Cutter – 19 thrown; 0-for-4; Avg Pts: +0.89 (Five swinging strikes)
Changeup – 9 thrown; 0-for-1; Avg Pts: -.44 (Six balls on nine pitches)

Beckett now leads the AL in average points per four-seam fastball for the season (min. 100 four-seamers):

+1.01 – Josh Beckett, BOS
+0.94 – Joaquin Benoit, DET
+0.88 – Jason Frasor, TOR

If you have missed my earlier posts, “average points per pitch” is based on a rather elementary scoring system that I use to “grade” the results of each pitch, ranging from +6 for a strike three to -15 for a home run.

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* – Boston won on the road Wednesday for the first time since September 27, snapping a 10 game road losing streak. The club record road losing streak is 11 games, set in 1952. Before this most recent winless streak, the Red Sox had one other 10 gamer since 1961 and it came during the 2001 season.

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* – Since having three consecutive three-hit games against the Yankees, Dustin Pedroia had gone just 5-for-27 (.185), before collecting three hits (and two walks) Thursday night.

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* – The Angels’ Jered Weaver and Dan Haren each have allowed three earned runs or fewer in their last 12 consecutive starts. the only longer such streak by an Angels’ pitcher in the last 20 years is 14, by John Lackey (2007-2008). Haren has allowed TWO earned runs or fewer in each of his last seven starts.

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* – On Wednesday, Daniel Bard (6th inning) and Jonathan Papelbon (8th inning) each inherited a bases loaded situation. It was just the second and third times this season that a Red Sox reliever had come in with the bases loaded (Dan Wheeler allowed all three to score on April 6). On Wednesday, though, both pitchers shut the door. It was the first time that the Red Sox have had two pitchers inherit three baserunners and allow none to score in one game since September 23, 2008, when Hideki Okajima and Papelbon did the trick in a 5-4 win over Cleveland. It also happened in 2006 (Javier Lopez, Craig Hansen).

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* – After starting the season by retiring 12 of the first 14 batters he faced (no hits, two walks), Bobby Jenks then allowed 9 of the next 13 batters faced to reach base including all seven batted balls going for singles (three line drives, four ground balls). Then Thursday, he retired all three batters he faced in the 10th inning (all on balls in play).

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* – Jenks has not allowed an extra base hit in eight appearances as a member of the Red Sox. The club record for the longest streak of appearances to start a Red Sox career without allowing an EBH is 11, held by Bob Veale (’72-’73) and Larry Andersen (’90).

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* – When Clay Buchholz allowed a home run leading off the first inning on Wednesday, it broke a streak of six straight games without a Red Sox starter allowing a home run. Since the start of the 2007 season, there have only been six longer streaks:

10 – September, 2008
10 – August, 2007
8 – September, 2009
7 – September, 2010
7 – June, 2009
7 – September, 2008

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* – Buchholz has allowed six home runs in his first four starts of 2011. That’s the same number that he allowed in his last 19 starts in 2010.

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* – Sox starters have recorded four or more strikeouts just seven times in the season’s first 18 games (39 percent). That’s a pace for just 63 such games for the season. They’ve had at least 90 such games every season since 2000 (when they had 80). Last year, Sox starters set a club record by fanning four or more in 120 of their 162 games.

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* – In their last five games at Anaheim (including Thursday), the Red Sox have collected 55 hits and struck out 56 times.

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* – Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel allowed an ER in his third career appearance last May 15. Since then, he’s made 24 appearances without allowing any.

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* – This just looks weird: Here are the four longest streaks of Yankees games started without allowing multiple HR:

52 – Chien-Ming Wang (’07-’09)
50 – Don Larsen (’56-’59)
41 – Chien-Ming Wang (’05-’07)
40 – Whitey Ford (’60-’61)

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* – On Thursday night, Dustin Pedroia nearly became the first Red Sox player to reach base five times in a game and score zero runs since Jason Bay in July, 2009. And really, if you saw the rundown play in the 11th, he should have been out. It would have been the second time that an Angels’ opponent had done it already this season.

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Hey! Do you have comments, requests, or suggestions? Let me know! Leave a comment here, email me at GMarbry@weei.com, or “tweet” me (@nuggetpalooza).

Have a terrific Easter weekend.

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