Interesting tidbits from Monday’s win
As Brian McCann was extending his power barrage and Freddie Freeman was once again proving left-handed pitchers don’t bother him, Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Beachy spent last night proving they are not your run-of-the-mill rookie hurlers.
Last night’s 3-1 win over the Mariners created a number of interesting topics of discussion. The Braves have now recorded five hits or fewer in three of their first four games of this trip and a total of 18 times this season. Last night’s five-hit attack proved sufficient for Beachy, who notched his third career win with the support provided by the homers hit by McCann and Freeman.
Then to cap the evening Kimbrel recorded three strikeouts in a perfect 12-pitch ninth inning. The rookie closer has now recorded three strikeouts in eight of the one-inning appearances he has made this year. This also marked the fourth time that he has recorded three strikeouts in a perfect inning this year.
Kimbrel leads all Major League relievers in strikeouts (61) and ranks fourth with 14.08 strikeouts per nine innings. His career statistics through 61 appearances and 59 1/3 innings, include 101 strikeouts and 15.2 K/9IP.
Kimbrel’s strikeout ratios are certainly going to even out over time. But to put his accomplishments in perspective Cubs closer Carlos Marmol’s 12.77 K/IP rank as the most by a reliever in Major League history. Through his first 65 career appearances, Marmol registered 12.5 K/9Ip.
Speaking of strikeouts, Beachy notched nine more while limiting the Mariners to one run over six innings last night. He has recorded 20 strikeouts while totaling 12 innings in the two victorious starts he has made since returning from the disabled list last week.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Beachy is the first Braves rookie since 1900 to record 20 or more strikeouts while winning consecutive starts.
I apologize for an erroneous stat that was included in yesterday’s entry about Kimbrel and Beachy’s strikeout totals through the first 70 innings of their career. It seemed ridiculous and while I was writing the game story last night, I looked at the parameters again and realized it was only accounting for pitchers who had thrown 70 or fewer innings, not what they had done in their first 70 innings or fewer.
With this being said, even after missing a little more than a month with an oblique strain, Beachy ranks second among Major League rookies with 66 strikeouts (56 1/3 IP). The only rookie with more is the Mariners’ Michael Pineda, who has recorded 94 (95 2/3 IP) entering tonight’s showdown with Tommy Hanson and the Braves.
Each of the seven homers Pineda allowed this year came in an eight start span that stretched from May 4-June 11. Tonight the 6-foot-7 right-hander will draw the task of attempting to keep McCann in the yard.
McCann’s first-inning shot last night was his 14th of the season and 12th over his past 32 games, dating back to May 17. The only Major Leaguers who have hit more during this stretch are Matt Kemp (15), Mark Teixeira (14) and Mike Morse (13). Each has compiled at least 15 more at-bats than McCann during this stretch.
McCann’s .724 slugging percentage has only been bettered by Kemp’s .779 mark during this span.
After hitting just two homers in the first 43 games played by the Braves this year, McCann is now on pace to hit a career-high 28 this year year.
McCann’s homer Monday night came in his 286th plate appearance of the season. The only other time he hit his 14th homer in fewer plate appearances was in 2008, when he hit No. 14 in his 285th plate appearance against….the Mariners (Carlos Silva).
You can’t make this stuff up. It’s not like the Braves and Mariners play every day. This is just the third time they have met in a three-game series and McCann was playing for Class A Rome the first time they met back in 2003.
McCann and Freeman now lead the Braves with four homers against left-handed pitchers. Alex Gonzalez (3) and Chipper Jones (2) are the only others who have hit more than one off southpaws this year.
McCann hit eight of his 18 homers against left-handed pitchers in 2007. But over the previous three seasons he has struggled to generate power against them. He hit three homers against southpaws in 2008, four in 2009 and five in 2010.