Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Florida Marlins' pitcher Ricky Nolasco recorded nine straight strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves tonight, in a 5-4 Florida win. According to the linked game article:

Nolasco's nine consecutive strikeouts in one game were one short of the big league record set by Hall of Famer Tom Seaver for the New York Mets on April 22, 1970, against San Diego.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Minnesota Twins' recent hot play has gotten them back into contention for the American League Central Division title. In a crucial double-header today against the first-place Detroit Tigers, Minnesota got within one game of first by taking the opener, but then fell in the nightcap to restore the Tigers' two-game lead.

Floundering with a 70-72 record after a September 12 loss to Oakland, Minnesota put together a stretch of winning 11 out of 12 games (Twins game-by-game log). Detroit also helped make the race competitive by losing 9 of 12 in mid-September (Tigers' log).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Veteran quarterback Kurt Warner set a new NFL record for completion percentage yesterday, hitting on 24 of 26 passes (92.3%). In doing so, he led the Arizona Cardinals to a 31-17 win over Jacksonville.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I was watching some ESPN baseball highlights Tuesday night and saw a special focus on Rangers' phenom Neftali Feliz throwing 12 straight strikes in one inning. I have annotated the strikes in's pitch-by-pitch record below (on which you can click to enlarge). Such "micro-level" data can be obtained by going to the game article, selecting play-by-play, and then pitch-by-pitch.

A streak of consecutive strikes is an interesting one. Most major-league pitchers presumably could throw pitches in the strike-zone for an indefinitely long time. The problem, however, is that hitters would likely figure out what's going on and start driving the ball. Hence, pitchers often purposely throw pitches out of the zone (especially when the pitcher is ahead in the count) to get batters to "chase" a ball away from the prime hitting area. It says something about Feliz's ability (thus far at least) to vary the speed and trajectory of his pitches, all while keeping them in the strike zone, so that batters can't take advantage of the pitches' being in a relative consistent location.

Feliz's spectacular inning Tuesday night is part and parcel of his successful arrival in the big leagues. Quoting from the aforementioned game article:

Feliz has 26 strikeouts and one walk in 11 appearances spanning 19 2/3 innings since being promoted to the majors Aug. 2. The 21-year-old right-hander had a major league-best 0.51 ERA in August before lowering his career mark to 0.46 on the first day of September.