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The Reds’ BrandPhillips is hitting .333 with two strikes him. The major-league average thsituatiis .180. | Alan Diaz~AP

The Reds’ Brandon Phillips is hitting .333 with two strikes on him. The major-league average in that situation is .180. | Alan Diaz~AP

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Updated: July 3, 2013 6:31AM



THE NATIONAL NINE

1. The Cardinals and Tigers have allowed only 31 home runs this season, the fewest in the majors.

2. The batting average on balls in play (BABIP) against Justin Verlander for the last three seasons: 2011, .237; 2012, .275; 2013, .368.

3. The major-league average when a batter has two strikes on him is .180, which makes Brandon Phillips’ .333 so impressive.

4. Maybe it’s an ‘‘R’’ thing, but the Reds, Royals and Rangers are the only teams with two games of 18 or more hits this season.

5. Tim Lincecum has allowed four earned runs in a game seven times in 11 starts this season. He led the majors with 16 such games last season.

6. Good luck to George Brett as the Royals’ new hitting coach. Ted Williams managed the Senators/Rangers from 1969 to 1972 and never had a .300 hitter.

7. Austin Jackson’s .396 BABIP in 2010 is the highest in baseball since 2008. But four players have a BABIP above .400 so far this season: Alex Gordon (.404), Jhonny Peralta (.413), Joe Mauer (.418) and Joey Votto (.423).

8. A.J. Burnett has allowed a major-league-high 10 walks to lead off an inning.

9. Jay Bruce and Mike Napoli are tied for the major-league lead with 53 swings and misses.

CHICAGO NINE TO KNOW

1. Lefties are hitting .063 in 52 plate appearances against Chris Sale, the lowest batting average against in the majors.

2. At 14-20, the White Sox have the best record in the American League when scoring four or fewer runs.

3. No Cubs player has taken more first-pitch strikes than Starlin Castro, who has looked at 79. But that pales in comparison to Alex Rios, who has looked at 98 to lead the Sox.

4. The Cubs are hitting .275 at Wrigley Field and .222 on the road. That 53-point differential is the largest in baseball.

5. Sox lefties are hitting .223, the lowest batting average in the majors (.197 against lefties and .229 against righties, also the lowest in baseball).

6. The Cubs lead the National League with 114 doubles. The Sox are last in the AL with 71.

7. The Sox’ 3-4-5 batters have the lowest batting average in the AL at .226. The Mets are the only team lower at .219.

8. Clay Buchholz leads the majors with nine Ultimate Quality Starts (seven or more innings, two or fewer earned runs). Chris Sale leads the Sox with seven and Jeff Samardzija leads the Cubs with four.

9. The Cubs’ Dioner Navarro became the 34th catcher to have a three-homer game last week. The last Cubs catcher to do it, George Mitterwald, is also the only catcher with a double in the same game.

Chicago-gram

He wears a Chicago uniform

A PUNKER LOOK

(Scroll down for answer to the anagram)

The week ahead: The Sox head to the Northwest to face the Mariners (70-50 since 2000), then host the Athletics (46-66 since 2000). The Cubs visit the Angels (3-3 since 2000), then come home to meet the Pirates (118-96 since 2000).

Chicago-GRAM ANSWER: PAUL KONERKO



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