BILL CHUCK: Baseball by the numbers
BY BILL CHUCK firstname.lastname@example.org March 30, 2013 12:48AM
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson throws before the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) ORG XMIT: AZMG1
Updated: May 30, 2013 5:27PM
THE CHICAGO FILES
1. The Cubs and White Sox are each 5-5 in the last 10 Opening Days. The Cubs have lost three in a row.
2. It’s rare when the Chicago teams change catchers. Since 2001, the Sox have had only two catchers on Opening Day: Sandy Alomar (2001-04) and A.J. Pierzynski (2005-12). The Cubs have had only two catchers on Opening Day since 2004: Michael Barrett (2004-07) and Geovany Soto (2008-12).
3. Anthony Rizzo will be the Cubs’ fourth Opening Day first baseman in four seasons; Derrick Lee, Carlos Pena and Jeff Baker were his predecessors. Paul Konerko has been the Sox’ first baseman every Opening Day since 2001.
4. Last season, no team hit fewer homers against left-handed pitchers than the Cubs, who hit only 29. The New York Yankees hit 78, and the Sox and Oakland Athletics hit 62.
5. Konerko has 2,135 hits with the Sox. His first hit of the season will tie Frank Thomas for third on the team’s all-time list.
6. The Sox’ Adam Dunn struck out 222 times last season, and his 169 times striking out swinging were the most in the majors.
7. Of the 25 homers the Sox’ Dayan Viciedo hit last season, nine were off fastballs and five were off sliders. He hit .255 against fastballs but only .217 against sliders.
8. Sox pitchers have to improve on their .310 batting average against when they are up 0-1 on a batter. Then again, when Cubs pitchers were up 0-1 last season, batters hit .328.
9. The Cubs’ Edwin Jackson loves to use his slider when he’s up in the count, and for good reason. Last season, when he played for the Washington Nationals, batters hit .197 against his slider as opposed to .306 against his four-seam fastball.
THE NATIONAL NINE
1. No batter had more RBI last season with 10 or fewer home runs than Joe Mauer, who drove in 85 on only 10 homers. Carlos Lee had 77 RBI on just nine homers. “Big Poison,” Hall of Famer Paul Waner, holds the record with nine homers and 131 RBI in 1927.
2. The last and only Opening Day that Derek Jeter missed since his rookie season in 1996 was in 2001, when Luis Sojo started at short.
3. Only Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Yovani Gallardo have struck out at least 200 batters in each of the last four seasons.
4. The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals each hit just one grand slam last season. Miguel Cabrera and Mike Moustakas were the sluggers.
5. Rod Barajas and Russell Martin are the only players who have appeared in at least 500 games in the last five seasons without hitting a triple.
6. Alex Rodriguez is the all-time leader with 241 homers through his age-25 season. The current leader is Jay Bruce, who has 134 homers. Bruce turns 26 on April 3.
7. The Cincinnati Reds led the majors last season with 54 intentional walks. The Houston Astros trailed the pack with 19.
8. In 2007, Chase Utley hit .332. Since then, he has hit .292, .282, .275, .259 and .256.
9. In the last five seasons, no team has stolen fewer bases than the Tigers (312).