Note of the night/Stat of the day, March 31
Note of the night: As you may have heard, Albert Pujols had a bit of a rough one at the plate today. He hit a couple of balls harder than the results might show, but in the end, eight outs in a game is eight outs in a game. And that’s what Pujols had: 0-for-5 with three double plays.
He’s never before had a game with more than five hitless at-bats, and he’s never had an 0-for-5 with more than one double play. It was the 29th 0-for-5 of Pujols’ career. Only eight previous times had he even hit into two double plays. By my rough count, Pujols had never made more than six outs at the plate in a single game, and on Thursday he made eight.
As for the historical context, there was plenty. MLB Network reported that it’s the first time since double plays have been kept as a stat that a player grounded into three in an Opening Day game. According to STATS Inc., it was the 100th time in history that a player has grounded into three or more DPs in any game. Joe Torre has the only 4 GIDP game in history, on July 21, 1975.
“It’s a bad game, man,” Pujols said. “Am I going to shoot myself up? It’s just a bad game and that’s it. That’s the way it goes. That’s baseball.”
You’re probably going to read that quote several different ways tonight and tomorrow morning. The exact words he said were “shoot myself up,” but it was very clear in talking to him that he mixed a couple of expressions together, as all of us do sometimes. I think it’s the unfortunate combination of “Am I going to shoot myself?” and “Am I going to beat myself up?” Many of you may not care about this kind of minutiae, but those of us in the press box all talked about it quite a bit as we were walking back from the clubhouse.
* Note — a good deal of this research is courtesy of the amazing Baseball-Reference.com Play Index.
Stat of the day: Today’s stat of the day looks ahead, but I think it’s a cool one. I discovered it in putting together the “probable starter” blurb for Chris Carpenter’s next start.
The last 13 times Carpenter has faced the Pirates, the Cardinals have won the game. In those games, Carpenter is 10-0 with a 1.85 ERA. He’s racked up 97 1/3 innings, an average of 7.49 per start, with 88 strikeouts, 19 walks and five home runs allowed.
That’s pretty good.