Number of at-bats it took Minnesota’s Justin Morneau to hit his fourth home run in 2012. That was the number he hit for all of 2011, in 264 at-bats.
Number of at-bats between walks for Phillies leadoff hitters after Shane Victorino did so on opening day and Juan Pierre finally did it again 12 games later. For the season, hitters in the Phillies’ leadoff position have walked three times and have a .299 on-base percentage. Want to know why the Phillies — minus Ryan Howard and Chase Utley — are tied for 26th in runs scored at 3.3 per game? It starts there.
Number of at-bats for Albert Pujols without a home run in 2012. After Wednesday, only seven players — Starlin Castro, Jamey Carroll, Rafael Furcal, Chris Johnson, Dee Gordon, Michael Bourn and Denard Span — have as many and remain homerless. For $24 million a year, the Angels didn’t expect Pujols to be keeping company with middle infielders and base-stealing outfielders.
Number of pitches 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander threw in his third start of the season, a 3-2 win over Kansas City. It’s a little early to be telling Dr. Jobe or Dr. Andrews to be getting up in the bullpen, but Verlander led MLB in pitches thrown in 2011 with 3,941 — 167 more than runner-up Dan Haren. Verlander is fifth so far in 2012, but all four pitchers ahead of him — Felix Hernandez, Brandon McCarthy, Jason Vargas and Bartolo Colon — made an extra start because their teams started the season early in Japan. Verlander’s 114 pitches per start have him headed to another 3,900-pitch season.
Number of pitches A.J. Burnett threw last Sunday in his first injury-delayed start as a Pittsburgh Pirate, a seven-inning, three-hit shutout against the Cardinals. In 32 starts for the Yankees last year, Burnett completed seven innings just nine times, and never in less than 102 pitches. The only start he threw fewer than 71 pitches was when he couldn’t stick around long enough to — the Twins knocked him out in the second inning.
ERA of left-handed reliever Joe Paterson of Arizona, who mercifully, was sent to the minors after he failed to retire 10 batters in a row this week. Included were two home runs, one walk and infield singles by Brian McCann and Ty Wigginton, who can barely get to first base in the time it takes to play two minutes of commercials between innings. Paterson has recorded eight outs this year, none by strikeout, and given up 15 hits and three walks (his OPS against is 1.779). We hope, for Paterson’s sake, there’s an injury to be blamed for this, because otherwise his career is going in the wrong direction a lot faster than Brian McCann.
ERA of the Boston bullpen in the first 17 games — the only reliever who wouldn’t improve it is Joe Paterson. Want to know why opposing third-base coaches start stretching their arms as soon as Bobby Valentine points his at his bullpen? Boston relievers have given up 67 hits, 42 earned runs and 11 home runs in 51.1 innings, and allowed 52% of inherited runners to score. Boston’s bullpen has allowed more than 10 runs in two games. The Sox’s closer, Alfreco Aceves, has a 14.40 ERA, which is a lot better than No. 2 option Mark Melancon, who is at 49.50. Perhaps relievers is not what they should be called.
Career home runs for Atlanta’s retiring third baseman Chipper Jones, who hit his third of 2012 Tuesday. Jones is 33rd on the all-time list — next up is Jose Canseco at 462.
Number of home runs hit by Seattle’s Jesus Montero, which is two more than the number of starts made by the Yankees’ Michael Pineda, the man Montero was traded for. The Yankees admitted this week Pineda’s injury is more serious than they first let on — manager Joe Girardi whistled at such reports a month ago — and that Pineda would miss the season. Ominous news for the Yankees, who perhaps should have paid more attention to the 104-point spike in Pineda’s OPS against from the first half of 2011 to the second (.584 to a still-respectable .688). It’s certainly possible Pineda was healthy when the Yankees traded for him — their GM Brian Cashman has said so repeatedly — but it’s too bad George Steinbrenner isn’t around in 1980s form. He would have fired one person for every home run Montero hits this year, beginning with the doctor who pronounced Pneda’s shoulder OK to the trainer to Girardi to Freddy Garcia, who will have to pitch in Pineda’s place.
Career wins by Jamie Moyer, who is tied for 35th on the all-time list with Jim Palmer — at age 66, Palmer probably still throws harder than Moyer. The Rockies’ bullpen blew No. 269 Tuesday for Moyer, who pitched out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth and turned over a 2-1 lead. The offending reliever was Rex Brothers, 24, who wasn’t born until after Moyer had 19 wins in his first two big-league seasons. Next up for Moyer at 270 are Mike Mussina and Burleigh Grimes, the last of the legal spitballers.
Number of complete games pitched by Warren Spahn, the major-league leader, in 1962. Fifty years later, it’s doubtful any single team will reach that number in 2012. Through Wednesday’s games, there were 10 complete games thus far in MLB. Compare that to 1962, when there were 844 complete games pitched by 20 teams. Today, with 30 teams, it would take half a decade to pitch that many complete games — last year there were 173 complete games, even though the Padres pitched none. In 1962, the Mets, with a 5.04 team ERA, pitched 43 complete games, including 13 each by Roger Craig and Jay Hook. Of course, some of that might have been because their bullpen was worse.