First Inning Blues

muddy

Spend enough time with other people and their individual pet peeves make themselves abundantly apparent. The same can be said for those people you sit next to at baseball games. Geoff Morrow has had to tell me on multiple occasions to not take things too personally when a leadoff hitter in an inning swings at the first pitch and weakly grounds out or pops out. Don’t even get me started on the frequency of sacrifice bunt attempts by non-pitchers early in the game.

Colleague Dave Sottile has made no secret what his No. 1 talking point and personal popcorn kernel stuck in his teeth as been this season: first inning runs. Wednesday night, Dave had plenty to get worked up about as the Senators allowed runs in both ends of the doubleheader. As you’ll see, though, they actually did something in the nightcap they hadn’t done yet this season.

So, after some research here are some factoids on the Senators’ first inning blues:

* The Senators have been outscored 126-52 in the first inning of their 122 games.

* The 126 first-inning runs by their opponents represent 20% of all of their runs scored; the Senators’ 52 runs represent only 10% of their output.

* The Senators have allowed first inning runs in 57 of their 122 games, while scoring in only 30.

* The Senators’ record in those 57 games they’ve allowed first inning runs? 17-40. Oof. If you’re doing the math at home that means they are a respectable 32-33 when their opponent doesn’t score in the first inning.

* It understandably gets much worse when they give up two or more runs in the first frame, which they’ve done 36 times this season. In those games, they are 6-30.

* If the Senators score in the first inning though they actually have a winning record of 16-14. Keep your calculators down, that means they’re 32-60 when they fail to push across a run in the first frame.

* After allowing at least a run in the first inning, the Senators have been behind for the entire game in 28 contests. In fact, the Senators never even equaled their opponent’s first inning runs over the course of the entire game in 14 of those instances.

* Neither team has scored in the first inning in only 47 of the 122 games played.

* If the Senators are trailing after the first inning, they are a dismal 13-38.

* If the Senators are leading after the first inning, they are 14-7. Great…but leading in only 21 games compared to their opponents’ 51 times has contributed to their current place in the cellar of the Eastern League.

* The Senators are merely 8-8 when they plate at least one run in the top half of the first inning while playing on the road. For comparison sake, their opponents’ record at Metro Bank Park is 20-11 when they score in the first inning.

* In those 16 occurrences on the road where they got on the scoreboard before the other team came to bat, the Senators allowed the opposition to respond in the bottom half of the inning six times. In the 31 times, the visiting team has scored at Metro Bank Park? The Senators have also scored in just six of those games.

* And what did they do Thursday for the first time all season? Despite scoring runs in the first inning, the Senators trailed into the second inning. But for the first time in six attempts, the Senators actually won the game.

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Quincy Latimore named Eastern League Player of the Week

Photo courtesy Christine Baker / PennLive

Photo courtesy Christine Baker / PennLive

Quincy Latimore was selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week as the 25-year old outfielder ripped the cover off the ball for the period of July 28th through August 3rd.

Latimore homered in three straight games including the Senators’ first grand slam in 406 games at Richmond and a game-winning solo shot in the 10th inning against Akron.

For the week, Latimore batted .391 (9-for-23) and led all batters in the Eastern League with four home runs, 11 runs batted in, a .957 slugging percentage, and a 1.438 OPS.

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Senators’ Greatest Seasons: Mark Grudzielanek

During their 25th Anniversary Season in 2011, the Senators selected their All-Time team. If you’ve ever wondered about the pictures hanging up on the first base concourse, that would be their choices for the all-time Senators. Along with those selections, The Patriot-News also polled local baseball “experts” (I was involved hence the quotes) on which former players were the best in franchise history.

However, I’ve often wondered about the best seasons ever compiled by Harrisburg players. So, over the next couple of weeks I am going to go through position by position and select my choices for the greatest seasons as a Senator. (Note: For terms of this exercise, I only considered the position a player played most frequently)

Catcher: Michael Barrett (1999)
First Base: Cliff Floyd (1993)
Second Base: Matt Stairs (1991)

Around the horn to shortstop…

grudzielanek

Mark Grudzielanek – 1994
.322 AVG
.382 OBP
.477 SLG
37 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR
92 R, 66 RBI, 32 SB

Grudzielanek led a talented 1994 Senators team that included Randy Wilstead and Kevin Northrup to a 88-51 regular season record and a second-straight Eastern League championship appearance. The shortstop was named the Eastern League MVP ahead of Pat Lennon, Jose Malave, and Charles Johnson after he finished in the top ten of the league in five offensive categories.

The Best of the Rest:
Hiram Bochachica (1997) .278/.354/.409, 19 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 82 R, 35 RBI, 29 SB
Danny Espinosa (2010) .262/.334/.464, 16 2B, 4 3B, 18 HR, 66 R, 54 RBI, 20 SB
Mike Lansing (1992) .280/.352/.383, 20 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 66 R, 54 RBI, 46 SB
Chris Martin (1993) .294/.365/.410, 23 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR, 68 R, 54 RBI, 16 SB

 

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2015 Senators schedule released

As I noted on Twitter over the last couple of days, the only changes to the schedule next season are a change to Sunday start times to 1:30 and earlier evening times during April and May to 6:30.

2015 Senators schedule(click on image to embiggen)

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Quincy Latimore ends nearly three years of bases-loaded futility

In the 13th inning of yesterday’s game against the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Quincy Latimore hit a grand slam off outfielder Ryan Lollis who was forced into action on the mound. It was the first grand slam the Senators have hit since Stephen King achieved the feat on September 1st, 2011 for a span of 406 games.

In that 406 game span:

• The Senators had 81 hits (21 extra-base) over 294 at-bats with the bases loaded

• The most productive players with the bases loaded were Justin Bloxom (8-for-24, 23 RBIs) and Ricky Hague (7-for-16, 15 RBIs)

• The least productive player (with any substantial number of at-bats) has been Jason Martinson (2-for-17, 4 RBIs, 9 Ks)

• Opponents have hit 10 grand slams over 319 at-bats

• Latimore was 4-for-20 (including 0-for-4 this season) with the bases loaded for Harrisburg, Akron, and Altoona

Other grand slam factoids:

• Reading is now the only Eastern League team that hasn’t hit one yet this season

• Since returning to the Eastern League in 1987, the Senators have now hit a total of 57 grand slams including one by pitcher Shawn Hill in 2003

• Speedy outfielder Roger Bernadina is the team’s career leader with three.

• Milton Bradley authored the single greatest moment in Senators’ history with his bases-loaded home run on a full count with two outs in the deciding fifth game of the 1999 playoffs to propel the team to their fourth straight Eastern League championship

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Senators’ Greatest Seasons: Matt Stairs

During their 25th Anniversary Season in 2011, the Senators selected their All-Time team. If you’ve ever wondered about the pictures hanging up on the first base concourse, that would be their choices for the all-time Senators. Along with those selections, The Patriot-News also polled local baseball “experts” (I was involved hence the quotes) on which former players were the best in franchise history.

However, I’ve often wondered about the best seasons ever compiled by Harrisburg players. So, over the next couple of weeks I am going to go through position by position and select my choices for the greatest seasons as a Senator. (Note: For terms of this exercise, I only considered the position a player played most frequently)

Catcher: Michael Barrett (1999)
First Base: Cliff Floyd (1993)

Moving to second base…
stairsMatt Stairs – 1991
.333 AVG
.411 OBP
.509 SLG
30 2B, 10 3B, 13 HR
87 R, 78 RBI, 23 SB

Don’t think of the portly player who was used primarily as a pinch-hitter in the later stages of his Major League career which spanned a record 13 different teams. Don’t think of him as the mumbling, incoherent analyst on Phillies’ TV broadcasts this season. Instead, try to picture Stairs as a versatile player who could capably play second base, third base, and the outfield. Envision a rendition of himself that could steal 23 bases and tie for the league lead with ten triples. Remember Stairs as the Eastern League MVP during his time with the Senators where he led the league in batting average, OPS, and hits and finished in the top five in six other offensive categories.

The Best of the Rest:
Edgar Gonzalez (2005) .279/.361/.441, 25 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 41 R, 50 RBI, 5 SB
Henry Mateo (2000) .287/.362/.404, 25 2B, 11 3B, 5 HR, 91 R, 63 RBI, 48 SB
Josh McKinley (2003) .288/.367/.467, 33 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 82 R, 75 RBI, 17 SB
Jim Reboulet (1987) .319/.402/.351, 10 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 92 R, 44 RBI, 52 SB

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Senators Roll Call: 7/23

Photo courtesy Jenny Kane / PennLive

Photo courtesy Jenny Kane / PennLive

• Throwing out of the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, Oliver Perez (’11) is in the midst of what might be a career year (azcentral [Piecoro])

• Caleb Clay (’13) tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout a little over a year after he did the same at Metro Bank Park (MiLB [Maun])

• This Saturday will mark the last game for Jim Ed Warden (’08) with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs as he’s moving back to his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee for his family (SoMdNews [Cogle])

• For the Texas League Home Run Derby, Rick Ankiel (’11-’12) served as the honorary captain of the North Team and knocked out six dingers of his own (MiLB)

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