MLB Notebook: Cutch's first half among Bucs' best

MLB Notebook: Cutch's first half among Bucs' best

MLB Notebook: Cutch's first half among Bucs' best
When all 16 Major League clubs took a break for the third All-Star Game in 1935, the American League rate-stat leadership was divided up among three different players. Philadelphia's Bob Johnson led in batting average (.359), Detroit's Mickey Cochrane owned the top on-base percentage (.467) and Cochrane's teammate Hank Greenberg commanded the top slugging percentage (.671). Things were much more streamlined in the National League, with Pirates All-Star shortstop Arky Vaughan holding the top spot in all three categories. Vaughn's work came out to an OPS of 1.121, a pretty extraordinary value, considering the average NL OPS at the break was .737. This season, the average NL OPS at the break stands at .719, making the work of another Pirates All-Star -- Andrew McCutchen (1.039 OPS) -- similarly noteworthy.

McCutchen went 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs, and the Pirates defeated the Giants, 13-2, on Sunday.

With the effort, McCutchen closed out the first half with the following numbers and NL ranks:

• First in batting (.362)
• Third in on-base percentage (.414)
• First in slugging percentage (.625)
• Second in OPS (1.039)
• Second in hits (112)
• Tied for fourth in extra-base hits (40)
• First in total bases (193)
• Tied for third in RBIs (60)
• Tied for fourth in home runs (18)

Since the first All-Star Game in 1933, McCutchen is the eighth Pirates player to have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and finish the first half with a .300/.400/.600 slash line. The full list:

Qualifying Pirates with .300/.400/.600 at break
Arky Vaughan 1935 .398 .502 .619 1.121
Ralph Kiner 1949 .333 .450 .645 1.095
Ralph Kiner 1951 .314 .443 .621 1.064
Willie Stargell 1966 .337 .406 .645 1.051
Barry Bonds 1990 .340 .423 .615 1.037
Brian Giles 2000 .317 .423 .611 1.034
Brian Giles 2001 .335 .402 .631 1.032
Andrew McCutchen 2012 .362 .414 .625 1.039

• Cincinnati's Joey Votto went 1-for-3 with two walks to finish the first half of the season with a .348/.471/.617 slash line. Since the start of the 2010 season, Votto ranks third in the Majors in batting (.322), first in on-base percentage (.430), fourth in slugging (.574), second in OPS (1.005) and second in OPS+ (168).

• Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond hit his 17th home run on Sunday, giving him 43 extra-base hits for the season. In the NL from 1901 through 2011, the top five extra-base hit totals for a shortstop in a season range from 88 (Jimmy Rollins in 2007) to 80 (Ernie Banks in 1960). The table below compares Desmond to the NL shortstops who own those five highest totals, along with the number of extra-base hits they had when their respective teams had 83 ballgames in the books.

Extra-base hits by shortstops
Player Year XBH after 83 games Total XBH
Jimmy Rollins 2007 45 88
Hanley Ramirez 2007 35 83
Ernie Banks 1955 41 82
Ernie Banks 1958 46 81
Ernie Banks 1960 46 80
Ian Desmond 2012 43 ??

Here and there
• The Tigers hit three home runs and defeated the Royals, 7-1, on Sunday. Detroit has won five straight and has hit 10 homers during the winning streak.

• Making his first appearance since June 15, Ryan Dempster improved to 4-3 with five innings of scoreless ball, and extended his scoreless streak to 27 innings. The streak is the longest for a Cubs pitcher since Ken Holtzman's 27-inning run in 1971.

• The Blue Jays hit four homers and registered four steals in defeating the White Sox, 11-9, on Sunday.

The last time Toronto had at least four home runs and four stolen bases in a game was on May 10, 2001, when it lost to the Athletics, 14-8.

• At the age of 45 years and 75 days, Omar Vizquel stole his second base of the season. Vizquel is the oldest player to steal a base since Julio Franco at the age of 48 years and 282 days on June 1, 2007.

• Left-hander Brad Mills (five innings, three hits) and four Angels relievers combined on a five-hitter, as the Angels blanked the Orioles, 6-0, for the club's Major League-leading 13th team shutout of the season. The 13 through 86 team games are tied for the eighth most for any AL team since 1920, and are tied for the most for any AL team in the designated hitter era (since 1973). The 1973 Twins also had 13. Since 1920, the AL clubs with at least 13 through 86 contests:

• 17: 1968 Indians
• 15: 1951 Yankees
• 14: 1954 White Sox, 1958 Yankees, 1963 White Sox, 1967 White Sox, 1971 Brewers
• 13: 1948 Indians, 1955 White Sox, 1955 Yankees, 1969 Orioles, 1972 Orioles, 1972 Athletics, 1972 Yankees, 1973 Twins, 2012 Angels

• Seattle's Felix Hernandez allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings Sunday, but came away with a no-decision. Over the past five seasons, Hernandez has 17 no-decisions in starts with at least seven innings and no more than one run allowed. Those 17 over that span are the most in the Majors, ahead of the 13 from Cliff Lee and 12 from Jered Weaver.

• In allowing one run in 8 2/3 innings Sunday, Oakland's Bartolo Colon threw a total of 93 pitches with 79 strikes. Among all qualifying pitchers in the Majors, Colon's strike percentage (total strikes/total pitches) of 70.01 is the best, just ahead of R.A. Dickey's 69.52.

• In their 13-inning victory, Athletics pitchers issued zero walks on Sunday. The last time the club had no walks in a game of that length was on Aug. 6, 1927.

• Trevor Bauer allowed two hits with six strikeouts and one walk in six scoreless innings Sunday and recorded his first Major League victory. At 21 years and 173 days old, Bauer is the second-youngest starter in D-backs history to win a game. Edgar Gonzalez was 20 years and 98 days old when he allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings on June 1, 2003.

• The Rangers' Michael Young had a double and three singles for his 23rd game with four or more hits on Sunday. Those 23 tied Young with Ivan Rodriguez for the most in Senators/Rangers franchise history.

• Derek Jeter went 3-for-5 with a run scored in the Yankees' 7-3 win over the Red Sox on Sunday. With the three-hit game, Jeter moved past Paul Waner and now owns the sixth-most multihit games (940) for any player since 1918. Jeter is 11 games shy of tying Tony Gwynn for the fifth most. Jeter's run tied him with Carl Yastrzemski (1,816) on the all-time list.

• Robinson Cano and David Ortiz each doubled to remain tied for the AL lead in extra-base hits, with 47 apiece. For Ortiz, the double was the 373rd of his Red Sox career, tying him with Jim Rice for the sixth most in franchise history. For Cano, the two-base hit was the 312th of his eight-year career, leaving him two shy of tying Ted Williams and Wade Boggs for the sixth most in baseball history for any player in his first eight seasons.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.