Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stat Line of the Day: April 20th

Leadoff hitters: Arizona 5, Cincinnati 4--14 ABs, 7 hits, 3 walks, 3 HRs
This was really an impressive performance from Ryan Roberts and Kelly Johnson of the Diamondbacks, as well as Drew Stubbs and Brandon Phillips of the Reds. The Diamondbacks and Reds were ranked 17th and 8th, respectively, in our latest Leadoff Rankings, and if you've read those you know I'm a big believer in the idea that productivity from the top of the lineup translates into more wins in the long run. From
Roberts (right) hit his 3rd and 4th home runs
of the year on Tuesday night in Cincinnati
that standpoint, both teams deserved to win this game. Arizona's usual leadoff hitter, Willie Bloomquist, was taking a night off--not that Arizona needed him in this one. Roberts went deep twice, and Johnson added another home run off Cinci starter Sam LeCure, all in the first five innings of the game. Meanwhile, Reds leadoff hitter Drew Stubbs hit his fourth home run of the year, and Phillips had two singles plus a run scored and an RBI. In total, the four hitters had seven hits in fourteen ABs, plus three walks (for an OBP of .588), and a staggering twenty total bases, for a nice 1.428 slugging percentage. They also combined for seven runs, six RBIs, and two stolen bases--the one by Stubbs, plus one by Johnson. Arizona hasn't been hurting for production out of that leadoff slot (Bloomquist is batting .316), but finding a second hitter with some pop would be a nice boost for the offense. Most likely though, this is just a lucky aberration.

Honorable Mention

San Jose Sharks, 2nd period: 5 goals, 18 shots, 10 assists
Just forty-four seconds into the second period, the Sharks found themselves staring at a 4-0 deficit in the game after Brad Richardson's first of the playoffs. However, San Jose wasn't about to roll over and die--they did finish the season with 105 points, good enough for 4th in the entire NHL. A goal by Patrick Marleau at the 3:08 mark got San Jose on the board. That was followed three minutes later by a Ryane Clowne power play goal. Thirteen minutes into the period, Logan Couture scored his 6th career playoff goal (in 18 games over the last two seasons) to get the Sharks back within one. After Ryan Smyth put the Los Angeles Kings back up 5-3 thirty seconds later, the Sharks finished out the period with goals by Clowne and Joe Pavelski to tie the score up. A Devon Setoguchi goal in OT was the winner for San Jose, but it certainly couldn't have been done without that second period scoring burst.

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