Notes from Ness (August 1)

Monday’s MLB schedule featured just 10 games, but three separate teams scored 15 runs, the Backs, Marlins and Twins. It was the first time in 70 years that three teams scored at least 15 runs in a game on the same day with 10 or fewer major league games played. The last time was July 25, 1936!

My free game on Tuesday is Tor / NYY Over at 7:05 ET. I’m not looking forward to playing my one and only Oddsmaker Bug in August, releasing it today. Also, don’t miss my 15 * NL Blowout of the month. Get them BOTH, right now!

While the previous three teams were scoring all those runs, the Rockies took on the Brewers 4-2 at Coors Field. The game lasted only two hours and six minutes, the fastest game in the history of that stadium. The Rockies are averaging just 4.7 runs per game at home this year, after averaging 6.7 runs per game at Coors from 1995 to 2005!

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the Rockies are MLB’s largest ‘sub’ team in 2006, going 39-59-7. That’s 20 more under than over. Only Detroit comes close to that mark (42-59-4), as Detroit leads the league in runs allowed with 418 (3.98 / game). In the National League, only the Houston Astros, and for just one game at 49-50-6, have played more under than over!

Chase Utley hit in his 32nd straight game in the Phillies’ 15-2 loss to the Marlins, giving him the second-longest hitting streak in team history. Jimmy Rollins had an interrupted 38-game streak in Philadelphia’s third game this year, after ending 2005 with one hit in his last 36 games. Utley has gotten into a rarefied air as since 1901, there have been only 16 streaks longer than the current one, with Joe D’s 56-game streak in 1941 leading the way.

The Giants lost 10-7 at home to the Nationals last night, keeping the longest active losing streak in MLB alive. San Fran has now lost eight straight games and last night’s three-run loss could be considered a beating, as the Giants had lost their previous seven games by a total of just 10 runs! The Pirates have the longest active winning streak in MLB with five in a row, but were inactive last night.

The schedule changes to August today and this is the first time in Major League history that rookies lead both leagues in ERA at the end of July. The Marlins ‘Josh Johnson leads the National League in earned run average (2.52) and the Twins’ Francisco Liriano leads the American League with a 1.96 mark.

Eight rookies before Liriano and Johnson have led their leagues into August: Mark Gardner, Expos (2.34 in 1990); Mark Fidrych, Tigers (1.80 in 1976); Dennis Eckersley, Indians (2.20 in 1975); Gary Peters, White Sox (2.04 in 1963); Spec Shea, Yankees (2.07 in 1947); Atley Donald, Yankees (2.30 in 1939); Lou Fette, Boston Bees (2.46 in 1937); and Wilcy Moore, Yankees (2.35 in 1927). Come back tomorrow and I’ll reveal if any held up to win the ERA title.

Tonight he has a full 15 game schedule. The Giants will try to avoid a ninth straight loss tonight at 10:15 ET when they host the Nationals. The Nationals send Livan Hernandez to the mound and the Giants counter with Matt Cain. The Nationals have won the last six times Hernandez has started, despite his 5.88 ERA. However, his ERA is a bit misleading, as he allowed seven ER in one of the starts and allowed exactly three ER in each of the other five.

The Pirates will attempt six straight wins when they host the Braves at 7:05 ET. John Smoltz is in Atlanta and is 4-0 in his last five outings, while Ian Snell touches the rubber for the Pirates. Snell is 2-0 in his last four outings, with the Pirates winning all four. Your move!

In other notable games, the Athletics and Angels resume their three-game series in Anaheim ((10:05 ET), after Oakland won 3-1 last night (now 3-0 at Anaheim this year). Of their last six with a team ERA of 2.83, but tonight’s starter (Joe Blanton) is 0-4 in five career starts against the Angels. The Angels go with Joe Saunders, making just his fourth career start. He won July 18 against Cleveland but had a 7.71 ERA in two starts for the Angels last year.

In San Diego, it’s Andy Pettitte vs. Jake Peavy (10:15 ET). Pettitte was 17-9 with a 2.39 ERA last year, but he is 9-11 this year with a 5.18 ERA, allowing 173 hits in 139 innings. Peavy, who was 15-6, 2.27 in 2004 and 13-7, 2.88 in 2005, is just 5-10, 5.01 this year (the team is 8-12 in his starts), despite a strikeout ratio. walked 139 -19. Peavy has the highest ERA in the top 30 in strikeouts in the majors.

NFL Rankings

Every day this week I am previewing some of the topics that I will cover over the next month with my NFL countdown to the 2006 season.

The 2005 NFL regular season ended with 11 teams finishing with at least 11 wins, the most in any year since the league adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978. The 10-6 Kansas City Chiefs became the No. fourth 10-win team not to make the playoffs since 1990, the year the NFL expanded to its current 12-team postseason format.

The Philadelphia Eagles became the fifth consecutive Super Bowl loser to finish the following season with a losing record (6-10) and the team’s failure to reach the postseason in 2005 ended the current longest playoff streak in the NFL (five) of any franchise. Green Bay finished just 4-12, ending the league’s second-longest streak (four). The Colts, who finished 14-2, the best in the league, now have the league’s longest postseason run in four consecutive years.

The Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North with an 11-5 record, ending the current league’s longest playoff drought in 14 consecutive playoff-free seasons. The new ‘leader’ in that department is the Arizona Cardinals, who have failed to make the playoffs for seven consecutive years.

Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday at 1:00 ET.