Just the Stats: Back at it Again

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Just the Stats: What to Watch For in the NL

The following statistics are completely true pieces of information. Use them at your own risk. Results may vary. As always, follow @StatTardiff on Twitter for more insights.

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Just the Stats: What to Watch For in the AL

The following statistics are completely true pieces of information. Use them at your own risk. Results may vary. As always, follow @StatTardiff on Twitter for more insights.

This week and next, we’ll preview the 2017 MLB season, starting with the American League this week and the National League next week.

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AL East – Boston’s Arms Better Than the Rest
The Boston Red Sox captured the AL East crown in 2016, and are in prime position to do the same in 2017. They added Chris Sale to a rotation including a pair of Cy Young winners (David Price and Rick Porcello), and have a lineup that will threaten to lead baseball in runs scored for the second year in a row. Keep in mind this next-level nugget we found at the time of the Sale signing; two pitchers have struck out 200+ batters and walked fewer than 50 batters in three-or-more consecutive seasons. Both of them, Sale and Price, will pitch for the Red Sox in 2017.

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AL Central – Tribe Time Again in 2017
The gap between the division winner and the second-place team is widest in the Central Division in the AL, where the Indians are projected (by FanGraphs) to win by 11 games. Everyone knows how silly-good Andrew Miller was in the 2016 postseason, and the Indians added free agent Edwin Encarnacion to a lineup that was 5th in MLB in runs scored. Encarnacion has taken the most trips around the diamond in MLB since 2011 (210 home runs), and has been in the top-7 in the league each year since 2007.

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AL West – What’s There to Make Sense Of?
If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past couple of seasons, it’s that the AL West is unpredictable. As much as we would love to give points to the Seattle Mariners for the nicest Spring Training hats, subjectivity has no home here. What we do know is that Robinson Cano continues to be one of the most solid players in baseball. He’s played in 156-or-more games in every season since 2006, and is one of three players with 100+ runs and 100+ RBI in three separate seasons, dating back to 2010. If Cano can come close to the 39 HR he hit in 2017, he’ll pace a Mariners team that could make some noise in the AL West.

Just the Stats: Super Bowl 51 Recap

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Just the Stats: Super Bowl Preview, Pt. 2

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Just the Stats: Super Bowl Preview, Pt. 1

The following statistics are completely true pieces of information. Use them at your own risk. Results may vary. As always, follow @StatTardiff on Twitter for more insights.

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Just the Stats: A Snapped Streak, and NFL Divisional Round Predictions

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Just the Stats: Point Guards Rule and The Playoffs Cometh

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Just the Stats: Birthday Parties

The following statistics are completely true pieces of information. Use them at your own risk. Results may vary. As always, follow @StatTardiff on Twitter for more insights.

Something you probably don’t care about is that today is my 25th birthday. Something you might care a little more about is which athletes have had the most success on their birthday. Without further ado…

Three Cheers for Nomar
Head to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index and you can find the most home runs hit by a player on their birthday. (Seriously, they have “Is Birthday?” as a filter, and it’s amazing.) The only player to ever hit three HR on their birthday is former Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who did it on his 29th birthday in 2002, part of a 22-4 rout of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Garciaparra became the 17th player in American League history with two home runs in the same inning, and is also the only player in history with eight RBI on their birthday.

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The Big Aristotle’s Big Birthday
You can also find some birthday stats at StatMuse, and to save you a click, Shaquille O’Neal has the record for most points in a game on his birthday (61 points). You can find video of every point here, and the full box score at Basketball-Reference. Shaq’s 28th birthday was also his fourth game with 20+ rebounds and 10+ free throws, and is the only player in NBA history with 60+ points and 20+ rebounds in a game.

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The Best Birthday Hat to Wear
There have been five hat tricks on an NHL player’s birthday, and Paul MacLean stands alone as the only player with four goals on his birthday (you can view the complete list here, thanks to Hockey-Reference). MacLean took only six shots on his 30th birthday (during the game, that is), and actually ended up with a -2 plus/minus in the 6-6 tie with the Calgary Flames. Not the best present to end up with a tie, but knowing you have a mustache as excellent as his is a decent birthday gift.

Matt Tardiff is the resident stat head at Chin Music Pod, and his birthday highlight was a victory his sophomore year at Stonehill College for the men’s basketball team, winning 70-58 over Southern New Hampshire University. He broadcasted the game. Wish him a happy birthday and find more interesting tidbits on Twitter @StatTardiff.