1st pitch: Red Sox, the Rookie and RISP

Today’s Trivia: Who is the youngest position player to win the NL Rookie of the Year?

Quick Hits: Over their last five games, the Red Sox are 0-for-30 with runners in scoring position, which has certainly contributed to the fact that they haven’t held a lead in their last 48 innings. Over that same stretch, the Nationals are hitting .408 with RISP, and have won four of their last five. Here are some quick hits on RISP:

* Jason Heyward is 8-for-11 (.727) with runners in scoring position, and just 5-for-32 (.156) otherwise. He leads the majors in batting average and OPS with RISP.

* Tim Lincecum is actually 2-for-2 with RISP and has already matched last season’s RBI total (3).

* Scott Podsednik’s 10 hits with RISP lead the majors, but all 10 are singles, so he only has six RBI in those situations.

* Among those still hitless with RISP? Kevin Kouzmanoff (0-15), Adam Dunn (0-12), Carlos Lee (0-10).

* Gary Matthews Jr. has 15 plate appearances with RISP. He does have one hit, but is still without an RBI in those situations.

* Jose Bautista is just 2-10 with RISP, but has walked eight times, which gives him a .526 on-base percentage.

* Matt Capps has held opponents hitless (0-11) with RISP, but has walked five.

* The Cardinals have held opponents to an MLB-best .172 BA with RISP, while the Cubs are in the basement at .340.

* As a group, the Red Sox outfield is 3-for-31 with RISP.

* Over their first eight games, the Astros hit .157 with runners in scoring position. Since then, they are hitting .444 with RISP, and have won three of four.

* The Rays are hitting an MLB-best .324 with RISP, but just .221 with the bases empty.

* With two outs and runners in scoring position, the Orioles are 5-53 (.094).


Lowest batting average with runners in scoring position this season

Today’s Leaderboard: The Rays’ .324 batting average with RISP is far and away the best in the majors. The Yankees are tied for fifth at .286. But the rest of the AL East has not fared so well, as the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Orioles are all hitting under .200 and rank in the bottom five.

Key Matchups: When you look at the active players who have had the most success against Tim Wakefield, one common trait sticks out: Free swingers. Among active players with at least 15 plate appearances against the knuckleballer, the top three in OPS are Aaron Rowand, Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Lopez. Guerrero faces Wakefield Tuesday looking to improve on a lifetime .429 average with five home runs. There was a point five years ago when Wakefield wouldn’t even bother. In 2005, he intentionally walked Guerrero four times in seven plate appearances. In total, Wakefield has intentionally walked Guerrero five times, three more than any other batter he has faced.

For Jason Bay, one of the perks to returning the National League is the chance to face Carlos Zambrano with regularity. As a rookie in 2003, Bay had his breakout game against the Cubs righty with two home runs to go with eight RBI. Bay hasn’t let up since. He has five career home runs against Zambrano, tied for his most against any pitcher. No hitter has more RBI against Zambrano than Bay’s 16.

Trivia Answer: Willie Mays turned 20 during his rookie campaign, and is the youngest position player to win the award in the NL. Jason Heyward turns 21 in August.