Statistics specific to a given batter against a particular pitcher are cited on every baseball broadcast. Most of the time, the data show, those statistics hold no predictive value. Four hits in eight at-bats do not portend a fifth.
And then there is the case of Angels pitcher Ricky Nolasco and Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann, who before Saturday had faced each other 74 times over the last decade, far more than either man had faced anyone else. McCann dominates. He has homered eight times against Nolasco and has a 1.098 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
They began their careers around the same time in the same division and they switched leagues the same week in 2013. Last year, they each joined the American League West.
Their first Angels-Astros matchup, in April, was unmemorable. Then, in Saturday's second inning, McCann reached for a low sinker and hit a home run to right field, indicating that maybe batter-pitcher dominance is possible.
"I've seen him for a lot of years," McCann said. "He's got a good sinker now. I went down and got it."
Said Nolasco: "It wasn't a great swing. But, at the end of the day, he's strong enough to get it out of here when barreling the ball. That's what he did."
Cameron Maybin sits out
Outfielder Cameron Maybin scored four runs and stole four bases Friday night in his return from the 10-day disabled list. He sat out Saturday.
He said he felt fine and the absence had been the plan all along. He said he had been available to pinch-hit and would start Sunday's series finale.
Right-hander Doug Fister will start Sunday for triple-A Salt Lake. Signed last month, the veteran must be called up to the majors in 10 days or he can sign with another team. … C.J. Cron drew the start against a right-handed pitcher Saturday, in place of Luis Valbuena, who has typically started against right-handers. Manager Mike Scioscia indicated he would use Valbuena to give Yunel Escobar days off at third base and occasionally put Cron in the lineup against right-handers.