Rookie feats, escape artists and 'Mc' homers
June, 29, 2012
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com
Welcome to another edition of Five Astounding Facts:
1 I know, in this beautiful sabermetric age we now live in, that winning a "batting title" and leading your league in "wins" aren't the glamorous feats they used to be. But ...
In case you hadn't noticed, over in the American League, one rookie (Mike Trout) leads the league in hitting (at .345), while another rookie (Yu Darvish) is tied for the lead league in wins (with 10). So how many times in history, you ask, have two different rookies led any league in hitting and wins in the same year? That would be zero, the Elias Sports Bureau reports. How 'bout that?
2 Something amazing happened in Houston on Wednesday: With two outs in the ninth inning, Astros rookie Lucas Harrell found himself working on a 1-0 shutout ... the Padres had the bases loaded ... and his manager, Brad Mills, actually (gasp) left him in the game! I know. Shocking, isn't it? Harrell then finished off the shutout by whiffing Nick Hundley. And here's how rare that was, according to Elias:
• The last pitcher who was left in to get the final out of a 1-0 shutout even though the bases were loaded? Pedro Martinez (then an Expo), back on June 14, 1997.
• The last rookie to do it? Paul Wagner of the Mets, on Sept. 14, 1993 -- but in a rain-shortened, six-inning game.
• Last rookie to do it in a "full" game? Jim Gott, for the Blue Jays, on July 31, 1982 -- but Gott did it in a 10-inning game in which his team scored the winning run after he got out of that bases-loaded mess.
• So ... the last rookie to do what Harrell did (finish off a 1-0 shutout with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth)? That would be Dave Stenhouse, for the old Washington Senators -- a half-century ago -- on June 8, 1962.
3 BOX SCORE LINE OF THE WEEK (TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM DEPT.): I'm still trying to digest this Alex Cobb line for Tampa Bay on Monday in Kansas City: 8 IP, 13 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 CG in an 8-0 loss. So what's up with that? Thanks for asking. Cobb was just the fourth pitcher in the last 60 years who was left out there to throw a complete game while giving up that many hits and that many runs -- in a game his team lost by at least eight runs. The others:
• Mickey Lolich (Tigers) on Aug. 15, 1975 (a 14-hitter in an 8-0 wipeout against the Angels).
• Al Jackson (Mets) on Sept. 12, 1964 (a 13-hitter in an 8-0 loss to the Dodgers).
• Don Larsen (Browns) on Sept. 9, 1953 (an astonishing 17-hitter in a 9-1 blowout against the Indians).
4 BOX SCORE LINE OF THE WEEK (DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME DEPT.): Mets reliever Jon Rauch pulled off a box score line all-timer Monday in Chicago -- and made the mistake of catching the attention of ESPN Stats & Info guru Mark Simon in the process:
1/3 IP, 0 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
So ... you think it's easy to give up four runs while allowing no hits and only one walk (even if your team "helps" out by committing three errors behind you)? Ehhhhh, not exactly. It's almost impossible. Must be, because only one other pitcher since 1900 has done it, according to Elias: Slim Love for the Yankees on July 25, 1916 (3 IP, 0 hits, 4 runs, 1 BB). Hmmm. Does that mean the chances of this happening again were Slim and None?
5 After Andrew McCutchen, Casey McGehee and Michael McKenry all went deep for the Pirates on Wednesday, my friend (and fellow "Mc" man) Kevin McAlpin asked: Has any team ever had three "Mc" men hit a home run in the same game?
Well, you might think there wouldn't be anybody on the planet who was driven enough, curious enough and (frankly) crazy enough to look that one up. But you'd be wrong. ESPN's legendary Kernel collector, Doug Kern, decided he just had to know. So three hours of feverish research later, he was able to report that ...
The Pirates were indeed the first team since 1900 to have three "Mc" men homer in one game.
Tremendous note. But Doug, you need to get out more!