Wednesday, June 9, 2010
1st Pitch: Emptying the Strasburg notebook
By Jeremy Lundblad, ESPN Stats & Info
Quick Hits: What is there left to say about Stephen Strasburg’s debut? With help from researcher Ryan McCrystal, let’s empty out the notebook of more obscure fun facts (while saving the best for last).
Today’s Trivia: Who has the most strikeouts in MLB history among pitchers who never had at least 14 in a game?
- It wasn’t until the 9th game of this season that the Nationals’ starters combined to reach 14 strikeouts.
- Strasburg’s 14 K are the most since the franchise moved to Washington. It would have marked the most strikeouts in Rays history and matched the Rockies record.
- It would have been the most by a Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1972.
- Strasburg had the most strikeouts in a game in Washington, D.C. since Juan Pizarro of the White Sox struck out 14 Senators on July 31, 1964.
- The last time the home team had a pitcher with this many strikeouts in our nation’s capital? Camilo Pascual struck out 15 against the Red Sox on April 18, 1960.
- In the last 50 years, the only other pitcher to strike out at least 10 without walking a batter in his debut was Johnny Cueto in 2008.
- You’d have to combine totals from the top two Marlins strikeout debuts in order to match Strasburg. Dontrelle Willis and Scott Olsen share Florida’s record for strikeouts in a debut with seven.
- In 1933, Reds pitcher Benny Frey pitched 132 innings and finished with two fewer strikeouts than Strasburg had on Tuesday.
- Steve Rogers, Dennis Martinez, Bryn Smith and Steve Renko - the pitchers with the four most starts in Expos/Nationals history, combined to start 1,011 games for the franchise. None of them ever struck out 14 batters in a game.
- As Strasburg approaches a Chuck Norris level of legend, keep this in mind: Rearrange the letters to Stephen James Strasburg and you get “Bear Strength, Jumps Seas.” Is there anything he can’t do?
Today’s Leaderboard: Strasburg already has more strikeouts than 175 pitchers who have appeared in the majors this season. Brian Moehler’s 32 1/3 innings are the most for any pitcher with fewer than 14 strikeouts. The Tigers, including Armando Galarraga, are well represented on the list.
Key Matchups: Justin Morneau was hitless in his first eight at-bats against Kyle Davies before finally singling off of him. However, since that single, he is hitless in seven at-bats. Overall, Morneau is just 1-for-16 against Davies, a .063 batting average that is his lowest against any pitcher he has faced at least 15 times. Similarly, that .063 average is the lowest of any hitter that Davies has faced 15 times.
Albert Pujols is a .571 career hitter against Clayton Kershaw. Factor in four walks, and Pujols has a .727 on-base percentage against the Dodgers’ youngster, his fifth highest against a pitcher that he has faced 10 times. The only other hitter with an OBP over .500 against Kershaw? Matt Holliday (.571), the man who hits directly behind Pujols.
Trivia Answer: Don Sutton is seventh on the all-time strikeout list with 3,574, but never had more than 12 in a game.