Sunday, April 21, 2013
Kernels: Unusual tallies of Ks, (near-)cycles
By Doug Kern
Otto Greule Jr./Getty ImagesIn terms of unusual baseball plays, nothing will top Jean Segura's baserunning misadventures, on which our colleague Jayson Stark wrote the definitive treatises.
How many strikeouts were there in the Tigers-Mariners 14-inning game? Almost this many.
But there were some other statistically amazing things to happen in baseball in the last seven days. Here's a run-through.
Whiff City: Tigers, Mariners go Strikeout-Wild
The 14-inning Tigers-Mariners game not only featured five strikeouts by Prince Fielder, it had 35 others as well. Elias reports that it became just the third game since 1900 with 40 or more strikeouts, and the shortest of those games by inning (the others were 15 and 20).
Seventeen of the 18 starters whiffed at least once, setting a new season high (it happened three times last year).
Starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez each went eight innings and struck out 12, the first pair of starters to do that since Mike Mussina and Pedro Martinez dueled on May 24, 2001.
And it was the first time neither one got a decision since Mark Langston (10 innings 12 strikeouts) and Randy Johnson (15 strikeouts in nine innings) met on September 16, 1992.
The 21 strikeouts by Mariners pitching also tied their franchise record, last achieved in another Randy Johnson start on Opening Day 1996. And eventually the 82 strikeouts in the series, per Elias, was the most by any teams in the modern era in a three-game set.
Getting back to Fielder, he became the first Tiger in the live-ball era with back-to-back four-strikeout games, and the first AL player to do so since Jay Buhner in 1990.
Saturday was historic for bad starting pitching
The Tigers really should shuffle next year's rotation so that Rick Porcello isn't pitching on the third Saturday in April. He allowed nine runs-- all earned-- while getting just two outs and throwing 47 pitches to 11 batters.
No pitcher had given up nine runs and 10 hits while getting a maximum of 3 outs since... Rick Porcello did it on the third Saturday of April last season! That was the first game of a doubleheader with Texas.
Not to be outdone, Phil Humber gave up eight runs while recording just one out as the Indians batted around in the 1st inning in Houston Saturday night. Humber wasn't even the first Astros starter to leave after one out this week.
Erik Bedard allowed six earned runs and retired just one batter on Monday. The Astros hadn't had two starters record no more than one out in the same SEASON since 2004, and had never had it happen within five days of each other.
The last pitching staff to pull off that dubious feat was the 2000 Rockies, courtesy of Pedro Astacio and Julian Tavarez. And that gets an asterisk because Astacio left the game after being hit with a line drive to lead off the game.
The last team to have two starters allow six or more earned runs while recording a max of one out, within a six-day span, was the 1979 Cubs (Lynn McGlothen and Dennis Lamp).
The capper on this: It was the first time in baseball’s modern era that two starting pitchers allowed at least eight runs with less than one inning pitched.
Feat of the Week: Quasi-cycles
Rockies leftfielder Carlos Gonzalez hit for the cycle on Tuesday. Sort of. Colorado played a doubleheader with the Mets because of snow the day before.In the day game against the Mets, Gonzalez tripled and homered. In the night game he had a double and two singles.
He's the first player to get the homer and triple in one game of a doubleheader and the double and single in the other game, since Stephen Drew of the Diamondbacks in 2006.
Also cycle-worthy: The Brewers first five batters on Friday went error-single-homer-double-triple. So the Brewers, as a team, had already hit for the cycle before making a single out.
They were the first team to pull that off since the final weekend of 2006. The Royals' first four hitters (Joey Gathright, Esteban Germán, David DeJesus, and Mike Sweeney) went double-single-triple-homer to lead off a 9-6 win over Detroit.
Scorecard Watch: An unusual double play
Last week, we had a triple play that was unique to baseball scoring-wise. Saturday we had something that sounds more rare than it was-- an unassisted double play turned by Rays centerfielder Desmond Jennings.
Elias tells us that it’s the first “8U” in baseball since Mike Cameron had one in 2003.