Stats & Info: Ty Cobb

One season, one month, two cycles for Hill

June, 30, 2012
Benny Sieu/US PresswireAaron Hill became the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to hit for the cycle twice in the same season.
Barry Bonds, Tony Gwynn, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are among the great hitters who never did it even once in their careers.

Aaron Hill now has hit a cycle twice in 12 days.

He's the first player with two cycles in the same season since Babe Herman in 1931.

Hill is the fourth player in Major League Baseball history with two cycles in the same season, joining Herman (1931 Brooklyn Robins), Tip O'Neill (1887 St. Louis Browns) and John Reilly (1883 Cincinnati Red Stockings).

Hill, whose previous cycle was June 18, is the second player in MLB history with two cycles in the same calendar month and the first since Reilly in September 1883.

The concept that Reilly accomplished this feat in 1883 and nobody else did for almost 129 years is incredible. It’s a rare gap between feats.

Let’s consider what was happening in the United States back in 1883:

• The president was Chester A. Arthur and there was no vice president.

• There were only 38 states.

• Basketball hadn’t been invented yet.

• The Brooklyn Bridge opened to traffic in May.

• The first Metropolitan Opera House opened in October.

• The past 12 presidents weren’t even born yet, including Harry S. Truman, who was born in 1884.

• Airplanes had not yet been invented.

Hill now has as many cycles in the past 12 days as the entire Toronto Blue Jays franchise (his former team). He has more cycles in the past 12 days than the Tampa Bay Rays (1), San Diego Padres (0) and Miami Marlins (0) franchises combined.

How did Hill hit for the cycle Friday?

• In the first inning, he hit a ground-rule double off a fastball, his eighth double against a fastball this season.

• In the third inning, he singled to center off a slider. He was hitting .267 against sliders going into the game.

• In the fourth inning, he homered to left field off a curveball, his first home run off a curveball since June 19, 2011.

• In the sixth inning, he tripled to center field off a slider.

Hill is hitting .465 in his past 10 games with four home runs, 11 RBIs and a .953 slugging percentage. Eleven of his 20 hits are extra-base hits during that span.

No player in MLB history has had three cycles in the same season. The Arizona Diamondbacks still have 86 games left, so Hill has a chance to be the first to do so.

Rapid Reaction: Strasburg's dazzling debut

June, 8, 2010
Stephen Strasburg's debut was among the most hyped in MLB history. And it was also one of those rare moments when an athlete's performance lived up to the considerable hype swirling around him. Let's put his performance into context.

The MLB record for strikeouts in an MLB debut is 15, shared by Karl Spooner (1954 Dodgers) and J.R. Richard (1971 Astros). And he did it all with just 94 pitches, 65 of which were strikes. Of his 24 batters faced, Strasburg fired a first-pitch strike to 16 of them. He induced 41 swings and 18 of them missed Pirate bats.

Strasburg retired the final 10 hitters he faced, including the last seven and eight of the last nine by strikeout. The last pitcher to strike out seven in a row in their MLB debut was Sammy Stewart for the 1978 Orioles.

Strasburg struck out the side three times (2nd, 6th and 7th innings). No Pirate hitter reached base after Delwyn Young's 4th-inning home run. Every Pirate starter was struck out by Strasburg at least once.

His fastball caught everyone's attention as it averaged 97.9 MPH tonight according to Inside Edge, but he used it for just half of his 14 punchouts. His curveball was responsible for four of his strikeouts, and his changeup for three.

He is the first pitcher with 14+ strikeouts without walking a batter in his MLB debut. Forget about the amazing context that this came in his MLB debut, but with this performance he joins an elite list of starters to put up those numbers in ANY game while pitching seven or fewer innings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Strasburg joins this list of pitchers to do that in the modern era of baseball (since 1900): Brad Penny (2007), Javier Vazquez (2003), Randy Johnson (twice in 2001), Mike Mussina (2000) and Roger Clemens (1997).

In fact, Strasburg has already equaled the great Nolan Ryan with one career start featuring at least 14 strikeouts and no walks... and he did so in 772 fewer career starts!

And long-time Washington baseball diehards may have been reminded of another famous Washington hurler after witnessing Strasburg's effort on Tuesday. Take a look at the numbers during his debut compared to Walter Johnson's first MLB game for the Washington Senators way back in 1907. Strasburg and the Nats defeat the Pirates 5-2, while Johnson and the Senators lost to Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers 3-2.