Stats & Info: Miami Marlins

Stanton's Superlatives

September, 12, 2014

Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesGiancarlo Stanton has slugged his way to the short list for NL MVP consideration
In the top of the fifth inning at Miller Field in Milwaukee on Thursday night a Mike Fiers fastball came up and in to Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, hitting the 24-year old superstar in the face, right under his eye.

As he layed on the ground at home plate bleeding profusely, the crowd was hushed as medical personnel attended to and eventually carted Stanton off via stretcher and ambulance.

According to manager Mike Redmond, the injury could prematurely bring to a screeching halt what was the best offensive season in the National League this year. Hopefully that’s not the case, but since Stanton is in the midst of the best season of his young career and the best of any offensive player in the NL, we decided to take a retrospective look at his accomplishments to date.

Stanton's calling card has been long home runs.

According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, Stanton has hit seven round-trippers of 450 feet or more. To put that in perspective, no other player has more than two.

His 37 home runs are seven more than second-place Anthony Rizzo in the NL and just two behind Nelson Cruz for the major league lead.

Stanton also leads the senior circuit in slugging percentage (.555), OPS (.950), total bases (299), extra-base hits (99), RBI (105), walks (94), at-bats per HR (14.5), Runs Created (115.6), Isolated power (.267) while placing second in WAR among position players (6.4) and third overall.

José Fernandez surgery confirmed as Tommy John epidemic continues

May, 15, 2014

ESPN Stats & InformationTommy John surgeries among major-league pitchers are on the rise.
The Miami Marlins have confirmed the news that baseball fans feared the most: Jose Fernandez has a torn UCL and will need Tommy John surgery, sidelining the ace pitcher for at least 12 months.

Fernández will be the 18th major-league pitcher to have Tommy John surgery this year. That’s the most ever through the month of May and would equal as many as there were all of last season.

Since the surgery was first performed in 1974, only one year has seen more than 18 MLB pitchers undergo the surgery: in 2012 major-league pitchers got 35 Tommy John surgeries.

The trend among pitchers who need the surgery this year has been young players, with an average age of 27 years old.

Just one of the 18 MLB pitchers to have Tommy John surgery in 2014 was older than 30 -- Peter Moylan, who is 35 years old -- and it was the second time Moylan had the surgery.

Signs of trouble?
Prior to Fernández’s injury, perhaps the most notable recent pitcher to undergo Tommy John is Matt Harvey last fall.

The two had very similar careers prior to undergoing the surgery, including each making the same amount of starts.

The Marlins were careful not to overwork Fernández, as they managed both his pitch counts and innings during his MLB career.

Among the 104 pitchers to make at least 30 starts over the last two seasons, Fernández ranks 72nd in pitches per start. He threw more than 110 pitches only once in 36 starts and more than one-third of his starts were 90 pitches or fewer.

One sign of trouble in his last start was a sharp decline in his velocity. Fernández’s fastball averaged 94.6 MPH over his first four innings and only 90.7 MPH in his last two. He allowed four runs in the sixth inning before being removed with nobody out.

Impact on Marlins
The Marlins obviously have a much better chance of winning when Fernandez takes the mound compared to other Marlins starters. Over the last two seasons, they are 23-13 (.639) when Fernández starts and 59-106 (.358) when anyone else does.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, only one team has a larger positive difference in its win percentage since 2013 when a particular pitcher starts in comparison to all other games (min. 15 starts by that pitcher). The Diamondbacks are 23–9 (.719) during that period when Patrick Corbin starts and 73-98 (.427) in other games.

The Marlins are off to one of their best starts in recent seasons at 20-19 and just two games back in the NL East. However, with Fernández now out of the rotation, their chances of playing in October take a big hit. According to, the Marlins’ playoff odds declined from 22.5 percent to 12.4 percent with the news that Fernández is out for the season.

The month of April in home runs

May, 1, 2014

ESPN Stats & Info
Giancarlo Stanton crushed the ball in April, earning him our Home Run Hitter of the Month award.

ESPN Stats & Info's Home Run Tracker Team tracks every home run hit in the majors. Here are a few standout performances from the month of April.

Home Run Hitter of the Month: Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton dominated the home run headlines in April, hitting three of the nine longest homers of the month. On April 4, he launched an Eric Stults pitch 484 feet to left center field for the longest home run in the history of Marlins Park and the longest home run of the 2014 season.

Stanton wasn’t done there, as he added a 469-footer on April 12 and a 457-footer on April 15. There have been 13 home runs hit of 450+ feet in all of MLB this season, and Stanton has hit three of those. In fact, since his rookie season in 2010 no hitter has hit more 450+ foot home runs.

Performance of the Month: Michael Morse
At Coors Field on April 23, Michael Morse hit a 458-foot homer off Tyler Chatwood in the second inning and a 450-foot homer off him in the third inning, the two longest home runs of the season at Coors Field. Morse became just the third player since ESPN began tracking home runs in 2006 to hit two 450+ foot home runs in the same game.

It was quite an April for Morse as he added 449 and 442 foot home runs as well and finished the month with a major league leading 440 foot average home run distance, 42.5 feet further than the MLB average (397.5).

Other notable performances

ESPN Stats & Info
Ortiz hit the longest home run by a Red Sox hitter since ESPN Stats & Info began tracking home runs.

• On April 22 David Ortiz hit a ball 482 feet off Masahiro Tanaka at Fenway Park, the second longest homer of the season. Not only was it the longest homer for Ortiz since ESPN began tracking homers in 2006, but it was also the longest home run by any Red Sox hitter. It was the second longest home run hit by anyone at Fenway Park in that period, trailing only Vladimir Guerrero's 484-foot shot against Curt Schilling on July 30, 2006.

The ball left Ortiz's bat at 119.9 mph, the fastest off-bat speed for any home run hit this season. It is the third fastest speed for any home run in the last four seasons.

• White Sox slugger Jose Abreu set an all-time rookie-record with ten home runs before May. Abreu is the only hitter in the American League to hit three home runs of at least 430 feet. On top of that, Abreu hit the two longest homers at Comerica Park this season despite only playing four games in Detroit.

• Earlier this month Albert Pujols became the 26th member of the 500 home run club with a 430-foot homer at Nationals Park. Since ESPN began tracking home runs, six players have reached the 500 homer mark and Pujols’ traveled the furthest (430 feet).

Fernandez can't be beat in Miami

April, 30, 2014
With each start, Jose Fernandez just keeps getting better and better.

And when Fernandez pitches at home, it’s a mismatch for him against his opponent.

Fernandez improved to 12-0 at home for his career with his eight innings of scoreless, two-hit dominance against the Atlanta Braves. His career ERA at home now sits at 1.00.

The Elias Sports Bureau provided a bevy of notes on Fernandez.

Let’s run through them:

The 1.00 ERA is the lowest for a pitcher in his first 19 career home starts in the last 100 years. The previous low was Vida Blue’s 1.28 (1969 to 1971).

He’s the fourth pitcher in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to win his first 12 home decisions, joining LaMarr Hoyt (16), Johnny Allen (16) and most recently David Palmer (13 from 1979 to 1982).

Fernandez is the second pitcher in the last 100 years who allowed no earned runs and had eight strikeouts in three straight starts at the age of 21 or younger.

The other was the Rangers' Ed Correa in 1986 (also three straight).

In terms of more recognizable names, Fernandez joins a list of pitchers 21 or younger to throw three straight starts of at least seven innings without allowing an earned run. The others to do so in the divisional era (since 1969) are Dwight Gooden (five straight), Matt Cain (four) and Fernando Valenzuela (three).

How Fernandez won
Fernandez had a very effective breaking ball on Tuesday, which isn’t unusual.

He threw 31 against the Braves, the third-most he’s thrown in a game in his career. They netted him eight outs (including a career-best six strikeouts) and yielded only one baserunner.

Location-wise, Fernandez's control was pinpoint. He threw 48 of his 98 pitches on the outer third of the zone or off the outside corner, and the Braves were 0 for 17 with 6 strikeouts in at-bats ending in a pitch to that location. The 17 outs were a career-best.

Fernandez got hitters to expand the strike zone. He threw 52 pitches out of the strike zone and the Braves swung at 26 of them. His 50 percent chase rate and 13 outs recorded out of the strike zone were both career-bests.

The Braves tried to get to Fernandez early in at-bats, but that didn’t work. He got a career-best five outs on the first pitch.

Giancarlo Stanton in a supporting role
Usually, Marlins games are dominated by the story of monstrous home runs by Giancarlo Stanton, who was overshadowed by Fernandez on this night.

Stanton’s home run on Tuesday measured 391 feet, notable as it was his shortest home run this season. He’s averaged 427 feet on his eight home runs in 2014.

Stanton’s average home run over the last four seasons has averaged 416 feet. Among those with at least 20 homers in that span, only Justin Upton averages more distance on his long balls (419 feet).

Fernandez brings his best to the table

April, 22, 2014

Baseball Tonight picked a good day to debate who the best pitcher in baseball is.

Jose Fernandez left little reason to vote for anyone other than him.

Fernandez finished with 14 strikeouts and no walks in a 1-0 win, the second pitcher ever to have such a line against the Atlanta Braves. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the other was Nap Rucker in a no-hitter for the Brooklyn Dodgers (then known as Superbas) in 1908.

Fernandez became the fifth pitcher in the Divisional Era (since 1969) with a pair of 14-strikeout games before turning 22. The others are Dwight Gooden (5), Jose Rijo (2), Frank Tanana (2) and Kerry Wood (2).

How he dominated
Fernandez had a devastating breaking ball, one that netted him 11 strikeouts, nine of which were swinging.

Fernandez’s fastball averaged 96.1 mph, the third fastest average in a game in his career.

He finished with 26 swings-and-misses, four more than any other game he’s pitched in his career.

Making his case
Fernandez has a 2.16 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 33 starts since the start of last season. The only pitcher to rate better in those stats is Clayton Kershaw, who is currently on the disabled list.

However Fernandez's opponents' batting average in that span is .184, 11 points better than Kershaw's, and his opponents' OPS against (.522) trails Kershaw's by only three points.

On the other side
Alex Wood threw 8 innings for the Braves, gave up 1 run and got the loss. It was his second straight loss allowing one run in eight innings or more.

He’s the first pitcher to have two straight such starts in a row since Mike Norris of the 1980 Athletics and the first in the National League since Tom Seaver for the 1973 Mets.

Elias Sports Bureau Stats of the Night
Fernandez (age 21) and Wood (age 23) both had at least 11 strikeouts.

This is the second time since 1900 that two pitchers age 23 or younger both had at least 11 strikeouts in the same game.

The other game was on July 31, 1901, when the Reds' Noodles Hahn (age 22) had 11 and the Cubs' Long Tom Hughes (age 22) had 15.

Fernandez is the fifth-youngest pitcher to have a 14-strikeout, no-walk game in the Modern Era (since 1900), the youngest since Kerry Wood had his 20-strikeout, no-walk game against the Houston Astros in 1998.

The teams combined for 28 strikeouts and no walks. This is the first time in the modern era that two teams combined for at least 28 strikeouts and no walks in a game.

NL aces channel their 2013 best

March, 31, 2014
For a number of National League Opening Day starters, the first day of the baseball season was about picking up right where they left off.

That was true for 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez, who dominated the Colorado Rockies for six innings in a Miami Marlins rout. Fernandez tied Josh Beckett’s club record for most strikeouts in an Opening Day start with nine.

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Fernandez was only the second starting pitcher to have a nine-strikeout, no-walk game on Opening Day in the last 16 seasons.

The full list of pitchers to have that sort of game puts Fernandez in elite company. It is noted in the chart on the right.

Fernandez starred because he had a pitch mix that kept hitters guessing once he got two strikes on them. He threw 35 two-strike pitches, but didn’t throw more than 12 of any pitch type. Fernandez set a tone for how difficult he would be to hit when he struck out Troy Tulowitzki on an 84-mph slider in the top of the first.

Wainwright’s curve still pretty good
Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright hasn’t lost anything from the curveball that made him among the top pitchers in the league last season. Wainwright (with help from a homer by catcher Yadier Molina) beat the Cincinnati Reds, 1-0, marking the first time in Reds history that they lost a season opener, 1-0.

Wainwright threw 22 curveballs and they netted him six outs, yielding no hits and one walk.

Liriano sharp
Some of the Pirates’ magic from 2013 carried over into their season opener with the Cubs, a game they won 1-0 on Neil Walker’s walk-off home run in the 10th inning. It was the second walk-off homer on Opening Day in Pirates history. Bob Bailey had the other against Hall-of-Famer Juan Marichal in 1965.

Elias notes that those mark the only two instances of a player hitting a walk-off homer in a 1-0 Opening Day win.

The Pirates got another great effort from Francisco Liriano, who struck out 10 in six scoreless innings. Liriano got misses on 45 percent of the swings against him. Ten of them came against his slider, resulting in seven strikeouts.

Stats to know: Rookie of the Year winners

November, 11, 2013

Jose Fernandez was almost unhittable in 2013.
The state of Florida produced baseball teams with vastly different records in 2013, but they shared a common bond-- the top rookies in their respective leagues.

Jose Fernandez of theMiami Marlins and Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays won Rookie of the Year honors on Monday night.

This marked the first time that the same state’s teams produced both Rookie of the Year winners since 1993 when Mike Piazza of the Dodgers and Tim Salmon of the Angels were selected.

How Fernandez won
The heat map atop this story shows how difficult Fernandez was to hit for both left-handed batters and right-handed hitters this season. Opponents hit a combined .182 against him this season, the lowest of any starting pitcher in baseball. His .522 opponents OPS trailed only Clayton Kershaw’s .521 for the major-league lead.

Fernandez was the second-best right-handed pitcher in baseball against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .546 OPS (surpassed only by Matt Harvey of the Mets. In his last six starts, Fernandez held lefties to a .138 batting average and .453 OPS.

Fernandez held right-handed hitters to a .494 OPS this season, the lowest among any of the National League pitchers who qualified for the ERA title. In fact, all three of Fernandez’s slashline stats (.175/.227/.267) were NL bests.

Fernandez won with a nasty fastball, breaking-ball combo. His fastball averaged 94.8 MPH, the third-best among starting pitchers. His two breaking pitches netted 119 strikeouts, with his slider being the nastier of the two.

Fernandez’s slider netted him 104 outs (65 strikeouts) and yielded only nine hits and one walk. Opponents only had one extra-base hit against his slider.

How Myers won
Myers won in a year in which the AL did not have a rookie who dominated the way Mike Trout did in 2012. He had a .293/.354/.478 slashline, generated by his success against pitches in the upper half of the strike zone and above.

Myers was nearly equally adept against right-handed pitching as he was against left-handed pitching, as noted in the chart on the right.

Myers hit .393 in at-bats that ended with pitches to that area (conversely, last year’s AL winner, Mike Trout, was baseball’s best hitter against pitches in the lower half of the zone). That batting average ranked best among the 268 hitters who saw at least 500 pitches in that location.

Myers closed the season strong, hitting .323 with four home runs, 12 doubles, 14 RBIs and 19 runs scored in his last 26 games in helping the Rays make their playoff push.

Looking ahead for Myers, one thing to keep an eye on is his .362 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). Myers was able to push his batting average up by hitting .322 when he hit a ground ball. That ranked sixth-best in the majors in 2013.

Some players (Trout among them) are able to replicate that level of success. Next season will be telling in figuring whether Myers can do so.

Elias Sports Bureau Stats of the Day
Fernandez was the first rookie to win at least a dozen games and post an ERA below 2.50 in a season with at least 170 innings pitched since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

The Rays became the second AL team to have three players win the Rookie of the Year Award in a six-season span, joining the Athletics, who had three winners in a row from 1986 to 1988 and three spanning 2004 to 2009.

Cardinals crush Kershaw, win NLCS

October, 19, 2013

AP Photo/David J. Phillip The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate their Game 6 blowout victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
In what was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel, the St. Louis Cardinals hung seven runs on MLB ERA-leader Clayton Kershaw to advance to the World Series. The 9-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers was tied for the fourth-largest shutout win in a series-clinching game in postseason history.

Kershaw was never able to get going as it took him 81 pitches to get through three innings compared to 72 pitches for six innings in Game 2. In the third inning alone, Kershaw gave up four runs, matching the total from his first 21 innings this postseason. Elias tells us in that inning, the Cardinals became the first team to bat around against Kershaw since the Arizona Diamondbacks did so in 2009.

Friday marked the first time since April 5, 2012 that Kershaw failed to make it five innings in a start. He became the first pitcher since David Wells in 2002 to allow seven or more earned runs in fewer than five innings in a postseason clincher.

The Dodgers have now lost three-straight League Championship Series, all within the last six seasons.

Meanwhile, Cardinals’ rookie Michael Wacha showed up for his part of the pitcher’s duel. After throwing seven scoreless innings, he became the fourth rookie in history to win the deciding game of the LCS.

How was Wacha so effective?

•  Good changeup: 78.3 percent of his changeups were down, his highest percentage in a start this season. Dodgers hitters were 1-for-7 with two strikeouts on such pitches.

•  Tough with two strikes: he threw his fastball 14 times with two strikes. Hitters were 0-for-8 in those at-bats Friday and just 1-for-16 with six strikeouts in the series.

Elias says, Wacha became the first rookie in history to record two scoreless starts in a single postseason series. He also became the third rookie ever to win the LCS MVP.

The Cardinals advance to their 19th World Series appearance all-time, tied for most in NL history (with San Francisco Giants) and second in MLB history (behind New York Yankees). It’s their fourth World Series appearance in the last 10 postseasons, the most of any team in that span.

Fernandez rookie season among best by a P

September, 11, 2013

Yasiel Puig has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention this season, but when it comes to National League Rookie of the Year honors, it is another Cuban phenom that has had the better season.

Jose Fernandez wrapped up his season on Wednesday with another well-pitched game, beating the Braves with both his bat and his arm. Fernandez is being shut down by the Marlins due to an innings limit.

Entering play Wednesday, Fernandez had a WAR of 6.1, a number that will likely bump up a little bit after this start.

That total doesn’t just lead all NL rookies this season; it is the fifth-best total in the entire National League and nearly a win-and-a-half better than Puig’s 4.7.

What else was impressive about Fernandez's season?

Historical perspective
Fernandez finished with a 2.19 ERA on the season. Only three other rookie pitchers to qualify for the ERA title have finished with an ERA under 2.20 since the Rookie of the Year Award began being given out in 1947.

Two of those (Stan Bahnsen in 1968 and Dave Righetti in 1981) went on to win Rookie of the Year (the other, Jerry Koosman, lost out to Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bench for the NL award in 1968).

A little help?
Wednesday’s win for the Miami Marlins got them to a meager 54-90 this season, but where would they be without Fernandez?

The Marlins are 18-10 this year with their rookie on the mound, meaning he has been on the mound for a third of their wins.

As for the 10 games the Marlins lost with Fernandez pitching, he allowed two runs or fewer in six of them.

Keeping the home crowd happy
Fernandez finishes the season a perfect 9-0 at home with a 1.19 ERA.

That rated by far the best in baseball.

The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that the only pitcher in the Live Ball Era to have a lower home ERA in which he went at least 9-0 was Orel Hershiser in 1985 (1.08 home ERA)

The best breaking ball in baseball?
Fernandez has been the toughest starting pitcher in baseball to get a hit off of this season with an opponent’s batting average of .182. Next closest is Yu Darvish at .191.

Fernandez’s most effective pitch though has been his breaking ball which he threw about one-third of the time. Opponents hit .116 against Fernandez’s breaking ball and chased it nearly 40 percent of the time, making it one of the best putaway pitches in the sport.

And he can hit too
Fernandez is the only pitcher this season to have hit at least one double, one triple and one homer this season.

He finished with a .220 batting average on 11 hits in 50 at-bats.

Dodgers have no answers for Fernandez

August, 19, 2013

Steve Mitchell/Getty ImagesWith his win over the Dodgers on Monday, Jose Fernandez is 6-0 in his past eight home starts.
Two rookie of the year candidates were going in different directions on Monday in Miami.

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig is having a great rookie season, but he's been streaky most recently.

After hitting .383 from Aug. 1-14, Puig is hitless in his past 11 at-bats and 2-for-17 in his past four games.

And, on Monday, Puig and the Dodgers ran into Miami Marlins' rookie Jose Fernandez, who might be Puig's stiffest competition for National League Rookie of the Year.

Fernandez pitched six innings and allowed one earned run, his seventh straight start allowing two earned runs or fewer. Since June 1, Fernandez has a major league-best 1.64 ERA and has allowed more than two runs once in 14 starts.

Fernandez improved to 6-0 with a 1.40 ERA at home this season, and the Marlins have now won each of his past eight starts at Marlins Park.

Fernandez was opposed by yet another NL Rookie of the Year candidate in Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lost for the first time since June 19. In fact, the Dodgers were 9-0 in in Ryu's previous nine starts.

Dodger bats have gone somewhat cold in the past two games on the heels of their record-setting 42-8 stretch. They have scored exactly two runs in each of their past two games -- the first time they've scored two runs or fewer in consecutive games since July 25-26. Los Angeles is also 1-12 with runners in scoring position in its past two games, including 0-8 on Monday.

The Dodgers have now lost back-to-back games for the first time in two months (June 20-21). Over that span, every other team in baseball has had a two-game losing streak, and 20 teams have had a losing streak of at least five games.

On Tuesday, the Dodgers will try to avoid losing their third in a row for the first time since June 10.

Fernandez keeps Indians off balance

August, 3, 2013
Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/Getty ImagesJose Fernandez has 27 strikeouts in his last two starts.
Jose Fernandez is quickly emerging as one of the most impressive young pitchers in Major League Baseball.

After striking out 13 batters with no walks in eight innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his previous start, Fernandez struck out 14 batters with one walk in eight innings against the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

Fernandez is the first pitcher with consecutive 13-strikeout games since Randy Johnson in 2004. He’s the first pitcher age 21 or younger with multiple 13-strikeout games in a season since Kerry Wood had five such games in 1998.

Not only is Fernandez striking out batters at a high rate, but he’s doing so without walking many batters. He’s the first pitcher with consecutive games of at least 13 strikeouts and one or fewer walks since Curt Schilling in 2002.

Fernandez is the fifth pitcher age 21 or younger with consecutive 13-strikeout games in the modern era (since 1900), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He’s the fourth-youngest pitcher with consecutive 13-strikeout games. Only Dwight Gooden in 1984, Kerry Wood in 1998 and Jose Rijo in 1986 were younger.

How did Fernandez dominate the Indians?

• Fernandez registered 22 of his 24 outs via strikeout (14) or ground ball (8). He's the first pitcher in the last two seasons to go at least eight innings and get just two or fewer of his outs in the air.

• Despite his fastball averaging 95.5 mph (his second-fastest this season), Fernandez threw a season-high 50 percent offspeed pitches. He recorded a season-best 18 outs on those offspeed pitches, including 13 strikeouts.

• Fernandez's breaking balls, in particular, were dominant. Twelve of his 14 strikeouts came on his curveball or slider, tied for the most by any pitcher in the last five seasons.

• Fernandez had success getting Indians hitters to expand their strike zone, particularly with two strikes. He threw 13 two-strike pitches out of the zone and Indians hitters missed on all nine they swung at. His nine strikeouts out of the zone were one shy of the most in baseball this season.

Kernels: Yankees finally solve power issues

July, 28, 2013
As this was the first full week of games following the All-Star break, we thought this week's theme would be no theme at all. To that end, here’s a sampling of some of our favorite nuggets from the past few days.

Power outage in New York
The New York Yankees took a while to get going out of the break. They failed to hit a home run in their first nine games after the All-Star break, a streak that was finally snapped on Sunday by Derek Jeter in his second return from the DL.

The only other team this season to string together nine homerless games was the Miami Marlins, from April 6-15. It was the Yankees' longest streak since a 10-game drought in April-May 1984. The player who finally homered in game No. 11 to break that streak was Don Mattingly.

Shutouts galore
Shutouts were the theme on Saturday, specifically 1-0 shutouts. Four games ended with 1-0 scores, tying the all-time record for a single day. It happened last on September 2, 2001, but before that the only occurrence was on September 18, 1915, when two American League games and two Federal League games ended 1-0.

Save the best offense for last
The Minnesota Twins downed the Angels 10-3 on Monday. That's not amazing until we tell you it was a 10-inning game. The Twins dropped a seven-spot, including a Chris Herrmann grand slam and a two-run homer from Pedro Florimon. It was the most runs they had scored in any extra inning since scoring eight in the 10th against Detroit on August 1, 1970.

Don’t underestimate Leake at the plate
Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake collected three hits at the plate on Wednesday to help his team beat the Giants, 8-3. It was Leake's third career three-hit game, and second this season. It was the ninth three-hit game by a pitcher this season; 2001 (with 13) was the last season with more. And Leake is the first Reds pitcher with two such games in a season since Don Newcombe in 1959.

Twice is nice
The Toronto Blue Jays piled up 15 hits and 12 runs in defeating the Houston Astros on Friday. Those 15 hits included seven doubles and five homers, the first team to reach both those totals since the Indians' 22-4 victory over the Yankees on April 18, 2009. Edwin Encarnacion hit two of those home runs, both coming in an eight-run seventh inning. He thus became the first Blue Jays hitter to go deep twice in the same frame since Joe Carter did it on the final day of their 1993 championship season.

Fast start
The Marlins made several roster moves this week, one of which was calling up prospect Christian Yelich directly from double-A to the majors. In his debut on Tuesday, Yelich promptly delivered three hits and drove in two runs in Miami's 4-2 win over the Rockies. Perhaps manager Mike Redmond knew what he was doing by batting Yelich second in his debut. After all, only one other player has ever had three hits and driven in a run while making his MLB debut in a Marlins uniform: Mike Redmond, on May 31, 1998.

Fernandez has come up fast in many ways

July, 2, 2013
The Miami Marlins are doing their best to avoid being baseball’s ultimate cellar-dweller. After winning 15 of their first 59 games this season, they’ve now won 15 of 22 since June 8.

And one of baseball’s brightest young pitchers is part of the reason why.

Jose Fernandez was dominant on Monday, allowing two hits and a walk in eight scoreless innings in a win over the Padres.

Fernandez became the third pitcher age 20 or younger to strike out at least 10 in a game in which he allowed no more than two hits and one walk.

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that the other two were Dwight Gooden (against the Montreal Montreal Expos in 1984) and Kerry Wood (in his 20-strikeout game against the Houston Astros in 1998).

How Fernandez is winning
Fernandez averaged 95 mph with his fastball on Monday, his third-fastest average velocity with that pitch this season.

He threw the pitch 75 times in his 100 pitches, the most often he’s thrown it this season.

Fernandez is averaging 94.7 mph with his fastball this season, an average velocity only topped by Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg and Jeff Samardzija among starting pitchers.

He then used his breaking ball as his putaway pitch. Padres hitters were 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts in at-bats ending with Fernandez’s curveball or slider.

It hasn’t taken long for Fernandez to establish those pitches as something special as well.

In April and May, Fernandez threw 247 breaking balls, allowing 12 hits and six walks, and netting 23 strikeouts.

But since June 1, he’s thrown 193 of them and allowed only three hits and five walks and netting 31 strikeouts.

Looking Ahead
Fernandez should have two starts left before the All-Star Break, one against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday and then another against the Washington Nationals next week.

Fernandez also had 10 strikeouts (his career high) against the Cardinals on June 14.

The start against the Nationals presents an opportunity for an interesting matchup with another 20-year-old, Bryce Harper, who returned to the majors with a home run in his first at-bat after missing 31 games.

That should be a fascinating confrontation given Harper’s history against hard throwers.

Harper is 7-for-47 with 15 strikeouts in his career in at-bats that end with pitches thrown 95 mph or faster (albeit with eight walks).

He does not have a hit in eight at-bats against such pitches in 2013.

Looking a little beyond that, Fernandez and Harper could be teammates on the National League All-Star team at Citi Field.

Fernandez could be the fifth pitcher under the age of 21 to pitch in an All-Star Game. Elias notes he’d be the first since Mets flamethrower Dwight Gooden in 1984.

Kernels: Everything's just grand

June, 9, 2013
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesYasiel Puig became a very popular man this week. His grand slam was one reason why.
Our weekly edition of notable and interesting facts has a one-topic subject this week.

Theme of the Week: Grand-Slam Barrage
It was a grand (slam) week for notable tidbits on grand slams and we're not just talking about Matt Holliday's on Sunday Night Baseball.

• John Mayberry cranked a walk-off slam to give the Phillies a win over the Marlins Tuesday, the first walk-off slam for the Phillies since Kim Batiste hit one against the Mets on August 13, 1993.

Mayberry-- who did not start the game-- also homered in the bottom of the 10th to re-tie the game after Miami took the lead in the top half. No player in the majors had hit two extra-inning homers in the same game since Baltimore's Mike Young did so against the Angels on May 28, 1987. And Elias confirms he was just the sixth player ever to do that.

Mayberry also didn't start the game. Since RBI became official in 1920, no player had ever come off the bench to record 5+ RBI, with all of them coming in extra innings.

• A grand slam was just one of the many oddities in Wednesday's White Sox-Mariners game. The teams played not just nine or ten, but thirteen scoreless innings. The White Sox piled up five hits and two walks in the innings and scored five runs, their most in any extra inning since May 17, 1996.

The Mariners answered with four straight singles to make it 5-1 and load the bases for Kyle Seager, whose grand slam tied the game.

Seager's slam was the latest by inning in Mariners history, and the latest in a game since David Eckstein hit a walk-off in the 14th inningfor the Angels on April 28, 2002. According to Elias, Seager's was the first game-tying grand slam in major-league history.

With a cap-tip to Retrosheet, the five runs were the most ever traded by two teams in an extra inning (i.e., so the game continued). And it was also the first time a game had gone scoreless through at least nine innings and then both teams scored five or more.

Addison Reed won, despite allowing five runs in extra innings. Only one other pitcher in the Live-Ball era entered a game in extras, allowed five or more runs, and still won. And that happened just two seasons ago: Micah Owings for the 2011 Diamondbacks.

• Thursday's grand slam belonged to newly-called-up Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig. It came in his fourth game in the majors, making him the first Dodger in the Live Ball Era to hit a slam within his first four career games..

But it wasn't even Puig's first homer of his career. It was his third. In his second career game two days earlier, Puig went deep twice and drove in five runs as Los Angeles beat San Diego 9-7. That performance made him the first player with a multi-homer game, and five or more RBI, so early in his career, in over 60 years.

Dino Restelli of the Pirates had a pair of two-run shots and an RBI single-- all off Warren Spahn, no less-- as Pittsburgh came from behind to beat the Boston Braves 8-7 on June 15, 1949.

Puig went deep again on Friday (a solo shot this time), giving him four home runs in his first five major-league games. According to Elias, only one other player since 1900 has been that prolific: Mike Jacobs, who did it in his first four games (one as a pinch hitter) when he debuted with the Mets in August 2005.

• Josh Donaldson of the Athletics extended our grand-slam parade on Friday by hitting Oakland's first one of the year and accounting for all four runs in their 4-3 victory over the White Sox.

He's the first player this season to hit a grand slam in a game in which his team only scored four runs total. And no Oakland player had done it in a win since July 15, 1990, when Felix Jose hit a first-inning slam off the Brewers' Chris Bosio. Despite not having another hit the rest of the game, those runs held up for a 4-1 victory.

Holliday's grand slam Sunday night was only the third in extra innings by a Cardinals player in the last 30 seasons. The others: by Tommy Herr and Albert Pujols, both came against the Mets.

Miller, Fernandez have hard-to-hit stuff

June, 1, 2013

Two members of the 2013 rookie class put up zeroes in their Saturday pitching performances.

Let’s zoom in on how St. Louis Cardinals starter Shelby Miller and Miami Marlins starter Jose Fernandez got the job done.

Shelby Miller
This was the third time this season that Miller pitched at least seven innings and allowed no runs, one shy of the most such outings in the majors.

It wasn’t quite as impressive as the pair of instances in which he allowed only one hit against the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies, but was still stellar nonetheless.

Miller struck out seven hitters, four swinging at well-placed fastballs that hovered atop or just above the top of the strike zone. He threw 53 of 70 fastballs (76 percent) for strikes in the game.

Opponents are hitting .204 against Miller’s heater this season, missing on nearly one-quarter of their swings against the pitch. That’s about 70 points below the major-league average.

His 24 percent miss rate with the fastball this season ranks seventh-best among starting pitchers (when including sinkers as well) trailing only Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey, and Andrew Cashner.

The Giants went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, which was nothing new from Miller’s perspective. Opponents are 6-for-39 with runners in scoring position against him this season and have had one hit or fewer in those situations in 10 of his 11 starts.

Miller’s scoreless outing lowered his season ERA to 1.82, a mark bettered only by Patrick Corbin’s 1.71 in the National League.

Jose Fernandez
This was the third time this season that Fernandez has pitched at least six scoreless innings His Marlins teammates have combined for three such outings this season.

Fernandez has pitched against the Mets three times in the first 11 games of his career and fared well against them, allowing three runs in 16 innings, holding them to a .164 batting average.

The key to Saturday’s win for Fernandez was that he had a very effective putaway pitch. Fernandez threw 27 breaking balls and netted seven outs, six of them strikeouts, without allowing any baserunners. That’s the most strikeouts he’s had with his breaking pitches in any of his 11 career starts.

It was a much improved curveball/slider combo for Fernandez than in his previous start against the Rays, in which he threw nearly the same number, but gave up two hits (including a Kelly Johnson homer) a walk, and a hit by pitch with them.

This was Fernandez’s first home win, though he’s pitched well enough to win previously in Marlins Park. In five starts there, he has a 1.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and .176 opponents’ batting average.

The latter ranked fourth-best in the NL entering Saturday night. One rookie was better—- Miller, .161.