June 9, 2018

Rare And Unusual Things Happen In Baseball Games Nearly Every Day

May 29

The Yankees beat the Astros 6-5 in 10 innings despite striking out 17 times and committing five errors. The only other team to win a game with that many whiffs and errors was the Providence Grays, who, on June 14, 1884, struck out 18 times and made seven errors, but edged the Boston Beaneaters 4-3 in 15 innings.

May 31

Aaron Nola is only the second Phillies pitcher since 1900 to toss at least six innings and allow two or fewer hits in back-to-back starts twice in his career (April 28 and May 3, 2016 and May 26 and 31, 2018. He joins Pete "Grover Cleveland" Alexander, who did it twice in the span of five starts in 1915 (June 22, June 26, July 5, July 9, 1915)!

June 1

Phillies reliever Hector Neris's line in a 4-0 loss to the Giants included three outs, three hits, three strikeouts, and three wild pitches. No other pitcher has had an outing like that in the last 100 years.

June 2

This was the first day in major league history in which two teams won a game despite striking out at least 18 times: Cubs: 24 strikeouts, 7-1 win over the Mets in 14 innings; Nationals: 18 strikeouts, 5-3 win over Atlanta in 14 innings.

The Cubs' 24 strikeouts were the second-most by a winning team since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893. The Brewers struck out 26 times in a 1-0 win over the Angels in 17 innings on June 8, 2004.

In the Nationals' win over Atlanta, pitcher Max Scherzer pinch-hit in the 14th inning. He singled and scored the go-ahead ("winning") run on Wilmer Difo's triple. Scherzer is the first Cy Young Award winner to pinch-hit in extra innings, get a hit, and score what is considered the winning run. That single also put his season batting average at .310. His average has dropped to .281. Jayson Stark reports that the only starting pitcher to hit .300 and win a Cy Young in the same season is Bob Gibson (who hit .303 in 1970).

June 3

On May 30, Mitch Walding made his major league debut with the Phillies. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, the first position player to fan four times in his debut since Baltimore's Ken Gerhart (September 14, 1986). After Walding struck out in two pinch-hit appearances (June 1 and 3), he was sent back to the minors. 0-for-6, six strikeouts. He is the only position player in history to have a "career" with that many at-bats all ending with a strike out. (Pitcher Logan Ondrusek was 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts; his at-bats came with the Reds in 2010 and 2014.)

The Giants swept a three-game series from the Phillies (4-0, 2-0, 6-1). The Phillies' only run in the series came on Jake Arrieta's solo homer. It's the first time in major league history that a team scored one run while being swept in a three-game series with that lone run coming on a pitcher's home run.

June 4

Aaron Judge set a major league record when he struck out eight times in a doubleheader. Judge is only the fourth player in the live-ball era (since 1920) to strike out eight times over any stretch of back-to-back nine-inning games. The other three? Wayne Twitchell (a pitcher) (May 16 and 22, 1973), Ruppert Jones (July 16-17, 1982), and Giancarlo Stanton (April 3-4, 2018). Jayson Stark: "Over the first 98 seasons of the live-ball era, just two men struck out eight times in back-to-back nine-inning games ... And now it's happened twice on the same team in the last nine weeks ..."

June 5

It's Max Scherzer again. Washington beat the Rays 4-2 as Scherzer went eight innings and struck out 13. He threw 99 pitches - and 81 of them were strikes! Stark: "We have three decades worth of pitch-count data we can sift through at times like this. Want to guess how many other pitchers have thrown that many strikes (81) in an outing of fewer than 100 pitches? Right you are. That would be none."

June 6

Eric Hosmer in nine weeks with the Padres: three four-strikeout games (April 17, April 21, June 6). ... Eric Hosmer in seven years with the Royals (2011-17): two four-strikeout games (September 9, 2012, June 4, 2014).

June 7

Jalen Beeks is the only pitcher in Red Sox history to allow five earned runs in the first inning of his major league debut. The Red Sox lost to the Tigers 7-2.

The Dodgers set a team record by using nine pitchers in nine inning (8-7 win over the Pirates).

Jesse Winker of the Reds is the first player in almost 60 years* to come off the bench and go 3-for-3 with a walkoff home run. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and hit his game-winning homer in the 13th inning. Cincinnati beat the Rockies 7-5. (*Hector Lopez, Yankees, May 29, 1960)

Tommy La Stella of the Cubs is the sixth player to reach base twice in one game on catcher's interference since divisional play began in 1969. He was awarded first base in the first and eighth innings. The Cubs beat the Phillies 4-3.

June 8

Baltimore has allowed 65 first-inning runs in 62 games this season. No team has allowed an average of more than one first-inning run per game over a full season since the 1950 Philadelphia A's (Connie Mack's final season as a manager).

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