Elias Says: June 22, 2017

Home Runs and Strikeouts, Strikeouts and Home Runs

Major League Baseball seems odds-on to set single-season industry-wide records for both home runs and strikeouts. There were 238 home runs hit in 72 major-league games from Friday to Tuesday, an average of 3.31 homers per game. That was the most homer-happy five-day period in the 142-year history of Major League Baseball, whether reckoned by total homers or by average per game.

But strikeouts grabbed the Elias Says headlines on Wednesday night, as major-league teams struck out a total of 290 times over 15 games. That average of 19.33 strikeouts per game was the highest on any day with at least 12 games played in major-league history. The previous record was set on Sept. 14, 2015, when there was an average of 19.25 strikeouts over 12 games.

First Bellinger, then Seager, now Grandal

Yasmani Grandal hit two home runs in the Dodgers’ win over the Mets. In doing so, Grandal became the third different Dodgers player with a multiple home run game over the team’s last three games. Cody Bellinger hit two homers against the Mets on Monday night and Corey Seager hit three dingers against the Mets on Tuesday night. It’s the second time in Dodgers history that they had three different players with two or more homers in three straight games. It also happened for them in May of 2016 (Corey Seager, Trayce Thompson and Joc Pederson).

It was Grandal’s sixth career multiple home run game as a catcher for the Dodgers. Only two players in Dodgers history had more multiple home run games as a catcher than Grandal: Roy Campanella (22) and Mike Piazza (19).

Phillies set N.L. record

The Phillies have lost their last three games, all at home, all in extra innings. They lost to the Diamondbacks in ten innings on Sunday and to the Cardinals on Tuesday (11 innings) and Wednesday (10 innings). The Phillies are the first team in National League history to lose three consecutive games, all at home, all in extra innings.

Cards win back-to-back extra-inning games

The Cardinals beat the Phillies in Philadelphia on Tuesday night in eleven inning and beat them again on Wednesday night in ten innings. It’s the first time in almost eleven years that the Cardinals won back-to-back games in extra innings, both on the road. The Redbirds won back-to-back extra-inning games in Houston in July 2006, one in 10 innings and one in 12 innings.

Another no-hit bid for Scherzer

A.J. Ellis’s infield single with one out in the eighth inning broke up Max Scherzer’s bid for his third career no-hitter. It was the fourth time in his career, all with the Nationals, that Scherzer pitched at least seven no-hit innings, two of them finishing in no-hitters and two ending with one out in the seventh inning. That’s the most such games for any pitcher in the history of the Expos/Nationals franchise. Steve Rogers had three such starts for the Expos, one in 1978, two in 1979. None of those three starts resulted in a no-hitter for Rogers.

Three other active pitchers have had four or more no-hit bids of at least seven innings: Justin Verlander (six), Jake Arrieta (four) and Anibal Sanchez (four).

Scherzer was the losing pitcher despite not allowing an earned run and striking out 11 in the complete game. Scherzer is the second pitcher over the last 25 years to lose a game in which he pitched a complete game without allowing an earned run with at least 11 strikeouts. Chris Sale had such a game for the White Sox at Houston in 2013.

Marlins win despite no hits through 7 innings

The Marlins, despite not getting a hit until there was one out in the eighth inning, beat Scherzer and the Nationals, 2-1. It was the ninth time in franchise history that the Marlins failed to get a hit in the first seven innings of a game, the first time they have won such a game.

Berrios wins again

Jose Berrios improved his record to 7-1 in eight starts with a solid eight inning performance in the Twins’ win over the White Sox. Berrios is the sixth pitcher in Senators/Twins history to win at least seven of his first eight starts of a season. The others were Walter Johnson, who did it in 1913 (7-1) and 1925 (7-1), Joe Boehling in 1913 (7-0), Jerry Koosman in 1979 (7-0), Geoff Zahn in 1979 (7-1) and Francisco Liriano in 2006 (7-1).

Carrasco and the Eck

Carlos Carrasco did not allow a run and struck out 10 batters in the Indians win in Baltimore. Carrasco improved to 6-1 with a 2.54 ERA in eight road starts this season. The last Indians pitcher to win six or more of his first eight road starts with an ERA that low was Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley in 1975. The “Eck” was 6-2 with a 2.10 ERA in his first eight road starts that season.

Drury knocks in six runs

Brandon Drury had two RBI-hits in the Diamondbacks’ 10-run fourth inning in their win over the Rockies; he had a two-run double and a RBI single in the inning. Drury is the fourth player in Diamondbacks history to have two RBI-hits in the same inning. The others were Steve Finley (1999), Jeremy Hellickson (2015) and Chris Owings (2016).

Drury knocked in six runs without hitting a home run. The only other player in Diamondbacks history to drive in six or more runs despite not hitting a home run was Augie Ojeda, who did it on May 3, 2008 against the Mets.

Padres pen preserves the win

The Padres bullpen retired the final 16 Cubs batters to hold on to a 3-2 win at Wrigley Field. It’s the first time that Padres relievers retired the last 16 or more batters in a one-run win since April 29, 2005, a 15-inning win over the Diamondbacks.

The Cubs are Happ-y to have him

Ian Happ hit a two-run homer in the Cubs’ loss to the Padres on Wednesday afternoon. For Happ, it was the tenth home run of his career in only his 34th game. Only one player in Cubs history reached 10 career home runs in fewer games than Happ. Bob Speaks hit his tenth career home run in his 32nd game. Speake, who played for the Cubs and Giants from 1955 to 1959, hit only 21 home runs in the final 273 games of his career.

Perez slams the door on the Red Sox

Salvador Perez’s first career grand slam in the eighth inning turned a 4-2 deficit to a 6-4 lead in the Royals’ win over the Red Sox. Perez is only the second player in Royals history to turn a deficit into a lead with a grand slam in eighth inning or later. Frank White’s grand slam off Rich Yett in the eighth inning turned a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead in a Royals win over the White Sox on May 15, 1986.

Schebler hits homer #20

Scott Schebler hit his 20th home run of the season in the Reds’ loss to the Rays. Schebler is the second Reds payer to reach 20 home runs this season, joining Joey Votto (20), who reached that milestone on Tuesday night. It’s only the third time in franchise history that the Reds have two players within their first 75 games of a season. It also happened in 1953 (Ted Kluszewski and Gus Bell) and 1970 (Tony Perez and Johnny Bench).

Walk-off homer for Kemp

Matt Kemp hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give the Braves a victory over the Giants. It was the eighth career extra-inning home run of Kemp’s career, fourth-most among active players, behind Albert Pujols (15)., Nelson Cruz (10) and Brian McCann (9).

Romine’s BA with RISP is best

Austin Romine went 3-for-4 including a big two-run double in the Yankees’ win over the Angels. Romine is batting .368 with runners in scoring position since the start of the 2014 season, the highest such average in the major leagues among players with at least 50 at-bats in those situations over that span.

Nolasco ties Angels record

Ricky Nolasco has lost each of his last seven starts, matching the longest such streak within one season in Angels history. Five other pitchers lost seven consecutive starts within one season in an Angels uniform: George Brunet (1967), Rudy May (1973), Bill Stoneman (1974), Frank Tanana (1974) and Joe Grahe (1991).

Santana hits go-ahead homer in the seventh inning

Domingo Santana’s two-run home run in the seventh inning gave the Brewers a lead they nefver relinquished in their win Over the Pirates. It was the fourth time in his career that Santana hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later in a Brewers victory.