Three Strikes: Amazing weekend

Time to look back on an astounding baseball weekend, starting with You Know Who:


Stephen Strasburg gave us an almost unimaginable spectacle Sunday, but he was only responsible for half of it.

He threw Travis Hafner a 100-mile-per-hour smokeball in the second inning -- and watched Hafner laser-beam it over the right-field fence for just the third homer Strasburg has allowed in his professional career.

I don't know about you, but my first thought was: "Have we ever seen that before -- a home run off a 100-mph fastball?"

Well, with the help of ESPN stats guru Katie Sharp, and our friends from Inside Edge and pitch f/x, we compiled a list of every home run we could track down against a pitch measured in triple digits.

FYI: Not every game has been tracked since 2002, so this is just all the instances we know of, not necessarily every homer. But it's still a fun list:

June 13, 2010: Travis Hafner off Stephen Strasburg, 100 mph

Aug. 1, 2009: Jonny Gomes off Ubaldo Jimenez, 100 mph

April 10, 2007: Corey Patterson off Joel Zumaya, 100 mph

Aug. 19, 2005: Chris Shelton off Brandon League, 101 mph

June 18, 2003: Luis Gonzalez off Billy Wagner, 100 mph

May 9, 2002: Mike Sweeney off Bartolo Colon, 100 mph

Holy smokes. Give those guys a speeding ticket!


Strasburg's other exploits continue to boggle the mind, too, of course. So fasten your seatbelts, because there's more:

• Of Strasburg's first 37 major league outs, 22 of them have come on strikeouts. Well, not shockingly, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, not a single other starting pitcher in the expansion era (1961-present) has pulled off that crazy feat. And only one only relief pitcher in that same period racked up 22 of his first 37 outs via the whiff: Jonathan Broxton (also 22). But it took Broxton eight appearances, spread out over 3.5 weeks, to do it (and he gave up runs in six of those appearances). For a starter to do it, over his first two big-league starts? Unheard of.

• Another ridiculous Stephen Strasburg fact: Two starts into his big-league career, he has more strikeouts (22) than balls put in play (20).

• By whiffing the last seven hitters he faced in his first start and the first two he ran across Sunday, Strasburg missed Tom Seaver's and Eric Gagne's all-time consecutive-strikeout record by one. But Strasburg did join the rarified 9-K-In-A-Row Klub. Unfortunately, we don't have complete enough data to run through everyone in that klub. But let's just say that, aside from him, Seaver and Gagne, only six other pitchers in history are known to have done it, according to loyal streak guru Trent McCotter. That eclectic group:

Mickey Welch -- Aug. 21, 1884

Ron Davis -- May 4-9, 1981

Armando Benitez -- Sept. 8-14, 1998

Jake Peavy -- April 25, 2007

Ricky Nolasco -- Sept. 30, 2009

Joaquin Benoit -- May 17-23, 2010

• Radar-gun report: After two starts, this man has launched 11 pitches at 100 mph or faster, 39 at 99 mph or swifter, 65 at 98 mph or quicker and 86 at 97 mph or better. Just to put all those 100s in perspective, only two starting pitchers in baseball threw more than TWO pitches at 100 mph or faster all last season -- Ubaldo Jimenez (26) and Justin Verlander (39), according to Baseball Info Solutions. At this rate, Strasburg could be closing in on 40 by the All-Star break.

• Finally, here's one more from the Stratosphere: On back-to-back days last week (Tuesday-Wednesday), the Nationals' winning pitchers were two guys they took in the first round of the draft just LAST YEAR: Strasburg and Drew Storen. And take my word for it -- that's never happened.

I consulted with Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis. And the closest comparable we could come up with was this: In 1976, the Padres drafted Bob Shirley in the first round of the since-defunct "secondary phase" of the now-also-defunct January draft and Bob Owchinko in the first round of the June draft -- and they both got to the big leagues and won in back-to-back games three times in 1977. But as best we both can tell, that's the only precedent for this. Talk about a productive first round of the same draft, huh?


Jorge Posada did something this weekend that's happened only one other time in history -- hit grand slams in back-to-back games from each side of the plate. The only other man who has ever done it, according to SABR home run historian David Vincent: Carlos Beltran, on July 16 (left-handed) and 18 (right-handed), 2006.

• Speaking of home run streaks, Carlos Pena -- currently hitting .196 -- just ended a streak of six straight games with a homer. If he doesn't get to work on that average, he's going to blow away the record for lowest batting average by a guy who homered in at least six games in a row. Current record: 263, by Dale Long, the year (1956) he became the first player in history to homer in eight in a row.

• Now here's a box-score line you don't see every day: On Friday in Boston, Jamie Moyer allowed six doubles but got just three outs. So how many other pitchers in the last half-century have had a game with twice as many doubles as outs? That would be zero.

• Speaking of Moyer, a week ago he was the only active pitcher with at least 3,000 innings on his odometer. Since then, Andy Pettitte and Tim Wakefield have both joined that club. And Thursday in New York, Moyer and Pettitte will match up against each other. Elias reports it will be the first duel between two members of the 3,000-innning club since Aug. 15, 2008 -- Moyer versus Greg Maddux.

• Even more cool, Moyer-versus-Pettitte is a matchup of the two active pitchers with the most wins. Last time we had a mano-a-mano like that, according to Elias: July 19, 2006 -- Roger Clemens (342) versus Maddux (325).

• You think the Rays noticed that Pat Burrell faced 166 left-handed pitchers in his career in Tampa Bay and hit zero homers -- but it took him all of five trips against left-handers as a Giants before he got to practice his trot after a homer against Gio Gonzalez? I'm guessing yes.

Brooks Conrad dropped a game-winning ninth-inning squeeze bunt for the Braves on Friday -- 13 days after he hit a game-winning ninth-inning grand slam. ESPN research wizard Mark Simon reports that over the past decade, only one other player has done both. But that's David Eckstein, who didn't do it in the same year. His slam was in 2002, and his squeeze was in 2005. So is it safe to say it's been a pretty good month for Brooks Conrad?

• How ugly has the Phillies' funk gotten? Over the 23 games that preceded their win Sunday, they went 7-16 and scored just 55 runs. According to baseball-reference.com, only four Phillies teams since World War II had a 23-game stretch in which they scored fewer runs and won fewer games than that -- the 1960, '61, '71 and '83 juggernauts. The '83 team recovered to get to the World Series. But the '61 team did it during their record 23-game losing streak -- and scored only one fewer run (i.e., 54) than this team. Whew.

• Here's a Mariano Rivera history alert, courtesy of loyal reader Aaron Heider: The Great Mariano has a ridiculous 1.01 career WHIP (1,118 hits-plus-walks in 1,112 1/3 innings). So think about this. If Rivera can somehow get through six consecutive perfect innings, he would become the third pitcher in history with 1,000 or more innings pitched and a WHIP below 1.00. What makes this especially insane is that it's not as if the two guys who are on that list -- Ed Walsh and Addie Joss -- did it last week. Walsh last pitched in 1917. Joss' last appearance in the old box scores was in 1910. So neither ever threw a pitch in the live-ball era. Rivera, on the other hand, has pitched in just about the livest-ball era in history. Incredible.

• Finally, it took Red Sox rookie Daniel Nava exactly one pitch to hit his first career grand slam. If it helps him put that in perspective, he should know that he's one slam ahead of Mark Reynolds, Alex Rios, Ian Kinsler, Andre Ethier, Corey Hart and Joey Votto. And then there's Orlando Cabrera, who has hit more career homers (117) than any active player who still doesn't have a slam. But Daniel Nava will never have to worry about crashing that list. Will he?