• Four-strikeout games: Often called the "golden sombrero", the past eight seasons have been the most prolific in history for these games, and the 170 this year shattered last year's mark of 154. Prior to 2007, there had been only one season with over 100, Giancarlo Stanton, George Springer, and Javier Baez led the way with five such games each; the only known player with more in a season was Phillies All-Star Dick Allen who had seven in the famous 1968 "Year of the Pitcher."
• Corey Kluber of the Indians collected 11 strikeouts in his final start on Friday to finish with 269, two shy of David Price for the major-league title. Both pitchers threw 11 games this season with 10 or more whiffs; across the majors there were 209 total this season. That number has increased for nine straight years, and is more than double the 99 from 2005.
Kernels From This Week
• Our favorite sign of offense being down: This season brought us seven occurrences of a nine-run inning, most recently by the Cardinals on August 30, but no team got to double digits in the entire season (that's over 43,000 innings!).
The last season without a single 10-run frame was 1958.
• Twenty-two hitters reached on catcher's interference this season. Paul Goldschmidt was this year's champion at getting the call, with four awards. Tim Federowicz, Carlos Corporan, and Jason Castro each committed the error twice. Notice that Castro and Corporan are both Houston Astros, and you find that they took home the team title. It's their most in a season since 1983.
• Twelve runners this year were hit by batted balls, the most since 2009. At least nobody made the mistake twice, although Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals was hit on May 27 and then hit the batted ball that struck Matt Carpenter on September 4.
• Six batters played an entire game with zero at-bats this season, again the most since 2009. Matt Joyce posted the year's only five-walk nine-inning game, while Andrew McCutchen became only the sixth player in the live-ball era with zero at-bats, two walks, and two hit-by-pitches in a game. (And also the first of the six to be thrown out stealing.)
• Adrian Beltre's bottom-of-the-9th shot on Thursday gave the Texas Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Athletics in the opener of the season's final series. It was the Rangers' first (and only) walk-off homer of 2014. We'd been waiting; since September 2 when the Mariners finally hit one, Texas had been the only team without a walk-off homer. It's the first time that all 30 teams hit at least one since the 2003 season. Overall there were 224 walk-offs this season, 15 less than last year.
• Samuel Deduno registered his first career hit on Saturday; it was also the first hit by an Astros pitcher all season. Two teams-- Seattle and Oakland-- saw their pitching staff draw an 0-for-the-season; the Mariners haven't had a pitcher hit since June 2012 (Hector Noesi). Hurlers hit just 15 home runs the entire season, with Madison Bumgarner chipping in four including the only two grand slams. That's the fewest pitcher homers in a season since 1994 when there were seven. Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta both tripled on Wednesday, the first day with two pitcher triples since July 26, 2003, when Jason Isringhausen and Elmer Dessens did it.
• Michael Cuddyer of the Colorado Rockies posted the only cycle of the 2014 season, but this is a shout-out to the 279 players who didn't get one. That's the number of "near-cycles" this season-- three of the four needed hits. As expected, the vast majority of those (204 in this case) needed the triple. Fifty-one players went single-double-triple but didn't homer, 16 needed the double, and eight needed the single-- including Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks who did it twice!
He's the first player to have two missed-by-the-single games in a season since Gregg Jefferies in 1988. The overall leaders in near-cycles were Miguel Cabrera and Anthony Rendon who each had five. Yoenis Cespedes missed once each by the homer, double, and single, but never needed the triple. He's the first player to do that in a season since Alex Gordon's rookie year in 2007.
• If it seemed like the score 1-0 came up a lot this year, it did. Sixty-nine games were decided by that score, 21 more than last year and the most in a season since 1976. The Rays and Reds both played ten 1-0 games, and the Rays tied the Cardinals for most in the majors by winning six of them.
And the most memorable "first time since" note of the week? The Kansas City Royals are in the postseason for the first time since 1985. See you then.