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Ashway: Baseball season's second half was anything but usual
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Forsyth County News

The second season begins!

And to whet your appetite for baseball’s playoffs, here’s a recap of all the unique achievements which occurred since the All-Star break.  As always, thanks to the ever-vigilant staff at the Elias Sports Bureau:

July 15: The Rockies beat the Braves, ending Atlanta’s record 10-year winning streak in the first game after the break.

July 16:  The Angels are shut out twice to start the second half, for the second year in a row, an MLB first. Only one other team has been shut out twice to start the second half: the Braves, in ’68 and ’74.

July 18:  The Cards’ Mike Leake has at least 10 strikeouts and no walks in successive starts, joining Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Shoemaker, and Max Scherzer, who have also done so this year.  Previously, no more than two pitchers achieved this feat in a single season.

July 19:  David Ortiz homers off of Jake Peavy, the 16th former Cy Young Award winner he’s dinged, a record.

July 23:  Nelson Cruz of the Mariners has his fourth career seven-rbi game, but his third against the Jays.  The only other player with three seven-RBI games against one team: Ralph Kiner, against the Dodgers…Trevor Story goes 4-for-4 with two homers and two stolen bases against the Braves.  At age 23, he’s the youngest to do so since 21-year-old Joe Morgan in 1965—against the Braves.

July 24:  Mike Mayers of the Cardinals has the worst debut in history; he allows nine runs and gets only four outs. It’s his only big-league start.

July 26:  Yunel Escobar has his fourth career 5-for-5 game.  The other three who did so are all in the Hall of Fame: Tris Speaker, Zack Wheat, and Tony Gwynn.

July 29: Rick Porcello runs his record to 14-2, joining Chris Sale and Chris Tillman.  With Stephen Strasberg at 14-1, it’s the second season in history that four pitchers won 14 of their first 16 decisions (1910: Christy Mathewson, Chief Bender, Deacon Phillippe, and King Cole.)

July 30: Alex Rodriguez becomes the first player in history with a four-strikeout game in his teens and in his 40s.

Aug. 2: Jose Bautista becomes the 139th member of the 300 homer club, but only the fourth who failed to homer in his first 130 at bats (Ivan Rodriguez, Andre Dawson, Rogers Hornsby.)

Aug. 4: All four starting Indian infielders hit homers, and all three starting outfielders have an assist, a major league first.

Aug. 6: Freddie Freeman reaches base in all five plate appearances, one day after striking out four times.  He has a homer, two singles, and two walks.  This hasn’t happened since 2010, when Jason Heyward did so in his fourth and fifth major league games.  Heyward also homered, hit two singles, and drew two walks.

Aug. 13: The Phillies beat the Rockies despite being out-singled, out-doubled, out-tripled, and out-homered.  Since 1900, teams had gone 0-202 in such games.

Aug 14: Mookie Betts has his second three-homer game of the season, joining Ted Williams as the only Red Sox to do so.  At age 23, Betts is the youngest player in mlb history to do so.  Williams, 38 in ’57, is the oldest.

Aug. 22: David Ortiz becomes the first 40-year-old to hit 40 doubles.  Sam Rice had held the 40-year-old record, with 35 in 1930.

Aug. 24: Ortiz becomes the oldest to reach the 30-homer mark, beating Darrell Evans (’87 Tigers) by 165 days.

Aug 25: Max Scherzer of the Nationals becomes the first pitcher with four games of no more than two hits, no walks, and at least 10 strikeouts.  Tied with three: Walter Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, and….Corey Kluber.

Aug. 30: Mike Trout notches his fourth season of 30 stolen bases, 25 homers, and 100 runs scored by age 25, joining Joe DiMaggio, Henry Aaron, and Albert Pujols.

Sept. 2: Miguel Cabrera’s career triple crown numbers: .321, 427, 1530.  Also reaching those levels: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, and Stan Musial.

Sept. 18: Miguel Cabrera is the youngest to reach 2,500 hits since Aaron in ’67.

Sept. 19: The Reds surrender their record-breaking 242nd homer of the year.

Sept. 22: Brian Dozier of the Twins hits his 42nd homer, his 40th as a second baseman, a new American league record.

Sept. 24: The Twins lose again, giving Dozier the record for most homers for a 100-loss team.  Jeff Burroughs had 41 for the ‘77 Braves.

Sept. 28: In his career, Cabrera has hit .350 with 42 homers against the Indians.  Others hitting at least .320 with 40 homers against the Tribe: Ruth, Gehrig, and Williams.

Oct. 2: The Braves become the first team this millennium (since the ’99 Angels) to enter September with a winning percentage under .400, and play over .600 to finish out the year.  They must have a manager worth keeping.