Rangers and Indians! Giants and Cubs! Big Papi and Clayton Kershaw!
They’re just a few of the highlights from the first half of this baseball season. A very few. Consider these amazing oddities, uncovered by our ever-vigilant friends at the Elias Sports Bureau:
April 3: Francisco Liriano of the Pirates becomes the first pitcher to knock in the first run of the season since 1973 (Don Gullett, Reds.) He also becomes the third with two double-digit strikeout games in openers, joining Chris Short and Pedro Martinez…Yadier Molina of the Cardinals becomes the third catcher to start 12 straight openers, joining Ray Schalk (15) and Bill Dickey (14.)
April 4: The Dodgers blast the Padres, 15-0, the largest opening day shutout in history, and the most runs scored for a new manager…The Rangers beat Seattle, 3-2, with one hit, the first team since 1900 to win an opener with fewer than two hits.
April 5: What a trio! David Ortiz joins Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski as the only Red Sox over age 40 to homer on opening day.
April 6: The Dodgers open with three straight shutouts, joining the ’63 Cardinals.
April 12: The Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt hits his 119th career homer, but his very first on a 3-0 count.
April 13: The Twins become the first team since 1893 (when 60’6” became the standard mound-to-plate distance) to record more strikeouts than hits in each of their first eight games.
April 14: The Twins and Braves mark the second time two teams have opened 0-9. In 1988, it was the Orioles and Braves.
April 17: The Twins and Braves share baseball’s longest winning streak, three games.
April 22: The Cubs have allowed 103 hits in their first 17 games, their lowest total since the magical year of 1908.
April 24: Dusty Baker has won 1,685 games as a manager, but this is the first in which his team trailed in the ninth, and in extra innings, before winning. The 6-5, 16-inning win comes over the hapless Twins.
April 26: The Cubs have won 15 of 20, their best start since the magical year of 1907…The Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen notches his second three-homer game. He joins the fine company of Pirate Hall-of-Famers Ralph Kiner (4), Willie Stargell (4) and Roberto Clemente (2).
May 1: The Pirates erase deficits in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but lose, 6-5, to the Reds in eleven. This is the third such occurrence in history, and it’s happened to the Bucs each time.
May 3: Jake Arrieta becomes the first Cub to win each of his first six starts since Mordecai Brown in the magical year of 1908.
May 11: Max Scherzer of the Nationals ties the record by striking out 20 Tigers. He does set a record for most strikeouts against a former team.
May 13: Chris Sale of the White Sox wins his first eight starts with an era under 2.00, the first to do so in the American League since Ed Lopat of the Yankees in 1951.
May 16: The Indians, down 4-0, storm back to beat the Reds, 15-4. They snap a streak of 46 consecutive losses when trailing by four runs. The longest current streak, 38 games, now belongs to the Braves.
May 17: Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers sets a record with double-digit strikeouts and no more than one walk in six straight starts. His six-game ratio of 68 strikeouts and two walks is the best ever over a six game stretch.
May 27: Josh Donaldson has four hits, knocks in a run with each, and each rbi puts the Jays ahead. The only other time this occurred, Eddie Mathews turned the trick for the Braves in 1965…David Ross of the Cubs hits his 100th career homer. Of the 840 players who hit that many, Ross is the only one without at least three seasons of 250 at bats. Ross has only one.
May 30: Cub relievers pitch seven perfect innings. That’s the longest perfect relief stint since June 23, 1917, when Babe Ruth walked the first batter, was ejected, and Ernie Shore came in. The runner on first was caught stealing, and Shore retired 26 in a row.
June 6: The Cubs extend their division lead to 10 games, the earliest they’ve had a 10 game lead since the magical year of 1907.
June 7: Carlos Beltran of the Yankees joins Eddie Murray, Chipper Jones, and Pete Rose as switch-hitters in the 1,000 extra base hits club.
June 8: Chris Parmalee hits two homers in his first start as a Yankee, the first Yankee to do so since 1960: Roger Maris.
June 9: Tyler Naguin, becomes the first rookie centerfielder for the Indians to hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning or later since 1957: Roger Maris.
June 10: Cards pitcher Adam Wainwright doubles, his sixth hit of the year, all for extra bases. He’s the first Cardinal to do that since 1936, when Johnny Mize got seven to start his career.
June 14: The Tigers get a run in the first inning, two in the second, three in the third, and four in the fourth. It’s the third time this has happened since 1945, and the Tigers have done it each time.
June 20: Rockies 5, Marlins 3. Every run scores on a solo home run, an mlb record. Previous record: five.
June 26: Giants Bruce Bochy wins his 800th game as Giants manager. He’s the second to win over 800 games with two different teams, joining Sparky Anderson.
July 1: Michael Fulmer of the Tigers has gone eight starts without being charged with more than one run, tying the rookie record set by Christy Mathewson in 1901.
July 6: The Tigers break their 11-game losing streak to the Indians with a 12-2 win. They’re the first team to break a double-digit losing streak against a single team with a double-digit win since 1951: Tigers over the Indians.
July 10: David Ortiz becomes the oldest player to lead mlb in extra base hits at the all-star break—by four years.