Another wild and crazy first half of the baseball season!
Here’s a recap of some of the more amazing feats and oddities. The first week of the season is omitted, as that action was detailed in this space on April 15.
With a nod of thanks to our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, supplier of all the following facts, here we go:
April 13: The Royals 7-0 start ties the ’33 Yankees for the best start ever by a defending American League champion.
April 14: Shane Greene becomes the third Tigers pitcher in the past 70 years to go at least eight innings with no earned runs allowed in his first two starts. Oddly enough, he joins John Hiller (’67) and Bob Sykes (’78.)
April 17: The Giants become the first World Series champs to open the season with five straight home losses.
April 18: The A’s have struck out only five times in their first 12 games, an mlb record. But their record is only 6-6.
April 24: The Mets play the Yankees, and it marks the first time two New York teams meet with both in first place since Bobby Thomson’s home run.
April 27: Brian McCann sets a Yankee record, hitting 21 of his first 25 homers as a Yankee in the Bronx.
April 29: James McCann (no relation) hits his first career homer, and it’s an inside-the-park job. He’s the third to do so in the past 30 years, but the first Tiger since pitcher Frank Lary on Opening Day in 1956.
May 1: Addison Russell of the Cubs becomes the youngest to homer in a 1-0 game since Eddie Mathews in 1952 (in the Braves last home win in Boston.)
May 2: The Giants beat the Angels, getting the final out when a batted ball hits a baserunner. It’s the first game to end in such a fashion since June 27, 2010. Six hours later, the Dodgers beat the D’backs, and the game ends the exact same way!
May 5: Bartolo Colon becomes the first pitcher to beat one team (the Orioles) with seven different clubs.
May 14: Rene Rivera of the Rays, hitting .126 after 102 plate appearances, knocks in four runs. He’s the fourth person in history to rack up four rbis in a game he entered hitting under .130. Incredibly, the other three all did so in 1969 (Don Wert, Tom Egan, and Dave Duncan.)
May 19: Bryce Harper of the Nats becomes the third player under age 23 to hit 15 homers in his first 40 games. He joins Mathews (’53) and Harmon Killebrew (’59.)
May 21: The Giants become the first team to throw three straight shutouts twice in one season since the ’92 Braves. They’re the first team to do so twice in a single calendar month since the ’69 Mets in September.
May 27: The A’s lose their 12th straight one-run game at home, the longest such streak since 1894.
May 28: The Giants post their eighth shutout of the month at home, the first National League team to do so since the 1916 Giants.
June 1: Andrew Cashner of the Padres allows 11 hits, and adds 12 strikeouts, the first with double-digit hits and strikeouts in less than five innings pitched, since 1900.
June 2: Noah Syndergaard of the Mets allows 10 hits, and adds 10 strikeouts, the second with double-digit hits and strikeouts in less than five innings pitched, since 1900.
June 6: Miguel Cabrera becomes the second Triple Crown winner to homer on the same day a horse clinches the Triple Crown. Lou Gehrig is the other, and he did it twice, in ’35 and ’37.
June 8: The White Sox’ Chris Sale becomes the second pitcher with at least 12 strikeouts and no more than one run allowed in three straight starts. He joins Sandy Koufax, who did it over his final three starts in ’65.
June 12: The Pirates beat the Phils, 1-0 in 11 innings. That’s their longest 1-0 win at home since August 29, 1914, when Honus Wagner scored the winning run.
June 14: The Bucs beat the Phils again, 1-0 in 11. It marks the first series where two games reached the 11th inning scoreless since May, 1958: Phils at Bucs!
June 23: Zack Greinke becomes the second pitcher in history with no wins in nine starts despite an earned run average under two during those starts. Jeff Samardzija managed it last year.
June 29: The Indians’ Cody Anderson takes a perfect game into the seventh inning of his second mlb start. No one came that close to perfection in his first or second mlb start since Juan Marichal in his debut in 1960.
July 2: The Cubs sweep the Reds in a three game set, allowing a single run. That’s the fewest runs the Cubs have allowed in a road series since 1918.
July 4: Kris Bryant becomes the second Cub rookie with two grand slams since Billy Williams in 1961.
July 5: The Cardinals return to the Dead Ball Era, allowing two runs or fewer in 48 of their first 81 games. That’s tied for third-best in history with the1906 Cubs, behind the 1907 Cubs (51), and 1907 White Sox (50.)
July 5: Albert Pujols hits 25 homers for the 14th time in his first 15 years, breaking the record of 13 held by Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, and Frank Robinson.
July 8: Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers reaches 1500 innings pitched, with 104 wins and a 2.51 era. That’s second best since 1920 to Tom Seaver (106 wins, 2.39 era.)
July 9: The Indians have four pitchers, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar, with 100 strikeouts, in a record 84 games. It took the ’60 Dodgers 89 games (Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres, and Stan Williams.)
July 11: Sale sets his own record, recording double-digit strikeouts in his seventh straight game on the road.