MLB’s 20 most mind-blowing hitting, pitching feats of 2023 — with Kyle Schwarber leading off

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It’s nan astir awesome clip of nan twelvemonth … isolated from for 1 thing:

It’s nary longer shot season!

But that’s wherever we travel in. It’s our not-so-solemn work to get you done these long, chilly, baseball-free months by helping you relive nan champion of nan Strange But True shot play of 2023. Don’t show america you already forgot that …

An unforgettable on-base streak ended moreover though the man who compiled that streak was opinionated connected first base. … And we really did spot a existent quality being steal 3rd guidelines and location connected nan aforesaid pitch. … And a squad sounded a no-hitter contempt nan insignificant hindrance of besides allowing 7 runs — successful nan aforesaid inning!

We’re not making immoderate of that up. We walk nan full twelvemonth keeping way of wacky worldly for illustration this truthful you don’t person to. So subordinate america now arsenic we relive The Strange But True Feats of 2023 … successful 5 parts. Today’s installment: nan hitters … nan pitchers … and that Shohei feline who apparently does some of nan above!

The Strangest But Truest Hitter of 2023: The Schwarbino

Kyle Schwarber had 47 homers and 48 singles connected nan season. (Eric Hartline / USA Today)

“Can you do maine a favor?” Kyle Schwarber asked america 1 time successful precocious September, though not wholly seriously. “Can you constitute a communicative that tells group I really had a good year?”

Sure. Why nan heck not? It tin beryllium difficult to cognize what to make of a leadoff hitter who vanished nan play hitting .197 pinch 215 strikeouts. So let nan Strange But True Feats of nan Year file to thief pinch that. It thumps calculating those December wind-chill factors.

He’s nan astir unsocial leadoff monster of each time! Does it look kinda Strange But True to spot a squad look astatine a .197 hitter who leads nan convention successful strikeouts and decide: “Here’s a bully measurement to triumph nan World Series. Let’s person that guy lead off?”

Well, that’s what nan Phillies did pinch nan Schwarbino. On 1 hand, it allowed him to go nan first man successful nan modern era to rotation up astatine slightest 500 leadoff sheet appearances in a play successful which his mean ne'er made it to nan Mendoza Line. (Previous grounds for lowest full-season average: .211, by Eddie “Sparky” Lake, for nan 1947 Tigers.)

But wait. On nan different hand, aft nan Phillies moved Schwarber into that leadoff spot to enactment connected June 2, they went 65-41 successful games successful which he led off. Which intends they played for illustration a 99-win squad erstwhile he occupied nan apical slot successful their lineup. So whatever. That worked! Here’s a cleanable Strange But True illustration of really …

He was a leadoff earthquake waiting to happen! For 108 games successful 2023, Schwarber was nan first Phillies hitter to measurement into nan box. He sewage a deed to lead disconnected precisely 21 of those games. He deed a azygous to lead disconnected only six of those games. So you deliberation that was a problem?

Um, not truthful much. His OPS starring disconnected games still coiled up astatine 1.056. Does that sound good? It should, since it was simply nan highest OPS, arsenic nan first batter of nan game, successful nan history of a franchise that has been astir since 1883 … because, apparently, each those leadoff walks (21) and leadoff Schwarbombs (11) tin besides beryllium helpful. Which reminds us: If we conscionable talk astir his whiffs and his average, we’re leaving retired immoderate stuff!

He was besides Ruthian! You cognize what other apparently tin beryllium helpful? Piling up monolithic amounts of homers (47), RBIs (104), runs scored (108) and walks (126). You cognize who has had that season? Oh, only Babe Ruth (six times), Mark McGwire (twice), Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Barry Bonds and Aaron Judge (once). And besides …

Kyle Schwarber.

Which meant moreover much all-time Strange But True worldly was possible. Such arsenic …

He was beautiful overmuch arsenic productive arsenic a feline who deed .306! Let nan grounds show that, according to Baseball Reference, Schwarber vanished pinch an OPS+ of 122. And really Strange But True is it for a feline who batted .197 to person an OPS that was still 22 percent amended than convention average? Well, it’s nan highest OPS+ successful history by a qualifying hitter whose mean started pinch a “1.” So there’s that. But there’s besides this:

Bo Bichette successful 2023 — .306 AVG, 123 OPS+
Schwarber successful 2023 — .197 AVG, 122 OPS+

How tin that beryllium possible? Excellent question. I’m not successful complaint of OPS+ calculations, but I’m guessing it has thing to do pinch this: The feline who deed .197, amazingly, had a higher on-base percent (.343) than nan feline who deed .306 (.339)! That tin hap erstwhile 1 feline draws 99 much walks than nan different guy. But nevertheless, present travel much Schwarbarian shockers. …

He deed .197 … and still led his squad successful runs scored! Does that look difficult to do? You should reply yes, because here’s nan complete database of players since 1900 who person done that, connected immoderate team, pinch an mean beneath .200, complete immoderate afloat season:

Kyle Schwarber, 2023 Phillies
List ends present — but not this database …

He had 100 much whiffs (215) than hits (115) … but still led his squad successful runs scored! You’ll emotion nan rundown of each nan typical violative forces who person ever vanished a play pinch astatine slightest 100 much strikeouts than hits:

Adam Dunn (twice) … Joey Gallo (three times) … Chris Davis (2018) … and Schwarber (2023). What. A. Group. But … really galore of those legendary whiffers besides had 108 runs scored aliases led their squad successful runs (or both)? Here’s that complete list:

Kyle Schwarber, 2023 Phillies
List ends here

Stay retired of nan WAR Zone — Not surprisingly, Schwarber says moreover his teammates had each kinds of nosy messing pinch him complete his wacky stat line.

“There was a time,” he recalled fondly, “at immoderate constituent this year, that I was a antagonistic WAR player. So we were each laughing astir that.”

Hey, his bully news was that, by season’s end, he did successful truth climb retired of that negative-WAR zone. The bad news was, acknowledgment to glovemanship issues that nan WAR gods couldn’t ignore, he climbed to a last fig of only 0.6 WAR. Which meant …

Was it really imaginable for a man to mash 47 homers and surpass 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored, yet still beryllium worthy little than 1 triumph supra replacement? Eh, we conjecture so. But had it ever appeared imaginable before? That would beryllium no.

Incredibly, nan only previous, akin monster play to lead to a WAR number nether 3.0 was produced by different Phillies masher of immoderate renown — Ryan Howard, successful 2008. Somehow, nan Baseball Reference WAR room looked astatine that Howard play — which included a staggering 48 homers, 146 RBIs and 105 runs — and calculated that to beryllium worthy conscionable 1.8 WAR. Clearly, WAR tin beryllium confusing for illustration that sometimes.

So successful nan end, did Kyle Schwarber attraction astir his mean aliases his whiffs aliases his WAR? Nope!

“I mean, did I image myself doing this, hitting what I’m hitting? No,” he said. “I’m nan first to show you it’s each benignant of interesting. … But you cognize what? At nan extremity of nan day, for me, if we’re getting a win, I’m happy.”

Our favourite Strange But True Ohtani-isms of 2023

What can’t he do? Will Ohtani play backmost next? (Kirby Lee / USA Today)

It’s almost a reflex action to commencement each Strange But True file pinch nan regularly scheduled Shohei Ohtani item reel. But since you’ve been treated to, like, 988 different Ohtani stories successful nan past week and a half, we’ll fto him deed 2nd successful this lineup.

Oh, and also: We’ve already dug heavy into nan wildness and weirdness of that $700 cardinal contract … and compared him to Mookie Betts/Gerrit Cole … and reminded you really galore consecutive hits he’d person to springiness up earlier his profession batting mean would driblet beneath nan mean of Unhappy Hitters Who Have to Face Ohtani. So nary request to do that again.

Which intends we tin conscionable usage this abstraction to shingle our heads again complete our favourite Strange But True Ohtani moments from 2023. Ready? So … connected pinch nan Shoh.

He ne'er stopped making Tungsten Arm O’Doyle jokes imaginable — Do we request to re-tell, for nan last time, nan root of nan hilarious saga of Ohtani/Tungsten Arm O’Doyle? OK, we’ll make it quick. It began 2 years ago, pinch this then-innocent tweet.

every clip I spot an Angels item it's for illustration "Mike Trout deed 3 homes runs and raised his mean to .528 while Shohei Ohtani did thing that hasn't been done since 'Tungsten Arm' O'Doyle of nan 1921 Akron Groomsmen, arsenic nan Tigers defeated nan Angels 8-3"

— ℳatt (@matttomic) May 18, 2021

Now, 2 trillion references later, Tungsten Arm O’Doyle tin spell down arsenic 1 of nan 21st century’s top fictitious legends. And Ohtani now tin spell up nan freeway to Chavez Ravine to time off him successful nan dust. But successful 2023, his past play successful Orange County, nan Angels kept Tungsten Arm connected each of our radar screens, pinch worldly for illustration this:

• Opening time — Ohtani nan pitcher: six shutout innings, 10 strikeouts. Ohtani nan hitter: reaches guidelines twice. Tungsten Arm subplot: Angels still lose, 2-1, because … Tungsten!

• Aug. 18 — Ohtani nan slammer: Hits a azygous successful nan first inning and whomps a expansive slam an inning aft that. Ohtani nan teammate: Watches his squad move its first triple play since 1997 to support this crippled tied successful nan ninth. Tungsten Arm subplot: Angels get an Ohtani slam and a game-saving triple play … and still suffer to nan Rays, 9-6, because … spot above.

• Sept. 3 — Ohtani nan way star: Steals his 20th guidelines of nan season, successful what turned retired to beryllium nan last clip he reached guidelines this year. Ohtani nan historian: Becomes nan first man successful National League/American League history to subordinate nan 20-Steal/10-Win Club since nan unforgettable Adonis Terry did it for nan 1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms. Tungsten Arm subplot: Angels still lose, 10-6, to an Oakland squad that was 54 games nether .500, because, clearly, this was their last chance to get Tungsten Arm O’Doyle into nan clone headlines … truthful nan shot gods demanded they make it count.

Ohtani, nan tri-cyclist — Back connected May 9, 1918, personification named Babe Ruth went 5-for-5, pinch a triple, a azygous and 3 doubles, while pitching into other innings earlier yet losing to Walter Johnson. The Babe ne'er had different crippled pinch a single, double, triple and any pitches thrown. But connected April 27, Ohtani had a crippled for illustration that, successful a triumph complete Oakland. Here’s why we mention it:

He was nan first pitcher pinch a single, double and triple successful immoderate benignant of crippled successful 36 years (since Danny Darwin did it successful 1987) — and only nan 3rd successful nan past six decades. You cognize who didn’t person immoderate games pinch a azygous and double and triple this year, contempt nan truth that they weren’t distracted by having to propulsion a azygous pitch? Oh, only Ronald Acuña Jr., Mookie Betts, Julio Rodríguez, Bobby Witt Jr. and astir 1,000 different guys who different look earnestly multi-talented.

Ohtani, nan box-score filler-upper — Then location was June 27. Ohtani nan pitcher: Faces 24 White Sox and strikes retired 10 of them. Ohtani nan hitter: Takes 3 swings each nighttime … and gets 3 hits, 2 of them homers.

Here, astatine nary other charge, is your handy-dandy database of dudes successful nan division-play era pinch a double-digit strikeout crippled and a multi-homer eruption successful nan aforesaid game: Rick Wise (1971), Madison Bumgarner (2017), Zack Greinke (2019) and … Ohtani.

Ohtani, nan 493-foot transportation man — Then, 3 days aft that two-homer, 10-K game, a man who had a amended strikeout ratio than Gerrit Cole this twelvemonth launched a location tally that was projected by Statcast astatine 493 feet, but actually, according to NASA scientists we conscionable made up, reached Earth’s orbit. Don’t judge us? You tin watch it! (And you should.)

Ohtani, nan all-time twin-bill king — Finally, what do you opportunity we salute the top doubleheader capacity successful shot history (as declared by Strange But True World HQ, acclaimed arsenic nan eventual authority connected this subject, arsenic of 2 sentences ago)?

July 27 successful Detroit. Ohtani nan pitcher: Throws a one-hit shutout successful Game 1 of this doubleheader. Ohtani nan hitter: Mashes 2 location runs successful Game 2 of this doubleheader.

Question from those of america who constitute Strange But True Feats of nan Year columns: Who nan heck does this? Who nan heck has ever done this?

The answer, according to nan Elias Sports Bureau (via’s resident Ohtani historian, Sarah Langs): That would beryllium nobody, of course. How galore men person ever thrown any benignant of shutout successful 1 crippled of a doubleheader and deed moreover one homer successful nan different crippled of a doubleheader? One man — named Shohei.

But a one-hit shutout in Game 1 and two location runs in Game 2? That’s not thing you would expect to spot successful nan awesome leagues. That’s retired of nan Marvel Superhero League.

Special prize statement from Langs: The past quality earlier Ohtani who twirled a shutout successful 1 crippled of a doubleheader and past started astatine immoderate different position successful nan different game? George H. (Bambino) Ruth, connected July 17, 1918. But nary location runs for nan Bambino that day!

Christmas typical Strange But True Ohtani video dainty — What can’t Shohei Ohtani do? If you watch this video, it’ll beryllium evident that nan reply is: Not a freaking thing.

Nice Catch Sho! ✅
Shohei Ohtani catches his ain helmet while astatine bat successful Anaheim. Atta Boy! 🤩#大谷翔平 #Ohtani #Angels #GoHalos

— Anaheim Sports (@AnaheimSports1) May 7, 2023

Our 10 favourite Strange But True Hitting Feats of 2023

No fooling: Trayce Thompson had a time connected April 1, but past what happened? (Jonathan Hui / USA Today)

WITHOUT A TRAYCE — Just arsenic we each expected, nan first three-homer crippled of 2023 didn’t travel rocketing disconnected nan bat of Aaron Judge aliases Matt Olson. Instead, it was nan activity of nan Dodgers’ Trayce Thompson, a man whose relative (Klay) is somewhat much celebrated for his 3-pointers than he is.

Nevertheless, successful his first commencement of nan season, connected April 1, Trayce became nan first Dodger successful history to worldly a expansive slam, three-run homer and solo homer into nan aforesaid container people … and past … to make judge columns for illustration this stay successful business … that aforesaid feline went 40 days betwixt hits (April 19 to May 30) … batted .148 over nan remainder of nan season … and deed arsenic galore big-league location runs complete nan adjacent six months arsenic he deed that 1 time … because baseball!

THEIR SECOND FIRST ACT — In an April 13 sojourn to Yankee Stadium, nan Twins conscionable mightiness person fired disconnected nan Strangest But Truest back-to-back homers ever. You cognize what their Nos. 1-2 hitters, Edouard Julien and Carlos Correa, did that day? They went back-to-back successful nan first inning. But that’s not nan Strange But True portion … because that has happened before.

You cognize what had ne'er happened before? That would beryllium a team’s 1-2 hitters going back-to-back successful nan first inning … but not to lead disconnected nan game. Turns retired it’s adjuvant to feats for illustration this if their teammates activity a convenient small nine-run first-inning bat-around into their engaged schedule. Whaddaya know.

FEEL THE PINCH — In baseball, arsenic successful life, it’s ne'er conscionable astir really it starts. It’s astir what happens erstwhile you participate nan game. For much impervious of that profound, age-old saying, which nan awesome philosophers person been sharing since, oh, astir half a paragraph ago, you should look astatine nan 2023 stories of Elias Díaz and Andrew Knizner.

• Elias Díaz is simply a catcher for nan Rockies. He turned 33 years aged past month. And since nan rules required personification connected nan Rockies to beryllium an All-Star, that personification was him.

Remember his immense All-Star moment? How ’bout a game-winning, lead-flipping pinch location tally to manus nan NL nan All-Star game. Awesome. But present comes nan Strange But True part:

Pinch-hit All-Star location runs — 1 … successful 1 swing.

Pinch-hit regular-season location runs … successful 15 pro seasons, 9 big-league seasons and 2,166 trips to nan sheet — zero!

Timing genuinely is everything.

• Andrew Knizner has spent astir of his five-year big-league profession arsenic Yadi Molina’s backup catcher successful St. Louis. But connected May 17, rather nan Strange But True crippled statement busted out. One minute, he was pinch moving for Paul Goldschmidt (look it up!) successful nan eighth inning of a 9-1 game. Next minute, nan Cardinals were batting astir … and past this happened.

What you conscionable saw was A Man With No Position smoking a expansive slam. And only 2 different players successful nan past 65 seasons person done that. One was Rajai Davis successful 2008. The different (Gene Stephens) did it successful 1959 aft pinch moving for Ted Williams. But that isn’t moreover nan Strange But True part.

The Strange But True portion was that Andrew Knizner, a man who has ne'er deed a slam while really playing a position, deed this slam disconnected Mike Brosseau, who doesn’t usually springiness those up because he’s an infielder. Which intends … a feline with nary position pounded a expansive slam off a position player. And if you’re not much grateful than ever now for these Strange But True Feats of nan Year columns, I don’t cognize really you made it this acold into this one.

PLEASE IGNORE THE VIDEO EVIDENCE — A classical Strange But True point happened to Padres shortstop Xander Bogaerts connected May 3: His career-high 30-game on-base streak was surgery contempt nan weird technicality that he was standing connected first guidelines erstwhile it ended.

Geez, it judge wasn’t his fault. He deed what looked for illustration a azygous to correct field. It wasn’t caught successful nan aerial by an outfielder, conscionable for illustration astir hits. But unluckily for him, nan astir confused man successful San Diego happened to beryllium his teammate Juan Soto. … Who missed nan portion wherever nan shot bounced … and hustled backmost to first guidelines … wherever he recovered Bogaerts wasn’t arsenic happy arsenic accustomed to spot him.

And that’s really a man who was standing connected a base saw his on-base streak disappear, correct earlier his eyes. However galore times Bogaerts wondered successful 2023 why he ever near Boston, we’re guessing that was 1 of them!

NICKEL BACKS — Is Five Hit Fever thing a feline could drawback conscionable hanging astir nan batting cage? We inquire because Marlins deed instrumentality Luis Arraez decidedly caught it this June. How Strange But True is this:

Arraez successful June: 3 five-hit games successful 16 days.

Miguel Cabrera successful his 21-year career: 2 five-hit games successful 2,797 games.

Strange but 100 percent true.

But we besides asked astir Five Hit Fever because of …

The Angels: They mysteriously went 5 years — contempt employing Mike Trout and Ohtani for each 5 of them — without having immoderate stinking hitter connected nan roster fig retired really to get 5 hits successful a crippled … until Hunter Renfroe yet unfurled their first quintuple since 2018 successful a June 24 blowout of nan Rockies. How even? But wait, Here comes nan …

Strange But True Epilogue: So really agelong aft that would it return for an Angel — immoderate Angel — to present their adjacent five-hit game? It was rather nan hold … of 2 batters … until Mickey Moniak sewage his 5th deed of nan time successful that aforesaid inning. Because … Five Hit Fever! Catch it.

THE WILD BLUE YAN-DER — If you’re acquainted pinch nan activity of Cubs catcher Yan Gomes, you’re astir apt alert he’ll ne'er beryllium confused pinch Usain Bolt, fto unsocial Dee Strange-Gordon. But successful nan Strange But True world we unrecorded in, thing is possible, moreover for a man who classed 449th successful nan fields this twelvemonth successful mean “sprint” speed.

So naturally, connected July 20, astatine property 36, Gomes did thing nary catcher his property (or older) had done successful nan past 95 years: He deed 2 triples successful 1 game! But that’s not all, because he really deed triples in 2 sheet appearances successful a row. Now present are 2 reasons we mightiness beryllium willing successful thing for illustration that:

1) How galore different catchers deed 2 triples successful a crippled not conscionable this year, but nan twelvemonth earlier that … and nan twelvemonth earlier that … and nan twelvemonth earlier that? Anybody retired location conjecture none? Excellent guess!

2) How galore triples has Gomes deed connected immoderate of nan 201 different days he has been allowed to play shot by nan Cubs complete these past 2 seasons? That, too, would beryllium nary … successful 708 trips to nan plate.

But successful nan mediate of each that, this aforesaid feline smacked a triple successful 2 at-bats successful a row? C’mon. How tin you not emotion nan full random wackiness of …


Reds rookie sensation Elly De La Cruz wasted nary clip successful providing Strange But True material. (Orlando Ramirez / USA Today)

IT’S ALL CYCLICAL — We could person worked nan Reds’ quality instrumentality kit, Elly De La Cruz, into this file astir 12 different ways. Did you cognize he deed a shot this twelvemonth harder (119.2 mph) than immoderate shot deed by Aaron Judge? That seems for illustration a cool point to do for the fastest dude connected nan field.

But that’s not moreover what De La Cruz is doing successful this condemnation you’re presently reading. Nope. How astir this:

On June 23, he hit for nan cycle — successful nan 15th game of his career.

On July 8, he stole for nan cycle — by stealing second, 3rd and location successful nan aforesaid inning.

And moreover though stealing for nan rhythm is simply a point we conscionable invented, it’s still a point you request to beryllium successful awe of, if only because he besides stole 3rd and location on nan aforesaid pitch.

3D search — Elly De La Cruz steals 3rd and location connected nan aforesaid pitch

Elly strobed each 1 2nd starting pinch nan pitcher's first move

— David Adler (@_dadler) July 9, 2023

Last Red to bargain for nan rhythm — Greasy Neale, successful 1919!

Last Red to deed for nan rhythm — Eric Davis, successful 1989, which meant each nan different teams had fresh 110 cycles successful betwixt Reds’ cycles!

Players successful nan live-ball era to do some 15 days isolated (or quicker) — Elly De La Cruz … and that’ll do it for that list.

Other players successful nan past 98 seasons who did some successful nan aforesaid twelvemonth — Exactly one, and it was … um … Wil Myers? He did it successful 2017. But that, successful this case, is not nan Strange But True part.

Because you cognize what other happened nan time De La Cruz deed for nan rhythm and started each this? The Reds released a feline named … Wil Myers!

VLAD YOU STOPPED BY — Don’t inquire america really Vlad Guerrero Jr. didn’t make this file conscionable for fielding a groundball successful May, getting nan shot stuck successful nan webbing and past flipping nan full mitt to nan pitcher for an retired that proved, erstwhile again, your mitt will not fto you down. Except that wasn’t moreover his Strangest But Truest feat of that week.

Just your ordinary, ace casual 3-1 groundout 😅

— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) June 1, 2023

For his top Strange But True classic, we return you to May 23 successful Tampa Bay, erstwhile 1 of nan goofiest games of nan play busted retired … successful ample portion acknowledgment to Vlad.

Ever heard of a squad scoring 9 runs successful 1 inning — all against position players masquerading arsenic pitchers? That. Really. Happened. In nan ninth inning of that game. For nan first clip successful nan history of this sport.

And nan “pitcher” who was responsible for astir of that carnage was Rays first baseman Luke Raley. But successful nan midst of each those rockets Raley was serving up, he astatine slightest shared this nutty small infinitesimal pinch nan fearsome Vlad Guerrero Jr., correct aft taking nan mound successful nan eighth.

Luke Raley strikes retired Vlad Guerrero Jr.!

— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) May 24, 2023

So Vladdy could person made nan Strange But True Feats of nan Year conscionable for that, isolated from … person we mentioned location was a nine-run ninth inning successful this game? … So what were nan likelihood of nan Jays’ lineup turning and turning and turning … until present came Vlad to bat again successful nan ninth inning … only to find Raley still pitching, with nan bases loaded? Want to conjecture what happened successful nan rematch? Yeah, it did.

Does it get overmuch Stranger But Truer than a feline striking retired and mashing a slam successful nan aforesaid crippled against the aforesaid position player? That would beryllium difficult seeing how it had never, ever happened … until Guerrero showed up astatine location plate.

SUSPENDED ANIMATION — What’s moreover alien (but truer) than a Mookie Betts 5-for-5 game? How astir a suspended Mookie Betts 5-for-5 game!

That’s a point that happened during nan Dodgers’ August sojourn to Cleveland. And here’s nan portion that propelled it into this column:

Aug. 23 — Mookie goes 2-for-2 (with 2 singles) earlier half a cardinal raindrops origin a flimsy intermission successful his basking streak.

Aug. 24 — Mookie gets 3 much hits (single, single, double) aft nan crippled yet resumes.

All right, now here’s what makes that a Strange But True all-timer: For nan remainder of time, history will effort to person america that Mookie had a five-hit crippled connected Wednesday nan 23rd … moreover though galore quality witnesses beryllium who could show you that three of those hits really met nan bat connected nan “wrong” time (Thursday nan 24th).

So really Strange But True was that? So unusual that, according to our friends from STATS Perform, only 1 different subordinate since 1901 has ever gotten 5 hits aliases much successful a suspended crippled … pinch much than half of them coming connected nan “wrong” day. But nan different (Tom Paciorek) did it in a 26-inning crippled (on May 8-9, 1984). Which would beryllium 17 much innings than it took Mookie Betts — our charismatic Strange But True Time Traveler of 2023.

Ozzie Albies and nan Braves did a number connected nan Mets connected Aug. 12. (Brad Penner / USA Today)

WE’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER — The Braves’ full play could person made this list, because successful lawsuit you missed it, they someway had a higher slugging percent as a team (.501) than bashers for illustration Bryce Harper (.499), Rafael Devers (.500) and José Ramírez (.478) had by themselves. But instead, we’re going to area successful connected Aug. 12, our favourite Braves Strange But True time of nan year.

They scored 21 runs successful Game 1 of a doubleheader against nan Mets that day. But that wasn’t nan Strange But True part. The Strange But True portion was really they divvied up those 21 runs. By which we mean they had …

One feline pinch 1 RBI (Ronald Acuña Jr.).

Another pinch 2 RBIs (Sean Murphy).

Another pinch 3 RBIs (Austin Riley).

Another pinch 4 RBIs (Matt Olson).

Another pinch 5 RBIs (Nicky Lopez).

And yet different pinch six RBIs (Ozzie Albies).

Which meant everyone other who played had nary RBIs. And that caused measurement excessively galore of you to opportunity to yourselves: Hmmm, could that ever person happened? And also: You cognize who we should ask? The Strange But True column!

So we reached retired to nan awesome Katie Sharp of Baseball Reference to look into that very question. On 1 hand, she did find 1 squad that ran disconnected that 1-2-3-4-5-6 RBI box-score trick. On nan different hand, that squad was Kiki Cuyler’s 1925 Pirates (against St. Louis connected June 22, 1925). Which intends it happened arsenic precocious as 98 years ago.

But wait. That squad really had 2 players pinch 2 RBIs and 2 players pinch 1 RBI. So you cognize what that means? It intends that, since RBIs became an charismatic stat successful 1920, this Braves crippled was nan first clip successful history that six hitters connected 1 squad went 1-2-3-4-5-6 successful nan RBI file … while cipher other connected their squad was driving successful immoderate runs. And that, for each of you who played 1-2-3-4-5-6 successful nan Powerball that night, is why we emotion …




Are nan Braves nan top discourtesy successful shot history? They're making rather a case

Our 10 favourite Strange But True Pitching Feats of 2023

Adam Wainwright tips his headdress to nan St. Louis crowd connected nan nighttime of his 200th victory. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

FOUNTAINS OF WAINO — We’ll miss Adam Wainwright. This is, aft all, a file dedicated to mixing nosy pinch each nan beauties of baseball. And we can’t deliberation of immoderate player, complete nan past 2 decades, who sewage that conception immoderate amended than nan Cardinals’ curveball king.

So what was much perfectly Strange But True than nan 200th and last triumph of Wainwright’s awesome career? Here’s what made it nan benignant of crippled Strange But True Feats of nan Year columns latch onto:

He spun 7 shutout innings — for his only scoreless commencement of nan year.

He won this game, 1-0 — for his first 1-0 triumph successful 9 years.

His catcher, Willson Contreras, deed a location tally to thrust successful nan only tally — nan first clip he’d ever done that arsenic a Cardinal. But now let’s support going, because we’ve hardly scratched nan aboveground of nan Strange But Trueness.

• Back connected Opening Day of nan 2014 season, Wainwright won nan 100th crippled of his career. He went 7 shutout innings successful that game, too. But clasp on. There’s more.

• How do you deliberation nan only tally scored successful that 100th win? Would you judge connected a location tally by his catcher, Yadi Molina? Yep, nan aforesaid measurement he won No. 200.

• But wait. There’s still more. How galore different pitchers successful history person ever won their 200th crippled 1-0 connected a location tally by their catcher? Right. That would beryllium none.

• And really galore different 1-0 games successful Wainwright’s profession did he triumph connected immoderate benignant of RBI by his catcher? Right. That would besides beryllium none.

Baseball. It’s nan best.

NUMBER SCRUNCHING — In baseball, we emotion large numbers. But present astatine Strange But True World HQ, we besides emotion small numbers. The littler nan better, successful fact. So here’s a toast to these mini numbers from 2023.

1 — Does it look intolerable for a pitcher to grounds a one-pitch strikeout? Ha. Are you acquainted pinch nan weirdness of baseball? All it took for Phillies reliever Jeff Hoffman to propulsion that off, backmost connected July 28, was astir 3 trillion raindrops successful Pittsburgh. Then he marched successful aft a rainfall delay, inherited a 1-2 count connected Jared Triolo, sewage him to plaything done a slider and voila!

We person a one-pitch strikeout successful Pittsburgh for Jeff Hoffman, acknowledgment to each those raindrops!

— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 29, 2023

3 — Do first innings get immoderate neater aliases cleaner than nan 3 pitches it took Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani to zip done his first inning connected May 28 against nan Pirates? Wait. Don’t reply that excessively swiftly.

Three pitches. Three outs. But besides … one extra-base deed (by Tucupita Marcano, connected nan first transportation of nan game). Luckily, nan adjacent 2 pitches went: Line-drive retired … fly-ball double play. The astir shot point ever.

0 — Finally, difficult arsenic we’ve been trying not to prime connected nan Mets successful this column, it doesn’t get overmuch Stranger Than Truer than a walk-off balk, issued by a pitcher (Josh Walker) who threw zero pitches. But that was nan Mets play successful glorious micro-Met-rocosm.

Here’s that deal. Walker rolls successful to relieve Grant Hartwig successful an Aug. 1 tilt pinch nan Royals. Tie game. Two outs successful nan 10th. Leans successful for nan sign. His PitchCom glitches out. And … oh no!

The umps called a balk to people nan walkoff tally successful extras contempt nan Mets arguing that they were having transportation connected issues

— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 2, 2023

We’ve been keeping way of transportation counts for nan past 36 seasons. In nan 80,000 games aliases truthful successful those 36 seasons, only 1 different pitcher has ever managed a no-pitch “balk-off” to extremity immoderate game: Mike Stanton, for nan Nationals, connected July 15, 2005. But immoderate it took successful 2023, it felt arsenic though nan Mets were gonna find a measurement to Met!

CRAZY EIGHTS — Who had a Stranger But Truer 2023 than Lucas Giolito? It was wacky capable that he ping-ponged from nan White Sox to nan Angels to nan Guardians successful a specified 36 days. But that wasn’t moreover nan Strange But True part.

The Strange But True portion was he recovered a measurement to let astatine slightest 8 runs successful a crippled for each 3 of those teams. The “good news” for Giolito: He was not the only feline ever to do that for 3 different teams. But nan bad news was, nan past pitcher to do it was Bill McGee … in 1899!

DOMINGO’S PERFECT STORM — If shot made immoderate sense, each cleanable games would beryllium thrown by existent aces. So if Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander aliases Clayton Kershaw are ever successful nan temper to spell 27-up, 27-down immoderate day, we’re cool pinch that. We’d moreover motion disconnected connected occasional impermanent perfectos by Corbin Burnes and Max Scherzer — because astatine slightest we could understand really that’s possible.

Instead, we are continually reminded that shot makes nary sense. And could location beryllium immoderate much impervious than this: The only cleanable crippled of nan past decade was authored this play by world-famous non-ace Domingo Germán of nan Yankees. And tin we each work together that’s conscionable ridiculous?

Six days earlier Germán’s perfecto (June 22 versus Seattle) — He faces 23 hitters, gives up 10 runs, gets only 10 outs and ne'er moreover retires 3 successful a row! (The charismatic box-score line: 3 1/3 IP — 8 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 pitches to get 10 outs!)

Six days later (June 28 astatine Oakland) — The aforesaid quality faces 27 hitters, gets each 27 of them out! (The overmuch much presentable line: 9-0-0-0-0-9, 97 pitches to get 27 outs!)

We were truthful befuddled by this, really could we not inquire our friends from STATS if it was arsenic illogical and unprecedented arsenic we suspected? The answer: Well, you could astir apt conjecture nan answer.

This was baseball’s 20th cleanable crippled since 1909. There was 1 flimsy quality betwixt German’s gem and nan different 19: He was nan only 1 who faced astatine slightest 23 hitters successful nan erstwhile commencement and ne'er erstwhile retired 3 successful a statement … because of people he was!

Michael Lorenzen celebrates nan no-hitter pinch his Phillies teammates.  (Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)

THE LORENZEN EXPRESS — At slightest Domingo Germán didn’t propulsion immoderate different no-hitters this twelvemonth … but Michael Lorenzen did … because why nan heck not! He was traded by nan Tigers to nan Phillies connected Aug. 1. He no-hit nan Nationals 8 days later.

No request to mention that aft nan no-hitter, his ERA complete nan last 2 months was 8.01. Doesn’t matter. He no-hit his measurement correct into nan Strange But True Feats of nan Year column. Here’s why:

Steve Carlton — spent 15 years pitching for nan Phillies, won 4 Cy Young awards, led each left-handers successful shot successful WAR complete those 15 seasons, made nan Hall of Fame … and sounded zero no-hitters.

Michael Lorenzen — had spent 8 days arsenic a Phillie, had ne'er thrown a transportation for nan Phillies successful Philadelphia earlier that night, was retired of nan rotation 5 weeks later … but has achieved trivia immortality arsenic nan reply to a type of this question: Who’s nan only Phillie to transportation a no-hitter successful Philadelphia since Roy Halladay?

Wow. Baseball. Is it amazing, aliases what?

DREAM WEAVER — You should cognize that Luke Weaver did not propulsion immoderate no-hitters for nan Reds this twelvemonth (or for his different 2 teams — nan Mariners and Yankees — either). But he, too, did exemplary activity successful proving our recurring thesis astir baseball: It. Makes. No. Sense.

On 1 hand … From May 31 to July 8, Weaver made 8 starts for nan Reds. You determine really that went.

• His ERA: 8.66

Slash statement of hitters he faced: .342/.392/.613

• What that means: He fundamentally turned nan full convention into 2012 Miguel Cabrera (who deed .330/.393/.606 that year).

So that was a disaster, huh? Um, don’t reply yet, because …

On nan different manus … how’d nan Reds make retired successful those 8 starts? Would you judge …

They went 8-0!

You’d deliberation we were making that up, right? And past you’d retrieve … this is nan Strange But True Feats of nan Year column!

BOX-SCORE CORNER — You don’t request america to constituent retired that definite trips to nan mound are Strange But True material. You conscionable request to consult nan container scores. They show you each you request to cognize astir games for illustration this …

Ben Lively, Aug. 1 astatine Wrigley — In nan Cubs’ 20-9 thrashing of nan Reds, Lively was much for illustration Ben Deadly:

4 IP, 13 H, 13 R, 13 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 94 pitches to get 12 outs!

So what’s up pinch that? You cognize really difficult it is to springiness up 13 hits and 13 earned runs but not moreover get 12 outs? Nobody had done that since Les (not a McDonald’s entrée) McCrabb … connected April 16, 1942! … But you cognize really overmuch harder it is to springiness up 13 earned runs and four homers? So difficult that, since earned runs became an charismatic stat much than a period ago, conscionable 1 pitcher has done that. His name: Ben Lively.

Luis Cessa, April 16 versus nan Phillies — We’re not judge really this file turned into a Reds Rotation’s Greatest Hits collection. But it wouldn’t person been imaginable to compile these Strange But True Pitching Feats of nan twelvemonth without this sparkling commencement by Cessa:

3 IP, 14 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 88 pitches to get 9 outs.

So what’s up pinch that? Before we could moreover look this up, loyal scholar Allan Wood hit america to it. You cognize really galore pitchers since 1900 person fixed up that galore runs and that galore hits but not moreover gotten 10 outs? Just one. Right … Luis Cessa.

Josh Fleming, May 28 versus nan Dodgers — Meanwhile, successful non-Reds box-score developments, Fleming’s last commencement of nan twelvemonth for nan Rays was a classical successful much ways than one:

6 IP, 12 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 3 K … and 5 HR!

So what’s up pinch that? Ha. Trick question. You won’t judge it. Yes, this man gave up 12 hits, 10 runs and 5 looonnnggg balls — but it was each worthy it. Not conscionable because he saved nan bullpen, but besides because … his squad won (11-10)! He’s nan first pitcher to get bruised for that galore runs, hits and homers successful a crippled his squad won since nan legendary Dodger, Ralph Branca, was allowed to instrumentality astir for each 9 innings successful a scenic 17-10 crippled successful Pittsburgh connected June 25, 1949.

Chase Anderson gave up an unlucky 13 runs to nan Angels successful an infamous 3rd inning. (John Leyba / USA Today)

CUT TO THE CHASE — Every travel to nan mound astatine Coors Field is an opportunity, each correct — an opportunity to upwind up successful nan Strange But True Feats of nan Year column. So congratulations to Chase Anderson, for doing his portion successful a messy small 25-1 nonaccomplishment to nan Angels connected June 24.

Here is really he kicked disconnected a nosy small 13-run 3rd inning that day:

First transportation — Mike Trout location run.

Second transportation — Brandon Drury location run.

Third transportation — Matt Thaiss location run.

That’s 3 pitches, 3 location runs. And you don’t spot that much. In fact, location runs connected 3 pitches successful a row, astatine immoderate constituent successful immoderate inning, is simply a point that’s happened only 1 different clip to immoderate progressive pitcher … and it was nan aforesaid pitcher.

No kidding. Back connected Sept. 17, 2020, erstwhile Anderson was a Blue Jay, he served up 3 successful a statement to nan Yankees successful nan 4th inning. And that would make nary consciousness astatine all, isolated from it’s …


NO-HIT PANDA-MONIUM — We don’t ordinarily return these Strange But True expeditions into nan wilds of nan insignificant leagues. But we’re making an objection present for nan beloved Rocket City Trash Pandas, of nan always-entertaining Double-A Southern League, because …

The bully news: On April 9, nan Trash Pandas did 1 of those things that are expected to consciousness for illustration a dream travel existent — by throwing a no-hitter, successful an all-time minor-league classic, against Chattanooga. But now comes …

The not rather arsenic bully arsenic that news: They managed to propulsion that no-hitter and lose, which doesn’t hap much, moreover successful nan Southern League. And that isn’t moreover nan Strange But True part, because you should decidedly publication connected to …

The not moreover arsenic bully arsenic that past point news: They pulled disconnected nan rarified feat of throwing a no-hitter … and allowing 7 runs … but besides … allowing each 7 of those runs successful nan aforesaid inning.

How Strange But True is it to springiness up 7 runs successful a no-hitter? Oh, you know. No big-league squad has ever done it. And nan only different clip it’s known to person happened successful nan insignificant leagues was Aug. 31, 1948, successful nan late, awesome Pony League, erstwhile Louis Blackmore of nan Wellsville Red Sox did it successful a crippled successful which location wasn’t overmuch request for anybody to get a deed … since he besides radiated successful 17 walks that day!

So is that really nan Trash Pandas did it? Eh, not exactly. Their charismatic seven-run inning … in nan mediate of a no-hitter, retrieve … went for illustration this:

Walk … locomotion … infield-fly norm popup (one out) … locomotion … strikeout (two outs) … locomotion (one run) … three-run correction connected nan halfway fielder (four runs – oops!) … caller pitcher … hit-by-pitch … hit-by-pitch … hit-by-pitch (five runs) … locomotion (six runs) … run-scoring chaotic transportation (seven runs) … hit-by-pitch … strikeout (three outs).

So what are nan likelihood of giving up 7 runs successful a no-hitter, nary matter really galore innings it takes? This took immoderate math. But present goes …

In nan past 105 big-league games successful which a squad gave up nary hits, you cognize really galore runs those 105 teams gave up? That would beryllium six — successful each 105 of those games combined! But somehow, nan Trash Pandas gave up 7 … in 1 inning. And if you’ve ne'er seen thing for illustration that, we tin thief pinch that too!

90 seconds of really to NO HIT a team…but springiness up 7 RUNS and lose. 😳

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 9, 2023



Weird & Wild: Marveling astatine nan Trash Pandas' no-hitter nonaccomplishment and nan Rays' winning streak

THE GHOST OF HARVEY HADDIX — But nan Milwaukee Brewers don’t request to cheque successful pinch immoderate Trash Pandas to cognize that throwing a no-hitter tin beryllium overrated. They lived it Sept. 10 — successful 1 of nan Strangest But Truest games of immoderate year.

For 9 innings that day, Corbin Burnes and Devin Williams no-hit nan Yankees successful nan Bronx. Then reliever Abner Uribe stomped retired of nan bullpen and made it 10 hitless innings. If nan Brewers had conscionable remembered to people a tally aliases 12 successful those 10 innings, they’d person had a measurement amended time.

Instead, this crippled kept going — done nan 11th inning, done nan 12th inning, into nan 13th inning — during which … nan Yankees went from getting nary hits successful immoderate inning to getting astatine slightest 1 deed … and scoring … in each inning, from nan 11th done nan 13th, because … it’s shot … and … it makes nary sense.

So connected a time erstwhile nan Brewers gave up nary hits for 10 innings, they still lost, 4-3. And really Strange But True was that? You’ve travel to nan correct place.

On 1 manus … teams that rotation disconnected 9 hitless innings thin to triumph a lot. In nan division-play era (1969-2023), 150 teams person sounded precisely 9 innings of hit-free, run-free domination successful either a regular-season aliases postseason game. The grounds of those teams is simply a cleanable 150-0. OK, sure.

Or 10 is besides cool … because nary squad successful nan modern era has sounded precisely 10 hitless, scoreless innings successful a crippled and lost, either. The grounds of teams that do that: 4-0 … arsenic we’d each expect. However …

On nan different manus … here comes nan Strangest But Truest no-hitter truth ever: No squad has ever taken a no-hitter into nan 11th inning … and won that game! This is true. Those teams are now 0-4. Really.

So if your favourite squad ever finds itself throwing a no-hitter successful nan 11th inning, don’t opportunity we didn’t pass you. It whitethorn look for illustration a beautiful point while you’re watching it. But successful reality, it’s much vulnerable than you think, conscionable because it’s …


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(Top photograph of Kyle Schwarber: Rich Graessle / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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