MLB’s Weirdest & Wildest teams and games of 2023

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There was that squad that fell down 5 different times — aft nan sixth inning — and still won. … There was that crippled successful Mexico wherever it felt for illustration nan only feline who didn’t homer was Guillermo del Toro. … And location was that time nan Red Sox sewage 23 hits successful a nine-inning game, only to … well, you know.

Would you for illustration to perceive much astir each that? You’ve travel to nan correct place. It’s portion 2 of that extravaganza you virtually hold each twelvemonth for — nan Strange But True Feats of 2023, starting pinch …

The Strangest But Truest Champions of 2023 — nan Rangers

Bruce Bochy’s Rangers sewage connected a rotation erstwhile it mattered astir — successful October. (Stephen Brashear / USA Today)

We wish each squad could triumph nan World Series nan measurement nan 1927 Yankees did it: Go ligament to wire; triumph 110 games; clinch pinch 3 weeks to go, and conscionable retrieve to aftermath everybody up erstwhile it’s clip to expanse nan World Series.

But past there’s nan Strange But True travel those 2023 Texas Rangers took. It each worked retired awesome — arsenic agelong arsenic you kept nan antacids handy.

The squad that won nan World Series had a losing grounds successful its past 102 games (50-52) aft a spectacular 40-20 start. You cognize who had a amended grounds than nan Rangers complete their past 102 games? Oh, only nan Tigers … and Reds … and Marlins … and Padres (among others).

The squad that won nan World Series lost 102 games 2 years agone and 94 past year. And really galore teams had ever mislaid 196 games successful nan 2 seasons earlier they won nan World Series? C’mon, this mobility is easy. That would beryllium none.

The squad that won nan World Series hadn’t rather been nan Kings of October before, either. It took this franchise 36 years conscionable to triumph a postseason crippled … and 50 seasons conscionable to triumph a postseason bid … and it had spent much seasons of championship-free beingness (63, counting those years successful Washington) than immoderate franchise successful shot that had never, ever won 1 of those trophies.

The squad that won nan World Series besides had a bullpen pinch much blown saves (33) than saves (30). And really galore teams person ever won a World Series (or moreover a postseason game) pinch a bullpen for illustration that? Once again, that would beryllium zilch.

The squad that won nan World Series laid retired $185 cardinal to motion Jacob deGrom past winter. Hey, astatine slightest he sounded six times this past play — which was 2 much times than nan backup catcher (Austin Hedges).

The squad that won nan World Series traded 2 of its champion prospects to nan Mets successful July for $43 cardinal starter Max Scherzer. But successful nan 53 days they were still playing shot aft Sept. 12, he sewage a full of 29 outs.

The squad that won nan World Series led its section for 149 consecutive days, blew that lead successful August … fell each nan measurement to 3rd spot successful September … past charged backmost to lead again by 2 1/2 games pinch 4 to play … only to rustle that lead, too, connected nan last time of nan season. So that went smoothly.

The squad that won nan World Series also coughed up its first-round bye by losing connected nan last time … which meant having to alert 2,582 miles to conveniently located Tampa, Fla., to unfastened a wild-card bid it thought it wasn’t going to person to play.

The squad that won nan World Series kept winning, though. Which was helpful, since it had to find a measurement to triumph an American League Championship Series successful which it managed to lose each 3 of its location games.

The squad that won nan World Series won precisely 2 location games during nan full postseason, travel to deliberation of it. That’s not moreover arsenic galore arsenic nan Twins did.

The squad that won nan World Series made up for that, however, by picking an fantabulous clip to commencement an 11-game roadworthy winning streak, which spanned nan full postseason. Oh, and if you’re trying to callback each nan 11-game roadworthy winning streaks that squad has had successful nan regular play successful franchise history, you tin telephone that disconnected — because location has ne'er been 1 of those.

The squad that won nan World Series might ne'er person moreover gotten location if Adolis García hadn’t decided it would beryllium a bully thought to deed a location tally beautiful overmuch every at-bat. So naturally, successful nan mediate of nan World Series, he sewage wounded and had to beryllium taken disconnected nan roster, and people … his squad ne'er mislaid again. 

So deliberation astir it. All of it. This squad endured each nan worldly we’ve spent nan past 12 paragraphs laying out. And how’d it make out? That’s really nan Texas Rangers …

Still won nan World Series! By which we mean nan first successful nan history of their franchise. What. A. Journey. Can nan way of immoderate World Series champ get overmuch Stranger aliases Truer than that?

 The Strangest But Truest Team of 2023 — nan A’s

The 2023 A’s play was difficult to watch. (Dan Hamilton / USA Today)

It was only a fewer weeks into this past play erstwhile an executive of different AL squad reached retired pinch this reappraisal of nan 2023 Oakland A’s:

“I honestly think,” he said, “that that’s nan worst squad I’ve ever watched successful my career.”

It was easy to spot why he’d deliberation that. Those A’s started 5-23 … and 8-31 … and 10-45 … and 12-50. When they were down to 100 games near successful nan season, they were still connected gait to decorativeness 100 games nether .500 (31-131). Casey Stengel’s 1962 Mets started 12-19. And nan 2023 A’s started 12-50. Think astir it.

Fortunately for everyone (except perchance heirs of Casey Stengel), these A’s coiled up not losing 131. They coiled up not outlosing those ’62 Mets. But they judge did capable to make it into nan Strange But True Feats of nan Year column, each because of worldly for illustration this …

They had a minus-339 tally differential! Hmmm, that doesn’t look that good. Possibly because successful nan World Series era, each 120 years of it, conscionable 2 teams person topped that mark: Amos Strunk’s 1915 Philadelphia A’s (minus-343) and Rabbit Warstler’s 1932 Red Sox (minus-349).

They mislaid 112 games! All right, truthful losing “only 112 games” wasn’t rather capable to let nan A’s to move into nan ’62 Mets’ cul-de-sac. But this was still conscionable nan sixth squad to suffer that galore successful nan 162-game-season era … which started complete six decades ago.

They utilized much starting pitchers than Tony La Russa’s 1988-92 A’s used successful 5 years! Did you cognize 24 different pitchers started astatine slightest 1 crippled for this year’s A’s? That’s 2 much than La Russa’s 1988-92 behemoths utilized complete 5 seasons combined. But it’s besides tied pinch different A’s squad — Connie Mack’s 1915 version — for nan astir starters that immoderate squad has ever used. Of nan 24 these A’s ran retired there, only 1 of them had a winning record. That was Joe Boyle — who went 2-0, aft stopping by to make 3 starts successful September.

Their starters went 20-72! In different Strange But True rotation news, you cognize really galore games those 24 A’s starters won successful total? How astir 20 — which would besides beryllium arsenic galore arsenic Spencer Strider won each by himself successful Atlanta. Strider went 20-5. Those A’s starters went 20-72. So that’s 2 very different definitions of “winning 20.”

Want to conjecture really galore different rotations successful shot history person won 20 games (or fewer) complete an full six-month season? Let’s conscionable opportunity “none” would beryllium a bully guess.

Their first one-game losing streak happened connected July 2! We did find 1 point these A’s were capable to move into a specialty: When they started losing, they knew really to support losing.

They won connected Opening Day, past ripped disconnected losing streaks of 3-6-7-2-5-3-5-3-11-5-8-2 until they yet halted 1 of those streaks after one loss connected July 2 — successful Game 86 of nan season. If we don’t count teams that were really bully astatine baseball, that tied nan A’s for nan modern-era grounds pinch those 1932 Red Sox, who besides picked July 2 to extremity their first one-gamer. Unreal.

But that’s not all! Because these A’s besides did each this:

• They had a 6.10 roadworthy ERA! The worst by immoderate squad since Felipe Lira’s 1996 Tigers (6.55).

Their pitchers drilled 100 hitters! Most by immoderate unit successful AL history.

They joined nan 100-200 Club! That’s 100 deed batters, 200 homers served. Just nan 2022 Reds utilized to beryllium successful that club.

Their pitchers had a 9.52 ERA successful their losses! You cognize what’s apparently a bully look for really to suffer 112 games? Giving up much than a tally an inning ought to do it. Hey, it worked for nan A’s. So did allowing their opponents to deed .331/.415/.604 successful those games — which fundamentally turned nan full convention into 1954 Stan Musial (.330/.428/.607).

They had 32 players pinch a antagonistic WAR! Seriously. That collapsed down to 11 position players — and 21 pitchers. And if your squad is starring nan athletics successful our innovative caller metric, Wins Below Replacement, that’s an fantabulous measurement to go our Strange But True Team of nan Year.

Five much Strange But True nine specials to go

THE ASTROS — We can’t opportunity for judge that this was nan Astros’ Strangest But Truest play since The Tanking. But here’s 1 point we know: This was their Strangest But Truest September, anyway.

The bully news: Their September grounds against nan 2 World Series teams (Rangers/Diamondbacks) — 6-0.

The bad news: Their September grounds against 2 teams that vanished 50-plus games nether .500 (A’s/Royals) — 2-7.

THE ORIOLES — Ah, really expanse it was. Or wasn’t. Two years aft losing 110 games, nan 2023 Orioles whitethorn not person been unbeatable. But they were decidedly un-sweepable.

By nan clip this play ended, they’d gone 91 consecutive bid without getting swept. And here’s really Strange But True that is:

That’s not a point Jim Palmer’s 1969-71 Orioles ever did — because it’s not a point immoderate Orioles squad ever did.

That’s not a point Bambino Ruth’s 1927-28 Yankees ever did — because it’s not a point immoderate American League squad ever did.

And it’s not a point Johnny Bench’s Big Red Machine, Keith Hernandez’s 1986 Mets aliases Duke Snider’s Boys of Summer Dodgers ever did — because it’s not a point any team had ever done since Stan Musial’s 1942-44 Cardinals ripped disconnected 124 bid successful a statement without being swept.

Ah, but conjecture what? None of that is moreover nan Strange But True part. Here comes that part:

So what happened erstwhile these Orioles yet sewage backmost to nan postseason for nan first clip since 2016? Right you are. They sewage swept in their first series, by those rampaging Rangers.

The Diamondbacks jump into nan Chase Field excavation aft sweeping nan Dodgers successful nan NLDS. (Matt Kartozian / USA Today)

THE DIAMONDBACKS — Just arsenic we each expected, a National League West squad ended up successful nan World Series. Just arsenic Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo decidedly did not expect, that squad was not Clayton Kershaw’s Dodgers, Manny Machado’s Padres aliases LaMonte Wade Jr.’s Giants. It was, alternatively …

Corbin Carroll’s running, rocking where’d they travel from Diamondbacks.

They were fresh. They were fun. They were built for 2023 New Rules Baseball. But we haven’t moreover gotten to nan Strange But True portion … which was … really they sewage there.

July 1 — They were 16 games complete .500 (50-34).

Aug. 11 — Oops! They were abruptly 2 games nether .500 (57-59).

Did you do that math? No worries. We’re ever present to do it for you. That intends that successful between, they played 32 games … and won 7 of them. And really galore teams person ever had a 32-game chunk of their World Series play spell for illustration that (7-25 aliases worse)? Uh-huh. Not one. So …

What was nan first World Series squad successful history to careen from 16 games complete .500 (or better) to 2 games nether .500 (or worse) and still unrecorded to show their grandchildren they made it to nan Series anyway? Right you are. That would beryllium your 2023 Arizona Diamondbacks.

THE YANKEES — Ordinarily, there’s thing different astir New Yorkers who return nan full period of August off. It conscionable tends to drawback our attraction erstwhile nan dudes doing that play for a $277 cardinal shot squad from nan Bronx.

All right, truthful we whitethorn beryllium exaggerating conscionable a tad. The Yankees were scheduled for 28 games that period — and played each darned 1 of them. But …

They were 1 grim late-August bid successful Detroit distant from going an full almanac month without winning a azygous series. Is that Strange But True capable for you?

On 1 hand, we tin fto them disconnected that hook, since they won that last bid of August. And that saved them from going an full calendar month without winning a bid for nan first clip since … September 1991!

On nan different hand, if we driblet nan “calendar” part, these Yankees still went from July 25 done Aug. 27 without winning a series. And that’s still “a month.” It conscionable happened to beryllium a period that encompassed portion of July and astir of August. But now present comes nan Strange But True part.

Had nan Yankees not won that bid successful Detroit, that would person been 11 winless bid successful a row. And according to STATS Perform, that would person tied their record, complete nan full live-ball era, for astir consecutive bid without winning any. Which conscionable goes to beryllium erstwhile again …

Those 277 cardinal Steinbrenner family dollars judge don’t bargain what they utilized to.

THE WHITE SOX — Ha. We stake you were expecting those $343 cardinal disasters, nan Mets, to show up arsenic nan last squad connected this list. Nope. We’re redeeming them for nan Readers Favorites version of this Strange But True Feats of nan Year series. So enactment tuned.

Instead, let’s admit Chicago’s ain disasters, nan White Sox. One point we’ll opportunity astir them: At slightest they assembled 1 of those usually adjuvant swing-and-miss pitching staffs. If you person 1 of those, what could perchance spell wrong? Whoa! Don’t inquire that mobility connected nan South Side of Chicago.

The bully news: How galore times did that White Sox unit rack up astatine slightest 15 strikeouts successful a crippled this year? That would beryllium nine, tied for nan astir successful nan majors.

The bad news: The flip broadside was each nan moments successful those games wherever nan teams they were playing weren’t striking out.

Record of nan White Sox erstwhile their pitchers whiffed 15 aliases much — 0-9!

Record of nan different 29 teams erstwhile they whiffed 15-plus — 97-39!

The 3 Strangest But Truest Games of 2023

Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. observe 1 of Machado’s 2 homers connected April 29. (Kirby Lee / USA Today)

The Mexican Bat Dance

APRIL 29: PADRES 16, GIANTS 11

Baseball successful Mexico is simply a conception that brings america truthful overmuch much than simply in-game margarita vendors. In nan lawsuit of this Padres-Giants mashathon successful Mexico City, it brought america nan astir loco crippled of nan full season, featuring:

11 carrera trots! What’s truthful Strange But True astir a crippled pinch 11 homers, by 10 different players? How astir this: It intends much guys who started this game did hit a agelong shot than didn’t! That’s only happened successful 2 different games ever played.

Back-back-back-back-back! We knew hitting could beryllium contagious, but home-run hitting? The Padres deed back-to-back homers twice. The Giants besides deed back-to-back homers twice. And astatine 1 point, from nan 3rd to nan 5th inning, location were back-to-backers hit three innings successful a row!

Welcome to nan 440 Club! Before they arrived successful Mexico City, nan Giants had deed 1 location tally of 440 feet aliases much each season, according to Statcast. The Padres had deed none. So, naturally, they past mixed to deed 11 location runs that averaged 442 feet per location run … because, well, Mexico!

Was location ever an inning without a homer? There were 10 half-innings from nan 3rd to nan seventh inning. These teams deed astatine slightest 1 location run in 7 of them. In different stretch, betwixt nan 3rd and 5th innings, location were 15 runs and only 16 outs.

• Won and done! Finally, we can’t talk astir this crippled without saluting nan winning pitcher, Tom Cosgrove. It was his only triumph successful his rookie season. He faced 1 hitter, threw 4 pitches and sewage a ground-ball retired to nan 2nd baseman. … And he came retired of that pinch a triumph — in a crippled successful which 27 runs, 30 hits and 72 full bases erupted astir him successful 95 different sheet appearances. We could find only 1 pitcher successful nan live-ball era who faced 1 batter and sewage a triumph successful a crippled pinch much runs than that: nan immortal Belve Bean, for Cleveland, successful a 15-14 crippled pinch nan Yankees, connected July 18, 1934. Greatest time successful Belve history!

No-hit history (Minus nan no-hitter!)

Randy Arozarena’s three-run homer was portion of nan Rays’ 10-run, no-hit-busting seventh inning connected April 29. (Matt Marton / USA Today)

APRIL 29: RAYS 12, WHITE SOX 3

Who knows what Strange But True oxygen particles were swirling astir nan ozone connected April 29. But galore miles from Mexico, connected nan very aforesaid day, nan Rays and White Sox sewage mixed up successful a Strange But True all-timer.

First six innings — Lance Lynn spins disconnected six hitless innings for nan White Sox.

Next inning — The Rays get tired of each that no-hit worldly … and people 10 runs!

Eighth and ninth innings — The Rays people successful those 2 innings, too. So they spell from almost getting no-hit to getting 11 hits and winning a 12-3 blowout.

Baseball is truthful weird.

Before that seventh inning … the Rays had played 2,212 consecutive regular-season innings without scoring 10 runs (or more) successful immoderate of them. And past they scored 10 in that inning, aft being no-hit into nan seventh inning? Baseball!

The world turned upside-down … successful that seventh inning … erstwhile nan Rays went from having nary hits to having … 3 guys (Wander Franco, Josh Lowe, Isaac Paredes) get 2 hits conscionable successful that inning … arsenic they joined nan 2021 Blue Jays arsenic nan only teams successful nan description era (1961-2023) to get nary hits for astatine slightest six innings and past people double-digit runs successful nan adjacent inning.

Cheaper by nan dozen? So really unusual (but true) is that — to walk six innings getting nary hits and nary runs and past walk nan past 3 innings scoring 12 runs (or more)? Our friends from STATS looked into that … and recovered nan Rays were nan first squad to do it since Jimmie Foxx’s 1938 Red Sox piled up 16 runs successful nan past 3 innings against Nels Potter’s Philadelphia A’s connected Aug. 9, 1938 … a specified 85 years ago!

Cleveland rocks 

Will Brennan’s RBI double successful nan 14th inning lifted nan Guardians to a triumph complete nan Astros successful 1 of nan wildest games of nan year. (David Richard / USA Today)

JUNE 9: GUARDIANS 10: ASTROS 9

So what made this crippled truthful Strange But True? Oh, only this insignificant detail: The Guardians trailed five different times … all from nan seventh inning connected … and they won! Let’s discuss.

They trailed 5 times aft nan seventh? Yes, nan Guardians recovered themselves down successful nan seventh, ninth, 12th, 13th and 14th innings of this crippled and they won. So really galore teams successful nan modern era person won a crippled successful which they tied aliases took nan lead 5 different times from nan seventh inning onward? That would beryllium one, according to STATS: nan 2023 Guardians.

And they did that against nan Astros? They did indeed. Per STATS, it’s only nan 2nd clip since 1901 that a squad won a crippled successful which it trailed 5 different times against nan reigning World Series champs. The different was Gino Cimoli’s 1963 Kansas City A’s. They fell down nan Yankees successful nan first, fourth, sixth, eighth and 11th innings … and past won successful nan 12th, 11-10.

And has anyone mentioned nan shade of David Freese? Remember Game 6 of nan 2011 World Series? Well, we did aft this Guardians-Astros classical — because nan Cardinals trailed 5 different times that nighttime in an elimination game, and you cognize what happened.

“We will spot you tomorrow night!”

Emulating his father, Joe Buck gave sound to David Freese’s stunning walk-off homer for nan @Cardinals successful Game 6 of nan 2011 World Series.

What’s your favourite telephone ever? pic.twitter.com/2a6Z8exAPE

— National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ (@baseballhall) August 3, 2021

That crippled happened much than 4,400 days ago. And successful each that time, only 1 different squad too these Guardians has won a crippled successful which it fell down successful 5 different innings. And that was nan White Sox, past July 6, against nan Twins. So that intends it happened zero times complete nan adjacent decade … and past two years successful a row.

They ne'er led — for nan first 408 pitches? Right! There were 409 pitches thrown successful this crippled … and nan Guardians ne'er led until nan 409th pitch! So really galore teams successful nan modern era person won a crippled successful which they trailed 5 times and ne'er led until nan 14th inning? You tin astir apt guess. But STATS checked and recovered that reply was none … until this crippled came along.

More Strange But True classics (honorable mention)

The Red Sox sewage 23 hits connected Sept. 9, but Yennier Cano’s Orioles prevailed. (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

SEPT. 23: PIRATES 13, REDS 12 — The Reds led 9-0 aft 3 innings … and lost. Anything Strange But True astir that? Oh, only that successful nan history of nan Pirates franchise, they’d been 0-817 aft falling down by 9 runs aliases much … until this game.

SEPT. 9: ORIOLES 13, RED SOX 12 — Nothing overmuch to spot here, different than nan Red Sox getting 23 hits successful a nine-inning crippled … and losing. But don’t enactment for illustration that’s ne'er happened before. In fact, it happened arsenic precocious as 93 years ago (Cardinals 12, Phillies 11 connected June 3, 1930) … aft which teams getting that galore hits successful a nine-inning crippled had gone 241-0 … until nan Red Sox bullpen had different ideas.

JUNE 17: ROYALS 10, ANGELS 9 — The Royals staggered into this crippled connected a 10-game losing streak. The Strange But True part: It’s incomprehensible that it wasn’t 11. But somehow, that squad that had conscionable mislaid 10 games successful a statement fell behind, 8-2, successful this crippled … and past won. Anyone retrieve nan past squad to extremity a double-digit losing streak by winning a crippled it trailed by that galore runs successful nan seventh inning aliases later? No you don’t — because you cognize really galore teams person done that successful nan past century? Right. None!

SEPT. 11: BRAVES 10, PHILLIES 9 – For nan 3rd clip successful 2 and a half weeks, Bryce Harper launched 1 of his classical Roy Hobbs location runs — an electrifying, game-tying, two-run homer disconnected Raisel Iglesias pinch 2 outs successful nan ninth … building a tidal activity of momentum successful South Philadelphia that lasted … oh, astir six minutes, until José Alvarado gave up 2 runs successful nan 10th. The Phillies past coughed up an almost identical crippled nan adjacent day. And what’s truthful Strange But True astir that? Five times, betwixt Aug. 23 and Sept. 12, nan Phillies deed a game-tying aliases lead-flipping location tally successful nan eighth aliases ninth inning … and somehow went 0-5 successful those games. So really galore teams person ever mislaid 5 games for illustration that successful a span of 19 games, according to STATS? Yup. That would beryllium none.

AUG. 29: CARDINALS 6, PADRES 5

AUG. 30: CARDINALS 5, PADRES 4

 When nan Cardinals won 2 games successful a statement this year, that was unusual enough. But what was truthful Strange But True astir these 2 games? Oh, thing overmuch … isolated from for this: Two days successful a row, nan Cardinals won connected a walk-off deed by nan aforesaid hitter (Tommy Edman), to people nan aforesaid runner (Masyn Winn), against nan aforesaid pitcher (Josh Hader).


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(Top photograph of Adolis García: Carmen Mandato / Getty Images)

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