Mookie, Soto among those with week's most spectacular stats

April 19th, 2024

Here’s our weekly look at 10 mind-blowing notes from the last week in baseball (April 12-18).

Crocheting: After his fourth start Saturday, is up to 31 strikeouts and four walks this season. That’s the most strikeouts in a pitcher’s first four career starts in White Sox franchise history, surpassing Bruce Howard’s 27. He’s the third pitcher with at least 30 strikeouts and fewer than five walks in his first four career starts since at least 1901, joining 2014 Masahiro Tanaka (35 K, 2 BB) and 2005 Félix Hernández (30 K, 4 BB).

Shutdown Shota: After his third career start on Saturday, 's ERA is still a spotless 0.00. He’s one of just three pitchers to go at least four innings and not allow an earned run in each of his first three career outings, all starts, since earned runs became official in both leagues (1913). He joined 2023 Andrew Abbott and 2021 Luis Gil. If we apply those same inning qualifiers, but look at a pitcher’s first three career starts, even if they weren’t his first appearances, we get one more name: 1915 Bernie Boland.

The Jackson Bowl, Part II: After 20-year-olds Jackson Holliday and Jackson Chourio faced off over the weekend, Chourio’s Brewers faced the other 20-year-old Jackson – Merrill – this week. On Monday, Chourio and Merrill became the fourth pair of 20-year-olds or younger each with multiple hits and multiple RBIs in the same game since RBIs became official in 1920. They joined 8/21/65 Tony Conigliaro and Tony Horton (both BOS), 5/18/59 Vada Pinson (CIN) and Ron Fairly (LAD) and 7/16/55 Harmon Killebrew (WSA) and Clete Boyer (KCA). That’s right – the last instance also involved youngsters with the same first name.

Like Mike: homered in five straight games before finally being kept in the park on Tuesday. He tied the Cubs’ record for consecutive games with a home run, also held by 2023 Christopher Morel, 1998 Sammy Sosa, 1989 Ryne Sandberg and 1928 Hack Wilson. Busch was just the 11th rookie since 1900 to homer in five straight games and first since Bobby Dalbec in 2020. No rookie has ever homered in six straight games.

Keeping up with Jared Jones: After his latest start Tuesday, now has 73 swings and misses this season. That’s the most by a pitcher in his first four career starts in the pitch-tracking era (2008), surpassing Griffin Canning’s 68, per MLB’s Jason Bernard. Jones has struck out at least seven batters in each of his first four starts. He joins Masahiro Tanaka, Stephen Strasburg and Jose DeLeon as the only pitchers since the mound was moved in 1893 to do so in each of their first four career starts (those three did so in their first five).

More like Mookie Best: With his performance Tuesday, now has two 5-for-5 games with the Dodgers. Only three players have more games going 5-for-5 or better for the Dodgers (since at least 1901): Zack Wheat (four games), Andre Ethier (three) and Steve Garvey (three). He became the second Dodgers player to go 5-for-5 or better with multiple RBIs as a middle infielder since RBIs became an official stat, joining 9/8/03 César Izturis.

Fully operational Hydration Station: With Cedric Mullins, Colton Cowser, Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg, Ryan O’Hearn and Anthony Santander, the O’s have six players with at least four home runs. That’s the most such players through 20 games in a season in Orioles/Browns franchise history, and Wednesday was only game 18. With Mullins’ walk-off homer Wednesday, the Orioles have now hit at least three home runs in five straight games, tied for the second-longest such streak by any team since 1900, behind only the 1987 O’s, who did so in six straight.

Doing Juan Soto things: was 3-for-3 with two walks in the Yankees’ comeback victory Wednesday. He’s reached base safely 43 times so far this season, second-most in a player’s first 19 games with the Yankees, behind only Bobby Abreu’s 44 in 2006. He also recorded his 500th career RBI, at 25 years and 175 days old. The only players to debut in the last 50 seasons to reach 500 RBIs at a younger age are Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Andruw Jones, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adrian Beltre.

Maddux-like: was masterful on Wednesday, tossing a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and no walks, needing just 94 pitches to get it done. It was the first Maddux (nine-inning shutout, sub-100 pitches) by a Red Sox pitcher since 8/31/14 Clay Buchholz (98 pitches). The game took just an hour and 49 minutes. It was the shortest nine-inning game in MLB since the Tigers beat Cleveland 3-0 in 1:44 on 6/2/10, in Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game.

And still unswept: Teams enter each series trying to win the series, but even just avoiding being swept is worth noting. To that end, the Orioles have now gone 97 straight series without being swept, entering the weekend. That’s the third-most consecutive series of multiple games without being swept, per Elias. They trail only the 1942-44 Cardinals (125) and 1903-05 Giants (106).