Lewis' scorching start, Schwarber's June boom and other wild stats

June 21st, 2024

Here’s our weekly look at 10 mind-blowing notes from the last week in baseball (June 14-20).

Hey, Mr. DJ: In his third career start on Saturday, DJ Herz was masterful, with 13 strikeouts and no walks on just 84 pitches. He became the second pitcher since at least 1901 with at least 13 strikeouts and no walks in one of his first three career outings, joining Stephen Strasburg (6/8/10, 14 K), also for the Nationals. Herz’s 13 strikeouts tied for the most in an outing of fewer than 85 pitches since pitch counts have been tracked (1988), with Clayton Kershaw (4/13/22) and Greg Maddux (9/23/00).

Golden Bears: With home runs on Saturday, Andrew Vaughn and Korey Lee have now homered in the same game three times as MLB teammates, with two of those coming this year. But this isn’t the first team they’ve been on together. They homered in the same game in five games as college teammates at Cal, all in 2018 (three games) and 2019 (two).

Wait for your pitch: MJ Melendez hit a grand slam on the 12th pitch of his at-bat in the sixth on Saturday to put the Royals ahead. That’s the third-most pitches in a plate appearance ending in a grand slam since pitch counts have been tracked, behind only Mookie Betts on July 12, 2018 and Gary Scott on April 20, 1992, each on the 13th pitch. It’s tied for the second-most pitches in a plate appearance ending in a homer for the Royals since pitch counts have been tracked, behind only Jermaine Dye’s 16 on May 22, 1998.

Skenes Day: Through his seventh MLB start on Monday, Paul Skenes has 53 strikeouts and just seven walks. He’s the third pitcher with at least 50 strikeouts and fewer than 10 walks in his first seven career appearances since at least 1901. He joins 2014 Masahiro Tanaka and his current teammate Jared Jones this season. Skenes has thrown 65 MLB pitches at 100.0+ mph this season. No other starter has more than 36 (José Soriano).

This is June: Kyle Schwarber hit two homers on Monday, the 59th and 60th of his career in the month of June. It was his 172nd career June game. That’s the second-fewest career games to 60 home runs in a calendar month, behind only Juan Gonzalez in August – 167 games.

No stress: The D-backs played 10 straight games decided by at least five runs before the streak ended on Wednesday. It tied the 1884 Altoona Mountain Citys/Pride for the fourth-most consecutive decisions settled by at least five runs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They trail only the 1890 Louisville Colonels (12), 1894 Baltimore Orioles (11) and 1884 St. Louis Maroons (11).

The Sho goes on: Shohei Ohtani’s 476-foot homer on Tuesday was the Dodgers’ second-longest under Statcast (2015), behind only Joc Pederson’s 477-footer on June 2, 2015. Ohtani has two homers of at least 460 ft so far this season. That’s tied for second-most by a Dodger in a career under Statcast with Max Muncy, behind only Pederson’s three.

What a start: Royce Lewis’ homer on Thursday was his ninth of the season in 15 games. That’s two more than any other player in his first 15 games of a season in Twins/Senators history. His 26 home runs total are five more than any other player in Twins/Senators history in his first 85 career games. The only player with more homers in his first 85 games with the franchise, at any point in a career, is Nelson Cruz with 32. The only players with more homers in their first 85 career games are Rudy York (31), Mark McGwire (30), Jose Abreu (29), Pete Alonso (28), Cody Bellinger (28) and Yordan Alvarez (27).

Baltimore streaks: The Orioles have two streaks worth noting that were extended Thursday. They now have 22 consecutive unbeaten (won or tied) series against division opponents, the longest such streak since the introduction of divisions in 1969. Baltimore has gone 16-0-6 in series vs. the AL East since losing two of three on April 7-9 of last season to the Yankees. The Orioles have now homered in 19 straight games, tying a streak in April-May 1998 for the second-longest in franchise history, behind only 20 straight in July-August 1998.

Current Ironman: Matt Olson has played 530 consecutive games entering Friday, dating to May 2, 2021. There have been only six other streaks of at least 500 since 2000, per Elias. They belong to 2000-07 Miguel Tejada (1,152 consecutive games), 2018-22 Whit Merrifield (553), 2010-14 Prince Fielder (547), 2000-03 Alex Rodriguez (546), 2003-06 Hideki Matsui (518) and 2004-07 Mark Teixeira (507).