Stats of the week: From 300th HR to 104 mph, a wild 7 days in baseball
Here’s our weekly look at 10 mind-blowing notes from the last week in baseball (May 18-24).
For 300: Freddie Freeman hit a grand slam last Thursday for his 300th career home run, becoming the second player with a grand slam for his 300th home run. He joined Rubén Sierra on Aug. 28, 2004. Dodgers teammate Jason Heyward appeared in the game as well, just as he did in the game where Freeman hit his first career home run – as a pinch-hitter, off Roy Halladay on Sept. 21, 2010. The two, who were Braves prospects together, also both played in the game when Freeman hit his first A-ball home run on April 24, 2008.
Cy-filled doubleheader: With Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander on Sunday, the Mets became the first team to start pitchers who had each won at least three Cy Youngs in both ends of a doubleheader. In fact, the only team to have previously started pitchers who had even won at least two Cy Youngs each in a doubleheader was also the Mets, with Pedro Martínez and Johan Santana on Sept. 7, 2008. The doubleheader came 12 years and 234 days after Scherzer and Verlander started a doubleheader together for the Tigers on Sept. 29, 2010. That’s the largest gap between two pitchers starting for the same team on the same day, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Starters going deep: In the second game of that doubleheader, Verlander and Shane Bieber each went eight innings. It was the first time this season both starting pitchers went at least eight innings in a game. The two were part of a group of four starters to go at least eight innings on Sunday, with Framber Valdez, who threw a shutout, and Kevin Gausman. That’s two more pitchers than had gone eight innings on any other day this season.
Classic Yordan: The Astros’ Yordan Alvarez is as fearsome a slugger as ever. On Monday, he tacked two more homers onto his season total. The performance was his 14th career multi-homer effort, tying Gary Sánchez for the second most in a player’s first 410 career games. Only Ralph Kiner had more, with 17 such games.
30 for 30: Speaking of Astros home runs on Monday, we need to discuss Martín Maldonado’s. His home run against the Brewers made him the 69th player to homer against all current 30 teams. But for Maldonado, it was even more rare, as it was his 99th homer. He became just the fourth to do so before reaching 100 career home runs, according to Elias, joining Jose Guillen, Orlando Hudson and Stephen Drew.
Kiermaier’s back: In his return as a visitor to Tropicana Field, Kevin Kiermaier had a 97.9 mph assist to the plate to get Wander Franco. That was the Blue Jays’ fastest-tracked outfield assist under Statcast tracking (since 2015). By the way, Kiermaier has the mark for the Rays’ fastest-tracked outfield assist in that span, too, with three at 100.6 mph.
Back in D.C.: Playing in his second series at Nationals Park since being traded to the Padres, Juan Soto had a 113.8 mph single and 113.1 mph home run on Tuesday. It was the first time he’s had multiple 113-plus mph batted balls in a game in his career. He became the third Padre to do that under Statcast (since 2015), joining Fernando Tatis Jr. on April 23, 2021, and Franchy Cordero on April 23, 2018. Tuesday’s date? May 23.
Quite the start: The Cubs’ Christopher Morel made the most of his first 12 games at the MLB level in 2023, hitting nine homers, including in five straight games. His nine home runs tied for the second most in a player’s first 12 games of season since 1900 with 2001 Luis Gonzalez and 1997 Larry Walker, behind only 1976 Mike Schmidt, who hit 11. With his fifth game in a row with a homer Tuesday, Morel became the first Cubs player with such a streak since Sammy Sosa in 1998.
The Bryce is right: The Mariners’ Bryce Miller continues to dominate early in his career. With six innings and two hits allowed Wednesday, Miller became the first pitcher since at least 1901 to go at least six innings and allow four hits or fewer in each of his first five career appearances. His five consecutive outings of at least six innings and five or fewer baserunners is one outing shy of tying the longest such streak since at least 1901, held at six by 2022 Jacob deGrom, 2022 Shane McClanahan, 2016 Clayton Kershaw and 2015 Zack Greinke.
Bringing the heat: Twins fireballer Jhoan Duran reached a new level on Wednesday, throwing three pitches registering at least 104.0 mph, including one to seal the game-ending strikeout. He became the fourth pitcher with a 104.0 mph strikeout in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008), joining Aroldis Chapman (seven), Jordan Hicks and Mauricio Cabrera. With three pitches at 104.0-plus mph, Duran already has the third most in the pitch-tracking era, behind only Chapman (66) and Hicks (12).