Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

10 stat lines we saw for the first time in 2018

December 17, 2018

Go to an MLB game, on any given day, and you might see something that's never happened before. Even with decades upon decades of recorded baseball history, that remains true.Reliable box-score data is now available going back all the way to 1908. In 2018, players continued to produce single-game stat

Go to an MLB game, on any given day, and you might see something that's never happened before. Even with decades upon decades of recorded baseball history, that remains true.
Reliable box-score data is now available going back all the way to 1908. In 2018, players continued to produce single-game stat lines that did not occur even once in those previous 110 seasons.
So with a hat tip to the Baseball-Reference Play Index, and in celebration of one's inability to predict baseball, here is a look at 10 of those unique stat lines from this past season.
Christian Yelich soars to cycle
Aug. 29 at Reds: 6-for-6, 2 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBIs
Yelich separated himself from a crowded National League MVP field by batting .367/.449/.770 in the second half, as the Brewers claimed a division title. His surge included not one but two cycles, as he also accomplished the feat against the Reds on Sept. 17 at Miller Park to become the first player to cycle twice against the same team in the same season. The first was special on its own. Yelich's plate appearances had the following results, in order, in Milwaukee's 13-12 victory: single, single, two-run homer, double, RBI triple, single. Yelich became just the fourth modern player to collect a six-hit cycle and joined Ian Kinsler as the only ones to do so in only six plate appearances. Oddly, though, Yelich scored only two runs, compared with five for Kinsler.

Matt Carpenter brings hammer at Wrigley
July 20 at Cubs: 5-for-5, 4 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs
Carpenter's bat got scorching hot in mid-May and stayed that way for three months. The stretch included a 5-for-5, two-homer game on June 26 against the Indians -- and it wasn't even Carpenter's best performance. Less than a month later, at Wrigley Field, the St. Louis leadoff man began the game by homering off Jonathan Lester. He added a two-run shot off in the third and a double in the fourth off Lester, an RBI double later in the fourth off James Norwood, and then a three-run blast in the sixth off Brian Duensing, before he was removed from the blowout. Carpenter joined Kristopher Bryant (who was in the Cubs' lineup that day) as the only players to double twice and homer three times in a single game, but Carpenter's seven RBIs topped Bryant by one.

Mark Reynolds wraps up big night
July 7 vs. Marlins: 5-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs
Reynolds didn't make his Nationals debut until mid-May, after signing a Minor League deal in April, but still flashed the sort of power that has carried him to nearly 300 career home runs. In an 18-4 drubbing of Miami at Nationals Park, Reynolds ripped a two-run homer in the second inning, an RBI double in the fourth, a two-run single in the fifth, a three-run homer in the sixth, and finally, another two-run single in the seventh. It was only the seventh time a player has combined at least five hits with 10-plus RBIs (Nats teammate Anthony Rendon also did it in 2017). But the Reds' Scooter Gennett, in his four-homer game in '17, was the only previous player to accomplish all that in five at-bats. Unlike Gennett, Reynolds' performance included a double.

Rougned Odor exercises restraint
Aug. 2 vs. Orioles: 1-for-1, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB
Never known for patience, Odor drew just 27 unintentional walks over 162 games in 2017. He began August averaging a little more than one free pass every four games in '18. Then something odd happened. Odor walked (unintentionally) in each of his first four plate appearances, against three different Baltimore pitchers, the last forcing in a run. He popped a two-run homer his next time up, then added another walk for good measure. Odor joined none other than Hank Aaron as the only hitters to walk at least five times, homer, and drive in multiple runs in a game, although two of Hammerin' Hank's trips to first were intentional, and he also made a pair of outs.

Extra, extra for Matt Chapman
July 26 at Rangers: 3-for-3, 3 R, 2 3B, HR, RBI, BB
Chapman won a Gold Glove Award for his defense at the hot corner, but the A's third baseman also showed plenty with the bat in his second season. The fireworks included this 10-total-bases effort at Globe Life Park, as Chapman homered off Bartolo Colon in the second inning, drew a walk in the fourth, and legged out a triple to left-center in the sixth. He picked up another three-bagger in the eighth off Alex Claudio, with the help of an ill-fated dive in the outfield, setting him up to score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly. Chapman became the sixth player to go 3-for-3 with two triples and a homer, and the first of those to add a walk and at least three runs scored.

Max Scherzer packs in the K's
May 6 vs. Phillies: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 15 K
Scherzer is no stranger to notable performances. There were the two no-hitters, the 20-strikeout game, and the 16-strikeout one-hitter, among others. This outing didn't quite reach those heights, but the right-hander was impressive nonetheless. At one point, from the second into the sixth inning, Scherzer recorded 12 straight outs via strikes (sprinkling in five baserunners). He recorded one more K in the seventh, departed with a 1-0 lead and a runner on base, and saw the Phillies grab a 3-1 advantage against the bullpen. However, Scherzer had become the first pitcher to record at least 15 strikeouts in as little as 6 1/3 innings.

The unhittable Josh Hader
April 30 at Reds: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K
Hader was simply overwhelming for much of 2018, as the Brewers' left-handed relief ace piled up 143 strikeouts -- more than seven qualified starters -- in only 81 1/3 innings. Hader struck out at least four batters in an outing 12 times, but the peak came at Great American Ball Park. Entering with Milwaukee ahead 6-5 and one out in the seventh inning, Hader punched out eight of the nine men he faced while walking one to secure a one-run victory. The southpaw was just the second pitcher on record to notch eight K's while facing only nine batters, and the first to do it in less than three innings.

Ryne Stanek, opener to new things
Aug. 3 vs. White Sox: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (as SP)
When the Rays popularized the opener strategy this year, Stanek was one of the guys in the spotlight. Averaging 98 mph with his fastball, Stanek started 29 of his 59 appearances, never going more than two innings. There isn't much precedent for the type of performances Stanek was producing, including this outing at Tropicana Field. The righty began the game by striking out Yoan Moncada, Yolmer Sanchez, Jose Abreu, Daniel Palka and Avisail Garcia swinging, before giving way to Tampa Bay's next pitcher. It was the first time a starter had faced more than three batters while striking out all of them.

Jose Urena's short night
Aug. 15 at Braves: 0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP (as SP)
Two starters this season pitched to just one batter. One was Dan Jennings, who served as an opener for the Brewers on Sept. 24 and retired Carpenter. The other was Urena, whose first pitch was a 97.5 mph fastball that drilled Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr., cleared the benches, and led to the righty's ejection. Urena, who led the NL in HBPs for the second straight season, became the first starter since John Lackey (2009) and the fourth overall to hit the only batter he faced in a game. While reliable pitch count data only exists back to the 1980s, Urena was the first starter on record to throw one pitch, hit a batter, and leave the game.

Derek Holland walks the tightrope
Aug. 15 at Dodgers: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K
Holland didn't exactly cruise through his outing at Dodger Stadium, but in the end, he put zeros on the board. The lefty allowed two baserunners in the first inning, one in the second, one in the third, two in the fourth and four in the fifth -- when he benefited from a runner being thrown out at the plate, and reliever Reyes Moronta retiring Cody Bellinger to strand the bases loaded. Yet Holland also recorded half of the outs he got on strikeouts. It was the first time a pitcher allowed as many as 10 baserunners but no runs in less than five innings, while striking out seven.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.