Nine to Know: From the Bill Chuck Files of April 22

Byron Buxton has double vision – Mickey Vernon hold the Twins franchise record with 51 doubles for the 1946 Washington Senators. Justin Morneau holds the Twin record with 47 doubles for Minnesota in 2008. Twins centerfielder who has never had more than 14 doubles in a season, already has 12 this year.

The Dodgers and the Mariners each already have six pitchers with Quality Starts:

Los Angeles Dodgers Walker Buehler / Clayton Kershaw / Kenta Maeda /
Hyun-Jin Ryu / Ross Stripling / Julio Urias
Seattle Mariners Marco Gonzales / Felix Hernandez / Yusei Kikuchi / Mike Leake / Wade LeBlanc / Erik Swanson

MIA – Will someone initiate a search for Ben Zobrist‘s power? The uber-utility player has gone 55 straight games without hitting a homer, the longest streak of his career. Zobrist hit his last homer August 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh. He hasn’t hit a homer out of Wrigley since last August 5.

Here’s one that Jayston Stark will likeTanner Roark of the Reds had a three-pitch inning against the Padres and to make it even sweeter, he allowed a hit. Here is his ultimate immaculate inning: On his first pitch, he gave up a leadoff single to Eric Hosmer. On his second pitch, Manny Machado lined into a double play and on his third pitch, Franmil Reyes flew out to left. I doubt that Padres’ pitcher Chris Paddack was really pleased with his abbreviated rest between innings. Paddack came out to the mound and walked the first batter he faced and two batters later allowed a two-run homer and ended up with the loss.

Serious, no JoshingJosh Harrison‘s performance at the plate so far for the Tigers is as robust as the interest in him as a free-agent this offseason. Harrison is struggling with a .122 BA (9-74) and has an OPS of .384.

Gimme five – All of last season, the Mariners had nine players who hit at least five homers; so far this season, the M’s have eight: Tim Beckham / Jay Bruce / Edwin Encarnacion / Mitch Haniger / Ryon Healy / Omar Narvaez / Domingo Santana / Daniel Vogelbach.

Toast with Gallo – After 1337 PA, Joey Gallo yesterday finally hit his first MLB sacrifice fly. Only Steve Sax who had 1388 plate appearances had a longer streak in MLB history among position players. Juan Soto is now the active leader with 582 PA without a sac fly. Gallo holds the record with 504 strikeouts for players who have hit one sac fly.

A great start in relief – On Saturday, Taylor Clarke had an auspicious MLB first-game. Pitching 3.0 innings for Arizona, Clarke struck out two and allowed just one hit and no walks to earn a save against the Cubs. In addition, in his only AB, Clarke picked up an infield single thus becoming the first pitcher since saves became an official stat in 1969 to record a save and get a hit in an MLB debut.

Two-strike (not) hitting – The Astros are hitting .206 when there are two strikes on the batter. Now before you decry how awful that it is, it should be noted they are the only team with an above .200 average with two strikes. The MLB average with two strikes is .168. Ohio is not great with two strikes: Cleveland Indians are hitting .124, the worst in baseball and the Cincinnati Reds are hitting .125, 29th in baseball.

And here’s a bonus: Last week, not only did Joey Votto hit his first pop-up to first base in his career, he hit the first leadoff homer of his career. The homer was Votto’s 271st which moved him into fourth place on the Reds all-time list, one past Adam Dunn. According to STATS, the only player in MLB history to have more homers before his first career leadoff HR was Eddie Mathews, whose first leadoff HR was the 436th of his career.