BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

By Bill Arnold/@sfgwire

SINGULAR TENSE

A single-digit number for a pitcher is a relatively new trend in major-league baseball. Once considered taboo in baseball, because position players were given the uniforms with one digit. Early in the Twentieth Century, when the numbering of uniforms began, a player’s number was often assigned based upon their batting order with the backup catcher generally given “9.” The first numbers to debut were sewn onto the sleeves of Cleveland Indians’ players in 1916. Chicago White Sox’ Bob Weiland is the first known pitcher to don a single-digit uniform, “2,” in 1931, the first season the Sox assigned numbers. The next pitcher to wear a single-digit number was Irving “Bump” Hadley who wore “9” for the 1932 St. Louis Browns. There are the eight pitchers – five starters and three relievers – who have decided to go with a single-digit uniform number this season. Clayton Richard of the Toronto Blue Jays changed his number from “3” to “2” following a trade from the San Diego Padres to the Jays in December. Pitchers have different reasons for joining the trend – from Adam Ottavino‘s wearing “0” because his last name begins with an “O” to Blake Snell‘s wanting to wear his favorite number – 4.

The eight single-numbered pitchers throwing in the bigs are:

Pitcher Starter/Reliever Team Number
Adam Ottavino Reliever Yankees 0
Clayton Richard Starter Blue Jays 2
Blake Snell Starter Rays 4
Carl Edwards Jr. Reliever Cubs 6
Marcus Stroman Starter Blue Jays 6
Marco Gonzales Starter Mariners 7
Julio Urias Starter/Reliever Dodgers 7
Mike Leake Starter Mariners 7

LIFE IN COLORADO

Last weekend’s four-game series between the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies produced several novel records. The two teams combined for most total runs in a four-game series with 92. The Padres’ Ian Desmond recorded the season’s fastest dash around the bases of 15.09 seconds after hitting an inside the park home run last Friday. There were three game delays, two involving weather and the other resulted from a broken water main in the right-field corner. Padres’ rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. became the only player this season to record seven hits in seven consecutive at-bats. Tatis also uncorked the season’s hardest throw by a fielder when he threw a ball 93.4 mph to the first baseman to nab the batter. However, the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon had a four-game series usually seen only in dreams. The right fielder went 15-for-24, racked four home runs and recorded 10 RBIs. He saw his slash line jump from .305/.361/.582 to .336/.385/.652. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Blackmon’s week elevated him to join Tim Salmon (1994), Al Simmons (1932) and Bill Terry (1932) as the only players to log at least 20 hits and hit five homers (21-for-37 with 6 HRs) during a seven-day span (June 10 to 16).

AROUND THE HORN

Miguel Cabrera, Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia are the only active players that have played against the Expos prior to the team’s to relocation to Washington, D.C. for the 2005 season.

… The Cubs are considering adding betting lounges at Wrigley Field as Illinois considers legalized sports betting; during the 1920s through the 1950s, the bleachers at “The Friendly Confines'” were considered havens for gamblers; one issue that also might derail the plan is that MLB prohibits sports books at ballparks.

… Only the A’s Frankie Montas (1), the Mets Jacob deGrom (2 runs) and the Cubs Cole Hamels (2) are the only starters in the majors who have thrown a minimum of 15 first innings and have given up two or fewer runs.

… The Class A (Midwest League) Quad City River Bandits, an affiliate of the Astros, are offering a 3,400-calorie sandwich called the “Porkzilla” for $12; it features a half-pound hunk of barbecued pork tenderloin, topped with bacon, deep-fried pork rinds, BBQ sauce, pickles and onions, and is served on a large toasted bun drenched in pork drippings.

… On Monday night the Blue Jays saluted the NBA champion Toronto Raptors by putting their logo on the back of the pitcher’s mound at Rogers Centre.

Justin Verlander is attempting to join Pedro Martinez (2000 – 0.737) and Walter Johnson (1913 – 0.780) as owners of the lowest WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) since 1900; through Monday, when he last pitched, the Astro hurler’s WHIP is 0.743.

… After beating the Dodgers on Monday, Tyler Beede joined Jack Sanford (89 wins as a starter), Allen Ripley (12), John Curtis (11) and Stu Miller (9) as the only Massachusetts-born players to start and win a game for the Giants since moving west in 1958; Beede still has a long way to go to catch the MLB leader, Tom Glavine, who leads all players born in “The Bay State” since 1900 with 305 wins.

… There are three active sets of brothers playing in the bigs — Austin (Mariners) and Aaron (Phillies) Nola, Kevin (Diamondbacks) and C.J. (Twins) Cron, Yuli (Astros) and Lourdes (Blue Jays) Gurriel Jr.; a fourth pair: Kyle (Mariners) and Corey (Dodgers) Seager are waiting in the wings when Corey comes off the 10-day injury list.

… The Twins avoided becoming the last team in the majors to lose three-consecutive games when they edged the Red Sox 4-3 in 17 innings on Tuesday night; they’ve lost two-straight five times this season.

Oscar Mercado joined a rare club when he scored the 25th run of his career in just his 28th game; the only Indian player’s to score 25 or more runs in their first 28 games were Roy Weatherly (1936 – 30 runs) and Ray Chapman (1912 – 27).

… On Tuesday night the Orioles gave up six homers to the host A’s during the 16-2 shellacking; it was the ninth time this season the O’s pitchers had given up five or more homers in a game, the Twins and A’s have each accomplished the trick three times against the hapless “Charm City” team.

… According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Edwin Jackson became the first major-league pitcher to record wins for 12 different teams when he and Blue Jays defeated the Orioles on June 12; the 35-year-old right hander has pitched for a major-league record 14 teams since joining the Dodgers in 2003, and the only teams he hasn’t won game for are the Marlins (2016) and the Orioles (2017).

… In an unusual promotion the Astros’ Double A (Texas League) affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks, played a “No Phones Game” by asking their fans to disconnect their cell phones for the game on Thursday night.

… The Braves, the Astros, the Twins and the Mariners are the only teams to score 90 runs during an 11-game stretch this season.

… On Tuesday night Cole Hamels became the 10th left-handed pitcher to record his 2,500th regular-season strikeout; the Cubs’ starter (2,506 KOs) joins fellow southpaws Randy Johnson (4,875), Steve Carlton (4,136), CC Sabathia (3,043), Mickey Lolich (2,832), Frank Tanana (2,773), Chuck Finley (2,610), Tom Glavine (2,607), Warren Spahn (2,583) and Jerry Koosman (2,556).

… The Yankees ended a rare, and somewhat odd, streak on Monday when the team snapped a successive run of both hitting and giving up a home run in 15 consecutive games breaking the Phillies 2006 record of 14 straight games.

… The Tigers are playing the majors’ fastest games at home this season in an average time of just two hours and 53 minutes; the Marlins are the playing the fastest (home) games in the N.L. averaging two hours and 54 minutes.

… The A’s first-round draft pick, Logan Davidson, who was signed on by the team on Monday, wore a cobbled together uniform as he worked out with the team in Oakland; the former-Clemson, switch-hitting shortstop wore the A’s white home pants, an alternate home top and an alternate solid green cap.

… On June 15 Stephen Vogt joined five other Giant catchers – Chief Meyers (twice – 1909 and 1915), Frank Snyder (1922), Zack Taylor (1927), Bob O’Farrell (1930), and Steve Nicosia (1984) – to hit two triples in a game.

… On Tuesday night Max Kepler became the first player since Curtis Granderson (2016) and it was just the 24th time since 1925 that a major-league player recorded both a game-tying and walk-off hit in extra innings; the Twins’ right fielder hit the tying home run in the 13th inning and had the game-winning single in the 17th.

… A’s reliever Joakim Soria needs one game to tie Dennys Reyes for most games by a Mexican-born pitcher; Reyes, who pitched for 11 teams during a 15-year career (1997-2011), appeared in a record 673 games.

Other writers and sources contribute to Beyond the Box Score

Copyright 2019, Sports Features Group