Dodgers star becomes eighth lefty since 1893 with at least 280 strikeouts in a season
By Roger Schlueter
Special to MLB.com |
Here are five interesting items from around the big leagues Thursday …
• While picking up his 15th victory of the season, Clayton Kershaw fanned nine of the 22 batters he faced and ran his strikeout total to 281. Kershaw is the first pitcher to reach 280 strikeouts in a season since Randy Johnson had 290 K's in 2004. Kershaw and Johnson (who had at least 280 punchouts nine times) are two of just eight lefties since 1893 to have at least 280 in a season, joining Rube Waddell (three seasons), Sandy Koufax (three), Sam McDowell (three), Steve Carlton (three), Vida Blue (one) and Mickey Lolich (one). Kershaw has punched out 33.1 percent of the batters he has faced this year -- a strikeout percentage that has been surpassed just eight times in MLB history. The top eight range from Pedro Martinez's 37.5 percent in 1999 to Kerry Wood's 33.3 percent in '98. In between those two, Johnson owns five of the other six seasons, with his high being 37.4 percent in 2001.
• Starling Marte went 4-for-5 in the Pirates' 5-4 comeback win over the Rockies, and he finished his year at Coors Field with a .650 batting average (13-for-20). Among players with at least 20 plate appearances in a year at Coors Field, this mark is the second highest, following Craig Biggio's .667 (10-for-15, five walks) in 1999.
• In Pittsburgh's victory, Mark Melancon worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts to record his 50th save. The Pirates right-hander produced the 15th 50-save season in history, and the first since Craig Kimbrel and Jim Johnson each recorded 50 in 2013. With Melancon's 50 saves coming in 52 opportunities (96.2 percent), his save percentage ranks as the third highest among the members of the 50-save club. In 2003, Eric Gagne was 55-for-55, and in 1998, Trevor Hoffman was 53-for-54 (98.1 percent).
• In the Indians' 6-3 win over the Twins, Carlos Santana connected on his 18th home run and drew a pair of free passes to raise his walk total to 101 for the year. Santana, who led the American League with 113 walks in 2014, is the eighth switch-hitter to have at least 100 in consecutive seasons, joining Mickey Mantle (1954-58, '60-62, '67-68), Tony Phillips ('92-93, '95-97), Mickey Tettleton ('90-93), Donie Bush ('14-15), Lu Blue ('28-29), Augie Galan ('43-45) and Lance Berkman (2002-04).
• In the Rays' 4-2 win over the Red Sox, two veteran sluggers went deep to reach career milestones. Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria hit his 20th home run of the year, giving him at least 20 for the seventh time in eight seasons. Longoria became the fourth third baseman to have at least 20 long balls in seven of his first eight years, joining Eddie Mathews (eight), Chipper Jones (seven) and Scott Rolen (seven). Boston's David Ortiz hit a two-run home run to reach 100 RBIs for the ninth time in his Red Sox tenure, tying Ted Williams for the most in franchise history.
Milestone watch for Friday
• The Mets' Jeurys Familia needs one save to tie Armando Benitez (43 in 2001) for the franchise's single-season record.
• Bryce Harper needs one walk to tie Ken Singleton (123 in 1973) for the single-season Expos/Nationals franchise record.
Roger Schlueter is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.