MLB Notebook: Power pitching on the rise

MLB Notebook: Power pitching on the rise

When the 2011 regular season was complete, the overall strikeout-to-walk ratio was 2.30 -- the highest in the modern era. Within this historic achievement, the season had witnessed an unprecedented number of starts in which a pitcher had struck out at least 10 and walked no more than one. The 2011 season produced 91 of those starts, three more than the 1998 season (the 1st season that saw Major League Baseball involve 30 teams) produced.

Looked at from another angle, in order to contextualize for the number of teams and overall games played, 2011 averaged one start with 10 or more strikeouts and no more than one walk for every 53.4 starts made. Before the most recent expansion season in 1998, the two largest numbers of starts like this in a season had come in 1997 (when there were 66, or one for every 68.7 starts) and in 1967, when there were 56 in a total of 3,240, or one for every 57.9 starts. After Sunday's performances in 2012, when Max Scherzer, Alex Cobb, Colby Lewis and Chris Capuano each finished with at least 10 strikeouts and no more than one walk, this season is seeing an average of one of these games for every 48.3 starts.

• Scherzer struck out 12 with no walks and picked up his sixth win, with eight scoreless innings. Scherzer has three games with at least 11 strikeouts this season, the most for anyone in the Majors. Scherzer is the third Tigers pitcher in the live ball era -- after Mickey Lolich in 1974 and Justin Verlander in 2009 -- to have three games with at least 11 K's through the club's first 66 games.

• Rays right-hander Alex Cobb fanned 10 in seven innings of two-hit ball, and Tampa Bay blanked Miami, 3-0. Cobb is the fourth different Rays pitcher this season to strike out at least 10 batters in a game, joining James Shields (who has two double-digit K games), David Price and Matt Moore. The Angels (C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren, Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana), Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Capuano), and Phillies (Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Vance Worley) are the other teams to have four different pitchers with a double-digit strikeout game.

Yankees
• In the Yankees' 65th game of the year, Curtis Granderson hit his 21st home run. Last season, Granderson also had 21 through the club's first 65 games. He is the fourth different player to have back-to-back seasons with the Yankees in which he had at least 21 homers through 65 games. The entire list:

• Babe Ruth: 22 in 1920, 25 in 1921
• Babe Ruth: 23 in 1926, 24 in 1927, 30 in 1928
• Mickey Mantle: 27 in 1956, 21 in 1957
• Roger Maris: 24 in 1960, 26 in 1961
• Curtis Granderson: 21 in 2011, 21 in 2012

• Behind Ivan Nova's 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball, the Yankees defeated the Nationals, 4-1, for their ninth consecutive victory.

• New York's nine-game winning streak is tied for the longest this season, matching the White Sox's nine-game streak from May 23 to June 1. Over the course of their nine straight wins, the Yankees staff owns a 1.88 team ERA.

• The nine consecutive wins have come against NL East competition, as the Yankees have swept series against the Mets, Braves and Nationals. At 167-109, the Yankees own the best Interleague winning percentage (.605) of any club.

• In their past 23 games, the Yankees are 19-4 and have outscored their opponents 120 to 65.

Jim Thome
• Jim Thome hit his 608th career home run and 100th as a member of the Phillies. Thome -- who is one homer shy of tying Sammy Sosa for seventh all-time -- is the fourth player in history to have at least 100 with three different franchises. The full list is provided in the table.

100+ HRs With 3 Different Franchises
Player Teams (HRs)
Reggie Jackson A's (269), Yankees (144), Angels (123)
Darrell Evans Giants (142), Tigers (141), Braves (131)
Alex Rodriguez Yankees (294), Mariners (189), Rangers (156)
Jim Thome Indians (337), White Sox (134), Phillies (100)

• Baltimore's Jim Johnson struck out two in a perfect ninth inning to record his 20th save (in 21 opportunities) of the season. For all pitchers with at least 20 innings this season, Johnson's 0.674 WHIP is the second lowest in the Majors, behind Charlie Furbush's 0.662 mark for the Mariners.

Royals
• The Royals defeated the Cardinals, 5-3, in 15 innings, to take two of three in the three-game series. The game was the longest ever played in 69 contests between the two teams.
• Kansas City's Alex Gordon tied his own franchise record by drawing five walks. Gordon also did it on July 30, 2008. In this game, he did it from the leadoff spot, making him the first leadoff hitter with five walks in a game since Rickey Henderson drew five as a member of the Mariners on July 30, 2000.

• Yuniesky Betancourt -- who was on the bench to begin the game -- finished the contest with two hits in seven at-bats, with his two-run homer in the top of the 15th the difference in the game. Betancourt is the second player in the past 20 seasons to not start a game and still collect at least seven at-bats in the affair. On July 6, 2008, Atlanta's Jason Perry entered as a pinch-runner in the second inning, stayed in the game in the outfield, and went 1-for-7.

• Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez hit a pair of three-run home runs, set a new career high with six RBIs, and collected two home runs for the second straight game. It is the second time in his career Alvarez -- who has four career multi-homer games -- has hit two home runs in successive games. He also did it in 2010, on July 20 and July 21. Alvarez and Ralph Kiner are the only Pirates players since 1918 to hit at least two home runs in two consecutive games on two different occasions -- Kiner did it three times: twice in 1947 and once in 1949.

• Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry -- playing in his 23rd career game -- went 5-for-5 with five singles. Berry is the second Tigers player since 1918 -- Austin Jackson is the other -- to have a five-hit game so early in his career. On April 30, 2010, Jackson also had five singles in his 23rd career game. In this affair, Berry was hitting second, right behind Jackson.

• Making his sixth career start, Angels right-hander Garrett Richards allowed four hits in eight shutout innings and led Anaheim to its second consecutive team shutout, and ninth overall. The nine through 67 team games stands as the second most in team history, behind the 11 authored by the 1989 club.

• Johnny Cueto allowed one run in seven innings and improved to 8-3 with a 2.38 ERA in the Reds' 3-1 win over the Mets. Cueto has seven starts this season in which he has finished with at least seven innings and no more than one run allowed. Those seven tie him with Ryan Dempster and Felix Hernandez for the second most in the Majors, behind the eight compiled by R.A. Dickey.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.