Since 1893, only two pitchers have recorded at least 500 strikeouts in their first two Major League seasons combined. Indians southpaw Herb Score was the first to reach the mark, with 508 K's at the conclusion of his sophomore season. When Dwight Gooden had completed his historic 1985 campaign, the Mets right-hander owned a career tally of 544.
Continuing down the list, one finds Dodgers right-hander Hideo Nomo (470 K's), Phillies right-hander Pete Alexander (422) and Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum (415) in the third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively. But with just about one-third of the 2013 season still unwritten, it remains to be seen how high Yu Darvish (407 strikeouts from 2012-13) can climb up the charts.
Darvish fanned 14 with no walks in seven scoreless innings and picked up his 10th win of the year on Thursday against the D-backs.
This season, Darvish has four games with at least 14 strikeouts (he has exactly 14 in all four). He is the 16th pitcher since 1916 to have at least four such games in one season. The breakdown:
Eight games: Pedro Martinez (1999), Randy Johnson (2001)
Six games: Nolan Ryan (1972, '74), Johnson (1997)
Five games: Sam McDowell (1968), Johnson (1993, '98, '99, 2002)
Four games: Ryan (1976), Mark Langston (1986), Roger Clemens (1988, '98), Johnson (2004), Darvish (2013)
With his latest effort, Darvish joined Clemens (1997) and Johnson (2001) as the only pitchers since 1916 to have three games in one season of at least 14 K's and no walks.
Darvish has 16 double-digit strikeout games in his 50-game career -- the second most for any pitcher since 1916, with Gooden and his 20 being the most.
With this latest effort, Darvish has 186 strikeouts in 138 2/3 innings, for a K/9 rate of 12.07. Only two qualifying right-handed pitchers in baseball history have finished a season with a rate above 12: Martinez (13.20) in 1999 and Kerry Wood (12.58) in 1998.
The Indians defeated the White Sox, 6-1, on Thursday, getting 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball from Justin Masterson and a two-homer, four-RBI performance from Ryan Raburn.
Masterson is 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA against the White Sox this season. Two Indians since 1916 have finished a year with at least four wins and an ERA no higher than one against the White Sox (the Indians have six more games against Chicago this year, so Masterson's numbers are subject to change). The two are Johnny Klippstein (4-0 with a 0.45 ERA in 1960) and Luis Tiant (4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 1968).
Raburn -- who has made 48 starts this season and owns a .961 OPS in 199 plate appearances -- is one of nine players in 2013 to have multiple games of at least two home runs and at least four RBIs. The other eight -- Jose Bautista (a league-high three), Alfonso Soriano, Mike Napoli, Adam LaRoche, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Dunn, Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera -- have an average of 100 starts. Raburn is also tied for the second-most multihomer games this season, with three. Bautista leads with four.
The Royals captured their ninth straight win with a 7-2 victory against the Twins. The winning streak is the longest for the club since it opened the 2003 season with nine straight victories. The last time Kansas City won 10 in a row was in 1994, when the club won 14 straight (the second-longest streak in franchise history).
During this nine-game winning streak, the Royals' team ERA is 1.50.
Kansas City has 36 games in which the club has allowed two or fewer runs. Those 36 are the third most in the AL -- the Tigers have 39 and the Mariners have 37 -- and the most for the club through 105 games since the '92 team had 36.
Davis hit his 39th home run of the season on Thursday, a solo shot that gave him 100 RBIs. Davis is the second Orioles player to get to 100 through 109 team games, joining Miguel Tejada in 2004. Tejada would finish that season with 150 -- the most for an Orioles player and the second most in franchise history, after the Browns' Ken Williams had 155 in 1922.
Down 7-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox scored six runs to come back and defeat the Mariners, 8-7, on Thursday. The six-run comeback is the largest for the Red Sox this season, and gave them their Major League-leading 11th walk-off win. According to the Red Sox's media notes, via the Elias Sports Bureau, the team record for most walk-off wins in a season is 13, by the 1940 club. Boston entered Thursday's game 2-35 when trailing after eight innings.
Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez struck out eight to run his career total to 1,653. With the eight, Hernandez passed Christy Mathewson and moved to sixth on a list of the most strikeouts for any pitcher since 1893 through his age-27 season.
1893-2013: Most K's Through Age-27 Season
Justin Upton hit two home runs, Julio Teheran fanned 11 in five innings and the Braves picked up their seventh straight win, defeating the Rockies, 11-2, on Thursday.
On April 27, Upton hit his 12th home run of the season in the Braves' 23rd game of the year. In the next 77 games leading up to Thursday night, Upton hit four.
Teheran joined Juan Pizarro (1959) as the only pre-23rd-birthday Braves pitchers to have three double-digit strikeout games in a season.
Braves third baseman Chris Johnson went 3-for-5 to push his average up to a league-leading .346. Johnson has strung together seven straight multihit games, the longest streak for a Braves player since Matt Diaz had a seven-game stretch in 2009. The last Braves player to have at least two hits in at least eight straight games was Hank Aaron in 1959.
The Dodgers defeated the Cubs, 6-4, at Wrigley Field on Thursday, giving Los Angeles 11 straight wins on the road. The road winning streak is the longest for the club since the 1955 team captured 11 in a row away from Ebbets Field.
Yasiel Puig doubled and homered in the win, giving the outfielder 11 homers and 23 extra-base hits in 51 games.
The 11 homers through 51 games are tied for the second most for a Dodgers player since 1916, with David Ross having 12 and Del Bissonette also having 11.
The 23 extra-base hits through 51 games are the fifth most for any Dodgers player since 1916. Those with more: Gibby Brack (29), Babe Herman (26), Bissonette (26) and Johnny Frederick (26).
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.