Number of pitches Johan Santana threw in pitching what goes down as the Mets’ first no-hitter — if you can somehow close your eyes and ignore the smudge on the third-base line where Carlos Beltran’s would-have-been double landed. No Twins fans, that wasn’t Phil Cuzzi’s call, but Adrian Johnson’s. Yo, Adrian. You missed it. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s next-day front featured Santana’s no-hitter, the headline aptly marked with an asterisk. We now have a perfect game which was that isn’t, and a no-hitter that is but wasn’t. Got it? Back to Santana. The 134 pitches are by far the most he’s thrown this year — he’s topped 100 three times in 11 starts — and the most he’s ever thrown in a major-league game. No argument with letting Santana go — the Mets have been properly cautious with him this year, and he’s still only 70th in MLB this year in number of pitches thrown. But what happens if Chris Young takes a no-hitter into the fifth inning in his first start tonight? Does the Mets’ disabled list take reservations? (Seven Mets pitchers pitched no-hitters after leaving the Mets. Who are they? Answer below).
Number of hits Boston starter Daniel Bard gave up, or one more than Santana (*or the same) in losing 5-1 at Toronto on Sunday. Of course, there was a small difference between Bard and Santana: Bard walked six, hit two, threw a home run and didn’t complete the second inning. If the performance sounds familiar to Sox fans, it should. It was at Toronto last September that reliever Bard blew an 8-6 lead by giving up five runs on one hit, three walks, a hit batsman and some help from Matt Albers. And it was against Toronto at Fenway a week later that Bard blew a 4-2 lead by giving up three runs on one hit, two walks and a throwing error. “I think we’ve tried to change too many things,” Bard said Sunday. “Maybe just get back to being simple.” Good idea. Like throwing strikes. And staying out of Canada.
Number of bases stolen by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who is trying to outrun the family’s reputation as the slowest afoot in baseball. Molina is on pace to steal 15, which would beat the family high of nine, set by Yadier in 2009. Better yet, he hasn’t been caught — as a family, the Molinas have been caught 33 times in 78 attempts. Much of the family’s rep can be pinned on the now-retired Bengie, who moved at a pace slower than a Yankees-Red Sox game. He stole three bases in a 13-year career, was caught seven times and had such a reputation for tardiness afoot that his team was lucky if he reported for Opening Day by May. As a family, the Molinas hit into 262 double plays, and average one every 38 at-bats (the major league average this year is one every 43). Interviewing the loser of a Molina footrace would probably go something like the old joke about the snail being mugged by the tortoise. Police: “What happened?” Snail: “I don’t know. It all happened so fast.”
Consecutive starts in which Detroit starter Justin Verlander has pitched at least six innings. According to espn.com, that pushed Verlander past Bob Gibson, who made 53 straight starts of at least six innings in 1972-73, and within 24 of the leader in the “live-ball era,” which would be none other than Bob Gibson, who made 78 such starts from 1967-70. Tells you a bit about Gibson. (For the record, Gibson went at least six innings in 436 of his 482 career starts, including a 14-inning complete game at age 35). Verlander may not make it much further. He’s lost his last three starts, and gave up five runs in each of his last two. He hasn’t thrown fewer than 100 pitches in a game this year (with a high of 131 on opening day), and once again has thrown the most pitches in MLB by a wide margin — he’s 55 ahead of Jason Vargas, who’s made one more start. Verlander has led MLB in pitches thrown two of the last three seasons, and was only five behind Dan Haren in 2010.
At-bats by Milwaukee infielder Brooks Conrad before getting his first hit of the season, a home run vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday. Conrad enjoyed it so much he did it again Sunday. Conrad may be 2-for-33 and hitting .061, but both of his hits are homers. And for Braves’ fans who remember Conrad’s fielding troubles in the 2010 playoffs, his fielding percentage is higher than his batting average. However, his .354 OPS still trails pitcher Zack Greinke’s by 21 points.
Number of double plays the Tigers have hit into, tied for second-most in baseball. Want to know why the Tigers are eighth in OPS (.742) and 14th in runs scored? That’s why. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have hit into 10 apiece, and are tied for second-most, behind Joe Mauer’s 14, which are why the Twins are first with 58.
Number of hits by Ichiro Suzuki heading into play Tuesday, just 12 shy of 2,500, all the more impressive since he didn’t debut in the majors until age 27. Of course, Ichiro’s total would be less if he had walked more, but he hit .300 for 10 straight seasons, has a career .324 average and 431 steals. Of his 507 career walks, 170 are intentional, and three times he led the AL in that category, despite never hitting more than 15 home runs. He’s batting only .261 this year at age 38 and would need more than two additional seasons to reach 3,000. He’ll be an interesting Hall of Fame argument when the time comes — his career OPS is but .787, measured against his average, base stealing and fielding (10 Gold Gloves). His WAR is 54.4 in just 12 seasons (9.0 when he hit .372 in 2004), which sounds like a a definite “hai” in Japanese or yes in any language.
The seven pitchers who threw no-hitters after leaving the Mets are: Nolan Ryan, who threw seven of them, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Mike Scott, Hideo Nomo and Phillip Humber.