Random notes and musings from the world of baseball, September 1, 2021.

Leody’s ready for launch: Rangers outfielder Leody Taveras hasn’t had what you’d call a good season, or a decent one, or even a bad one. In fact, it’s been downright awful, with the 22-year-old hitting .099 in 71 at-bats. But he’s making his hits counts: He’s walloped a home run in each of the past two games and his last three knocks were for extra bases.

Not a big diel: Nationals outfielder Yadiel Hernandez was batting .314 as recently as August 6, but over the past month his mark is just .266. But even then, he’s produced: In 25 games, he has 3 homers, 9 RBI, 10 runs scored and 9 walks. The slugger had 33 home runs and 90 RBI at Triple-A in 2019, so greater numbers might be ahead.

Yadiel Hernandez debuted with Washington in 2020. (Wikipedia).

Triple-A awaits: Twins starter Griffin Jax had a 7.00 ERA in 5 August starts; his mark over his last two was 13.97. In 53 2/3 innings this year, he’s surrendered 16 home runs. Perhaps a little more time on the farm is what he needs.

Brewers churn out one more: The Brewers have a knack for churning out great young (or, at least, rookie) relievers. In the past few seasons, they’ve had Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel, to name a few. Well, add Jake Cousins to the list. The rookie righthander has 36 strikeouts and a 0.78 ERA in 22 appearances so far this year. In the past week, he’s Ked 9 batters in 3 1/3 innings.

Ray is #1: With his stellar 10-strikeout performance on August 30, Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray now holds the all-time number 1 spot for strikeout-per-nine-innings ratio. His mark is currently 11.177. He’s trailed closely by Chris Sale, Yu Darvish, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, so the lead could fluctuate on a daily or weekly basis.

A new record is imminent: In this day and age of batters striking out like madmen, a pitcher is bound to set the record for most strikeouts in a game soon. The current mark of 20 is held by four men and was most recently achieved by Max Scherzer on May 11, 2016.

Speaking of strikeouts: This season, teams are averaging one strikeout per inning, or 9 per game. In 2010, it was just 7.1 per 9 frames. In 2000: 6.5. In 1990: 5.7. How much higher will it go?

Flash from the past: The Angels have a young hurler named Packy Naughton. Does that name not sound like it belongs to someone who played in 1890? Right next to Doggie Miller, Pretzels Getzien and Jocko Halligan. Another anachronistic name was that of Red Patterson, who played for the Dodgers in 2014. He was the first Red to debut since Red Witt in 1957.

Jeff Kent has been on the Hall of Fame ballot eight times and has never earned more than 32.4% of the vote. (Wikipedia).

Big milestones, no Hall: Only two second basemen have at least 2,000 hits, 300 home runs and 1,000 RBI: Jeff Kent and Robinson Cano. Both have Hall of Fame numbers, but there’s a good chance neither will get the call.

Maybe there’s a chance: With the Mets winning again last night, their magic number to overtake the Braves is 37. Baseball-Reference says they now have a 2.4% chance of making the playoffs. Jose Martinez and Jose Peraza are rehabbing and bound to be back. Noah Syndergaard is getting close. In fact, James McCann, Tomas Nido and a whole slew of players are due to return in the first week of September. Tug, is that you?  … you gotta believe …

Couldn’t bring it home: The only players with more than twenty stolen bases and fewer than twenty runs scored in a season are Donell Nixon (1987, 21 SB, 17 R), Harry Pattee (1908, 24, 19) and Chippy McGarr (1888, 25, 17). It’s quite an impressive feat, since speedy guys, it seems, usually score more.

A double’s better than nothing: The record for most doubles in a season with no other extra base hits was set by Hall of Famer Jimmy Collins in 1907. He had 29 doubles and not one triple or home run. The career record is 17, set by Jon Lieber, Lynn McGlothen and Clem Koshorek. Lieber and McGlothen were pitchers, Koshorek an infielder.

Bill Dammann wasn’t long for the majors, but he won 20-plus games in the minors a couple times. (Wikipedia).

Three’s all I need: Who had the most triples in a season without any other extra base hits? You have to go back in time for these guys, but in 1871, John McMullin managed 5 three-base hits without another EXBH. In 1914, George Twombly did the same thing. The career record is 6, held by Bill Dammann. Most incredibly, Dammann was a pitcher.

Now home runs: Most home runs in a season without a double or triple? Six. It’s actually happened seven times, most recently by Carlos Zambrano in 2006. Babe Ruth did it, too. As of this writing, Royals outfielder Edward Olivares has 5 dingers without an extra base hit this year, so he might join the club or break the record.  The career record is 4 and is owned by two current guys who, more than likely, will hit another EXBH eventually: The Indians’ Daniel Johnson and the Cardinals’ Justin Williams.

Ultimate singles hitters: And finally, which player had the most hits in a season without an extra base hit? Old time catcher Bill Holbert had 50 in 1879, all of which were singles; the year before, just 2 of his 32 knocks went for extra bases. He slugged .232 for his career. A few years later, in 1890, another catcher named Herman Pitz had 47 hits—all singles. That was his only year in the big leagues, so he owns the record for most career hits without an extra base hit.

Happy birthday, Chuck: Chuck Tompkins, born in 1889, was born on this day. He pitched a single game for the Reds in 1912. He owns both a career 0.00 ERA and 1.000 batting average.

Wagnon dies: Dwayne Wagnon, who pitched a couple years in the Reds system in the early 2000s, died August 21. He had a 2.88 ERA in 20 games in the low minors.