Strange But True feats of 2013

Barry Zito's final road start of 2012 was his stunning, October-altering 5-0 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis in Game 5 of the NLCS. But it wasn't exactly a portent of things to come. Zito made 11 road starts as a Giant this year -- and won none of them (going 0-9, 9.56).

Max Scherzer
Scherzer

• Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey pulled off a dèjá vu act this year never before witnessed in Strange But True history. They started against each other in the All-Star Game, and enjoyed that so much, they then started against each other again Aug. 24 -- in the same ballpark (Citi Field).

• Twins relief pitchers struck out more hitters this season (508) than Twins starters (477) -- in 291 2/3 fewer innings. Whatever happened to Johan Santana and Frank Viola?

• Between April 13 and May 31, Cole Hamels made nine starts for the Phillies in which he threw 927 pitches to 240 hitters. You know what all those pitches had in common? He never threw one of them with his team holding a lead.

Andy Pettitte pitched 18 seasons in the big leagues and never once struck out 13 hitters in a game. Alex Cobb struck out 13 Padres on May 4 -- and never even got through the fifth inning. (Pitch-count police intervened with two outs in the fifth after he threw his 117th pitch.)

Matt Cain might have had the Strangest But Truest inning of his career June 1, when he gave up nine hits and seven runs just in the third inning of a start against the Cardinals, But here's why that inning belongs in the Strange But True Hall of Fame: You know what happened in the other five innings Cain was out there that day? He faced 15 hitters -- and they went 15 up, 15 down (with seven whiffs). Naturally.

• The Astros played three games in five days in April in which their starter didn't make it through the first inning. Just to put that in perfect Strange But True perspective, the Dodgers have played one game like that in the last seven seasons.

• In his regularly scheduled no-hit bid against the Astros on Aug. 12, Yu Darvish got mixed up in a game that featured more catchers (two) than hits (one). How'd that happen? Easy: A.J. Pierzynski got ejected in the middle of it. That'll do it!

• On July 24 and 29, David Price won back-to-back starts in the same ballpark -- but it wasn't Tropicana Field. It was Fenway Park, thanks to the miracle of raindrops and creative scheduling. Oh. And how many times did Price win back-to-back starts at the Trop this year? You guessed it. Zero.

Stephen Strasburg was a Strange But True phenomenon unto himself this year. Let's start with his Aug. 18 outing against the Braves, when he threw three wild pitches in one at-bat against Andrelton Simmons. How weird (and possibly intentional) was that? The guy threw four wild pitches to the other 730 hitters he faced this year.

• Two weeks after that bizarre episode in Strange But Trueness, Strasburg committed two run-scoring balks in the same inning. So how many balks do you think he committed in the other 182 innings he pitched this year? That would be one.

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