Strange But True feats of 2013

• And, finally, guess which pitcher made more starts of six outs or fewer than any other starter in the big leagues this year? Right you are. That, too, would be Stephen Strasburg, with four. The Strange But True research department would like to thank him for his contributions to this year's column.

Strangest But Truest Hitting Feats of the Year


• Was the term "Bronx Bombers" really an accurate description of the Yankees this year? They went 28 games in a row at one point in June and July without getting a single home run from a right-handed hitter. Then Derek Jeter came off the disabled list -- and homered on the first pitch he saw.

• In between Pablo Sandoval's three-homer game in the 2012 World Series and his three-homer game Sept. 4, you know what all the other Giants hitters forgot to do? Even hit TWO home runs in one game. They would have made it through the entire season without a two-homer game if Hunter Pence hadn't come to their rescue Sept. 15.

• What did David Ortiz do that Joe DiMaggio never did? Had a 311-day hitting streak, that's what. From July 2, 2012 until May 8 this year, he hit in 27 games in a row – with a handy little Achilles injury in between to make this note possible.

• What did Marlins glove artiste Adeiny Hechavarria do that Chipper Jones never did? Drove in seven runs in one game, that's what. He knocked in seven in a May 5 game against the Phillies. And then he took almost six weeks and 35 games to drive in his next seven.

Jay Bruce
Bruce

• What was Jay Bruce's excellent contribution to the Strange But True annals this year? On Sept. 8, he curled a second-inning home run around the right-field foul pole off Clayton Kershaw. And why was that a big deal? Because no other left-handed hitter had homered off Kershaw since June 15, 2012. So how long did it take until Kershaw gave up another home run to a left-handed hitter? Exactly two innings. Whereupon Bruce homered off him again. Kershaw faced 165 left-handed hitters not named Jay Bruce this year. They combined for zero homers.

• More proof that all walking streaks are not created equal: The Phillies went four straight games without drawing a single walk. The Royals drew a bases-loaded walk in five straight games. I'm still not sure which of those is harder to do.

Roy Halladay has made numerous forays into this column over the years with his pitching. But his final contribution to Strange But Trueness was his "hitting" exploits this year. He racked up 18 at-bats -- and struck out in 17 of them. If he's interested, Tony Gwynn once made 577 plate appearances in a season (in 1995) without striking out 17 times.

• When the Braves decided last winter that paying B.J. Upton $75.25 million over the next five years was a good idea, I'm guessing they didn't figure that one season into that deal, he'd still be in search of his first-ever hit as a Brave with a runner on third base. But somehow, he managed to go 0 for the entire season (0-for-28, with 18 strikeouts) with runners on third. And that's about as Strange But True as anything that happened all year.

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