Thursday recap: Colby=>Jack

[No, not this guy.]

In Baltimore Thursday, the Orioles hit 5 HRs in the first game of a doubleheader, accounting for all their runs in a 6-5 win over . All the runs and HRs came in 7 innings’ work by Colby Lewis, who allowed no other hits. Afterwards, Lewis said, “It seemed like one of those days where you have really good stuff and then you miss your spot or something and it’s just not a hit, it’s a homer. You can’t really look at it any other way. It was just kind of a weird game.”

I’ll say. This was one of the oddest pitching performances you’ll ever see.

The first 3 Orioles homered off Lewis in the bottom of the 1st, on 1-0, 1-1 and 0-2 counts. The first out came on a flyball, then he fanned the next 6. He had 9 Ks after 4 IP, and 11 through the 6th, trailing 3-1. He might have had more: Of the 7 outs in play to that point, 5 came with 2 strikes; the other 2 hit the first pitch.

In the 7th, another flare-up: HR, 5-pitch walk, first-pitch HR, 1-2 HBP, 3-0 count to Mark Reynolds. And then it went quiet again: Lewis came back with 2 strikes and Reynolds hit into a DP. After an infield error (on another 2-strike count), he whiffed Ryan Flaherty, who earlier connected for his first career HR, with his last 3 pitches.

Lewis finished with 12 Ks and 1 walk. Two-thirds of his 114 pitches were strikes, including 20 of 28 first pitches.

Five HRs allowed has been done 93 other times since 1918, with 2 each by 5 pitchers (including teammates Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, who are the others to do it this year). Eight of those pitchers even got a win; one was Mike Mussina in ’94, the first to allow 5 HRs in Oriole Park/Camden Yards. (More than half these games came since 1994.)

But none of those guys had more than 9 strikeouts. Lewis extended that record by 33%. The best previous Game Score in such an outing was 52 by Charlie Hough; Lewis scored a 54.

To turn it around, only 3 other pitchers ever allowed 4 HRs while fanning 12 or more; the only one since 1963 was this crazy game by Curt Schilling. Twenty others allowed 3 HRs with 12+ Ks.

Lewis has given up plenty of HRs in the past, as Texas pitchers often do. He led the AL last year with 35, and he began tonight’s game with the 8th-highest HR/9 since 2010 out of 96 pitchers with 300+ IP. The 62 HRs Lewis yielded in that span were distributed 38 at home (61%) and 24 on the road.

For the year to date, Lewis has served up 11 HRs in 46.1 IP — 8 solo shots and 3 with a man aboard — but he’s allowed just 5 other runs, keeping his ERA to a respectable 3.69. His SO/BB ratio, which has been a strong 3.0 each of the last 2 years, is a neat 7.0 (42:6).

In the nightcap, a 7-3 Rangers win, Josh Hamilton (remember him?) opened the scoring in the 1st with his 15th HR; naturally, Elvis Andrus was on 1st base at the time. The O’s came back with 3 unearned runs after Andrus’s error, but he atoned with a pair of RBI hits, including the go-ahead. Mike Napoli, who came in with 7 HRs but just 1 double, tied the game with his first triple in more than 2 years.

Texas took 3 of 4 in the series, and their 21-11 record is the best in baseball. Today’s split, coupled with Tampa’s 5-3 loss in the Bronx, knotted the O’s and Rays atop the AL East at 20-12. Toronto won 6-2 and is 18-14 (Minnesota fell to 8-23), and the Yanks are 4th at 17-14. (A game worse than the idle Mets, but who’s counting?) The Red Sox, now 12-19, were beaten in Boston by old friend Derek Lowe, while Josh Beckett did nothing to quell his recent firestorm, allowing 7 ER in 2.1 IP.

Finally, even with a light schedule, Colby Lewis had neither the night’s high in strikeouts nor the longest K streak. Stephen Strasburg tallied 13 Bucs7 straight — and held them to 2 runs (1 ER) in 6 IP, adding his 3rd double in his only official AB. Phenom, Sr. is 4-13 at bat, and 3-0, 1.64 on the slab, with 51 Ks and 10 walks in 44 IP. He’s gone at least 6 IP in all 7 starts and just once allowed as many as 3 runs. (Phenom, Jr. made a futile throw home that let the batter take second and was charged with his first error, a scoring decision I can’t recall seeing on this sort of play before. The runner then scored from 2nd on a single for the unearned run.)

I cant do a full recap tonight, but I look forward to your findings of other “firsts” and oddities involving the Lewis game or others.

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30 Comments on "Thursday recap: Colby=>Jack"

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Voomo Zanzibar

Are you saying that Harper’s error should have gone to the catcher?
Somebody gets an error there, and the throw was a 90 mph short-hop.
I’d say E9.

Or are you saying that there should have been no error because McCutchen would have gone to 2nd there on any throw home, and he didn’t advance any further because of the mishandling?

Paul E

If you click on the “Schilling” boxscore, he threw 67 strikes and struck out 12. Seems a little odd – light on the strikes for 12 K’s? Also, that was one helluva powerhouse Phillies squad that was on pace for 49 wins – wooooo hooooo!! For the love of Braulio Castillo…..

Jeff B
Brandon Inge hit his 2nd Grand Slam in 3 games and 4 RBIs with only 1 hit in 3 of his last 4 games. Combine this with the fact that he has only played 9 games with Oakland, I wonder 2 things: Has anybody ever hit 2 grand slams within their first 9 games with a team and how often is it for a player to have 3 (4 RBI, 1 hit) games in a 4 game span? I am sure 1 of the great stats guys will be able to help me out. Thanks and great work by everyone… Read more »
Should have been no error on Harper. They don’t charge errors for mental mistakes, such as throwing to the wrong base. This is the second time Harper has done this. Just about the only obvious mental mistakes he has made. He will probably mostly play RF until Werth gets back, (2-3 months?), so he needs to improve in this area. The 3 homers to start the game set an AL record, it has been done 3 times in the NL. Could have been more; the first pitch to the 4th batter was a fastball, right down the middle.
Mark in Sydney

The Jays-Twins game was a funny one. Lots of errors, the best of which was seeing a little conference of P (Marquis), 3B (Plouffe) and C (Doumis) all stand around and wait for a pop-fly from Encarnacion to drop between them. Funnily enough, it wasn’t called an error (perhaps because no-one made a play for the ball?)

The Twins almost made the Jays look good defensively. But not really…

Mike L

It’s bizarre what’s happened to the Twins. Obviously Mauer and Morneau are major losses, but going from a 94 win team to 63-99 and then 8-23. Every part of their game has come undone.

Paul E

Mike L:
Las Vegas had the Twins at over/under 73 1/2 wins. Even Ron Gardenhire and all the “play the fundamentally correct way” can’t help this team…..


Only 12 teams in the game-searchable era have had fewer wins than the Twins after 31 games. None of them were the 1960s Mets (although the 1981 Mets also started 8-23).

The cumulative season record of those 12 teams was 582-1215, .324. Records in games after game 31 range from .458 (1981 Cubs) and .443 (1987 Padres) to .301 (1952 Pirates) and .282 (2003 Tigers).

Lawrence Azrin

I distinctly remember the 2005 Royals start as historically awful; people were talking a lot about it by mid-May. They also started out 8-23, bottoming out at 13-37, when they were being compared to the 2003 Tigers. They “improved” to 43-69 the rest of the year, to finish at 56-106.

I’m sure that Twins fans are hoping that they don’t follow the same path as the Royals.

Lawrence Azrin

#10/Paul E makes a great point – the MLB won/lost records that Las Vegas puts out aren’t their predictions of what they believe will be the precise W/L record for each team, but what they believe will attract the largest amount of money for wagers.

Remember, they are in the biz of making $$, not predicting exact Won/Lost records.

Timmy Pea

Adam Dunn is hitting pretty good this year. He got a lot of crap about his bad year last year, good to see him come back like this.


The Orioles had 5 hits, all of which were HR! Is that the record for most hits where H=HR? What about H=2B, H=3B, or H=1B?

Richard Chester

On 6/24/89 the Indians had 6 hits all of which were HRs.

On 8/18/98 the Braves had 8 hits all of which were doubles.

On 7/26/2011 the Braves had 15 hits all of which were singles.

There have been 5 occasions of 2 hits all of which were triples;

Orioles 5/5/73
Giants 5/2/72
KC A’s 4/19/64
Mets 6/23/63
Yankees 4/20/51