MLB Notebook: Strasburg impressive at plate

MLB Notebook: Strasburg impressive at plate

In 1925, Walter Johnson won 20 games for the Washington Senators and owned the American League's best strikeout-to-walk ratio. But while the Big Train's work on the mound wasn't a historic feat (seven pitchers won 20 or more games and Johnson's ERA was only fourth best in the AL that season), his output as a batter was (and still is) worthy of astonishment.

The 37-year-old Johnson collected 12 multihit games, drove in 20 runs, had nine extra-base hits and struck out only six times in 97 at-bats. Johnson posted a 1.033 OPS that year. This is still tied for the third-best OPS in the modern era for any player with at least 75 percent of his games on the mound and a least 50 plate appearances. In 2012, another right-handed hurler for Washington is constructing a similarly brilliant season, both with a ball and a bat in his hands.

Pitchers who swung a hot bat
75 percent of games at P, 50 PA and a .300/.400/.500 line since 1901
Pitcher Year BA OBP SLG Plate App.
Jack Bentley 1923 .427 .446 .573 94
Walter Johnson 1925 .433 .455 .577 107
Jimmy Zinn 1929 .381 .447 .595 51
Red Ruffing 1930 .364 .402 .582 117
Wes Ferrell 1935 .347 .427 .533 179
Carl Scheib 1951 .396 .418 .623 56

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg improved to 12-5 on Sunday, throwing six scoreless innings and going 1-for-2 with a two-run single at the plate against the Marlins.

Strasburg, who is leading the NL in strikeouts (160) and K's per nine (11.31), owns a .343/.410/.543 slash line in 41 plate appearances. Since 1901, only six players with at least 75 percent of their games as a pitcher and at least 50 plate appearances have finished a season with a .300/.400/.500 line.

Raul Ibanez
Ibanez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the Yankees' win over the Mariners on Sunday. This gave Ibanez 49 RBIs and 68 hits for the season.

Ibanez is one of 12 players with at least 300 plate appearances to average at least .72 RBIs per hit. The other 11 players are Josh Hamilton, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Mark Teixeira, Jay Bruce, Jose Bautista, Ike Davis, Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Ludwick, Brian McCann and Brandon Inge.

Freddy Garcia
Garcia allowed two runs in five innings and picked up his 150th career victory.

The Yankees right-hander is one of 13 active pitchers with at least 150 victories, and his .600 winning percentage (he is 150-100) is the sixth highest among those 13. The only men with 150 victories and a winning percentage higher than .600 are Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Roy Oswalt.

Tigers' big 10th inning
Down 8-5, the Tigers scored five runs in the bottom of the 10th to defeat the Indians, 10-8, on Sunday.

After the first two Tigers batters were retired, Detroit got two consecutive walks, a run-scoring double, a two-run single to tie the game at 8-8 and a two-run home run from Miguel Cabrera for the winner.

The five-run inning was the Tigers' largest in an extra frame since April 15, 2011, when they scored seven in the 10th and defeated the Athletics, 8-4.

Jackson cuts down on K's
Austin Jackson in First Two Seasons vs. 2012
2010-2011 6.8 26.1 7.7
2012 9.5 22.0 12.3
In the 10th inning of this game, Austin Jackson got the scoring started with an RBI double -- his third extra-base hit of the game. He also had two triples.

Jackson's extra-base hit percentage in 2012 is at a career-high 9.5. This is especially noteworthy because Jackson is also compiling his lowest career strikeout percentage and highest career walk percentage.

A.J. Burnett
Burnett finished one out shy of being the first Pirates pitcher in seven seasons to throw back-to-back complete games. Burnett, however, did improve to 14-3 as the Pirates defeated the Reds, 6-2, on Sunday.

Burnett, who allowed two runs and three hits in his 8 2/3 innings, is tied for the Major League lead in wins. The last Pirates pitcher to finish the season with the Major League lead in victories was John Smiley in 1991, whose 20 victories tied him with Tom Glavine, Scott Erickson and Bill Gullickson for the most.

Burnett's 14 victories through 107 team games are the most for the Pirates since Doug Drabek had 14 in 1990.

Jose Reyes
Reyes went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 24 games on Sunday.

Reyes' run is the longest this season and makes him one of seven switch-hitters in the past 20 seasons to hit safely in at least 24 straight games. The others: Jimmy Rollins (36 in 2005), Luis Castillo (35 in '02), Jose Offerman (27 in 1998), Emilio Bonifacio (26 in 2011), Victor Martinez (25 in 2009) and Joey Cora (24 in 1997).

Chase Utley
In the Phillies' 5-4 win over the D-backs on Sunday, Utley hit his seventh home run of the season (in 106 at-bats).

For his career, Utley has homered once every 21.74 at-bats. For all players with at least 1,000 games at second base, only Dan Uggla owns a better rate (19.26). Jeff Kent (22.54) and Joe Gordon (22.56) are right behind Utley.

O's in extras
In 10 innings, the Orioles defeated the Rays, 1-0, on Sunday. The game marked the first extra-inning, 1-0 win for Baltimore since May 9, 2007. That game was also against Tampa Bay.

David Price allowed two hits in his eight shutout innings, while Miguel Gonzalez went the first seven and allowed only two hits. This game was the first since July 17, 2011, to see both starters go at least seven and allow no runs on two or fewer hits.

In that contest, Boston's Josh Beckett allowed one hit in eight innings and Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann allowed two hits in eight innings. The Red Sox eventually won the game, 1-0, in 16 innings.

With the win, Baltimore is at 57-51, in second place in the AL East (6 1/2 games out) and one game out of the second Wild Card spot.

The O's have won 10 consecutive one-run games and 11 straight extra-inning affairs.

A.J. Pierzynski
Pierzynski hit a pinch-hit two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead, and Chicago went on to defeat the Angels, 4-2, on Sunday.

With the shot, Pierzynski tied a White Sox franchise record by homering in his fifth consecutive game. The others to do it: Greg Luzinski (1983), Ron Kittle ('83), Frank Thomas (twice in '94), Carlos Lee (2003) and Paul Konerko ('11).

Chase Headley
Headley went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, scored twice and collected his 62nd walk on Sunday as the Padres topped the Mets, 7-3.

Headley has reached base safely 174 times this season -- fifth most in the National League and third most among Major League third basemen. At the hot corner, only David Wright (193) and Cabrera (184) have reached base safely more times.

Kyle Lohse
Lohse struck out six in six scoreless innings and improved to 12-2, as the Cardinals shut out the Brewers, 3-0.

Lohse has fanned 89 in 148 1/3 innings (5.40 K's per nine) and owns a 2.79 ERA (working out to a 140 ERA+). The Rangers' Matt Harrison owns a K/9 of 5.32 and an ERA+ of 142. No pitcher since Roy Halladay in 2006 has finished a qualifying season with a strikeout rate as low as 5.40 and an ERA+ of at least 140.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.