Baseball streaks are funny. Some take on mythological qualities such as Joe D’s 56 game hitting streak or Cal Ripken’s Iron Man streak of games played (2,632). These feats give fans pause and resonate with us somewhere deep inside our baseball souls. Then, there are other streaks that don’t land on anyone’s radar. I like to dig around the Play Index on Baseball-Reference.com and find streaks like these. Using 1986 through 2016 as search years, here were some of my interesting findings:
Starting pitchers with consecutive starts of 10 or more Ks from 1986-2016:
Pedro Martinez had a stretch of 10 straight starts (from 8/19/1999 through 4/9/2000) where he racked up at least 10 Ks. He struck out 130 batters in 76.1 innings. Second on the list is Chris Sale who had an 8 game streak (5/23/15 through 6/30/2015). He struck out 97 batters in 60 innings. Pedro makes the Top 10 of this list two more times, once with a 7 game streak and once with a 6 game streak. Randy Johnson makes multiple Top 10 appearances as well. Johnson once had a 7 game streak and also had four 6 game streaks. The only other pitcher to rank in the top ten was Clayton Kershaw. He had a 6 game streak during the 2016 season.
Pitchers with consecutive games of at least 1 wild pitch from 1986-2016:
Before my search, I predicted that the leader would have four. I was not expecting this result. The leader, Jason Grimsley, threw a wild pitch in 9 consecutive appearances (from 9/18/1990 through 4/28/1991). He was followed closely by Ricky Romero (8), Matt More Jason Johnson, William VanLandingham, and Joey Hamilton who each threw a wild pitch in 7 straight appearances. While Romero took 56.1 innings to throw his 8 wild pitches (2010), VanLandingham needed only 31.2 innings to throw 7 (1997).
Pitchers with consecutive games of hitting at least one batter from 1986-2016:
Keeping with the wild pitcher search, I looked at pitchers who had consecutive appearances with hitting at least one batter. Two pitchers were tied with 10 straight games of hitting a batter. The two were Casey Fossum (2005) and Jamey Wright (2001). Chan Ho Park racked up 8 consecutive games where he hit someone (2002). How many of these led to bench clearing brawls? Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a search that could supply an answer. The most surprising name I found on this list was Pedro Martinez. He hit a batter in 7 consecutive appearances during the 2004 season.
Pitchers with consecutive appearances with at least 1 intentional walk 1986-2016:
Kirk Rueter is the leader with 6 straight appearances. There are 11 players that issued an intentional walk in 5 straight appearances. Interestingly, Greg Maddux is one of these illustrious 11 pitchers. What caught my eye even more was that during these 5 appearances, Maddux walked only 9 batters, meaning more than half of the walks he gave up were intentional. The intentional walks moved his strikeout to walk rate during this stretch from 6:1 down to less than 3:1. Ouch.
I then looked at starting pitchers who issued at least 2 intentional walks in consecutive starts from 1986-2016. Rick Sutcliffe holds this record. In 1987, Sutcliffe had 3 consecutive starts where he issued at least 2 intentional walks. This was somewhat topped by Jimmy Anderson. He issued at least 3 intentional walks in back to back starts during the 2001 season.
Hitters with consecutive games of hitting two or more homeruns 1986-2016:
Jeff DaVanon hit two homeruns in three consecutive games in June of 2003. He’s the king of the multi-game multi-homer streak.
Although this next streak is a little better known that the ones I have previously mentioned, I’ll include it here: Hitters with consecutive games of at least one home run from 1986-2016:
Ken Griffey and Don Mattingly are your leaders with 8 consecutive games with a homerun (Griffey had 8 homers in total while Mattingly jacked 10). They are followed by Kevin Mench, Barry Bonds, and Jim Thome who each hit home runs in 7 consecutive games. Even more impressive than seven straight games with a homer may be Bonds’ .722 batting average and 2.988 OPS.
Hitters with consecutive games with at least one walk 1986-2016:
Probably not surprising, Barry Bonds is first on the list. He earned a walk in 19 straight games. He’s also second on the list with 17. Nick Johnson and Chipper Jones drew walks in 16 straight games. Bonds and Lenny Dykstra follow next with 15 straight games with a walk.
How about players who drew at least two walks in consecutive games? Adrian Gonzalez drew multiple walks in 8 straight in 2009 as did Barry Bonds in 2004. Bonds, David Justice, and Jack Clark each compiled 7 games in a row of drawing multiple walks.
Hitting a triple in consecutive games 1986-2016:
Nomar Garciaparra and Sammy Sosa are tied for first place. They both were able to hit triples in four straight games.
Hitting a double in consecutive games 1986-2016:
Yadier Molina and Derrek Lee both hit at least one double in 8 straight. Molina also hit a double in seven straight games too. Others with seven straight games with a double include Brian Roberts, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent, Gary Disarcina, Todd Walker, and Jim Presley.
Consecutive games of stealing at least one base 1986-2016:
Carl Crawford (2009), Corey Patterson (2006), and Rickey Henderson (1986) each stole bases in nine straight games. Crawford ended up with 14 steals in these 9 games while Patterson and Henderson both ended up with 11 total steals during their nine game streaks. Kenny Lofton had two separate streaks of 8 games with a steal and Vince Coleman had one 8 game streak as well.
Conversely, here are the leaders for consecutive games of being caught stealing at least once per game 1986-2016:
Scott Podsednik and Craig Biggio were both caught in five straight games combining for 1 success and 10 failures. Chone Figgins, Carl Everett, Shane Mack, Ray Lankford, Delino DeShields, Lenny Dykstra, and Chili Davis all compiled four game caught stealing streaks of their own. When these nine player streaks are totaled, the level of futility is astounding. This group stole 8 bases and was caught 39 times (17% success rate).
To end on a more positive note, here is a list of hitters with the most consecutive games of racking up 5 or more total bases in each game 1986-2016:
Hank Blalock (2008) and Larry Walker (1999) each put a six game streak together. Nolan Arenado, Nelson Cruz, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, Jason Bay, and Jose Cruz all had steaks of five games. These streaks appear to be fueled by a barrage of home runs as six of these eight players hit 5 homers during their streak, one player hit 6, and one (Rodriguez) hit seven homers.
Many thanks to Baseball-Reference.com and the great Play Index located there!
Follow me on Twitter: @doctordaver