The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
A shaky start of the 2022 season turned into a dandy one

2022 was a baseball season to remember, but maybe that could be said about all of them. Yet it was indeed different because it started out on shaky grounds with the owners’ lockout on December 1, 2021. It could have easily gone in a drastically different direction and wound up as one of baseball’s biggest blemishes in the sport’s 140+ year history. But cooler heads prevailed by the owners and players, and for the most part we have forgotten that the season’s start was delayed by a week, because full 162-game schedules were completed.

The season’s highlights were many. Aaron Judge captivated the nation in his chase to break Roger Maris’s record. Judge recorded one of the best offensive seasons of all time. Japanese pitcher Shohei Ohtani showed he was no fluke in the comparison with Babe Ruth as a two-way player.

Aging players such as Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Yadier Molina were still making an impact with their respective teams. Justin Verlander found the “fountain of youth” as he returned from a two-year absence following Tommy John surgery. Newcomers like Julio Rodriguez, Spencer Strider, Bobby Witt Jr., Adley Rutschman, Jeremy Pena, and Michael Harris Jr. demonstrated the future of the game will be in good hands.

Seasons are often defined by the hitting and pitching milestones reached by the players. 2022 was no exception. Below are some of the highlights:

  • ·        Aaron Judge became the all-time American League single-season home run leader with 62, passing Roger Maris.



  • ·        41-year-old Nelson Cruz, one of the most feared designated hitters of his era belted his 450th career home run.



  • ·        Justin Verlander passed John Smoltz and Max Scherzer on the all-time strikeouts list. He is currently 12th with 3,198.



  • ·        Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Cardinals pitcher set an all-time record of games started together as batterymates with 325. They passed Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan with the Detroit Tigers in the 1960s and 1979s.



  • ·        Molina set the all-time record for putouts by a catcher.



  • ·        Miguel Cabrera passed the 3,000-hit milestone. He is 25th on the all-time list with 3,088. He is only the seventh player with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.



  • ·        Juan Soto hit his 500th career hit, becoming only the seventh active player with 500 or more hits at age 23 or younger. He also hit his 100th career home run on April 12.



  • ·        Clayton Kershaw became the all-time Dodgers leader in strikeouts, passing Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.



  • ·        Astros manager Dusty Baker reached his 2,000th career win as manager. He is 12th on the all-time list of wins and has the most by any Black manager.



  • ·        Mike Trout’s 161st home run at Angel Stadium is the most in franchise history. He also passed the 1,000-run scored mark.



  • ·        Albert Pujols hit his 703rd career home run becoming only the fourth player in history to pass the 700-mark,


While the above milestones were more career-based, there were many outstanding single-game performances by players.

  • ·        Mike Trout hit a home run in seven straight games in September. Boston’s Trevor Story did it in May. The record is eight games held jointly by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey Jr.



  • ·        Houston’s Framber Valdez broke a major-league record when he made his 25th consecutive quality start on September 18.



  • ·        Atlanta’s Kyle Wright won his 21st game on October 1. He was the majors’ only 20-game winner.



  • ·        On May 10, Angels pitcher Reid Detmers pitched a no-hitter in only his 11th major league start.



  • ·        Jerar Encarnacion’s first major-league hit was a grand slam on June 19.



  • ·        Cleveland first baseman Josh Naylor recorded eight RBIs from the eighth inning until the end of the game in the 11th inning.



  • ·        Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was removed from the game with a perfect game after seven innings on April 13.



  • ·        Joc Pederson hit three home runs and 8 RBIs in a comeback win for the Giants on May 24.



  • ·        Three Astros pitchers no-hit the Yankees on June 25, including Cristian Javier who had 13 strikeouts. On July 1, Javier struck out a career-high 14 against the Angels.


Today’s game is centered around a “throw hard, hit hard” strategy. With the technology available nowadays, it is possible to accurately track the speed of balls thrown and hit. Below are some speed and distance highlights from the season, many of them setting records.


  • ·        Reds pitcher Hunter Greene hit 100+ miles-per-hour 20 times in a game on April 10. Six days later he threw 100+ mph 39 times



  • ·        Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley threw a pitch 104-mph on September 22. It was the fastest pitch in 2022



  • ·        On June 20, Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz thew out a runner at first base on a 96.7 mph throw. On August 24, he recorded the hardest-hit ball in Statcast history with a 122.4 mph single that nearly went out for a home run.



  • ·        Giancarlo Stanton recorded a 120-mph home run on June 11. On the other hand, Harold Ramirez with the Rays hit the slowest home run ever tracked, at 84.5 mph on June 21.



  • ·        C.J. Cron hit the longest home run of the season with a 504-foot blast on September 9. Other long home runs included Christian Yelich with 499 feet and Jesus Sanchez with 496 feet.



  • ·        Jhoan Duran recorded the fastest off-speed pitch in history, a split-finger at 100.8 mph, on August 29.


Every season has its share of oddities. Here are a few from 2022.


  • ·        The Diamondbacks’ Seth Beer hit a three-run walk-off home run on National Beer Day.



  • ·        Batting against a late-inning position-player-turned-pitcher in a blowout game, the Angels’ Anthony Rendon hit a homer from the left side. He is strictly a right-handed hitter.



  • ·        On May 11, Twins pitcher Yennier Caro made his major-league debut without throwing a pitch. He came into the game as a reliever, but the game was postponed before he threw a pitch.



  • ·        It took 40 at-bats at the beginning of the season before Cleveland’s Steven Kwan swung and missed a pitch.



  • ·        Pitcher Mark Appel made his major-league debut on June 29 for the Phillies, nine years after being the overall No.1 draft pick.



  • ·        Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz made his major-league debut on September 2, 15 years after being drafted. He spent parts of 11 seasons in foreign leagues.



  • ·        Reds pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter on May 15, but lost the game to the Pirates, 1-0.



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