The Weirdest and Wildest MLB games, feats and minutia of the past month (2024)

We. Are. Back.

You know, I noticed something nutty in my two weeks out of the country last month: There is Weirdness, and there is Wildness, and it keeps on coming whether I’m around to document it or not. What’s up with that anyway?

So I apologize for this column taking a break for the past few weeks. And I appreciate all of you who checked in to make sure everything was OK. But now comes the fun part. The Weird and Wild column gets to present an offering that will make everything right …

It’s the Weird and Wild Best of the Month compendium! Starting in 3 … 2 … 1.


Lucky 13 of the month

The Weirdest and Wildest MLB games, feats and minutia of the past month (1)

Jeremiah Estrada celebrates after stretching his consecutive strikeouts streak to 13. (David Frerker / USA Today)

I used to think of myself as a guy who followed baseball as closely as anyone you’ve ever met. Then my plane landed last week, and I learned I’d apparently spent way too much time overloading on gelato and pasta, because …

There was this guy who had just struck out 13 hitters in a row in the big leagues … and I honestly had no idea what team he pitched for.

That guy was Padres reliever Jeremiah Estrada. And here’s what he’d somehow done while I was gone:

May 23 — K’d the last five Reds he faced
May 26 — K’d all five Yankees he faced*
May 28 — Three more hitters, three more K’s against the Marlins

(*including Aaron Judge!)

So how Weird (and also Wild) was that? I can help with that.

13 strikeouts in a row? So who else has ever done that — struck out 13 hitters in a row? No one has ever done that. The only other pitcher in history with more than 10 is Phillies reliever José Alvarado, who made it to 11 straight strikeouts last season. But as astounding as that is, this is about to get better, because this was actually …

13 swinging strikeouts in a row? And that is a thing I’d never even heard of — for good reason, it turns out. According to Baseball Reference’s Katie Sharp, only one other pitcher in the BR play-by-play files had ever even racked up 10 swinging K’s in a row. That was Corbin Burnes, who did that all on the same day, in an Aug. 11, 2021, start against the Cubs.

Is 13 strikeouts a lot? Let’s go with a lot. Ever heard of Jordan Romano, closer for the Blue Jays? He’s struck out 13 hitters all season. Meanwhile, Estrada — whom the Padres claimed off waivers last November — just struck out 13 in a row. Baseball!

Have any Padres relievers in the past been known as strikeout kings? Hahaha, that’s definitely a trick question. Ever heard of Goose Gossage? Or Trevor Hoffman? Or Craig Kimbrel? Or Josh Hader? They’ve all done some spectacular relief-whiffing for the Padres. And the closest any of them came to this was seven in a row, by Hoffman, in April 2000. But a dude they claimed off waivers just struck out 13 in a row. Baseball!


But that’s not even the Weirdest or Wildest part! And why is that, you ask? Because how did Estrada’s streak finally end last Friday? When he was asked to intentionally walk the first hitter he “faced” in an appearance in Kansas City. Which means …

His streak ended because he failed to strike out a hitter he never threw a pitch to!

Baseball! It’s the best.

You again?

Remember who won the World Series MVP Award last fall? Sure you do. It was this guy.


— MLB Metrics (@MLBMetrics) October 28, 2023

Corey Seager. He had himself One of Those World Series, didn’t he? More homers (three) than singles (two), with all three of those homers basically crushing the Diamondbacks’ souls.

So guess what happened when the Rangers and D-Backs met last week for the first time since the World Series?

First game of that series — Seager homers.
Second game of that series — Seager homers again.

Did that seem rare? It did to me. And I wasn’t even in the country when the first of those home runs landed.

So I ran that question past my friends at STATS Perform. Here’s the cool list they sent back — of every World Series MVP to homer in the next game they played against the team they beat in that World Series. (Obviously, this was a slightly different feat back in the day because interleague play didn’t become a thing until 1997.)

• Lew Burdette (1957 MVP) vs. Yankees, Game 2, 1958 WS
• Reggie Jackson (1977 MVP) vs. Dodgers, Game 1978 WS
• Darrell Porter (1982 MVP) vs. Brewers, April 14, 1986
Pablo Sandoval (2012 MVP) vs. Tigers, Sept. 5, 2014
Jeremy Peña (2022 MVP) vs Phillies, April 28, 2023
Corey Seager (2023 MVP) vs. Diamondbacks, May 28, 2024

But now here comes the Weird and Wild part. The World Series is now 119 Fall Classics old. And from 1903 to 2023, no World Series MVP had ever homered in each of his first two games against that team he’d played in that World Series … until last year, when Jeremy Peña did it. In other words …

1903-2022 — That thing never happened
2023-24 — That thing has now happened two years in a row!

How ’bout some Rhys pilaf?

Rhys Hoskins played three games in Philadelphia this week when the Brewers rolled through town. Did you get the impression he looked kinda familiar to all those Philadelphians who showed up?

Philly fans have given Rhys Hoskins an ovation three days in a row

— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) June 5, 2024

But when he wasn’t acknowledging all those standing O’s, Hoskins did something Monday that was about as Weird and Wild as anything he’d ever done:

In his very first game playing against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, he stole a base and hit a homer. So I asked him the next day how many times he thought he’d done that, in 344 regular-season games in that park as a Phillie?


“It’s funny,” he said. “I said that same thing to my wife after the game.”

WEIRD AND WILD: “So when you said that to your wife, she didn’t go out and research it for you?”

HOSKINS: “No. We figured somebody on the internet would do that.”

W&W: “Well, she didn’t do that — but I did.”

And that answer is … in all those games and all those seasons (six) playing for the Phillies, Hoskins never had any games in Citizens Bank Park with both a homer and a stolen base.

“And then I did it in my first game in another uniform?” he said with a laugh. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Nope. Not in …


GO DEEPERThe juggernaut Phillies keep riding the wave and can feel something special building

Injury of the month

Hydration is good. You can write that down. But cutting your finger trying to open a can of Mountain Valley spring water? Not that good.

Rays closer Pete Fairbanks attempted that challenging feat in the dark last month on a trip to Boston — and wound up dicing up a finger on his pitching hand. So don’t try that at home, or even in your hotel room.

“Just as kind of a public service for everybody, watch out for the metal Mountain Valleys,” he told the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. “Not the glass ones. The glass ones are good. And there’s no microplastics. Much better for you.”

On the other hand, though, cutting your pitching hand on a can of spring water is now an official slump-busting technique.

Fairbanks since The Spring Water Debacle: 11 appearances, zero earned runs (0.00 ERA).

Fairbanks before The Spring Water Debacle: nine appearances, seven earned runs (7.88 ERA).

Unidentified flying objects of the month

On your list of most interesting plays in baseball, where would you say the good old infield fly rule ranks? I’m going to guess not in the top 1,000, although still ahead of the rule on what happens if a ball gets stuck in the catcher’s mask.

But beware. That infield fly rule is always lurking, ready to wreak havoc. And boy, did the White Sox and Yankees find that out, in about the Weirdest and Wildest ways ever.

The walk-off infield fly rule interference caper? Just when you thought the White Sox had run out of bizarre ways to lose a game this year, they outdid themselves with this infield fly rule monstrosity on May 24.

The umpires said Andrew Vaughn interfered on this infield fly and that’s how the White Sox fall to 15-36 @barstoolchicago @StoolBaseball

— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) May 24, 2024

That was Andrew Vaughn unknowingly sauntering into Gunnar Henderson’s path to fielding that popup with the winning run at the plate in the ninth. And that’ll be that ball game. But if you enjoyed that one, you’ll love …

The Juan Soto interference call heard round the world. It was just five days later in Anaheim that Aaron Boone’s favorite infield fly rule of the year busted out.

Aaron Boone was ejected after Juan Soto was called for interference on an infield fly rule.

Thoughts? 🤔

— Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV) May 30, 2024

So Soto thought it was safe to just stroll back to second base as this Giancarlo Stanton popup floated into the sky, huh? How wrong he was! One unfortunate bump with Angels shortstop Zach Neto later, Soto was out, Stanton was out and Boone was about to get booted out.

We’ll let others debate whether those calls were right, wrong or just baseball being baseball. Here at Weird and Wild World HQ, it’s time for us to ask:

Is it us, or did we just witness infield fly rule history (not that that’s a good thing)?


So we asked our friends at STATS Perform about this. Before we start, you should know that the infield fly rule has only been included in all of their play-by-play data since 2014. But now that you know the deal, here goes.

Has any other game ever ended on an infield fly rule interference walk-off? Ha. That’s not just a no. It’s an official OF COURSE NOT!

For that matter, how many other games have featured an infield fly rule interference call at any point in the game? Yep, that answer would also be none.

OK, so it’s “only” 10 years worth of data. But that’s still over 23,000 games. So let’s sum this up:

10 consecutive seasons (2014-23): Zero infield fly rule interference calls.

Last month: Two in five days!

The Weird and Wild column would like to thank both the proper authorities and the baseball gods for providing this invaluable material.

Box score line of the month

The Weirdest and Wildest MLB games, feats and minutia of the past month (4)

Ross Stripling had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (Ed Szczepanski / USA Today)

Apologies to A’s pitcher Ross Stripling for bringing this game back to life a month after it happened. But some stuff is just too Weird and Wild to be allowed to merely fade into the netherworld.

So here it comes, Stripling’s May 7 start against the Rangers:

1 2/3 IP, 10 H, 11 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 leadoff HR (to Marcus Semien), 60 pitches to get five outs

WHAT’S UP WITH THAT? Yes, there’s an asterisk here for those six unearned runs, but … 11 runs and 10 hits? Stripling still became only the fourth pitcher (and second starter) in the modern era to pile up numbers that crooked without getting at least six outs. Here are the others:

• Reggie Grabowski (1 IP, 11 H, 11 R in relief) on Aug. 4, 1934
• Hal Kelleher (1 IP, 10 H, 12 R in relief) on May 5, 1938
• David Buchanan (1 2/3 IP, 11 H, 11 R) on Aug. 11, 2015

(Source: Baseball Reference / Stathead)

Brownout of the month

But as Ross Stripling well knows, baseball can be just as unforgiving when you give up no hits as when you give up 10 hits. Just ask Cubs rookie Ben Brown.


How about his last three starts:

May 23 versus BravesGets the last 12 outs without allowing a hit

May 28 versus Brewers — Gets 21 outs without allowing a hit, then gets pulled

June 3 versus Reds — Gets the first two outs before finally allowing a hit

So if you’re adding along at home, that’s 35 consecutive outs without giving up a hit — which is sometimes known in the baseball biz as “a secret no-hitter.”

But that’s not even the Weird and Wild part. The Weird and Wild part is, this guy got 35 straight outs with no hits, over three starts, and got a win in none of those games! Hard to do!

It’s so hard to do that the great Katie Sharp spent way too many hours delving into the Baseball Reference play-by-play database, which is mostly complete all the way back to 1912. And how many other starting pitchers did she find who got that many consecutive outs without allowing a hit but came out of that with no wins?

Right you are. That would be none!

They might be Giants

The Weirdest and Wildest MLB games, feats and minutia of the past month (5)

Patrick Bailey, right, celebrates with his teammates after hitting a grand slam against the Mets on May 24, as the Giants rallied for another late win. (Brad Penner / USA Today)

When my airplane took off for Italy a few weeks ago, the one thing I was sure of about those San Francisco Giants was that they couldn’t score. They were 26th in the big leagues in runs scored at the time, so at least I had facts on my side. But then this happened to those same Giants:

May 22 — Trailed by four in the sixth in Pittsburgh … and won!
May 23 — Trailed by four in the eighth in Pittsburgh … and won!
May 24 — Trailed by four in the eighth in New York … and won!

Wait. What? Even in Italy, this felt like Weird and Wild material I might want to look into when I got back to this side of the Atlantic. So of course I did!

Was that a Giants kind of thing? I’m going with no on that.

• Since Aug. 5, 2021 — how many times had the Giants come from four down in the sixth or later to win on the road? How about three times in 210 road games. Then …

• May 22-24 — Of course they came from four down in the sixth or later to win in three road games in a row.


Was that an Any Team in Baseball kind of thing? I say let’s go with no again, if only because …

According to STATS, here’s the complete list of teams in the modern era that trailed by four runs or more in the sixth or later in three straight games, all on the road, and came back to win all three:

2024 Giants.

Ha. You thought some other team ever did that?

And don’t forget the slam angle! Finally, thanks to loyal reader Raymond Tarin for posing this all-important question. The Giants served up grand slams to the Pirates two days in a row in that stretch … and won both games. So when was the last time that happened, he asked.

Fortunately, Baseball Reference’s Kenny Jackelen happened to be sitting at his computer with every home run in history at his fingertips, courtesy of the fabled SABR Home Run Log that was once maintained for years by my late, great friend, David Vincent, the Sultan of Swat Stats. Turns out only four other teams in AL/NL history have ever done what those Giants did!

1983 Brewers — gave up slams on Sept. 20-21, 1983, to the Indians … and won both games.

2003 Rockiesallowed slams to the Brewers on July 4-5, 2003 … and won both games.

2017 Metsserved up slams to the Phillies and Marlins on April 12-13, 2017 … and won both games.

2021 Tigers — gave up slams to the Twins on July 27-28, 2021 … and won both games.

Baseball! It’s the Weird and Wild gift that never stops giving.

Haven’t we seen this before?

It was a déjà vu moment — for me, at least. But it felt as though no one else on earth seemed to notice. So here goes.

May 28 – Two guys named José Ramírez and Kris Bryant homer in the Guardians’ 13-7 win at Coors Field.

Question of the day: Haven’t we seen that before?

Answer of the day: Yeah, we have … in Game 5 of the 2016 World Series! Ramírez homered off Jon Lester. Bryant homered off Trevor Bauer. Good times.


The Name Game (Not so Lone Ranger Division)

It was a momentous feat years in the making. We take you to Philadelphia on May 21, when … Ranger (Suarez) beats the Rangers (Texas).

Even though I was hanging out in Italia at the time, many of you felt the gravity of this historic name game development and appointed (who else?) me to get to the bottom of it. So when I returned, I heard your cries: Has a team ever been beaten by its namesake? Yeah, yeah. I looked.

But first, I made two important decisions: I was going to confine this search to current teams only. And I was not going to waste time on the easy ones. So if you came here hoping to find all the Reds who beat the Reds, or all the Rays who beat the Rays, sorry! Here’s what I did find:

No Rocky has ever beaten the Rockies. How Rocky Biddle avoided that, I have no idea, but he did.

No Nat has ever beaten the Nats. Actually, nobody named Nat has pitched in the big leagues since the Nationals moved to Washington, so that was easy.

Socks Seibold never beat the Red Sox or White Sox. That seems impossible, but it was true. Socks pitched in the American League for three seasons from 1916-19 but went 0-5 against the White Sox and 0-4 against the Red Sox.

But Angel Miranda once beat the Angels. You have no idea how many guys named Angel have pitched in the big leagues. I checked them all. But only one Angel (Miranda) was ever the winning pitcher in a game against the Angels, back on July 28, 1996.

And that’s it. Did I miss anybody? You know how to find me!

The Name Game (Alphabet Soup Division)

I don’t know how I came to be That Guy in charge of finding vital factoids like this. But on May 29, when Braves rookie Spencer Schwellenbach made his big-league debut by matching up against Washington’s MacKenzie Gore, a loyal reader who bills himself as “Dayton from Nebraska” hit me up on X because he needed to know this:

What is the biggest difference in last-name length in major-league starting pitching matchup history?


Aw, what the heck, why not ask! Could that nine-letter difference (13 letters versus four) be the all-time record? I asked my friends from STATS. Here’s what they told me.

Nine letters is not the record. But if you don’t count hyphenated names, it’s the first nine-letter difference since July 29, 2020 — Asher Wojciechowski (13) versus Gerrit Cole (four).

But speaking of Wojciechowski… he got mixed up in a lot of these, including the only 10-letter gap in the last 70 years: Wojciechowski versus Hyun Jin Ryu (three letters) on June 17, 2017. Probably Asher Wojciechowski’s biggest day ever in the big leagues.

And the record is … 10 letters! So that 2017 game goes into the books, along with 12 other games in AL/NL history. Eleven of those 12 took place between 1944 and 1953. In a related development, 11 of those 12 also involved Ken Raffensberger, matching up against four guys with three-letter names (Preacher Roe, Vern Law, Norm Roy and Bill Lee). The only non-Raffensberger on this bun was a 1937 game matching Bill Lee against Al Hollingsworth.

So if you enjoyed that … hey, you’re welcome.

The Name Game (Brought to you by the Letter V Edition)

All right, let’s do one more of these, because why stop now. On May 7, Justin Verlander marched into Yankee Stadium and gave up home runs to … two other guys whose names start with a “V” — Alex Verdugo and Anthony Volpe. So of course, loyal reader Bill Chuck was curious if that’s the most homers ever allowed by a pitcher whose name starts with a V to hitters whose name starts with a V.

OK, here’s the answer, again thanks to everyone at STATS: On June 11, 2000, Ismael Valdez gave up two homers to the Killer “V’s” — except there’s an asterisk! Since both were hit by Jose Valentin, we’re ruling: Not the same thing!

So STATS actually looked at other names starting with uncommon letters, without even being prompted … and found only one other letter with a mere one game in which a pitcher allowed home runs to multiple hitters whose name started with that letter. That was over in the K Korner, when Michael Kopech of the White Sox gave up homers to Max Kepler and Alex Kirilloff in a game against the Twins, on July 5, 2022.


One more time … you’re welcome!

The long and short of it

You may have noticed that the NBA Finals are in progress. So what better time to dig into yet another epic matchup?

6'11" Sean Hjelle vs 6'7" Aaron Judge

— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) June 1, 2024

That was last Saturday in San Francisco — featuring those two noted power forwards, Aaron Judge and Sean Hjelle, posting up at Oracle Park. And it caused Bryan Hoch, who covers the Yankees for, to post a question that America desperately needed answering:

At a combined 13 feet, 6 inches, was that the most altitudinous pitcher-hitter duel of all time?

Well, that answer, according to Baseball Reference, is not quite. But you should know that answer comes shrouded in controversy.

Katie Sharp got out her growth chart and reported that that Judge-Hjelle matchup was “only” 162 inches. So it was one inch short of the record, of 163 inches:

Jon Rauch (6-11) versus Tony Clark (6-8) — three times, in 2005, ’06 and ’07.


Chris Young (6-10) versus Mark Hendrickson (6-9) —one time, on June 29, 2007.

But wait one moment here. Elsewhere, on sites other than Baseball Reference, Rauch is listed at 6-10, not 6-11 … and Clark is listed at 6-7, not 6-8. So it’s possible they miss this record, too. I’ve made an executive decision not to grab my tape measure, seek them out and get to the bottom (or top) of this. So as always, if Katie Sharp says it, it must be true!

Shell game of the month

Finally, this might not have been your most memorable game of the month. But it had to be the most memorable game of this or any month for Willians (La Tortuga) Astudillo, Crush from “Finding Nemo” and every darned one of your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Yes, that means you, Michelangelo.)


We take you now to charming LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla., for a May 11 Florida State League game between the Bradenton Marauders and the Port St. Lucie Mets. And why, you may be wondering, are we taking you to Bradenton, Fla.?

Because this was a game that slowed to a crawl, literally — for the first (and hopefully last) turtle delay of 2024.


— Bradenton Marauders (@The_Marauders) May 11, 2024

Cowabunga. This really happened. There’s an excellent chance you’ll never live to see an actual turtle delay at Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field or Busch Stadium. But hey, it’s Florida. And there’s a pond lurking just beyond the left-field fence. So in the second inning of this Low-A game, here it came — the turtle that stopped baseball.

Thomas Zinzarella, the eloquent voice of the Marauders, told Weird and Wild that he looked up from his scorebook to discover there was some sort of diminutive animal wriggling across the outfield. So he did what any eloquent voice would do at a time like that:

He summoned his inner Kevin Harlan and launched into more than a minute of inspired turtle play-by-play.

“It’s Space Night,” he said at one point, as the turtle motored into the gap in left-center. “If only it could fly.”

But at the rate this turtle was crawling, it was going to take a while for it to get wherever the heck he was going. So I asked Zinzarella if it occurred to him he might have to do, say, three hours of turtle play-by-play while the star of this show sashayed toward its final destination, which definitely did not appear to be the outfield grass of LECOM Park.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe not three hours. I could probably have gone for an hour or so. … But that’s what I was thinking: Yeah, this could go on for a while. We have to get a groundskeeper out there to go out and get it. Or we have to call someone from the city to come down and get it. I had no idea.”


But little did he know that this turtle had an extra gear. When two Bradenton outfielders approached, it showed that explosive first-step burst that turtles are famously not known for. Check the video.

“That thing could have run a 4.2 40,” Zinzarella told me. “I mean, that thing was motoring.”

I don’t know what got into me after watching this video way too many times. But I then went down a little research tortoise hole and learned from Quora that turtles actually have a similar walking speed to humans — at about 3 miles per hour. So obviously, turtles are underrated as speedsters. When I relayed that vital tidbit to Zinzarella, he seemed (mildly) impressed.

“I’m going to have to do some more research on turtles, I think,” he said.

“Hey, you have to be ready if this happens again,” I told him.

“Now I will,” he promised. “Now I’ll have all my turtle information. If we have another turtle delay here, I’ll have all the numbers and facts and stories about it.

“Although someone said: ‘We’re in Florida. What if we have an alligator delay?’ Like that’s something I think could be common. So now I’m like: What am I going to think of to talk about if a gator gets out onto the field of play, like a little tiny one or something? I don’t know. Hopefully, that never happens because I’m thinking: Who’s going to pick that up?”

Hmmm, great question. At least we now know the answer to the question: Who’s going to pick up a turtle in Bradenton?

Reliever Magdiel Cotto eventually scampered out there, scooped it up and brought it back to the bullpen, where it did not seem to enjoy being one of the cool bullpen dudes. So after it refused to eat, a groundskeeper escorted it back to the pond so it didn’t become a shell of its former self.

Nevertheless, it was an all-time career moment for Zinzarella, even topping a flying goose that invaded a game he was calling in Hudson Valley last season.


“Is it possible,” I asked, “that you’ve now gotten more acclaim for your turtle play-by-play than anything you’ve ever done?”

“Probably,” he said with a laugh. “I think that’s probably the most, sadly, after doing this for four years now and graduating (from college) in ’21. So if I never make it to the big leagues, my claim to fame was to tell my kids and grandkids: ‘Well, we had a turtle delay, and people wrote about it and talked about it.’

“But the coolest thing,” he said, “is that’s why baseball is so great. You have stuff like that happen, and everyone always says you never know what you’ll see at the ballpark that night. And that’s very true. You never, ever would have thought a turtle would have come out there, right?”

Right. It’s crazy, all right. But what the heck. It happens, because it’s …


GO DEEPERDid Satchel Paige throw more no-hitters than Nolan Ryan? As MLB adds Negro League stats, it's unclear

(Top photo: Rhys Hoskins reacts after stealing second base against Edmundo Sosa and the Phillies: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)

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