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Baseball magic numbers
75: Years since Abbott & Costello performed their classic “Who’s On First?” routine for the first time on radio. Early non-baseball versions of the skit played on the burlesque scene, and the comedy duo honed and polished an early version in vaudeville, but it was March, 1938 on “The Kate Smith Hour” that they performed it for the first time before a national radio audience.
8: Shutout innings Thursday for the Orioles’ Freddy Garcia, who so bewildered the Nationals that when asked for an explanation, Ian Desmond told The Washington Post, “Our first-base coach is on maternity leave.” Desmond referred to the fact that hitting coach Rick Eckstein had to do the job instead. As for Tony Tarasco -- mazel tov!
7.62: Strikeouts per nine innings this season, the highest rate yet of a skyrocketing MLB trend the past few years, according to STATS. It’s been on the rise since 2008, when it peaked at 6.83, and is showing no signs of slowing down. The Tigers (9.84), Red Sox (9.14) and Indians (8.81) are on pace to finish with the three highest single-season figures for strikeout rate among MLB teams in the modern era (1901 to present).
4: Home runs hit by Cubs’ pitching staff this season -- two by Travis Wood and one each by Scott Feldman and Jeff Samardzija. Overall, MLB pitchers have gone deep only 12 times. Cubs’ pitchers also have 19 RBIs; no other staff has more than eight.
.374: Slugging percentage for the Royals, who are last in the American League in that category. That, no doubt, was one of the motivating factors for hiring George Brett as hitting coach this week. Brett, a three-time batting champ, led the AL with a .664 slugging percentage in 1980, his MVP season.