Since the American League began allowing someone to hit for the pitcher, in 1973, five pitchers in that league have finished the season with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title and an average of at least 11 strikeouts for every nine innings thrown.
Pedro Martinez heads the quintet, with his astonishing rate of 13.20 K's per nine in 1999. This also happens to be the second-highest rate all-time, so that's a pretty nice starting point. The man who holds the all-time single-season record is also No. 2 and 3 on this list for all AL pitchers since 1973. In 1995, Randy Johnson fanned batters at a rate of 12.35 per nine innings, and two years later, posted a 12.30 rate. Pedro followed his '99 campaign by striking out 11.78 batters per nine innings in 2000 -- a rate just a little bit better than the 11.32 authored by all-time strikeout king Nolan Ryan in 1989.
That's it: a fairly formidable membership roll. With probably seven scheduled starts left for him in 2012, Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer is now holding on to a rate of 11.35 strikeouts for every nine innings.
1918-2012: 8+ K's in Eight or More Straight Starts
|15||Randy Johnson (1999)
Randy Johnson (2000)
|12||Nolan Ryan (1977)
Randy Johnson (1994)
Pedro Martinez (1997)
|11||Sandy Koufax (1965)
Nolan Ryan (1989)
Pedro Martinez (2002)
|10||Nolan Ryan (1973)
David Cone (1992)
Curt Schilling (1997)
Randy Johnson (2001)
Tim Lincecum (2009)
|9||Bob Feller (1946)
Hal Newhouser (1946)
Juan Pizarro (1961)
Nolan Ryan (1974)
J.R. Richard (1978)
Dwight Gooden (1984)
Pedro Martinez (1997)
John Smoltz (1997)
Kevin Brown (1998)
Pedro Martinez (1999)
|8||Randy Johnson (1995)
Pedro Martinez (1999)
Randy Johnson (2001)
Randy Johnson (2002)
Max Scherzer (2012)
The Tigers defeated the Angels, 5-2, on Sunday, with Scherzer (7 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 9 K's) getting the win to improve to 14-6. Scherzer, who leads the Majors in strikeouts (195) and K's per nine (11.35), has fanned at least eight batters in each of his past eight starts. Scherzer is the 28th pitcher (and the second Tigers pitcher) since 1918 to have a streak of at least eight consecutive starts with eight or more K's.
Curtis Granderson hit his 200th career home run in the Yankees' win over the Indians, with the milestone homer coming against left-hander Tony Sipp. Since the start of the 2011 season, Granderson has 28 homers against left-handers, the most for any left-handed batter (Cincinnati's Jay Bruce is second, with 20). These 28 have come in 355 at-bats. In his first seven seasons combined, Granderson had 20 home runs in 777 at-bats against left-handed throwers.
Nick Swisher went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the Yankees' win. On Aug. 8, Swisher was moved into the two-slot in the lineup; since then, he is hitting .357/.451/.629, with four doubles, five home runs and 18 RBIs in 18 games.
Ike Davis hit solo homers in the fourth and ninth (a game-winner) in the Mets' 2-1 win over the Astros. Before Davis, the last Mets player to hit a pair (or a trio) of solo homers that accounted for all of the team's scoring in a win was Cliff Floyd on May 13, 2005. Before that, it hadn't happened since Ed Kranepool did it on April 29, 1969.
Ben Revere went 4-for-4 with a triple in the Twins' victory over the Rangers, giving the outfielder five games with four or more hits this season. Those five tie Revere for the second most for any Twins player in the past 20 seasons. In 2009, Denard Span had six, while Corey Koskie had five in 2001 and Joe Mauer also had five in 2010.
Alex Rios stole his 20th base of the season, giving the White Sox outfielder his second career 20-steal, 20-homer season (he had 21 home runs and 34 stolen bases for the White Sox in 2010). Rios is the first player in White Sox history to have multiple 20-20 seasons. Tommie Agee had one in 1966, and in 2001, Ray Durham and Magglio Ordonez each did it.
Giancarlo Stanton homered for the third straight game (the second time this month he's done that), to give him 10 for the month, 29 for the season and 85 for his career.
Stanton's 10 home runs in August are tied for the most in the Majors, with the Padres' Chase Headley also having 10. Stanton also tied for the most homers in May, hitting 12.
Stanton's 29 homers for the season are the second most in the National League, behind the 34 by Ryan Braun. He and Braun are also 1-2 in the NL in homers since the start of the 2011 season, with Braun at 67 and Stanton at 63.
Stanton's 85th career homer broke him out of a tie with Mickey Mantle for the 11th most for any player in history through his age-22 season. With one more, Stanton will tie Jimmie Foxx on this list.
The Padres beat the D-backs, 5-4, to extend their winning streak to a season-high seven games. San Diego, which last won seven in a row in 2010 (eight-game winning streak), owns a 1.97 team ERA during this stretch of seven wins. The Padres own a 15-9 record in August -- second best in the league, behind the Nationals' 16-9 mark.
Cubs right-hander Chris Volstad allowed three hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings for his first win since July 10, 2011. Volstad snapped a winless streak of 24 starts, during which he was 0-14. The winless streak was tied for the sixth longest in the live-ball era, with the top mark being shared by Matt Keough (28 consecutive winless starts in 1978-79) and Jo-Jo Reyes (2008-11).
Atlanta's Tim Hudson won his seventh consecutive decision, allowing one run in seven innings against the Giants to improve to 13-4 for the season. The winning streak is the longest for a Braves starter since Hudson won nine straight decisions in 2007. With the victory, Hudson's career winning percentage stands at .658; among the 337 pitchers in history with at least 250 decisions, Hudson's percentage is tied with Roger Clemens' mark for the 10th best.
In the Braves' 7-1 win in San Francisco, Jason Heyward went 2-for-5 with a homer, giving him home runs in three consecutive games. Heyward's three home runs this season at AT&T Park are tied for the second most for any player, with only the Giants' own Buster Posey having more (five). Heyward's teammate, Freddie Freeman (who went back to back with Heyward in the ninth inning on Sunday), also has three at AT&T this season. Heyward and Freeman are tied with the Giants' Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.