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The Streak Finder

As some of you (such as Jeff Sackmann) may have noticed, the fine folks who run Baseball-Reference introduced the Play Index a few months ago.

The Play Index basically takes all the goodness of retrosheet and removes the difficulty of running queries on it. Everything (and I mean everything) from 1957-2006 is suddenly accessible to even non-sabermetric-spock-types. Not that there's anything wrong with sabermetric-spock-types...

For instance, have you ever wondered how many games in a row a team has gone while hitting at least one home run? Using the streak finder, it's easy.

Your answer: the Texas Rangers. They hit a home run in 27 straight games between August 11 and September 9, 2002. Going 17-10 over that stretch, they hit no less than 55 homers. That same season, between June 24 and July 18, they went 21 games in a row with a round-tripper.

Of course, that was about all the Rangers could do in 2002, as they went 72-90 and finished dead last in the AL West, 21 games back of 3rd-place Seattle.

Any guesses as to which pitcher holds the record for most starts in a row with at least 5 strikeouts? Here's a clue: it occurred from August 22, 1998 to August 20, 2000.

Another clue, if you didn't already click the link: mullet.

For 69 games in a row, Randy Johnson struck out at least 5 batters. Following Johnson are Mark Prior (50), and Pedro Martinez (43). As if that's not enough, the Big Mullet also has streaks of 35 and 25, good for 8th and 13th since 1957.

And here's one more example for you. Let's up the ante, and find out who's had the most consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts. That surely doesn't happen that often, does it?

According to the Play Index, no, it doesn't happen often at all.

Unless your name is Pedro Martinez, that is. In 1999, he put together a streak of eight games in a row with at least 10 Ks. That's the tops on the list. But that's not the most impressive part. That same year, he also had a streak of seven in a row, which puts him in second place.

Oh, but that's not enough for Pedro. In 1997, he threw six games in a row with 10+ Ks. He put together streaks of five in a row no less than three times, in 1997, 2000 and 2001. All told, Pedro occupies a place at #1, tied for #2, tied for #3 and tied for #4. To be fair, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan also have a lock on the top few places... but I'm more impressed by Martinez's ridiculously good 1999 season.

OK, I can't resist it. One more streak. I've selected the Frank Menechino memorial consecutive HBP award, over the last 20 seasons of baseball. (Lil' Frankie may not have made the list, but in my eyes, he's the nostalgic choice. I'll always remember him for 2001, when he was plunked 19 times while playing for the A's.)

Surprisingly enough, Craig Biggio, Jason Kendall and Barry Bonds don't make the top of the list.

An odd couple, the co-winners are Shawn Green and F.P. Santangelo. Each was hit by a pitch in four consecutive games. Ouch.

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