Since Chase Utley made it to the majors in 2003, nobody has been hit by more pitches than him, and nobody has scored more runs after reaching base on a plunk than him. But apparently nobody told Marlins rooking Elih Villanueva that before he made his major league debut, starting yesterday afternoon’s game against the Phillies. Villanueva plunked Utley for the 127 HBP of Utley’s career, and Utley scored a run after reaching on a plunk for the 41st time. Villanueva is the 11th pitcher to plunk Utley for his first hit batter in the majors. Utley needs one more plunk to tie Jeff Bagwell for 39th place on the all time HBP list. 11.3% of all the HBPs recorded at Citizen’s Bank Park have been Chase Utley’s.
Utley’s plunk may have inspired teammate Ryan Howard to get hit by a pitch in the 10th inning of the second game of the Phillies/Marlins doubleheader yesterday. That plunk put Howard on base to score the winning run.
Brewer Casey McGehee got a plunk from Rodrigo Lopez, breaking a streak of 538 consecutive plunkless plate appearances dating back to July 27th last year. That was the 34th longest streak in the league going into the yesterday’s games. And just to prove that he should probably have been getting hit by more pitches all along, he got to score a run. Prince Fielder has been hit 12 times since the last time McGehee got hit by a pitch.
Michael Stutes and Michael Dunn both threw their first career plunks yesterday, along with Elih Villanueva, so in the past two days 7 pitchers have thrown career plunk #1. And one more did it on Monday, so we have 8 first plunks thrown this week.
Stutes and Roy Halladay both hit batters for the Phillies, bringing the Phillies franchise total to 4,982 plunks, dating back to 1887. Reds pitcher Travis Wood hit Andre Either yesterday, and that means the Reds have hit 4,978 batters. And that all means the race is on – to be the first franchise to reach 5000 hit batters.
Michael Dunn’s 10th inning plunk of Ryan Howard was the 996th plunk thrown by the Marlins franchise, so they’re rapidly closing in on the 1000th plunk thrown milestone.