Shelley Duncan enters rare club

Shelley Duncan belted two home runs off Justin Verlander on Wednesday afternoon, joining Carlos Quentin as the only players to do so this season.

But that’s not that rare club.

It was Duncan’s second multi-home run game of the season, despite the fact that he’s hit just eight homers all season.

Assuming he fails to hit another home run this year (a very realistic possibility) he’ll join Jose Hernandez, Frank Duffy and possibly Jack Hannahan as the only Indians with two multi-home run games in a season in which they hit eight or fewer total homers (since 1970).

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Indians starters off to historically bad start

Through the first two games of the season Fausto Carmona and Carlos Carrasco have allowed a combined 17 earned runs. It’s the first time since 1950 that a team’s starting pitcher allowed 7+ earned run in each of its first two games of the season. That year the Red Sox and Yankees beat each other up, as all four starters involved in the first two games allowed at least seven runs.

On a positive note, Jack Hannahan has driven in runs in each of his first two games with the Tribe. If he drives in another one today he’ll be the first player with RBI in his first three games in an Indians uniform since Eduardo Perez (four straight) in 2006. Prior to Perez, you have to go back to Gomer Hodge in 1971.

Opening Day notes

  • Carlos Santana was back in the lineup batting cleanup, a rare slot for a 24-year-old catcher. Since 1919 (as far back as baseball-reference game finder goes) only four other catchers have batted cleaning on opening day for the Tribe (Victor Martinez did so three times). And perhaps more noteworthy, Santana is the youngest catcher to bat cleanup in his team’s season opener since Hall of Famer Gary Carter in 1978.
  • Fausto Carmona‘s 10 earned runs allowed set a Tribe record for opening day (since 1919, of course). It’s also the most allowed by any pitcher in his team’s opener since Early Wynn, pitching for the Senators, allowed 10 to the Yankees in 1948. It was his final year in Washington before joining the Tribe. [Update: according to The Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN) Carmona was the first pitcher in baseball history to allow 10 runs in three innings or less on opening day.]
  • Jack Hannahan became just the 3rd Indians No. 9 hitter to go deep on opening day (since 1919) joining Ron Pruitt (1978 vs Royals) and Bob Lemon (1953 vs White Sox).