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).

Batting cleanup with no home runs

I was looking up something about Sandy Alomar Jr. last night when I noticed that in eight career games batting cleanup, he never homered.

While that’s obviously a very small number of games from his 1,377-game career, it seemed like a fairly large number to have not homered in. Presumably your cleanup hitter is one of your best power hitters, which means you aren’t going to have someone play much more than eight games in that slot if they aren’t hitting home runs.

So I looked up the most games by an Indian when batting cleanup without ever hitting a home run from that slot (data only goes back to 1919, so technically not a franchise record).

The distinction belongs to Lou Guisto, who played for the Tribe from 1916-17 and 1921-23 (presumably missed time due to WWI). In 35 games as their cleanup hitter (post 1919) he never homered, and actually never homered in 156 career games.

Over the past 50 seasons the record belongs to Lee Maye, who batted cleanup 22 times without homering for the Tribe between 1967-69.

And the most recent player with 10+ games batting 4th without a homer is, amazingly, a member of the 500 home run club: Eddie Murray. In 12 games as the Tribe’s cleanup hitter, Murray hit just .143 with no homers. Seven of those 12 games came in August, 1994 while filling in during Albert Belle‘s suspension for using a corked bat.