Grand slams on record-shattering pace
Monday's three bases-loaded blasts add to already high total
Major League Baseball has been more grand than ever this season.
Three more grand slams were hit on Monday, increasing the total to 26 hit in the 286 games played thus far. At that rate, a record 221 grand slams would be hit, shattering by 45 the current record of 176 set in 2000.
Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez each went deep with the bases loaded against the Nationals on Monday, only the fourth time in history that two Phillies hit grand slams in the same game. Howard's grand slam in the fifth inning tied the score at 6-6, and Ibanez's won it in the eighth, turning an 11-9 deficit into an eventual 13-11 win.
In New York, rookie Omir Santos hit his first career home run off the Marlins' Anibal Sanchez in the first inning, the first grand slam to be hit in Citi Field. The Mets won, 7-1.
Contributing factors to the surge of grand slams may be increases in both walks and home runs. According to statistics compiled by Baseball-Reference.com, teams have walked 3.84 batters per nine innings, up from 3.39 all of last season, and have allowed 1.09 home runs per nine innings, up from 1.01.
Grand slams, 1999-2009
"I think pitching is not as strong right now," Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told USA Today. "They're walking too many people, and all of a sudden they're going to face some guys with the bases loaded. They've got to throw a strike, and they pay the consequences."
When the record was set in 2000, the total of 176 represented a leap of 36 grand slams over the previous season. Since then, the numbers per season have been steady, ranging from 123 to 134.
The Phillies have hit three grand slams this season, and the Indians, Cardinals, Orioles and Rays each have hit two, with Albert Pujols contributing both for St. Louis. The Yankees have given up four -- to Cleveland's Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera, Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena and Boston's Jason Varitek.
The record of six grand slams in one season is shared by the Yankees' Don Mattingly (1987) and the Indians' Travis Hafner (2006). The career record of 23 was set by Lou Gehrig.
The last time the Phillies clubbed two grand slams in the same game was on Sept. 9, 2003, when Tomas Perez and Jason Michaels went deep in Atlanta. On Aug. 18, 1997, against the Giants, Billy McMillon and Mike Lieberthal each hit a slam against the Giants on Aug. 18, 1997. Back on April 28, 1921, against Boston, Ralph Miller and Lee Meadows hit grand slams in the same game.
"It was something cool to be involved in," Ibanez said.
Howard's slam was his first since Sept. 17, 2007, at St. Louis. Howard's six slams tie him with Bobby Abreu, Willie Jones, Chuck Klein and Cy Williams for the second most in franchise history. Mike Schmidt is first with seven.
"Two in one game, obviously, doesn't happen a lot," Howard said.
Monday was the fourth day this season on which three grand slams were hit in the Majors.
Pujols, Ryan Doumit of the Pirates and Melvin Mora all hit grand slams on April 11. Jason Kubel of the Twins, Nick Markakis of the Orioles and Ben Zobrist of the Rays did it on April 17. Pujols, Varitek and Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox all went deep with the bases loaded on Saturday.
Grand Slams of 2009
|Three grand slams were hit on Monday, increasing the total to 26 in the 286 games played thus far. At this rate, a record 221 grand slams would be hit, shattering by 45 the current record of 176, set in 2000.|
|Hanley Ramirez||FLA||WAS||Steven Shell||4/6|
|Miguel Cabrera||DET||TEX||Kris Benson||4/10|
|Albert Pujols||STL||HOUS||Roy Oswalt||4/11|
|Ryan Doumit||PIT||CIN||Mike Lincoln||4/11|
|Melvin Mora||BAL||TB||Jeff Niemann||4/11|
|Edwin Encarnacion||CIN||MIL||Yovani Gallardo||4/13|
|Carlos Pena||TB||NYY||Jonathan Albaladejo||4/13|
|John Buck||KC||CLE||Vinnie Chulk||4/14|
|Ichiro Suzuki||SEA||LAA||Jason Bulger||4/15|
|Nelson Cruz||TEX||BAL||Radhames Liz||4/15|
|Grady Sizemore||CLE||NYY||Damaso Marte||4/16|
|Kevin Millar||TOR||MIN||R.A. Dickey||4/16|
|Jason Kubel||MIN||LAA||Jason Bulger||4/17|
|Nick Markakis||BAL||BOS||Brad Penny||4/17|
|Ben Zobrist||TB||CWS||Matt Thornton||4/17|
|Asdrubal Cabrera||CLE||NYY||Anthony Claggett||4/18|
|Austin Kearns||WAS||FLA||Josh Johnson||4/18|
|Matt Kemp||LAD||COL||Matt Belisle||4/19|
|Edgar Renteria||SF||SD||Jake Peavy||4/21|
|Shane Victorino||PHI||FLA||Matt Lindstrom||4/24|
|Albert Pujols||STL||CHC||David Patton||4/25|
|Jason Varitek||BOS||NYY||A.J. Burnett||4/25|
|Alexei Ramirez||CWS||TOR||Shawn Camp||4/25|
|Omir Santos||NYM||FLA||Anibal Sanchez||4/27|
|Ryan Howard||PHI||WAS||Shairon Martis||4/27|
|Raul Ibanez||PHI||WAS||Joel Hanrahan||4/27|
Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor/producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.