The Tigers catcher and designated hitter took a called third strike from Astros starter Jarred Cosart for the final out of the first inning earlier tonight. It was the first time a home plate umpire has had the opportunity to ring him up in a long, long time.
How long, you ask? Martinez last struck out looking on May 21, 2013. It’s May 5, 2014. That’s almost a full calendar year between backwards K’s! Coming into tonight, Martinez had not taken a called third strike in his last 579 consecutive at bats.
Take a moment and consider how unbelievable that is. Not once during that 579-at bat streak was Martinez fooled, caught off guard or off his game in a two-strike scenario. With tonight’s strike out, he’s striking out looking just 0.17% of the time in his last 580 plate appearances.
And just in case you’re thinking, “That’s not so impressive; all you have to do is swing all the time and you won’t strike out looking,” consider this: During the streak, Martinez only struck out swinging 45 times, or 7.78% of the time. That means not only did not go down without a swing once, but he put the ball in play 93% of the time!