Finishing "a triple short of the cycle" is really not a big deal

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Joe Mauer remained red hot last night, going 4-for-5 with a homer and a double as the Twins extended their AL Central lead to five games, and afterward various reports about the game noted how the reigning MVP finished “a triple short of the cycle.”

That phrase appears constantly in game stories throughout every season and I’m guilty of using it plenty myself, so I’m certainly not picking on the writers who do the same. However, for some reason it finally occurred to me last night that perhaps “a triple short of the cycle” isn’t all that noteworthy.

Thanks to the amazing “Play Index” on Baseball-Reference.com, I looked up how many times this season a hitter has been “a triple short of the cycle” and the answer is … 172. Seriously. Mauer has done it three times all by himself, and he’s not even the leader. Matt Holliday and Carlos Gonzalez have done it four times apiece. Hitting for the cycle is almost as rare as throwing a no-hitter, but coming up “a triple short of the cycle” happens almost 10 times a week.

Or, put another way: This season a hitter has finished “a triple short of the cycle” 172 times and there have been a grand total of 644 triples hit by all 30 teams. Given that, maybe we’ll start to see some game stories about how someone was “a single, double, and homer” short of the cycle when they hit a triple.

Video: Jackie Bradley Jr. climbs wall to rob Luis Urías of homer

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. scaled the center field fence to rob Padres shortstop Luis Urías of a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game. Urías was trying to take advantage of a 0-1 slider from Ryan Brasier. Had Bradley not made the grab, the Padres’ lead would have been extended to 4-1.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they weren’t able to take advantage of Bradley’s effort, dropping Sunday’s contest 3-1. They still won the series against the Padres, however. The Sox will continue their road trip for two games against the Rockies followed by three versus the Angels.