Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stat Line of the Day: May 19th

J. Peavy (CHW): CG, SO, 3 H, 0 BB, 8 K vs. Indians
C. Morton (PIT): CG, SO, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K vs. Reds
P. Coke (DET): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K vs. Red Sox
C. Buchholz (BOS): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K vs. Tigers
J. Niese (NYM): 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K vs. Nationals
B. Colon (NYY): 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K vs. Orioles
Z. Britton (BAL): 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 4 K vs. Yankees
J. Vargas (SEA): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K vs. Angels
Last night was one of the most impressive nights of pitching I've ever witnessed in over 20 years as an avid baseball fan.  Eight out of 30 starting pitchers did not allow a single earned run in their appearance while throwing at least seven innings. Two pitchers, Jake Peavy (see right) and Charlie Morton threw complete-game shutouts for their squads, allowing a total of of 10 baserunners in 18 innings.  Both shutouts were incredibly impressive given the opponents each pitcher faced.  Morton shut down the Reds at Great American Ballpark, the fourth-best hitters park in the baseball.  Peavy was able to hold Cleveland to only three hits and no runs, despite the Tribe leading the American League in runs scored.  In Boston, two hurlers threw dominant outings for their teams.  Phil Coke of the Tigers and Clay Buchholz of the BoSox each threw seven shutout innings. Because both starters were so impressive in this contest, neither pitcher featured in the decision. The same could be said of hard-luck ND-er Bartolo Colon. The former Cy Young Award winner threw eight shutout innings--with seven strikeouts and only three hits--for the Yankees, but Mariano Rivera blew the save and lost the W for Colon.  In that game, Zach Britton nearly matched Colon, throwing seven innings for the struggling O's while giving up only one unearned run. Of the eight pitchers in today's column, Britton was the only one to give up a run, earned or unearned. Perhaps not coincidentally, he also is the only one of those hurlers to allow more than two walks. He too, like Colon, did not get a win due to bullpen problems in the 15-inning marathon. Some pitchers did get a W out of their strong performances, though. Jon Niese threw seven shutout innings in the torrential rain (see right) last night at Citi Field, coming out on the long end of a 3-0 Mets victory.  By the same token, Jason Vargas got his third win of the season by throwing seven shutout innings, while striking out a season-high nine batters.  He even outpitched the Angels' Jered Weaver, he of the 2.45 ERA.  All in all, that's eight different pitchers who threw seven or more dominating innings on Wednesday night.  Some (Peavy, Colon) already have Cy Young's under their belt.  Others (Buchholz, Britton, Niese) are young up-and-comers whose fans have been dreaming about starts like these for some time.  Still others (Coke, Morton, Vargas) are looking to finally get their careers moving in a positive direction.  Regardless of their career history or potential career future, all eight starting pitchers gave us a truly fun night of baseball to watch on May 18th.

Before ending this column, I'd like to make note (and maybe give an Honorable Mention or something) to the two pitchers who squared off in Philadelphia last night.  Cole Hamels of the Phillies and Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies each gave up only one earned run in eight innings of work.  That's an impressive showing from these two pitchers in the eight-best hitters park in the MLB.  Though they did each allow a run, which is why I did not include them with the eight starters above, Hamels and De La Rosa were both spectacular for their teams.  De La Rosa threw a complete game for Colorado, but he gave up an unearned run that proved to be the difference in the game.  I wouldn't put these two starters on the same level as Peavy, Morton, & Co. were last night, but they did give fans a nice pitchers duel to watch in Philadelphia.

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