shelby miller

baseball Week 6: “Week of the Pitcher”

May 13

It was a week for pitching gems. There may not have been a no-hitter or perfect game but a whole slew of guys came pretty darn close.

  • Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller allowed a leadoff single on Friday, then retired the next 27 batters.
  • The next day, his teammate Adam Wainwright pitched another complete game shutout, allowing just two hits
  • Also on Friday, Red Sox Jon Lester pitched a one-hit shutout over the Blue Jays.
  • Mets Matt Harvey pitched a one-hit shutout on Monday with 12 strikeouts and no walks and didn’t even get a win for it (Mets won 1-0 in ten innings, Harvey pitched nine).
  • White Sox Chris Sale finished off the week on a strong note, giving up just one single in a complete game.

If that wasn’t enough, those five pitchers combined to walk one batter in those 45 innings. And six hits.

And that wasn’t all the great pitching we saw. James Shields gave up just two hits in eight scoreless innings on Monday (with nine strikeouts), Jorge De La Rosa pitched a couple great games (more on that below), and Scott Feldman pitched two-hit ball in shutting out the Rangers over seven.

What was most amazing about those gems by Miller and Wainwright was that they were against the Rockies, who last week I mentioned had the best offense all of baseball. Rockies batters went 50 at-bats between hits (0 for 50!). And that series with the Cardinals followed a three game series at Coors Field against the Yankees where the Rockies only scored 3 runs. Safe to say, Rockies no longer have the #1 offense in baseball.

Speaking of the Rockies and Yankees, Wednesday’s game was pretty remarkable for Vernon Wells. The Yankee “outfielder” went 3 for 4 including a two-run homer in the first inning, and a single to lead off the ninth inning. He then stole second, scored the go-ahead run, and because of a pinch-hitting situation was asked to play third base in the bottom of the ninth for the first time in his major league career. And of course, he fielded a hot-shot in that inning and cleanly recorded the out at first.

With all the concern about the Yankees injuries people expected pitchers to work around Robinson Cano in the Yankees lineup. For whatever reason that has not been the case. Cano has just one walk in the last 12 games and three free passes in the last 20.

Joe Mauer doesn’t just have an 11-game hitting streak; he has ten doubles in his last eight games, along with eight walks. Mauer had a real hot week hitting .533 with six multi-hit games (OBP of .600) as the surprising Twins stay at .500.

It has really been a rough year for Philip Humber, and his year at the major league level is likely over.  Humber relieved Erik Bedard (of course) in the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead after Bedard gave up a leadoff single. Humber proceeded to give up a home run, two triples, a single and a walk, recording just two outs. Humber was released with a record of 0-8 and ERA of 9.59 and a WHIP over 2.

What I can’t understand is why manager Bo Porter takes out Bedard with a 3-1 lead after 90 pitches. In fact, this was even the longest outing of the season for the veteran southpaw. On April 9, Porter took out Bedard with a 13-0 lead before he could even qualify for a win. On April 21 Bedard was relieved after four innings with a 4-2 lead (which the Astros eventually lost). The baseball gods frown on managerial moves like that.

Speaking of the Astros, before getting sent down Rick Ankiel had four singles and 35 strikeouts.

Rays pitcher Alex Cobb had a day for the ages on Friday. Cobb tallied 13 strikeouts while recording 14 outs. And the third inning went like this:

Strikeout/wild pitch, steal second base, strikeout, steal of third, strikeout, balk (run scored), strikeout.

Alex Cobb struck out every runner he faced and still gave up a run.

And to wrap it up, this was the first time all season that a Rays pitcher didn’t pitch at least five full innings.

Another week, another streak for Milwaukee. The Brewers are currently on a four game slide, their third losing streak of 4+ games, going along with a nine game winning streak in April.

Justin Upton hit 12 home runs in the Braves first 23 games, and has hit zero in the last 14 games.

I believe Craig Kimbrel is the most overpowering, dominant pitcher in baseball. But Tuesday night didn’t quite go all the way as he scripted. The Braves closer struck out the first two batters he faced. Then with two strikes, Devin Mesoraco (.224) hit a home run to center field to tie the game. The next batter, Shin-Soo Choo homered to center to win the game (and lose it for Kimbrel).

The Dodgers have the highest on base percentage in the NL, a healthy Clayton Kershaw pitching good as ever, and they are still in last place.

Here’s something I will probably write more about later: on Thursday night Jon Lackey gave up four runs that were all considered “unearned” because of an error. He made the error! The sixth inning went single, walk, bad throw by Lackey, and a home run. How is he not responsible for those runs?

Mets closer Bobby Parnell has four wins. No pitcher on the Marlins has more than two.

Players of the Week

AL: Evan Longoria, Rays. Longoria went on a tear this week, batting .464 with three homers, five doubles, 11 RBI and eight runs scored helping Tampa win five in a row and climb over .500 for the first time since the first week of the season. In May, Longoria has 19 hits (10 XBH), 12 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 11 games.

  NL: Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies. They were not the complete game variety, but De La Rosa pitched two shutouts this week against two teams with the best records in the league. Against the Yankees and Cardinals, the Rockies pitcher gave up just five hits in 13 scoreless innings. He held St Louis hitless into the seventh inning.