Friday, April 27, 2012
Weaver, Verlander & Nova streaking tonight
By Jeremy Lundblad
Amidst the NFL Draft craziness, the baseball season continues tonight, with the top two finishers in last year's AL Cy Young voting on the mound, looking to continue their hot streaks.
In New York, a Yankee tries to match Roger Clemens’ team record. Plus the Pirates are the first team to accomplish something, and it’s not entirely bad.
Jered Weaver Owns April
The Cy Young runner-up a season ago, Jered Weaver faces the Indians tonight, looking to continue his strong early-season pitching.
Weaver is 13-0 in his last 17 starts in March and April, the longest streak of undefeated starts in March and April since Brad Penny went 17 straight from 2004 to 2008 (thanks, Elias).
The last guy to go undefeated in 18 such starts was Pedro Martinez. The last pitcher to win 14 consecutive decisions in March and April was the always-menacing Dave Stewart, who won 20 straight decisions from 1987 to 1991.
Weaver’s career ERA of 2.66 in March and April is the third-lowest among active pitchers, trailing Mariano Rivera and Zack Greinke.
Pitching Duel in the Bronx
The man who topped Weaver in the 2011 Cy Young voting was Justin Verlander, who is 21-3 with a 1.98 ERA since last June 1.
Verlander’s counterpart on the mound tonight is Ivan Nova, who is 15-1 with a 3.31 ERA in that time span. Nova has won his last 15 decisions, which Elias says is the longest for any pitcher entering a start against a defending Cy Young winner
A win tonight would tie Nova with Roger Clemens for most consecutive decisions won in Yankees history, but he'll need help from an offense that has struggled against Verlander.
Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher all have career averages below .170 against Verlander.
The exception in the Yankees lineup is Derek Jeter, who is 12-33 (.364) in his career against Verlander.
Dead Ball Era in Pittsburgh?
In the National League, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in the midst of a quirky and remarkable run.
Neither team has scored more than five runs in any of Pittsburgh’s first 18 games, the longest streak to start a season in MLB history.
The Pirates are still 13 games away from matching the longest season-opening streak without scoring five runs, which was 31 games by the 1972 Milwaukee Brewers.
Thirty-one games is also the longest season-opening streak of allowing five or fewer runs, accomplished previously by the 1972 Twins. The last team to start with 18 such games was the Athletics in 1981. Pittsburgh looks to best that mark tonight in Atlanta.
Paul Carr contributed to this post.