Sunday, May 18, 2014
Kernels: Shout out to shutouts
By Doug Kern
Our weekly look at baseball's oddities spends a lot of time on crooked numbers. But when there were 19 team shutouts, including six of the solo variety, around the majors this week, we thought we'd give the zeroes some love.
• Masahiro Tanaka threw the New York Yankees' first individual shutout of the season, and joined Andy Pettitte (2002) as the only Yankees with one against the New York Mets. Tanaka is also the first Yankee with a shutout in any of his first eight MLB starts since Scott Nielsen blanked the Minnesota Twins in 1986.
Tanaka also got his first MLB hit on Wednesday; according to Elias, the Pirates' Jeff Karstens in 2008 was the last to record his first shutout and first base hit in the same game. No Yankee had done it since Ron Klimkowski in 1970. (Klimkowski, mainly a reliever, made only six starts.)
• On Thursday the Subway Series turned to the major-league debuts of Chase Whitley and Jacob deGrom. Whitley threw 4 2/3 scoreless frames, while deGrom allowed the game's only run in the seventh. The scoreless tie after six innings was the longest in modern history for a game where both pitchers debuted.
Whitley and deGrom also made history with hits in their first at-bats. They're the first pair of pitchers with hits in their first game since 1963, when Fritz Ackley of the Chicago White Sox and Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers both did it. And in their first at-bat? That was September 25, 1944, when the Cubs' Charlie Gassaway and Phillies' Charlie Ripple turned the trick. (For Ripple, who pitched only 11 career games, it would be his only major-league hit.)
Though Whitley did not get the win, it was the first time in over a century that the Yankees won a 1-0 game where their starting pitcher made his debut. On September 15, 1908, Pete Wilson threw a complete game against the Boston Red Sox at the Huntington Avenue Grounds.
• Wednesday and Thursday were also the first back-to-back shutouts in the (modern) Subway Series. The last time one New York team blanked another in consecutive games was July 1-2, 1957, when the Dodgers beat the Giants. Pitchers for Brooklyn: Don Drysdale and Sal Maglie.
• Johnny Cueto threw his second shutout of the year for the Cincinnati Reds, a three-hitter with two walks. Cueto has gone at least seven innings in all nine starts this season, allowing no more than five hits and two runs in any of them. That breaks the live-ball-era record of eight straight outings set by Johan Santana in mid-2004. And according to Elias, Cueto's is the longest such streak to start a season since at least 1900. Cueto is also the first Reds pitcher to have two shutouts by May 15 since Rick Mahler in 1989.
• Drew Hutchison of the Toronto Blue Jays shut out the Texas Rangers on three hits and one walk. The 23-year-old is the youngest Jay to throw a three-hitter (or less) since Chris Carpenter blanked Anaheim on September 9, 1997. Only one Toronto pitcher held an opponent to four baserunners and zero runs at a younger age: Phil Huffman one-hit Oakland in August 1979, two months after turning 21.
• Kansas City Royals starter Danny Duffy earned a spot in franchise lore by retiring the first 20 Baltimore Orioles. He ties Yu Darvish of the Rangers for the longest perfect-game bid of the season, and he's just the second pitcher in Royals history to have one reach 6 2/3 innings. Bret Saberhagen did it twice (1985 and again during his no-hitter in 1991, h/t Elias). Although Duffy did not finish Saturday's game, Billy Butler's first-inning single stood up for the Royals' first-ever 1-0 victory over the Orioles.
• The Tigers shut out the Red Sox 1-0 on Friday. The Tigers had not won a 1-0 regular-season game at Fenway Park since September 10, 1976, and that was a rain-shortened five-inning affair (Ben Oglivie homered). They last won a nine-inning version on April 15, 1974, on a Norm Cash homer. Before that you have to go back to 1929.
Lastly, a different kind of shutout note courtesy of a question my colleague, Steve Martinez, asked the Elias Sports Bureau. Starling Marte was shut out in Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader against the Yankees, going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. He then became the first player to homer in the second game of a doubleheader after striking out at least four times in the first game in nearly 39 years. The last was Larry Hisle for the 1975 Twins.