Max Scherzer multi-tasks by acknowledging the crowd and airing out his head.
This past week, we saw all kinds of champions. Dario Franchitti, aka Mr. Ashley Judd, won the Indy 500 last Sunday. Anamika Veeramani, aka an eighth-grader from North Royalton, Ohio, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee Friday. And Francesca Schiavone, aka the best tennis victory speech giver ever, won the women’s French Open title Saturday morning. But the real statistical wonders in sports this week happened on the mound. We’ll explain it all in the numbers.
0.78 – ERA of Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez after his 4-0 shutout of the Giants Monday. That gives Jimenez the Major League record for the lowest ERA for a pitcher through the first 11 starts of the season.
1.32 – ERA of Cardinals pitcher Jamie Garcia after his 12-4 victory over the Reds Monday. What’s that mean? Garcia now owns the lowest ERA by a National League rookie though his first 10 starts of the season since 1981. The last guy to have an ERA lower was Fernando Valenzuela, who had a 1.24 ERA over his first 10 starts in 1981 on his way to winning the World Series, the Rookie of the Year award and the Cy Young award.
3 – Pitchers over the last 20 Major League seasons who have taken a perfect game bid as far as two outs into the ninth inning and had it broken up. This might ring a bell, but Detroit’s Armando Galarraga became the third Wednesday night when his perfect quest was broken up with two outs in the ninth in a 3-0 win over the Indians. The other two unlucky aces? Mike Mussina, who was almost perfect against the Red Sox in 2001, and Pedro Martinez, whose potential perfect game against the Padres in 1995 was broken up in the 10th inning.
14 – Batters struck out by Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer over five and 2/3 innings this past Sunday, a career high. Not only did that help the Tigers snap a four-game losing streak, it made Scherzer the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out that many batters in so few innings. His percentage of outs via strikeout (82.3 percent) was the most in the Majors since 1900 with a minimum of five innings pitched.
30 – Runs given up by Mets pitchers in a three-game span that ended with an 18-6 loss to the Padres Monday night. That stretch came immediately following a four-game streak in which the Mets recorded three straight shutouts and allowed only two runs altogether. Only three other teams in the Bigs have ever recorded three or more shutouts and allowed at least 18 runs in a game all in the span of one week. That would be the 1948 Giants, the 1967 Dodgers and the 2002 Red Sox.