Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Two Pitchers Hurl Tonight While Making History

Tonight there are two pitchers who are starting while having historic 2014 seasons. Let's see who they are.

- Johnny Cueto
Cueto faces the Washington Nationals in Washington D.C. with his current streak of seven innings pitched and two runs or fewer allowed over his first nine starts. This feat had not been done since Harry Krause of the Philadelphia Athletics set the mark in 1909. Opposing hitters batting .135 with an on-base percentage of .194. Lack of run support is the reason Cueto sits at 4-2 in 9 starts with a 1.25 ERA with 76 K's, 18 walks with 33 hits for a WHIP of 0.71. Cueto has three complete games with two of them being shutouts.

David Schoenfield of the in his article Johnny Cueto a thoroughly dominant force of the SweetSpot Baseball Blog on ESPN.com states that:
Only three pitchers have ever had an ERA below 1.50 and an opponents' batting average below .150 through nine starts -- Cueto, Don Sutton in 1972 and … Luis Tiant in 1968. 
That's some pretty impressive company Cueto is standing with. If Cueto keeps on with this kind of pitching performance for his next two starts, he will tie the mark set by Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown who in 1908 had his first 11 straight starts with at least seven innings pitched and two runs or fewer allowed for the Chicago Cubs.

- Masahiro Tanaka
Tanaka is proving his doubters wrong with an amazing start to his rookie 2014 campaign. Picking up from where he left off as ace of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka has established himself as the most reliable starter in the Yankees rotation. Coming off his first complete game shutout in the Majors, Tanaka is 6-0 in 8 starts with a 2.15 ERA with 66 strikeouts with only 7 walks and 46 hits for a WHIP of 0.91. According to MLB.com, Tanaka is the first starter since 1900 to earn 6 wins and at least 60 strikeouts in his first eight major league starts.

In total since August of 2012, Tanaka has not lost a game at any professional level going 33-0 in both Japan with Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball regular season games. While going 24-0 in 28 games with a 1.27 ERA with 183 strikeouts with 32 walks and 168 for a WHIP of 0.94 in 2013, Tanaka won 21-consecutive games establishing a new NPB record.

According to Jason Coskrey in his article Eagles’ Tanaka sets NPB record by winning 21st straight decision from the Japan Times website dated August 16, 2013:
The victory gave Tanaka (17-0) sole possession of the longest winning streak in Japanese baseball history, moving him past former Yomiuri Giants pitcher Kiyoshi Matsuda, who had a 20-game streak over the 1951 and 1952 seasons, and Kazuhisa Inao, who won 20 straight in 1957 for the Nishitetsu Lions.
In total Tanaka had 8 complete games with two shutouts and a "cherry-on-the-top" 1 save in 2014.

Let's see if both Cueto and Tanaka can continue of their successful march in the history books tonight against the Nationals and Cubs respectively.

Until Then Play Ball,
Baseball Sisco

For Further Reading
- Click Here to access Johnny Cueto's career statistics from the Cincinnati Reds page on MLB.com
- Click Here to access Masahiro Tanaka's career MLB statistics from the New York Yankees page on MLB.com
- Click Here to access Masahiro Tanaka's career NPB statistics from the NPB website