7/2/2014 9:50 A.M. ET
MLB Notebook: Porcello putting up zeros, not K's
Right-hander has posted 25 consecutive scoreless innings despite few strikeouts
By Roger Schlueter / MLB.com
Of all the pitchers to qualify for an ERA title since those hurlers started working from 60 feet, six inches away from home plate in 1893, there have been four to finish a campaign with more wins than walks.
Christy Mathewson accomplished this trivial (but fun) feat twice, winning 25 games with 21 walks in 1913, then capturing 24 victories against 23 walks the following season. In those two years, "Matty" fanned 93 and 80 batters, respectively.
When Bret Saberhagen won 14 and walked 13 in 1994, he struck out 143 batters. On the other hand, Reds left-hander Slim Sallee almost had more wins than walks and strikeouts in '19, when he recorded 21 victories, issued only 20 walks and collected only 24 punchouts.
In that numerically fascinating season, Sallee twirled four shutouts (good enough to tie for fifth most in the National League), and three of those efforts saw the 34-year-old finish with no walks and no strikeouts. He is one of two pitchers since 1914 to have at least three such shutouts in a season, and he came awfully close to adding a fourth, with a seven-hit shutout on Sept. 10 featuring no walks and just one strikeout.
To modernize Sallee's effort a little bit, consider that with Rick Porcello's rare gem on Tuesday night, there have been three shutouts with no walks and no K's in the past 28 seasons. The first of these three came from Roger Clemens, who owns the third most strikeouts of all-time. The lesson, as usual: baseball is fun.
After going his first 163 starts without a shutout, Porcello now has two in his past two efforts. The latest gem came in Detroit on Tuesday, when the 25-year-old allowed just four hits and no walks with zero strikeouts in a 3-0 win over the Athletics.
In his previous start, Porcello hurled a three-hit shutout. He is the second pitcher this season to throw back-to-back shutouts on four hits or fewer, joining the Rangers' Martin Perez. Porcello is the first Tigers hurler to accomplish this feat since Jack Morris (July 13 and 18) in 1986. Going all the way back to the dawn of the live-ball era, Porcello was the 11th Tigers pitcher to do it, with Mickey Lolich (1967) the only one of the 11 Detroit hurlers to do it in three straight outings.
Porcello is the:
• First pitcher to hurl a shutout without any strikeouts since the Indians' Derek Lowe threw a six-hitter on May 15, 2012; and the first Tigers pitcher to do it since Doyle Alexander on April 24, 1989.
• First pitcher to throw a shutout with no K's and no walks since Baltimore's Jeff Ballard on Aug. 21, 1989; and the first Tigers pitcher to do this since Dizzy Trout on Sept. 26, 1944.
• First pitcher to toss a shutout on four or fewer hits and record no K's and no walks since Neil Allen on July 20, 1986. He is the only Tigers pitcher to do all of this in the past 101 seasons. Since 1914, he is one of 36 pitchers to have a game with these criteria.
Porcello last allowed a run in the sixth inning on June 15. Since then, he has recorded 25 scoreless innings. He's the first Tigers pitcher to post three straight games of at least six scoreless innings since Morris in July 1986 (Morris threw three straight shutouts).
Abreu chasing rookie homer record
In his team's 84th game of the year, and the first game of a doubleheader, White Sox rookie Jose Abreu hit his 26th home run of the season -- a three-run shot in the first inning. Abreu finished 1-for-3 with the three RBIs.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Abreu was held to a single. There have been nine rookies to hit at least 35 home runs in a season, with Mark McGwire owning the MLB record with 49 in 1987. Only McGwire (31) and Al Rosen (27 in 1950) had more through 85 team games.
Trout and Pujols power Angels
In the Angels' 8-4 victory over the White Sox in the first game of the doubleheader, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning.
Trout's homer gave him 81 for his career. The 81 represent the 14th most in history for a player through his age-22 season, and leave Trout one behind Al Kaline's total. After Kaline, Trout will be chasing Mickey Mantle (84) and Jimmie Foxx (86).
Pujols' round-tripper tied him with Gary Sheffield for 24th on the all-time list with 509. Pujols -- who had 71 home runs through his age-22 season -- owns the sixth most in history for any player through his age-34 season. He is one behind Hank Aaron and seven behind Babe Ruth.
Cubs stingy at Fenway
In the Cubs' 2-1 win over the Red Sox on Tuesday:
• The Cubs, who defeated the Red Sox, 2-0, on Monday, joined the 2004 Padres as the only NL teams to come into Fenway and hold the Red Sox to no more than one run in back-to-back games.
• The Red Sox have scored two runs or fewer in seven straight home games -- Boston's longest streak since 1932, when the club went eight consecutive home games without breaking out for more than two runs.
• The Boston pitching staff has allowed three or fewer runs in 14 straight home games -- the longest such streak in club history.
Here and there
• In the Tigers' victory over the White Sox, J.D. Martinez doubled, homered and drove in two runs. Through the end of May, Martinez had 64 plate appearances over 21 games (13 starts) and had posted a .784 OPS. Since then, he has accumulated 94 plate appearances in 23 games (21 starts) and has compiled a 1.111 OPS with 18 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs. Since the start of June, Martinez is tied for sixth in the Majors in with those 23 RBIs.
• Seattle collected a season-high 18 hits in its 13-2 victory over Houston, getting three-hit games from James Jones, Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager. Since May 21, Seager has played in 40 games. In this stretch, he has posted a .942 OPS with 33 RBIs. Seattle is 24-16 in those 40 games. Since the start of June, Seager is tied for the most RBIs in the Majors, with his 25 over this stretch matching the totals from Abreu, Justin Morneau and Andrew McCutchen.
• The Padres used a season-high 16 hits to defeat the Reds, 8-2. With the uncharacteristic barrage, San Diego lifted its team batting average to a Major League-worst .213. No club has entered the All-Star break with a team mark that low since the 1968 Mets closed out their first half with a .211 batting average.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.