As a tribute to the classic old-time weekly baseball show called, “This Week in Baseball”, I am going to try and post blogs on the 2015 baseball season. Leading off is a story of goose eggs in week 1. Through Saturday, April 11, there were a total of 19 shutouts recorded in 77 scheduled games…that is 25% of games where one team failed to score a run. There has been at least one shutout every day since the opening game on April 5 (the streak ended Sunday when the Dodgers’ bullpen could not protect a shutout against Arizona)…Adam Wainwright blanked the Cubs in the very first game of 2015! The following Monday, there were five shutouts of the 14 games scheduled and six more shutouts were tossed two days later.
No-hitters used to be a rarity in a baseball season. Sonny Gray of Oakland came close to tossing one in his first start of the year. He allowed only one hit against the Texas Rangers. Not to be outdone, Arizona starter Archie Bradley limited the Dodgers to no runs and just two hits…in his first major league start!
Those of you who are old enough to remember 1968…the year of the pitcher, Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers won 31 games. Bob Gibson of St. Louis had a microscopic 1.12 ERA! The Hall-of-Famer completed 28 games, tossing an unheard of (at least by today’s standards) 304 innings. After that 1968 season, baseball lowered the pitchers’ mound to give the hitters a better chance. Perhaps, they need to do something again!
Pitchers, however, are not totally dominating the headlines for week 1. The Detroit Tigers have collected double figures in hits for five of their first six games. No surprise that they have started off with a 6-0 record! They had a season-high 18 hits this past Friday. So did the Boston Red Sox, but they played a 19-inning game! Detroit did it in the regulation nine innings.
Some individual performances are worth noting: Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers is hitting a “cool” .609 in his first six games with five home runs and seven RBI. Miguel Cabrera, of the aforementioned Tigers, is hitting .520 and clouted his first two homers of the year on Sunday. He stroked four hits Saturday and then repeated the performance on Sunday!
Cincinnati’s Joey Votto has already achieved half of his 2014 home run total…he has three so far this year. Injuries limited him to only six homers last year. Votto’s teammate, Billy Hamilton, is letting his legs do the talking. He had seven stolen bases in his first six games. That would project to 74 for the entire year. He has 76 steals in 170 major league games. In 2012, playing in the minor leagues, Hamilton had an astounding 155 steals! Move over, Rickey Henderson!
I also wanted to recognize some long-time broadcasters who are amassing some astronomical stats of their own. Leading the pack is Vin Scully of the Dodgers, who has started his 66th year as a broadcaster. Let me repeat that number: 66 years in the broadcast booth! In second place is another broadcaster: Jaime Jarrin is in his 56th year of calling Dodger games in Spanish. Some other notable announcers are: Cincinnati’s Marty Brenneman (51 years), Dick Enberg, who is now in San Diego after an illustrious career with the Angels and network TV; his San Diego co-broadcaster, Ted Leitner (35 years); and John Sterling of the Yankees (25 years). Those are some phenomenal accomplishments!
T.W.I.B. NOTE: Earlier in the week, I heard announcer utter a phrase that has not been uttered since 1986: “the American League Champion Kansas City Royals”! The way they have started this season (6-0), they may be able to repeat…but the Tigers, the only other team to start 6-0, are in the same division!
While the year has just begun, there are going to be a lot of remarkable feats to share with you…I hope you have some stories to share with me!