A’s rookie Vince Mazzaro tossed 6.1 shutout innings against the White Sox in his MLB debut last week and followed that up with 7.1 scoreless innings against the Orioles yesterday afternoon.
Mazzaro becomes just the ninth pitcher since 1954
to begin his career by allowing zero runs in back-to-back starts of at
least six innings. No pitcher during the past 55 years has turned in
three such starts to begin a career, so he’ll try to become the first
to do so Friday against the Giants.
Unfortunately for Mazzaro, the other eight guys who’ve tossed
shutout ball in back-to-back starts to begin their careers aren’t
exactly the greatest company: Scott Lewis, James Parr, Carlos
Hernandez, Vaughn Eshelman, Dave Ford, Larry McWilliams, Tom Phoebus,
McWilliams leads that group with a 78-90 career record and as a
rookie was the starting pitcher when the Braves snapped Pete Rose’s
44-game hitting streak in 1978. Phoebus ranks second with a 56-52
record, which includes a no-hitter against the Red Sox in 1968. And the
other six guys have just 44 career wins between them.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.