Unless you play fantasy or are a fan of the team these guys are
employed by, you might not be aware that they’re putting up some pretty
Javy Vazquez: The 7-7 record is deceiving. Javy’s ERA
sits at 2.86, his WHIP is 1.048, and he has struck out 141 batters (3rd
in MLB) in 126.0 innings (also good for a 5.88 K/BB).
David Aardsma: Much of the preseason hype for a Seattle closer was given to Brandon Morrow.
But after he imploded, Aardsma took over, and has coverted 22 of 24
saves, has an ERA of 1.83 and strikes out more than a batter an inning
(53 K in 44.1 IP). Perhaps even more impressive is that he has allowed
runs in only 4 of his 45 outings.
Wandy Rodriguez: 117 strikeouts (Johan Santana=117). 10-6 record (Johan=11-7). 2.72 ERA (Johan=2.92). 1.23 WHIP (Johan=1.19). 125.2 IP (Johan=123.1).
Jermaine Dye: Quietly crushing the ball yet again. 21 homers, 59 RBI, and a .294/.368/.557 line (along with an OPS+ of 135).
Derek Jeter: Remember last year when Jeter was being
written off (career-low .771 OPS, only 11 SB, worst fielding shortstop
of all-time)? Well, the batting average is up to .319, his OPS is at
.847, he has 18 steals, and his 10 homers are one shy of lasy year’s
total (thank you, New Yankee Stadium). He’s also walking more than he
ever has in 10 years (10.6%), with the lowest strikeout rate of his
career (12.7%). And don’t look now, but his UZR is 1.8, second-best on
the Yankees. Maybe he was hurt last year and no one knew?
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: