Daily Dose: Pedro out-duels Lincecum

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Pedro Martinez began Thursday’s start versus San Francisco by serving up a leadoff homer to light-hitting Eugenio Velez. And then he hurled seven scoreless innings to out-duel Tim Lincecum, striking out nine, walking none, and giving up just four more hits. It wasn’t quite vintage Pedro, but he was damn close while dropping his ERA to 3.52 ERA and improving to 3-0 with a 23/3 K/BB ratio in 23 innings.
Lincecum was no slouch himself, racking up 11 strikeouts while surrendering just two runs on four hits and one walk, but the story of the night was Pedro. San Francisco’s lineup is hardly imposing, but he set down 13 straight batters at one point, needed just 87 pitches to record 21 outs, and has now won all three of his starts that haven’t been shortened by rain, beating the Giants, Mets, and Cubs on the road.
While the Phillies improve to 38-17 in their last 55 games, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Colorado received some good news on Huston Street when an MRI exam revealed no structural damage in his injured biceps Thursday. Street remains unavailable for now, but barring a setback may be able to resume closing at some point next week. In the meantime, Franklin Morales will handle ninth-inning duties for the Rockies and is a must pickup in all formats.
* Jarrod Washburn revealed earlier this week that he’s been pitching through a knee injury for several months now, so manager Jim Leyland has decided to skip his next turn in the rotation after he posted a 6.81 ERA in six starts since being traded to the Tigers. Armando Galarraga is back up from Triple-A to fill in and doesn’t figure to be any better, but luckily Detroit has a nice cushion is the horrendous AL Central.
* Wade Davis will make his MLB debut Sunday against Detroit and the 24-year-old is someone to keep tabs on for 2010. Overshadowed somewhat by David Price of late, Davis remains one of baseball’s better MLB-ready pitching prospects after posting a 3.40 ERA and 140/60 K/BB ratio in 158.2 innings at Triple-A. He has a low-90s heat, good secondary stuff, and No. 2 starter upside. Worth an AL-only flier for now.
* I’ve become more or less addicted to Twitter in just a month and have been posting tons of stuff on there nearly every day, so if you’re interested in my various ramblings with some baseball-related stuff sprinkled in check out @aarongleeman.
AL Quick Hits: Jorge Posada went 4-for-5 and knocked in four runs Thursday as the Yankees roughed up Ricky Romero … Nate Robertson will stick in Detroit’s rotation after tossing six shutout innings Thursday … B.J. Upton left Thursday’s game with an ugly-looking ankle injury, but X-rays were negative … Mariano Rivera (groin) may be available as soon as Friday if his afternoon bullpen session goes smoothly … Josh Hamilton has been diagnosed with a pinched nerve in his neck … Chris Perez had three strikeouts over two perfect innings Thursday, giving him 19.2 straight scoreless frames … Because of workload issues Toronto has shut down Marc Rzepcynski for the remainder of the year … Tim Wakefield (back) threw a 25-pitch mound session Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s scheduled start … Carlos Torres shut out the Cubs for seven innings Thursday to pick up his first MLB win … Clay Buchholz won his third straight game and turned in his sixth Quality Start in seven tries Thursday.
NL Quick Hits: Derrek Lee has left the Cubs for the birth of his second child, so Jake Fox filled in at first base Thursday … Hanley Ramirez was out of the lineup Thursday with an injured hamstring that he classified as just 10 percent healthy … John Smoltz allowed four runs in six innings Thursday, but looked solid with six strikeouts versus zero walks … Alcides Escobar started at shortstop Thursday after sitting out for two games in favor of J.J. Hardy … Fresh off the disabled list, Dave Bush (triceps) said Thursday that he’s “still not feeling quite right” … Carlos Beltran (knee) played five innings of center field in Thursday’s rehab game at Single-A and is aiming to return next week … Nick Johnson came off the shelf Thursday after missing 18 days with a hamstring injury … Justin Upton was limited to pinch-hitting duties Thursday thanks to issues with his contact lenses and delivered a double off the bench.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.