Ryan Dempster moves into major league lead in pitches thrown

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That final pitch Ryan Dempster threw Friday — a ball four to Bronson Arroyo with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh — moved him into the major league lead for pitches thrown this season. The top 11 is below. Everyone on the list has made exactly 17 starts:
1. Ryan Dempster – 1,878
2. Roy Halladay – 1,877
3. Dan Haren – 1,873
4. Yovani Gallardo – 1,869
5. Jered Weaver – 1,868
6. Felix Hernandez – 1,866
7. Kevin Millwood – 1,841
8. Aaron Harang – 1,797
9. Chris Carpenter – 1,789
10. Randy Wolf – 1,784
11. Zack Greinke – 1,770
There are also two pitchers with 16 starts up close to Dempster and Halladay in pitches per outing:
1. Ubaldo Jimenez – 1,756
2. Justin Verlander – 1,753
It will be interesting to see just how many pitchers from this group of 13 decline in the second half. Haren has a history of second-half swoons, and though he’s not pitching as well as usual, he’s taken on a very extremely heavy workload.
I think Dempster is at particular risk. He’s the only pitcher in baseball to have thrown 120 pitches on five occasions this season (Gallardo and Jimenez have done so four times). In 2008, he threw 101.2 pitches per starts. In 2009, it was 101.9. This year, he’s at 110.5. Particularly since they’re committed to him for $27.5 million between 2011 and 2012, the Cubs would be smart to be more careful with him from here on in.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.