Tim Lincecum shuts out Mets for 50th career victory

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Last night Tim Lincecum shut out the Carlos Beltran-led Mets for his 50th career victory, which certainly seems like an impressive total for a fourth-year pitcher with 109 career games. But exactly how impressive?
According to Baseball-Reference.com Lincecum is the 51st pitcher in baseball history with at least 50 wins in his first 109 games (unfortunately there’s no way to filter “starts” instead of “games” so some guys get overlooked).
Here are the highest win totals of all time through 109 career games:

Dwight Gooden         65
Roger Clemens         63
Tiny Bonham           62
Mike Mussina          61
Mark Mulder           60
Vic Rasci             60
Tom Seaver            58
Dave Ferriss          58
Hank Borowy           58
Dazzy Vance           57

And here are the highest win totals through 109 career games for active pitchers:

Andy Pettitte         56
Tim Hudson            56
Barry Zito            55
Chien-Ming Wang       55
Roy Oswalt            55
Freddy Garcia         55
Joe Saunders          53
Justin Verlander      52
Jon Lester            52
Dontrelle Willis      50
Jered Weaver          50
Kevin Millwood        50

On one hand, 50 wins through 109 games probably isn’t as impressive as it first appears. On the other hand, evaluating Lincecum based on his win total is sort of silly to begin with given that, for instance, he tossed 225 innings with a 2.48 ERA last season and got the run and bullpen support to win just 15 games. Based on his pitching alone, he’s performed well enough to have 60 wins by now.

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.