Mariano Rivera hadn’t pitched in a week, so manager Joe Girardi used him in a non-save situation this afternoon to close out a 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays, and the appearance was the 1,000th of Rivera’s amazing career.
He becomes the 15th pitcher in baseball history with at least 1,000 appearances (the first to do it with one team) and, not surprisingly, Rivera’s adjusted ERA+ is the best of the bunch by a huge margin:
MARIANO RIVERA 1000 205
Hoyt Wilhelm 1070 147
Trevor Hoffman 1035 141
John Franco 1119 138
Kent Tekulve 1050 132
Lee Smith 1022 132
Roberto Hernandez 1010 132
Goose Gossage 1002 126
Jesse Orosco 1252 126
Mike Jackson 1005 126
Mike Timlin 1058 125
Dan Plesac 1064 118
Dennis Eckersley 1071 116
Mike Stanton 1178 113
Jose Mesa 1022 101
Jesse Orosco is the all-time leader with 1,252 appearances and Jose Mesa has the honor of being the worst pitcher to ever appear in 1,000 games, by virtue of his career adjusted ERA+ barely being above the average mark of 100. And just to put Rivera’s dominance in perspective, consider that the difference between his ERA+ (205) and second-ranked Hoyt Wilhelm’s ERA+ (147) is bigger than the difference between Wilhelm (147) and Mesa (101).
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.