Phil Coke’s transition from reliever to starter went well early on, as he posted a 3.69 ERA through 11 starts, but that came with an ugly 1-6 record and Coke has since fallen to 1-8 by giving up 18 runs in his last three starts.
Today the Tigers ended the experiment, dropping Coke from the rotation and sending him back to the bullpen, where the left-hander had a 3.76 ERA and 53/26 K/BB ratio in 65 innings last season.
Coke’s overall numbers as a starter certainly aren’t very impressive, with a 4.91 ERA and 37/30 K/BB ratio in 77 innings, but I’m guessing the Tigers wouldn’t have made the move if he were, say, 4-5 instead of 1-8 and much of that comes from poor run support that was out of Coke’s hands anyway.
Whatever the case, left-hander Charlie Furbush will replace Coke in the rotation after pitching well in a dozen relief appearances following his call-up last month. Furbush was a starter in the minors and has always posted excellent strikeout rates, but his ERA in 17 starts at Triple-A was just 4.64. He does get some extra points for the name, however.
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.
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.