Now, I know what you’re thinking… what record could Daisuke Matsuzaka possibly hold that Josh Tomlin could possibly break?
Tomlin, though, is now the all-time leader in outings of five innings or more to begin a career. Having thrown five hitless against the Yankees tonight, he’s up to 29 in a row since debuting for the Indians last year.
Matsuzaka previously held the record, opening his career with 28 straight outings of at least five innings pitched.
Since many top hurlers have started off their careers in relief and since old-time baseball featured many starters getting yanked early in games when they didn’t have their best stuff, the list of pitchers to start off their careers with 20+ five-inning outings is surprisingly short.
Josh Tomlin – 29 (2009-10)
Daisuke Matsuzaka – 28 (2007)
Steve Rogers – 24 (1973-74)
Runelvys Hernandez – 21 (2002-03)
Chris Nabolz – 21 (1990-91)
Barry Zito – 20 (2000-01)
Howard Ehmke – 20 (1919)
Whether Tomlin will hold the record for long remains to be seen. Baltimore’s Zach Britton and Seattle’s Michael Pineda both have active streaks of 17 and could pass Tomlin by the end of the season if Tomlin gets knocked out early in one of his next couple of starts.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.