Yesterday we noted the improbable rise to the bigs by one Sean Doolittle, the very recently converted slugger who now strikes out guys by the bucketful as a relief pitcher. He made his major league debut last night for the A’s. And he was good.
Doolittle pitched an inning and a third. He threw 21 pitches. All 21 of them were fastballs. He faced four guys, striking out three of them. Doolittle:
“It was really surreal. Still kind of sinking in to be honest,” Doolittle said. “I was so focused on controlling my breathing and trying to calm myself down that it didn’t really let me get too worked up about the situation I was coming into or the guys that I was going to face.”
The guys he faced:
- Nelson Cruz, with a runner on third. Doolitle struck him out after going down 2-0 to him;
- Mike Napoli, who he struck out;
- Yorvit Torreabla, who he struck out; and
- Craig Gentry, who lined out.
Doolittle’s fastballs averaged 94.35 m.p.h. and he topped out at 96.2. As far as debuts go, I think this one qualifies as pretty frickin’ keen.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.