A.J. Burnett’s disastrous outing against the Cardinals on May 2 remains the gold standard for horrendous starts this season, but now he has company in the double-digit runs allowed club.
Jason Vargas coughed up 10 runs in 4.1 innings against the Diamondbacks yesterday, including serving up five homers. Arizona hitters went 10-for-22 (.455) with seven total extra-base hits, which works out to a nifty 1.227 slugging percentage (yes, slugging percentage, not OPS).
Burnett and Vargas are the only pitchers to allow double-digit runs in a game this season and remarkably they’ve both been pretty effective aside from their one blowup. In fact, Burnett has been downright dominant for the Pirates if you remove that one start, going 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his other 10 starts. Vargas can’t compete with that, but prior to yesterday he did have a solid 3.95 ERA in 15 starts after making 32 starts with a 4.25 ERA last season and 31 starts with a 3.78 ERA in 2010.
Pitchers allowing nine runs in a game this season has happened 15 times and there have also been 38 other instances of pitchers allowing eight runs in a game.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.
Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.
When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.
The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.