As a 27-year-old former independent leaguer with a mid-80s fastball Andrew Albers simply being called up by the Twins was a helluva story. And then the soft-tossing left-hander threw 8.1 shutout innings in his big-league debut last week.
But wait, it gets even better. For his encore last night Albers tossed a complete-game shutout against the Indians, beginning his MLB career with 17.1 scoreless innings just three years after pitching in the independent Canadian-American Association.
Here’s a list of all the pitchers in baseball history to throw at least eight shutout innings in each of their first two games:
Andrew Albers 2013
Tom Phoebus 1966
Karl Spooner 1954
Al Worthington 1953
Dave Ferriss 1945
Johnny Marcum 1933
That’s it. That’s the whole list. A total of six pitchers and Albers is the first one to do it in nearly 50 years.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.