Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma took the mound last night against the Minnesota Twins for the fifth time in his career and for the fifth time in his career he defeated them without allowing an earned run.
Iwakuma tossed seven shutout innings in a 2-0 victory, striking out 10 and walking zero while allowing four hits. And he’s now 5-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five starts and 33.2 innings versus Minnesota.
During that 33.2-inning stretch he’s struck out 34 of 132 batters while issuing just eight walks and the Twins have hit .165 with a .198 slugging percentage and .427 OPS off Iwakuma.
Or, put another way: Iwakuma has a 2.89 ERA for his career. If you remove his dominance of the Twins from those totals his career ERA rises to 3.13.
2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.
One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.
The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.