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15 Strikeouts Early In The Season April 11, 2011

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Apparently, Jered Weaver wants to make a stronger case for the Cy Young this year.

Last night, the Los Angeles Angeles hosted the Toronto Blue Jays and won handily 3-1. Weaver was the starter and went an impressive 7 2/3 innings with 125 pitches before handing the ball to Hisanori Takahashi. Tak got one crucial out before Fernando Rodney came in for the save.

Most impressive, though, was Weaver’s strikeout total: 15. Ordinarily, pitchers don’t achieve such high strikeout totals this early in the season. As the Angels’ opening day starter, he was warmed up slightly more than most pitchers in early April – it was his third start in the ninth game of the season, rather than his second – but it still shows impressive control to notch so many Ks so early in the season.

In fact, only 11 pitchers have gotten 15 or more strikeouts within the first ten games of a season. (It’s conceivable that a team playing their tenth game tonight will render this entry obsolete tomorrow, but I’m willing to take that risk.) The highest total in the first 10 games was Curt Schilling in his complete game on April 7, 2002, pitching the Diamondbacks to a 2-0 victory over the Brewers. Interestingly, Schilling had four strikeouts after the first two outs of the seventh, meaning that Weaver’s K/9 is actually higher for the games in question.

Pedro Martinez, meanwhile, totaled 16 Ks on April 8, 2001, in 8 scoreless innings against the Devil Rays. Like Schilling, this was Pedro’s second start of the season.