CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: It's prime time for Felix, Cueto

Right-handers continuing historical trend of age-28-season dominance

MLB Notebook: It's prime time for Felix, Cueto

When Pedro Martinez put together his 2000 campaign and expanded the conversation about the greatest pitching seasons in history for a right-hander, he was in his age-28 season.

When Greg Maddux issued his somewhat unfathomable 1.56 ERA in 1994, he was in his age-28 season. So was Addie Joss in 1908, when he authored a 0.806 WHIP (the third lowest for any pitcher since 1893); so was Christy Mathewson in 1909 when he posted a 1.14 ERA (the fourth lowest since 1893); and so was Pete Alexander in 1915, when he won the pitching Triple Crown in the National League and issued a bevy of extraordinary numbers, including a 0.842 WHIP, 31 wins and a 1.22 ERA.

More

When looking at right-handed pitchers and seeking out some of the more extraordinary combinations of WHIP and adjusted ERA, it's uncanny how many of them put together their memorable combos in their age-28 season. In 2014, Felix Hernandez is assembling what might just be regarded as one of those truly special years, and he, too, is doing it in his age-28 campaign. And it should be noted that the Reds' Johnny Cueto, who is also drawing together a year that keeps catching the eye, is making all of his superior pitches this year while throwing in his age-28 season.

Felix on pace for epic season
Hernandez allowed one run in eight innings, fanned eight with one walk and improved to 12-3 in the Mariners' 4-2 win over the Braves on Tuesday.

Royal company for King Felix
Among all qualifying right-handers since 1893, there are 10 who have finished a year with an ERA+ of at least 190 and a WHIP below 0.900.
Pitcher Year ERA+ WHIP Age
Pedro Martinez 2000 291 0.737 28
Walter Johnson 1913 259 0.780 25
Addie Joss 1908 204 0.806 28
Greg Maddux 1995 260 0.811 29
Christy Mathewson 1909 222 0.828 28
Pete Alexander 1915 225 0.842 28
Bob Gibson 1968 258 0.853 32
Three Finger Brown 1909 193 0.873 32
Cy Young 1908 193 0.893 41
Greg Maddux 1994 271 0.896 28

For the season, Hernandez owns a 1.97 ERA (190 ERA+), a 0.877 WHIP and he is allowing 6.23 hits per nine innings. Among all qualifying right-handers since 1893, there are 10 who have finished a year with an ERA+ of at least 190 and a WHIP below 0.900. The notable group includes the aforementioned Martinez in 2000, Maddux in 1994 and '95, Mathewson in '09 and Alexander in '15.

Cueto keeps rolling
Cueto went the distance on a five-hitter, defeating the Indians, 9-2. In the process, Cueto, who also walked two, lowered his ERA, WHIP, and hits-per-nine stats. Among qualifying right-handers in the live-ball era:

• Cueto's 2.04 ERA would place him in a tie with Catfish Hunter (1972) for the 29th lowest.

• Cueto's 180 ERA+ would tie for the 31st best.

• Cueto's 5.82 hits-per-nine ratio would be the sixth lowest. Ahead of him: Nolan Ryan's 5.26 in 1972, Luis Tiant's 5.30 in '68, Ryan's 5.31 in '91, Martinez's 5.31 in 2000 and Jose Fernandez's 5.79 in '13.

• Cueto's 0.909 WHIP would rank 10th, in between Denny McLain's 0.905 in 1968 and Don Sutton's 0.913 in '72.

Price is right in Detroit debut
In a 12-inning, 4-3 victory over the Yankees, David Price made his Tigers debut and fanned 10 with no walks in 8 2/3 innings, giving him 199 K's on the season.

Price has 10 double-digit strikeout games this season, marking the eighth time an American League lefty has had at least 10 in a season in the DH era. The list includes five seasons (1993-95, '97-98) by Randy Johnson (with a high of 16 games in '95), along with single appearances by Frank Tanana ('76) and Johan Santana (2004).

Price has posted five games with at least 10 K's and no walks. That total is already tied for the third most for any pitcher in the past 101 seasons. Only Curt Schilling, with six in 2002, and Johnson, with six '04, had more.

Pujols in the company of legends
In the Angels' 5-4 loss to the Dodgers, Albert Pujols hit a game-tying home run in the eighth inning for the 513th roundtripper of his career.

With the 513 home runs, Pujols moved out of a tie with Eddie Mathews and Ernie Banks and took over sole possession of 21st place on the all-time list. Among players through their age-34 season, Pujols' 513 are three shy of matching Babe Ruth's total for the fourth highest.

Among all players through their age-34 season, Pujols is now three extra-base hits shy of matching Hank Aaron's total of 1,082, which ranks as the fourth highest. Aaron went on to collect the most extra-base hits (1,477) in history.

Bats back Lewis in shutout rout
The Rangers collected 18 hits (eight for extra bases), received a six-hitter from Colby Lewis and blasted the White Sox, 16-0.

Lewis was the first pitcher to hurl a shutout and be backed by as many as 16 runs since the Braves' Mike Hampton received 16 runs of support in a two-hitter against the Astros on May 8, 2005.

On June 28, the Rangers blanked the Twins for the club's 14th shutout of the season (in 80 games), putting them on a pace that few live-ball era teams had ever established. Tuesday's 16-0 win was Texas' first shutout since then, but its 15 still lead the AL, and that total through 113 team games is tied for the second highest for any AL club in the DH era. In 1989, the Halos had 16 through 113 contests, while the 2002 Red Sox, '12 Angels and '13 Indians all had 15.

Here and there
• In the Cardinals' 3-2 win over the Red Sox, reliever Pat Neshek fanned the side in the eighth inning and came away a winner, as St. Louis broke a 2-2 tie with one run in the bottom of the eighth. Neshek is now 5-0 with a 0.78 ERA and a 0.604 WHIP in 46 1/3 innings. There have been 46 pitchers in baseball history who have ended a season with no starts and at least five wins with no losses. Among them, the Reds' Rob Murphy (6-0 in 1986) owns the lowest ERA (0.72), and the Twins' Joe Nathan (7-0 in 2006) owns the lowest WHIP (0.790).

• In the Tigers' win, Detroit's pitchers finished with 12 strikeouts and no walks, while Yankees hurlers ended the night with 10 K's and no walks. This Tigers-Yanks game was just the second since 1914 to see both teams throw at least 12 full innings and issue no walks. The first came on July 25, 1917, and saw the Dodgers beat the Pirates, 4-3, in 13 innings. Brooklyn's twirlers -- Rube Marquard, Jack Coombs and Sherry Smith -- combined for four K's, while Pittsburgh's Burleigh Grimes and Elmer Jacobs combined for five punchouts.

• In the Phillies' 2-1 victory over the Astros, Ryan Howard started at first, Chase Utley opened the game at second and Jimmy Rollins started at shortstop. Courtesy of the Phils' media notes, via Elias: the trio has now started 887 regular-season games together in the field for the Phillies at first, second and short, respectively. The 887 set a record for most games started together in the field by three teammates at those positions. The previous record of 886 games was held by Dodgers' Steve Garvey (first base), Davey Lopes (second base) and Bill Russell (shortstop).

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less