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MLB Notebook: Iwakuma follows King's lead

Mariners teammates on pace to be historically stingy in allowing baserunners

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MLB Notebook: Iwakuma follows King's lead play video for MLB Notebook: Iwakuma follows King's lead

 

In 1964, the Dodgers' duo of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale combined for a 0.950 WHIP in a year in which all National League starters combined for a 1.251 WHIP. In 2002, Red Sox right-handers Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez combined for a 0.950 WHIP while American League starters as a collective unit ended the year with a 1.374 WHIP.

This year, as Mariners teammates Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma try to match those two pairs as the only teammates in the live-ball era to each finish the year with a sub-1.00 WHIP, Seattle's combo has combined for an astonishing 0.906 WHIP, while AL starters as a whole currently own a 1.306 mark.

Iwakuma WHIP-ing opponents into shape
Iwakuma fanned 11 with no walks in eight scoreless innings and picked up his 12th win as the visiting Mariners defeated the Phillies, 5-2, on Tuesday. Iwakuma became the seventh pitcher in club history to have a game with at least 11 K's and no walks. Hernandez has the most, with seven. With the effort, Iwakuma ran his strikeout-to-walk ratio for the season to a Major League-leading 10.00 and dropped his walk rate to a Major League-leading 0.73 per nine innings.

There have been only two pitchers since 1893 to finish a year with a strikeout-to-walk ratio in double digits: Bret Saberhagen, who posted an 11.00 ratio pitching in his age-30 season in 1994, and Cliff Lee, who authored a 10.28 ratio while pitching in his age-31 season in 2010. Iwakuma is pitching in his age-33 season.

There have been six qualifying pitchers since 1893 to finish a year with a BB/9 no higher than 0.73. Those six: Cy Young (1904), Christy Mathewson (1913 and '14), Babe Adams ('20), Saberhagen ('94) and Carlos Silva (2005).

With only four hits allowed, Iwakuma lowered his WHIP to 0.946, which ranks third lowest in the AL. Hernandez leads the Junior Circuit with a 0.874 mark. Since 1893, there have been 10 instances in which qualifying teammates finished the year below 1.000; almost all of them came within the dead-ball era:

• 1909 Athletics: Chief Bender, Harry Krause and Cy Morgan
• 1906 White Sox: Doc White and Ed Walsh
• 1906 Cubs: Mordecai Brown and Jack Pfiester
• 1907 Cubs: Brown and Pfiester
• 1908 Senators: Walter Johnson and Bill Burns
• 1908 White Sox: Ed Walsh and Frank Smith
• 1909 White Sox: Walsh and Smith
• 1909 Cubs: Brown and Orval Overall
• 1964 Dodgers: Koufax and Don Drysdale
• 2002 Red Sox: Martinez and Lowe

With Tuesday's line and outcome, Iwakuma has 12 wins and 12 walks on the season. Since 1893, there have been five pitchers to qualify for the ERA title and conclude the year with either more wins than walks or an equal number of both: Mathewson in 1913 and '14 (more wins than walks in each year), Slim Sallee in '19 (more), Saberhagen in '94 (more) and Silva in 2005 (equal).

Stras keeps Nats rolling
Stephen Strasburg, who entered Tuesday averaging more than 10.5 K's per nine innings, fanned only four in eight innings but allowed just one run and came away with his 10th win, as the Nationals defeated the D-backs, 8-1.

With the victory, Washington ran its winning streak to eight -- the longest for the club since capturing eight in a row in August 2012. The franchise most recently had a longer winning streak in 2005, with 10 straight.

During the current eight-game run, the Nats have posted a 2.01 ERA. And for the year, Washington's team ERA stands at an NL-best 3.06. The franchise record for lowest team ERA in a season belongs to the 1988 Expos, who posted a 3.10 mark.

The Nationals also own the NL's second-lowest team WHIP, at 1.178. The most recent team to finish a year with an ERA below 3.10 and a WHIP below 1.200 was the 2011 Phillies, and before them, the 1988 Mets. Those two teams went 102-60 and 100-60, respectively.

In addition to the Nats being under these numbers in 2014, the Mariners are as well.

V-Mart chasing exclusive company
Victor Martinez drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the 11th inning for the go-ahead run, and the Tigers prevailed over the Rays in 11 innings, 8-6.

Martinez ended the game hitless, with one strikeout to go along with his RBI and walk. For the year, the 35-year-old is slugging .543 with 49 walks and 36 K's. There have been 48 switch-hitters to qualify for the batting title, slug at least .500, and finish the year with more walks than K's.

Some notes regarding this group that Martinez could join:

• The most recent season to see such an occurrence was 2008, when both Mark Teixeira and Chipper Jones did it.

• In all, Jones did this a record eight times. Mickey Mantle had six such seasons, while Ted Simmons and George Davis each had four.

• Four of the 48 did this in an age-35 or older season: Wally Schang (36) in 1926; Chili Davis (35) in '95; and Jones in 2007 and '08 (his age-35 and age-36 seasons, respectively).

Lucroy double trouble vs. Blue Jays
In the Brewers' 6-1 win over the Blue Jays, Jonathan Lucroy picked up his 41st and 42nd doubles of the year. Lucroy, who was playing first for this game but has still spent more than 75 percent of the time this season behind the dish, is tied with six others for the fourth most doubles in a season for a catcher. The full list of every backstop (using 75 percent of games at the position as the floor) to have at least 42:

• 47: Ivan Rodriguez (1996 Rangers)
• 44: Yadier Molina (2013 Cardinals)
• 43: Joe Mauer (2010 Twins)
• 42: Mickey Cochrane (1930 Athletics), Terry Kennedy ('82 Padres), Lance Parrish ('83 Tigers), Brian Harper ('90 Twins), Jorge Posada (2007 Yankees), Brian McCann ('08 Braves) and Lucroy (2014 Brewers)

Here and there
• In the Marlins' 4-3 victory over the Rangers, 23-year-old Marcell Ozuna hit his 17th home run of the year, which ranks second on the team to 24-year-old Giancarlo Stanton's 32. There have been 66 instances of a team having multiple 20-homer players who were in their age-24 or younger seasons, with the most recent example of this coming in 2012, when the Braves' Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward did it. The Marlins have two representatives among the 66: in 2007, Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera each reached 20, and 2011, Logan Morrison and Stanton each hit the mark.

• Omar Infante contributed three doubles to the cause in Kansas City's 7-4 win over Colorado. The Royals, who lead the AL Central, have now won 22 of their past 27, they are an MLB-best 22-9 since the All-Star break and are 15-3 (.833) in August. Since 1914 (and tossing aside the strike-shortened 1994 season), only three teams have finished an August with a better winning percentage than the one currently owned by Kansas City. The 1936 Giants played .889 ball (24-3), the 2002 Athletics posted an .857 mark (24-4) and the 1944 Cardinals owned an .852 winning percentage (23-4).

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

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