In the news:
Doug Fister lacking run support is a familiar theme
Over his last four starts for the Tigers, Fister has been scored upon in a total of three innings. He's put up a 2.67 ERA in those games and worked at least seven innings in all of them.
Stop if you've heard this one before, but Doug Fister can’t get any run support.
Over his last four starts, Fister has been scored upon in a total of three innings. Granted, he's given up three runs in each of those innings, but he's still put up a 2.67 ERA in those games and worked at least seven innings in all of them.
Fister is 0-3 in that span, however, as the Tigers have scored a total of four runs while he's been in the game. He had a 21-inning scoreless streak over three recent starts without recording a win.
That's reminiscent of his 2011 season with the Mariners, when Fister had a decent 3.33 ERA but was 3-12 before being traded to the Tigers.
Pirates prove well-armed
Of the Pirates’ season-opening rotation, only one pitcher remained: Jeff Locke. Wandy Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett and James McDonald are all on the disabled list, while right-hander Jonathan Sanchez was released in April. The pitcher who took Sanchez’s spot, Jeanmar Gomez, is also on the DL.
The fact that the Pirates were still 13 games over .500 after Friday’s games is a tribute to their pitching depth. The new rotation is Locke, Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano and rookie Gerrit Cole, with a spot to fill.
Cole a fast starter
Speaking of Cole, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2011 (and high-school teammate of the Mariners' Brandon Mauer), he received high praise from Pirates catcher Russell Martin after beating the Giants in his major-league debut. Cole, 22, took a shutout into the seventh and gave up two runs on seven hits in 61 / 3 innings.
“That's the best fastball I've ever caught,” said Martin, an eight-year veteran. “It was just so heavy. Even when they made contact with it, they weren't really hitting it hard. It was like a rock.”
After the game, Cole went out to dinner with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and Crawford's sister, Amy, who just happens to be Cole’s girlfriend.
Notes and quotes
• Kind of amusing that right after the Dodgers and Diamondbacks had their wild brawl, MLB announced that those two teams would open the 2014 season in Sydney, Australia. They'll play two games at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and hopefully behave themselves down under.
The Diamondback and Dodgers, by the way, play 10 more times this year.
• Tough day for Cardinals minor-league pitcher Nick Greenwood on Monday. The lefty, pitching for Class AA Springfield, lost his Texas League start to Tulsa. On the same day, he was also the losing pitcher in the completion of a suspended 12-inning game by the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.
• Speaking of tough days, how about Giants pitcher George Kontos on Wednesday? It was his 28th birthday, and he “celebrated” by getting sent to the minors, and suspended three games and fined by the commissioner's office for hitting Andrew McCutchen on Tuesday night after an umpire's warning.
“This isn’t the worst thing that happened on my birthday,” Kontos told the San Francisco Chronicle. “On my 24th birthday I was pitching and I tore my elbow ligament,” leading to Tommy John surgery.
• If left-handed pitcher Michaelangelo Guzman, a 31st-round pick by Seattle last week, makes it to the major leagues, he'll have the longest first name in history, 13 letters, according to research by Diane Firstman. The record, shared by many, is 11.
• On June 13, 2012, Matt Cain of the Giants threw a perfect game against the Astros.
On June 13, 2013, Cain carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning and wound up limiting the Pirates to two hits and no runs in 62 / 3 innings. The Giants won, 10-0 — the same score they beat Houston in Cain's perfect game.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged that some of his players were thinking about another no-hitter.
“I did,” he told reporters. “Guys were discussing what today was. It did cross my mind. He had great stuff.”
Keep that in mind on Aug. 15, the first anniversary of Felix Hernandez's perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. That day, the Mariners play ... the Tampa Bay Rays, in St. Petersburg.