Mariners lefty puts 21-inning scoreless streak to test vs. A's
By Oliver Macklin
Mariners left-hander James Paxton is having a historic start to the season that will be brought into the limelight this evening.
Paxton has not given up a run in any of his three starts, all of which have lasted at least six innings, to begin 2017. He is just the second big league pitcher since 2003 and the 10th in history to start a season with three starts of six or more scoreless innings.
The reigning American League Player of the Week, Paxton has thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings to open the season, surpassing the franchise record previously held by relief pitcher Mark Lowe in 2006.
Paxton, who went 6-7 with a 3.79 ERA in 20 starts in 2016, appears to have taken another step forward in '17 while baffling opposing hitters throughout the season's first few weeks. The 28-year-old will look to keep his scoreless streak intact when he takes the mound tonight against the Athletics.
Oakland will counter with 32-year-old Cesar Valdez, who is making his first Major League start since 2010 with the D-backs. The 10:05 p.m. ET tilt will be the final contest of an 11-game slate, streaming live on MLB.TV.
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Here's what else to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):
Sales pitch: BOS@TOR, 12:37 p.m.
What better way to start the day than Chris Sale taking on the Blue Jays? The left-hander returns to the mound for his fourth start of the season and his first outing against Toronto since joining the Red Sox via a trade with the White Sox.
Sale has been everything Boston could have hoped for, and more, surrendering just three earned runs in his three starts combined to the tune of a sparkling 1.25 ERA. He's also racked up 29 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings.
Toronto's scuffling lineup could struggle to score off the lanky Sale, who is 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA in eight games (five starts) in his career against the Blue Jays.
Toronto will hand the ball to right-hander Marco Estrada (0-1, 3.50).
Santana looks to stay sizzling: CLE@MIN, 1:10 p.m.
Off to one of the best starts in his 13-year career, Ervin Santana is already nearly halfway to his win total from 2016. The 34-year-old righty has dominated in the early going in '17 -- 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA.
Santana will have his hands full trying to contain Indians slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who is 7-for-25 (.280) with three home runs, five walks and seven RBIs in his career against the Twins' ace.
Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer toes the rubber opposite Santana trying to rebound from a slow start. The 26-year-old Bauer is 0-2 while giving up 10 earned runs in 10 2/3 frames (8.44 ERA) to begin the season.
Thor thriving in Big Apple: PHI@NYM, 7:10 p.m.
Noah Syndergaard has battled both blood blisters and broken fingernails in what has been an eventful first month for the 24-year-old flamethrower.
Despite leaving two of his three starts earlier than he would have liked, Syndergaard has still managed to complete at least six innings in each of his starts. The finger issues haven't plagued him too much, as he's gone 1-0 with an 0.95 ERA.
"I have an excuse to get a mani-pedi now," Syndergaard quipped following his previous start, which he left after 87 pitches.
The right-hander has pitched particularly well at Citi Field, compiling 16 strikeouts in 13 innings while allowing just one run in two home outings.
Syndergaard will attempt to eclipse the 100-pitch mark when he takes the hill vs. the Phillies and 23-year-old Aaron Nola, who is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA.
Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.