MLB Notebook: K's-to-walk ratio at historic levels

MLB Notebook: K's-to-walk ratio at historic levels

MLB Notebook: K's-to-walk ratio at historic levels
Thanks to the collective efforts of the 68 men who threw a pitch on Thursday (including R.A. Dickey, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jordan Zimmermann -- who combined to contribute 31 strikeouts and one walk), the Major League strikeout-to-walk ratio for 2012 now stands at 2.42. The last year to see the Major Leagues finish a season with a ratio that high also witnessed Charles Radbourn -- better known as Old Hoss -- win 59 games with 441 strikeouts and 98 walks for the Providence Grays. But the ability to connect 2012 with 1884 is only part of the storyline taking shape this season.

As of right now, 12 qualifying pitchers -- including Dickey and Zimmermann -- own strikeout-to-walk ratios of at least four to one. No season in the modern era has ever finished with that many. And finally, with the performances of Dickey, Zimmermann and Jimenez, the 2012 season has seen 71 examples of a pitcher striking out at least 10 and issuing no more than one walk. Since MLB expanded to 30 teams in 1998, the high mark for this performance came last year, when there 91 such lines. After games on August 9 last year, 59 of those 91 performances were in the books.

R.A. Dickey
Dickey threw a complete-game five-hitter, struck out 10, walked zero and picked up his 15th win as the Mets beat the Marlins, 6-1.

Dickey now has six double-digit strikeout games this season, and three games with at least 10 K's and no walks. Those six double-digit strikeout games tie him with Yu Darvish for the most in the Majors, while the three games with at least 10 K's and no walks tie him with Tom Seaver (1971) and Jon Matlack ('74) for the most by a Mets pitcher in a season.

Dickey tied Jered Weaver for the Major League lead in wins, tied Justin Verlander for the most K's in the bigs and also owns the National League's lowest WHIP.

Jordan Zimmermann
Zimmermann tied a career high with 11 strikeouts, walked none, and finished his six-inning start with three hits and no runs.

2011-'12: Lowest ERA (min. 300 innings)
Pitcher ERA Innings
Jered Weaver 2.31 366 2/3
Johnny Cueto 2.44 309 2/3
Justin Verlander 2.44 419 2/3
Ryan Vogelsong 2.51 322 2/3
Clayton Kershaw 2.52 389 2/3
Jordan Zimmermann 2.79 306 2/3

Zimmermann's line marked the second time in 2012 that a Nationals starter has reached at least 11 K's with no walks -- Stephen Strasburg did it on July 25. Washington is one of three teams this season to have two pitchers with games of this kind. The Giants' Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner have two apiece, while the Brewers saw Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke each do it once.

Zimmermann, who improved to 9-6 and lowered his ERA to 2.35, has 12 starts this season in which he has finished with at least six innings and no more than one run allowed. Those 12 tie him with Dickey and Weaver for the second most in the Majors. Felix Hernandez has 13.

2011-'12: Highest K:BB Ratio (min. 300 innings)
Pitcher K:BB Innings
Roy Halladay 5.71 330
Cliff Lee 5.48 366
Dan Haren 4.62 360
Madison Bumgarner 4.35 359 1/3
Justin Verlander 4.24 419 2/3
Clayton Kershaw 4.19 389 2/3
Jordan Zimmermann 4.18 306 2/3
Over the past two seasons, Zimmermann -- in 306 2/3 innings -- owns a 2.79 ERA and a 4.18 ratio of strikeouts to walks. For all pitchers with at least 300 innings since the start of the 2011 season, his ERA is sixth lowest and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is the seventh best. The only two pitchers to be above him in both categories are Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw.

Rays
Matt Moore allowed two hits in six innings, three Rays relievers combined for one-hit ball and Tampa Bay defeated Toronto, 7-1.

Over its past 19 games, Tampa Bay as a team owns a 1.59 ERA. The Rays have allowed 32 runs over this stretch; the No. 2 team -- the Braves -- have allowed 59.

Adam Wainwright
In the Cardinals' 3-1 victory over the Giants, Wainwright evened his record at 10-10, allowing one run in seven innings.

Wainwright, whose ERA was at 4.98 after his first start in June, has it down to 3.90 and has posted a 2.22 ERA over his past seven starts.

Jason Kubel
Kubel hit two home runs (his third multihomer game of the year) and drove in four runs (his fourth game with four or more RBIs) as the Diamondbacks defeated the Pirates, 6-3.

The Arizona franchise record for multihomer games is eight, by Luis Gonzalez in 2001, while the most four-RBI games any D-backs player has had in a season is nine, also by Gonzalez in '01. With 25 home runs and 77 RBIs, Kubel is in the top three in the NL in both categories.

Billy Butler
Butler tripled for the first time since Sept. 1, 2009, and also doubled and homered, helping the Royals to an 8-2 win over the Orioles.

Butler, who finished among the top eight in the American League in doubles in 2009, '10 and '11, is tied for 52nd in 2012 (with 18), but is tied for 13th in home runs, with a career-high 23.

Alfonso Soriano
Soriano hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead and eventual victory over the Reds.

The homer was Soriano's 20th of the season, giving him 11 straight seasons of at least 20. The only other players to hit at least 20 in every season since 2002 are David Ortiz and Albert Pujols.

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