MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Zito, Giants throwing zeros

MLB Notebook: Zito, Giants throwing zeros

In 1933, Giants southpaw Carl Hubbell posted a 1.66 ERA (the lowest in the National League since '17), finished with a 0.982 WHIP (the lowest in the league since '20) and recorded 10 shutouts (the highest tally in the NL since '16). Three of those shutouts came within the Giants' first 18 games, when the sight of Hubbell on the mound for New York was fairly common.

After starting the Giants' first game of the year and going the first 11 innings in what turned out to be a 1-1 tie, Hubbell picked up a (retroactive) save two days later, and two days after that, he tossed a four-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts against the Braves. On three days' rest, he then threw another four-hit shutout, this one against the Dodgers. A win in relief, a loss as a starter and another save came over an eight-day span which bled into early May, and then on May 7, Hubbell threw yet another gem.

With a five-hitter helping the Giants to a 1-0 win and an 11-6 record for the year, Hubbell had his third shutout of the still-very-young season. No pitcher had accomplished that feat (three shutouts through so few team games) since Dutch Leonard in 1916, giving Hubbell yet another mark of notoriety in a superb campaign.

Zito
Barry Zito allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings and picked up his third win as the Giants blanked the Padres, 5-0, on Sunday. The Giants improved to 12-7 with the victory, which also happened to be their fifth team shutout of the year.

In three of his four starts this season, Zito has finished with seven scoreless innings. He is the second Giants pitcher since 1916 to have -- through 19 team games -- at least three outings with that many innings and no runs allowed. In 1933, Hubbell had three. Zito is one of 17 pitchers to do it. Two hurlers -- the Orioles' Dave McNally in 1972 and the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela in '81 -- each had four. Like Hubbell's three, each of the four for McNally and Valenzuela were shutouts.

With five team shutouts through 19 team games, the Giants are the ninth NL club since 1916 to have that many. The others: the '18 Giants, the '41 Dodgers, the '63 Cardinals, the '68 Mets, the '71 Giants, the '85 Dodgers, the '93 Braves and the 2011 Phillies.

Arencibia and Buck
Toronto's J.P. Arencibia hit his seventh home run of the season on Sunday, as did his former Blue Jays teammate, the Mets' John Buck.

Arencibia's seven have come in 19 team games. Since 1916, he is one of 14 catchers to have that many. Gabby Harnett ('25), Yogi Berra ('56) and Todd Hundley ('96) each had eight. The rest had seven: Jimmie Foxx ('35), Roy Campanella ('53), Sherm Lollar ('55), Johnny Bench ('71), Gary Carter ('77 and '88), Dale Murphy ('79), Mike Piazza ('98), Jorge Posada (2004) and Buck ('13).

Buck's seven have come in 17 team games. The others catchers to do that (since 1916): Harnett ('25) and Berra ('56), with eight apiece; Lollar ('55), Carter ('77), Hundley ('96) and Posada (2004).

Reds
The Reds defeated the Marlins, 10-6, on Sunday, with leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo going 2-for-2 with a walk and two hit-by-pitches, and No. 3 hitter Joey Votto going 3-for-5 with his second home run in as many games. Choo owns a .523 on-base percentage, and Votto is at .522.

In the past 40 seasons, there have been 49 players who entered May with at least 75 plate appearances and an on-base percentage of at least .500. Barry Bonds in 2004 owns the top mark among these 49, with a .696 on-base percentage (25 hits, 39 walks, no hit-by-pitches or sac flies in 92 plate appearances). Four Reds players are on this list: Joe Morgan (.551 in 1975), Pete Rose (.541 in '76), Adam Dunn (.538 in 2004) and Votto (.504 in '11).

Royals
The Royals -- who are in first place in the American League Central -- took both ends of a doubleheader against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday, winning the first game, 4-2, and taking the second game in 10 innings, 5-4. The Royals had last swept a doubleheader against the Red Sox on Aug. 12, 1986, and last did it in Boston on May 31, 1971.

Pirates
Clint Barmes drove in a pair of runs with a pair of singles, helping Pittsburgh to a 4-2 win over the Braves on Sunday. The Bucs -- who have won nine of 12 -- had seen Barmes open his season 1-for-13 with two walks with runners in scoring position (the one hit did not drive in a run).

Pirates pitchers fanned 13 batters in the win, giving the club its sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and its second straight game with 13 K's.

The six through 18 games is the second most for Pittsburgh since 1916, eclipsed only by the seven from the '99 team.

Before this two-game stretch, the Pirates had last fanned 13 or more in back-to-back games in 2011. The only other time since 1916 they did it was in 2004. This streak, unlike the other two, saw the Bucs win both games.

Rangers
The Rangers -- led by starter Justin Grimm's nine strikeouts -- fanned 11 Mariners in an 11-3 victory on Sunday. The strikeout total marked the sixth time this season the club has reached double digits. Those six through 18 games ties this team with the 2010 Rangers for the most in franchise history.

Red Sox
In both ends of their doubleheader against the Royals, the Red Sox's staff reached double digits in strikeouts (10 in the first game and then 12 in the second). These two give Boston 11 games with 10 or more strikeouts this season -- the most in the Majors. The 11 through 18 team games are -- by far -- the most for any Red Sox club since at least 1916 (the previous high was six), and the most for any team through that many games since 1916. Before 2013, the highest tally had been nine, by the 1990 Mets and the 2012 Yankees.

The Red Sox own the second-most K's in the AL, with their 178 one behind the Tigers. Both teams have played 18 games. Last season, Rays pitchers -- who set a new AL record with 1,383 strikeouts for the season -- had accumulated 115 through their first 18 games.

Brewers
The Brewers defeated the Cubs, 4-2, on Sunday for the club's seventh straight win. During the winning streak, the team ERA is 3.09. In the team's first 10 games -- when Milwaukee went 2-8 -- the team ERA was 5.20.

Angels
The Angels defeated the Tigers, 4-3, in 13 innings on Sunday, getting a walk-off home run from Mark Trumbo. Trumbo's 425-foot shot was his fourth career game-ending home run, tying him with Jim Fregosi and Leroy Stanton for the third most in franchise history. Tim Salmon had six, and Brian Downing had five.

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