MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: No no-no for Arrieta, but history nonetheless

MLB Notebook: No no-no for Arrieta, but history nonetheless

In 1963 -- the year he won his first Triple Crown and claimed his first Cy Young Award and only MVP Award -- Sandy Koufax limited the opposition to a .501 OPS. Such an historically low number (it has been bested only five times since) means that Dick Ellsworth's superb .543 OPS against that season is relegated to a second-place finish in the National League for that campaign. But since then, no Cubs hurler who has qualified for the ERA title has posted a lower figure. A similar scenario to that one in evidence all those years ago is bubbling in 2014. Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw is crafting his own model of dominance, and as part of that conception, is leading the NL in OPS against, at .507. And that figure most likely will be enough to relegate a Cubs hurler -- if he can reach the innings floor -- to a second-place finish. But Jake Arrieta and his awesome .548 could have a nice place in Cubs lore: right behind Ellsworth's figure for the lowest marks since 1963.

Facing the Reds on Tuesday, right-hander Arrieta lost his no-hit bid with one out in the eighth inning and had to settle for a one-hit shutout with 13 K's and one walk. The dominating effort -- which produced a game score of 97 -- was the highlight of the Cubs' 7-0 victory.

Arrieta is the 34th pitcher since 1914 -- and the second in a span covering 22 days -- to throw a one-hit shutout and have as many as 13 strikeouts. Arrieta, whose start comes so soon after Madison Bumgarner's gem on Aug. 26, is the fifth Cubs hurler to make this list. The first four:

• Lon Warneke on April 17, 1934: the right-hander beat the Reds, 6-0, fanned 13 and walked two.
• Frank Castillo on Sept. 25, 1995: the right-hander defeated the Cardinals, 7-0, with 13 K's and two walks.
• Kerry Wood on May 6, 1998: the 20-year-old rookie right-hander tied the Major League record with 20 K's and issued no walks in a 2-0 victory over the Astros.
• Wood on May 25, 2001: fanned 14 with two walks in a 1-0 victory over the Brewers.

With Arrieta and Bumgarner having their games this year, 2014 is the first season since 2001 to see multiple efforts of this kind. In '01, and on the same day that Wood was hurling his gem against the Brewers, Boston's Hideo Nomo was fanning 14 Blue Jays with no walks. Then on Sept. 2, Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina came within a strike of a perfect game and settled for his one-hit shutout (with 13 strikeouts).

Arrieta is the sixth pitcher to hurl a shutout on one hit or no hits and fan at least 13 in a game at Wrigley Field. In addition to both of Wood's efforts and Castillo's gem, two opposing pitchers have done it. On July 23, 1963, the Reds' Jim Maloney hurled a one-hitter with 13 K's, and on May 18, 2004, the Giants' Jason Schmidt did the same.

Age but a number for Colon
In the Mets' victory over the Marlins, Bartolo Colon allowed 12 hits but did not issue any walks and allowed just one run, picking up his 14th win of the year. Colon now owns a 32-18 record with a 4.81 K:BB ratio since the start of the 2013 season.

Colon is one of seven pitchers to have at least 32 victories in his age-40 and age-41 seasons combined, and among the 28 pitchers to have at least 40 decisions in these two seasons, his .640 winning percentage would be the sixth best. Those with more wins: Cy Young (42), Warren Span (39), Pete Alexander (37), Phil Niekro (36), Roger Clemens (35) and Randy Johnson (33). Those with a better winning percentage: Clemens (.729), Alexander (.661), Kenny Rogers (.660), Tom Glavine (.651) and David Wells (.643).

Among pitchers with at least 300 innings in these two combined seasons, Colon's 4.81 K:BB ratio would be the third highest, behind Johnson's 5.51 and Wells' 5.05.

Put a Roark in it
Tanner Roark (five hits in seven innings) and two relievers combined on a five-hit shutout to give the Nationals a somewhat appropriate line for their 87th win of the season: a 3-0 victory over the Braves that clinched the NL East title. The aptness of the line comes from three numbers:

• With the effort from Roark, Nats starters own a 3.13 ERA, second lowest in the NL to the Dodgers' 3.12. That 3.13 would also represent the second lowest for the franchise, behind the 1988 Expos' 3.05.

• With the combined shutout, the Nationals' staff now owns a 3.06 ERA that is the best in the NL. The franchise has never finished with an ERA this low, with the 1988 Expos hanging on to the existing low mark -- a 3.10.

• With the combined numbers, the Nats' staff now owns a 3.62 K:BB ratio. No team in the modern era has ever finished a season with a ratio this high.

Since May 30, the Nationals have gone 62-36 for an NL-best .633 winning percentage. Playing .633 ball for 162 games works out to 102.5 wins.

Home sweet homers
The Orioles used two homers to generate half of their runs in an 8-2 win against the Blue Jays, a victory that clinched the American League East for the O's. The Orioles' AL-leading tally of 196 round-trippers is 28 more than the No. 2 team (Toronto) has, and it is more than the combined tally of the Rangers and Royals.

With this clincher coming in Baltimore, the O's improved to 48-29 at home, the AL's second-best home record. Baltimore's current .623 winning percentage at Camden Yards has never been matched or surpassed at season's end by the club; the 1993 team played .593 ball at home for the existing high mark. Additionally, the 2014 club's 3.28 ERA at home would be the lowest for the Orioles since Camden Yards opened for the 1992 season.

Kluber clobbers career K mark
Corey Kluber fanned 14 Astros over seven innings and improved to 16-9 as Cleveland topped Houston, 4-2. Kluber's 14 K's set a career-high mark for the right-hander and gave him nine double-digit strikeout games this season. Those nine are the most for an Indians pitcher since Sam McDowell had 10 in 1970 and tie for the sixth most by an AL right-hander in the past 20 seasons. Pedro Martinez had 19 in 1999 for the most, while the following hurlers had exactly nine: David Cone in 1998 and Pedro in 2001 and '02.

Biggio and Altuve: Their historic seasons
Player Year Age-Season Hits Slash OPS+ XBH SB TB
Biggio 1998 32 210 .325/.403/.503 139 73 50 325
Altuve 2014 24 211 .343/.379/.456 135 53 52 281

In the Astros' loss, Jose Altuve matched Craig Biggio's team record for hits with a double in the fifth inning and then passed him with a single in the seventh.

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