MLB Notebook: Buchholz's historic April continues
Combining the March/April performances of Vida Blue in 1971, Fernando Valenzuela in '81, Randy Johnson in 2000, Cliff Lee in '08, Zack Greinke in '09, Ubaldo Jimenez in '10 and Jered Weaver in '11, the easy math spits out a 38-1 record and a 0.81 ERA.
Weaver's 2011 campaign saw him finish second in American League Cy Young Award balloting and Jimenez's '10 season concluded with a third-place finish in the National League Cy Young Award voting. The other five pitchers all saw their early performances set the tone for superb years which led to Cy Young Awards.
Pitchers with 5+ wins and sub 1.20 ERA in March/April (1916-present)
That could be a nice sign of things to come for Boston's Clay Buchholz, whose 2013 work in April -- when it comes to victories and earned runs allowed -- has put him in the same class with these seven.
Buchholz allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings, fanned 10 against two walks and improved to 5-0 as Boston defeated Houston, 7-2, on Thursday. For the season, Buchholz owns a 1.19 ERA and has struck out 39. If he doesn't pitch again in April -- he's not scheduled to do so -- he will be the eighth pitcher since 1916 to enter May with at least five victories and an ERA at or below 1.20.
Harper's historic homers
Bryce Harper hit his eighth home run and collected his fifth double in the Nationals' win over Cincinnati.
The eight home runs through the team's first 22 games represent the second-highest total for any Expos/Nats player. Henry Rodriguez had nine in 1996, and Vladimir Guerrero had eight in 2000.
Harper (he played Thursday night's game at the age of 20 years and 191 days) has 70 extra-base hits in 160 career games. No player since at least 1916 has collected that many extra-base hits that quickly, while also being so young.
O's bats stay hot
Leadoff hitter Nate McLouth was 2-for-5 with a walk, scored twice and drove in two runs. The game marked the 14th this season where McLouth has reached safely while batting in the leadoff spot. In these 14 contests, the Orioles are 9-5.
Adam Jones, meanwhile, collected three hits (including his ninth double) to give him a Major League-leading 33 this season. Jones' 33 hits through 22 team games is the third-highest total for the franchise since it relocated to Baltimore before the 1954 season. Miguel Tejada had 37 in 2006 and Brian Roberts had 35 in '05.
Also on Thursday, Chris Davis hit his eighth home run (tied for the AL lead) and drove in a pair of runs to give him 24 this season (the second most in the Majors, behind Mike Napoli's 26). Since 1954, the eight homers through 22 team games tie Davis for the third most for the franchise, with Frank Robinson having nine in 1969 and Brady Anderson matching that total in '96. Cal Ripken, Jr. had eight in '84 and a decade later, Rafael Palmeiro had eight. The total of 24 RBIs through 22 Orioles games ties Davis with Ripken in '87 for the fourth most. Mike Bordick had 29 in 2000, Miguel Tejada had 28 in '05, and Brooks Robinson had 25 in 1966.
Gio Gonzalez allowed one hit in eight innings, Rafael Soriano pitched a hitless ninth, and the Nationals defeated the Reds, 8-1.
The game marked the 29th time in franchise history, and the first occurrence since 2008, that the team has allowed exactly one hit in a contest. Since 1969 -- the Expos' debut season -- those 29 are tied with Oakland for the third most by any franchise. The Dodgers have 37 and the Mets have 34.
Before this game, the last time the franchise one-hit the Reds, Pedro Martinez threw a complete-game shutout and Montreal beat Cincinnati 2-0, on June 13, 1997.
Here and there
• In his fifth career start, Hyun-Jin Ryu fanned eight while allowing a run and three hits in seven innings. The Dodgers southpaw has struck out at least five in each of his first five appearances, making him the third pitcher for the team since 1916 to be able to claim that distinction. The other two are Hideo Nomo and Kaz Ishii.
• Vernon Wells hit one of three home runs for the Yankees, helping New York to a 5-3 win over Toronto. Wells is averaging one home run per 12.5 at-bats this season, while striking out in 15.7 percent of his 83 plate appearances and walking in 9.6 percent of those opportunities. In Wells' past two seasons combined, those three numbers (in 791 plate appearances) looked like this: one homer for every 20.8 at-bats, a strikeout percentage of 15.3, and a walk percentage of 4.6.
• Playing in his 215th career game, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run and helped Arizona get by Colorado, 3-2. Goldschmidt has 93 career extra-base hits, the most through the first 215 games for any D-backs player. Chris Young had 87, and Justin Upton had 86.
• The visiting Orioles scored at least two runs in four of their nine innings, and they topped the Athletics, 10-2.
• In the Mariners' 6-0 win over the Angels, Kyle Seager was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and hit his third home run of the year. Seager, who is tied for fifth in the AL with 13 extra-base hits (he is second in the league with 10 doubles), has a 14-game hitting streak, which is tied for the longest in the Majors this season. The Phillies' Michael Young and the Cubs' Starlin Castro each put together 14-game streaks earlier this month.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.