MLB’s best pitchers in April

Pedro Martinez: Is he baseball's all-time best pitcher in April?

Pedro Martinez: Is he baseball’s all-time best pitcher in April?

Getting off to a good start is important for MLB teams (Brewers?). It is equally important for players.

Five pitchers are already 3-0 this season: Two New York Mets pitchers (Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey), two Detroit hurlers (Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene) and San Diego’s Joaquin Benoit. Since 1914 there have been six pitchers who have won six games by the end of April. The six: Vida Blue (1971), Dave Stewart (1988), Randy Johnson (2000), Randy Johnson (2002), Brandon Webb (2008) and Jered Weaver (2011). All of the six except Vida Blue were 6-0 at the end of April; Blue was 6-1.

One of the interesting things about Stewart is that not only is he one of six pitchers to win six games in April, but he is also one of only four pitchers to lose six games in April. Stewart was 0-6 in 1984. The other pitchers with six losses at the end of April were Mike Maroth (2003), Barry Zito (2008) and Philip Humber (2013).

Roger Clemens leads all MLB pitchers with the most March/April wins with 57. He is followed by Greg Maddux (56), Tom Glavine(51) and Nolan Ryan (51). Phil Niekro has the most March/April losses with 39.

If we look at the pitchers with a minimum of 20 March/April wins in their careers, Pedro Martinez has the best winning percentage. Martinez was 35-8 in his career by the end of April, a .814 winning percentage. Here are the pitchers with the best March/April winning percentages since 1914:

Pedro Martinez 35-8 .814
Wes Ferrell 26-7 .788
Geoff Zahn 26-7 .788
Dave McNally 30-9 .769
Bob Lemon 23-7 .767

Eight different Brewers pitchers have won 10 or more games in April. Chris Bosio ranks as the Brewers’ best early-season pitcher as he was 18-5 (a .783 winning percentage) in his Milwaukee career in the March/April. His 18 wins tops the list. Here are the Brewers pitchers with 10 or more wins in the first month of the season:

Chris Bosio 18-5
Jim Slaton 17-14
Mike Caldwell 16-9
Ben Sheets 14-17
Yovani Gallardo 13-7
Teddy Higuera 12-4
Bill Wegman 11-13
Chris Capuano 10-6

Sheets’ 17 losses top the Brewers list of most March/April losses.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

The impact of rookies in the NBA playoffs

Nikola Mirotic

Nikola Mirotic

The NBA playoffs begin this weekend. While most teams will depend on veteran players to lead them through the post-season, there are a few rookies who may have an impact on this year’s playoffs.

Of the 1o rookies who scored the most points in 2014-15, four will likely see action in the NBA playoffs: Nikola Mirotic (Chicago), Bojan Bogdanovic (Brooklyn), Marcus Smart (Boston) and K.J. McDaniels (Houston). Mirotic scored 833 points in his first year in the league, second most among rookies (Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins led NBA rookies with 1,387 points). Bogdanovic scored 700, good enough for seventh most among rookies; Smart had 523 points, ninth among rookies, and McDaniels, who was traded mid-season to Houston, tallied 487 points, finishing 10th among first-year players.

An interesting side note is that Milwaukee’s prize rookie, Jabari Parker, injured after playing only 25 games in his rookie season, will not be in the Milwaukee line-up as they face the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. He scored 308 points in 25 games and probably would have reached the 1,000-point mark in his rookie season had he not been injured.

Over the past NBA seasons, there have been a few rookies who have made a significant impact in the playoffs. The most notable is probably Magic Johnson who helped lead the L.A. Lakers to the title in 1979-80 in his first year in the league. Here is a look at the NBA rookies who have scored the most points in the playoffs in their first season.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (352, Milwaukee, 1969-70)
Alvan Adams (341, Phoenix, 1975-76)
Elgin Baylor (331, Minneapolis Lakers, 1958-59)
George Mikan (303, Minneapolis Lakers, 1948-49)
Jack Sikma (301, Seattle, 1977-78)

Wilt Chamberlain (299, Philadelphia Warriors, 1959-60)
Magic Johnson (293, L.A. Lakers, 1979-80)
Jerry West (275, L.A. Lakers, 1960-61)
Jamaal Wilkes (255, Golden State Warriors, 1974-75)
Richard Dumas (251, Phoenix, 1992-93)

The following players scored between 200-249 points in the playoffs in their rookie season: Ricky Sobers  David Robinson, Tom Meschery, Dwyane Wade, Dick Garrett, Tom Heinsohn, Manu Ginobili, Joe Fulks, Andrew Toney, Marques Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Roberts, Sam Cassell, Lou Hudson.

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The month of MLB no-hitters

No-Hitter

There has already been a pair of one-hitters in the major leagues this season after only one week of play. In Oakland on Opening Day, April 6, two A’s pitchers allowed only one hit (a lead-off single in the eighth) against the Texas Rangers, while three days later a ninth-inning home run spoiled a potential no-hitter as four Cleveland pitchers allowed only one hit in their win.

There have been 244 no-hitters in the Modern Era of baseball (since 1901). The earliest no-hitter on the calendar since 1901 was on April 4, 2001 when Boston’s Hideo Nomo pitched the first no-hitter in Camden Yards history as the Red Sox defeated the Orioles 3-0. It was the second game of the year for the Boston.

Here’s a look at which months have had the most no-hitters since 1901.

September – 57

May – 43

June – 41

April – 34

July – 34

August – 31

October – 4

If you are looking for a date in the month for the most likely occurrence of a no-hitter, the 15th and 30th top the list, both with 14 no-hitters happening on those dates. The fewest no-hitters were thrown on the 22nd, 24th and 31st of the month; it happened only three times each on those dates.

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Are the Brewers headed for another 94-loss season?

Brewers win

With their victory Saturday night, the Brewers got their first win of the season and in the process became the last major league team to win a game in 2015.

While the victory may be good news, being the last team to win a game in 2015 may not be a good omen. Consider this: The last time the Brewers were the last National League team to get a victory to start the season was in 2003 when they started 0-6 before getting that first win. The team ended that season 68-94. The last time the Brewers were the last of all MLB teams to get a win in a season was in 1984; they started the year 0-5 and then got their first victory. The team’s record that season? 67-94.

Let’s look at the teams that were the last to win a game in each season from 2005-2014 (last 10 seasons).

* Only three of the 10 made the playoffs that season (Philadelphia, 2006; Tampa Bay, 2011; L.A. Angels, 2014).

* Only one, L.A. Angels last season, won their division.

* Only four of the 10 had a winning record.

* The average wins by these teams was 76.7 in a season. The fewest wins was Washington’s 59 in 2009.

* Six of the of the 10 teams finished in either fourth of fifth place in their division that season.

As you can see, being the last team to win a game in an MLB season can be a precursor to a less-than-successful season. Time will tell if the Brewers can turn their season around, but early signs (and stats for teams that are the last to win a game in a season) indicate a long 2015 for the Brewers.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Runner-up at the Masters

jack-nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus made headlines this week when he got a hole-in-one at the Masters “Par-Three” event. Nicklaus is used to making a name for himself at Augusta. He holds the tournament record with six wins, but did you know he also is tied for the most runner-up spots in the Masters?

Nicklaus is one of 25 golfers who finished in second (or a tie for second) in two or more Masters. Nicklaus finished as runner-up four times, which ties him with Ben Hogan and Tom Weiskopf.

Here’s a look at the players who have finished second in two or more Masters:

4: Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf

3: Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite, Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, Tom Watson

2: Seve Ballesteros, Harry Cooper, Ben Crenshaw, David Duval, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Ralph Guldahl, Davis Love III, Lloyd Magnum, Cary Middlecoff, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Ken Venturi, Craig Wood, Tiger Woods

Of the 25 golfers above, 11 have never won a Masters event. Leading the way is Weiskopf who finished second four times but never won the tourney. Of the five players who have finished in the runner-up spot in three tournaments, Kite, Miller and Norman never won the Masters.

Jordan Spieth took the first round lead in this year’s event with an eight-under score. Tiger Woods holds the tournament record with a 72-hole total of 18-under par. Twenty-six of the Masters champions won the event with a score of 10-under or better. Thirty-two golfers in the history of the event have ended their four rounds with a score of 10-under or better yet did not win the event; it happened to two golfers twice, Raymond Floyd and Tiger Woods.

Here’s a look at the best 72-hole scores (under par) that did not win the Masters.

14-under: David Duval (2001)

13-under: Davis Love III (1995), Phil Mickelson (2001), Lee Westwood (2010)

12-under: Chad Campbell (2009), Jason Day (2011), Chris DiMarco (2005), Anthony Kim (2010), Kenny Perry (2009), Adam Scott (2011)

11-under: K.J. Choi (2010), Raymond Floyd (1992), Jay Haas (1995), Johnny Miller (1975), Greg Norman (1995), Tom Weiskopf (1975), Tiger Woods (2010)

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