They can pitch there too
With all this talk of offense, it might seem like no one can get anyone out in the first week and change of AFL games. While the overall league is still tilted heavily in the hitter’s advantage (see update on league average and ERA at the end of this post), there certainly are some terrific pitching prospects in Arizona and a few have even found a way to retire a few hitters.
You have to tip your cap to the Twins’ Glen Perkins. The lefty not only went four scoreless and struck out six on Tuesday, yielding just two hits, he did it against the juggernaut Scorpions (who, it was pointed out to me, are now in Surprise, not Scottsdale as I blogged yesterday). Grand Canyon went on to win that game 8-2 thanks to two homers from Eric Duncan, who’s now hitting .522 with five homers. And our friend B-Wood was at it again, with homer No. 8, which would’ve tied him for the league title a year ago.
Oops, how’d I get back on offense again? My bad. While Perkins earned AFL Star of the Day honors for his efforts, a big honorable mention should go to Giants southpaw Brian Burres (Tuesday is evidently lefty day in the AFL). Burres went five scoreless, allowing three hits and whiffing eight as his Solar Sox beat the Javelinas, 9-2. Phillies hurler Scott Mathieson also deserves some kudos. He’s taken the hill twice and has struck out 13 in 7 1/3 IP. Jered Weaver has 10 K’s against no walks in 5 IP, though he did get hit a little on Tuesday, while a few relievers (at least they are in the AFL so far) like Jeremy Hill and Wes Littleton are off to good starts. Their performances deserve extra attention as a contrast to the hitting landscape that has been painted so far.
Here’s where the league totals are through Tuesday’s games:
All-time batting average record: .292 (2004)
2005 average: .312
All-time worst ERA: 5.32 (2004)
2005 ERA: 6.76 (coming down slowly?)