Since the National League adopted the 162-game schedule for the 1962 season, there have been six clubs in that league that produced as many as two dozen team shutouts in a season.
The 1992 Braves -- with Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery as part of the starting staff -- had exactly that many, and they represent the most recent NL team to reach that height. Before them, the '88 Dodgers -- riding Orel Hershiser's historic work down the stretch -- had been the most recent club to pull off the feat, preceded 19 years earlier by Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and the rest of the Miracle Mets crew, who produced 28 shutouts.
The 1963 Dodgers -- with significant contributions from Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres -- had 24. The '68 Mets -- again highlighted by that 1-2 punch of Seaver and Koosman -- had 25.
However, no NL team since 1962 can touch the '68 Cardinals. Behind Bob Gibson and an exceptional supporting cast of Steve Carlton, Nelson Briles and Ray Washburn, the '68 Redbirds produced 30 team shutouts. The current Cards -- featuring a host of young arms in the rotation and bullpen, but still led by veteran starter Adam Wainwright -- are more than halfway to getting to that elusive 24, and they are quickly making their way to half the total produced by their 1968 forebears. With more than a half-season's worth of games still to be played, their shutout story is shaping up to be a narrative worth tracking.
Cards' pitching on a roll
Wainwright (seven innings, seven hits) and three relievers combine on an eight-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Rays. The Cardinals' victory gave the club its Major League-leading 13th team shutout of the season, and third in a row.
The 13 shutouts through 65 team games represent the most in franchise history, eclipsing the 11 produced by the 1968 club. In the live-ball era, the Cards are the fourth team to have at least 13 through its first 65 games. In '68, the Indians had 14 at that point, and a year later, the Cubs matched that total. In '68, the Dodgers had 13.
The Cardinals had most recently tossed three straight shutouts last April. But before that run, they hadn't done it since 1988.
Wainwright, in becoming the first NL pitcher to reach nine wins, lowered his ERA to 2.15 -- fourth lowest in the NL. Among the 148 Cards pitchers since 1914 to have at least 14 starts through the team's first 65 games, Wainwright is tied with Slim Sallee (1914) for the sixth-lowest ERA, with Mort Cooper's 1.19 ERA in '42 the best.
Arms greater than bats in Baltimore
Brandon Workman (6 2/3 innings, one hit) and three Boston relievers combined on a two-hit shutout, as the Red Sox defeated the Orioles, 1-0.
There have been 27 games to end with a 1-0 score in 2014. When there were 62 in 2010 (the most since 1998), there had been 17 through games played on June 10.
In Tuesday's game, neither the Red Sox nor the O's collected an extra-base hit. It was the first 1-0 game between Boston and Baltimore at Camden Yards since April 21, 2005, when the Red Sox also won, and the first game between Boston and Baltimore to feature zero extra-base hits since Sept. 2, 1974. That game (the second of a doubleheader) saw the O's come out with a 1-0 win, with Mike Cuellar throwing a two-hit shutout to defeat Bill Lee.
Correia and Co. blank Blue Jays
The Twins got six innings of six-hit ball from Kevin Correia to lead the way to a seven-hit shutout of the Blue Jays.
Minnesota's pitchers recorded only three strikeouts in the victory -- a rare total in this K-heavy baseball world of 2014. There have been 148 team shutouts this season, with this one being the ninth to feature three punchouts or fewer. There have been four with two, and among the five with three, the Twins are responsible for two. For the season, there has been an average of 8.28 strikeouts per team shutout.
Toronto has been blanked in three of its past four games. Before this stretch, the club had been held scoreless in just one of its first 62 contests.
Papelbon races to 300 saves
In the Phillies' 5-2 win over the Padres, Jonathan Papelbon worked an eventful but scoreless ninth inning (it included two hits and a hit-by-pitch) and recorded his 300th career save. Papelbon is the 26th pitcher to reach the milestone.
The 300th save came in Papelbon's 552nd career game, making him the second pitcher to have at least 300 by that number of appearances. He is sandwiched between the two members of the 600-save club, with Mariano Rivera having 313 saves through his first 552 games, and Trevor Hoffman sitting on 299 through 552 appearances. Rivera reached his 300th save in his 537th career game.
Papelbon became the sixth pitcher to have at least 300 saves through his age-33 season, joining John Wetteland, Francisco Rodriguez (who is pitching in his age-32 season in 2014), Robb Nen (whose final year came in his age-32 season), Hoffman and Lee Smith.
Classic slugfest at Coors Field
Coors Field on Tuesday felt a little like the ballpark in 2000, as the Braves and Rockies combined for 29 hits and 23 runs in a 13-10 victory for the visiting team.
This game marked the third MLB regulation affair this season to see both teams reach at least 13 hits and at least 10 runs, with one of the previous two also taking place at Coors Field (May 3, a Rockies win over the Mets).
Starters Mike Minor (four innings, 11 hits, eight runs) and Juan Nicasio (3 2/3 innings, 11 hits, 10 runs) posted a combined 21.12 ERA for the game. With their lines, this game was the second since 1914 in which both starters finished with four innings or fewer and at least 11 hits and eight runs allowed. On Aug. 16, 2013, San Francisco's Chad Gaudin was charged on eight runs with 11 hits in four full innings, and Miami's Nathan Eovaldi completed his day with 11 runs and 12 hits allowed in three innings.
Here and there
• With his seventh multihit game in his past eight contests, Texas' Adrian Beltre moved to within 11 hits of 2,500 for his career. Only 35 players in history have reached 2,500 hits through their age-35 season. Of the 35, only four do not have a plaque in Cooperstown: Pete Rose, Vada Pinson and active players Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
• In New York's 3-2 victory over Seattle, Jeter singled and doubled and scored a pair of runs. Jeter, who is now five runs shy of becoming the 10th player since 1876 to score at least 1,900 runs, had his 319th career game with at least two hits and at least two runs. Seven players since 1914 have produced more such games: Babe Ruth (365), Willie Mays (355), Hank Aaron (348), Lou Gehrig (339), Barry Bonds (339), Rodriguez (334) and Stan Musial (326).
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less