Dueling major-league debuts in Subway Series
Thursday night’s finale of the 2014 Subway Series at Citi Field featured the unusual pairing of pitchers making their major-league debuts against each other, the Yankees’ Chase Whitley, who was called up from Triple A Scranton, and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, a Triple A Las Vegas call-up.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous time that both pitchers made their big-league debuts was Sept. 7, 2010 when the Mets’ Dillon Gee opposed the Nationals’ Yunesky Maya at Washington. deGrom followed the major-league debut of teammate Rafael Montero, Thursday night’s losing pitcher. The previous major-league team that had starting pitchers make their debuts in consecutive games was the Brewers in 2002 (Ben Diggins Sept. 2 in the second game of a doubleheader and Dave Pember Sept. 3). The last time it happened before rosters expand in September was in 2001 by the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano Aug. 20 in the second game of a twin bill and Juan Cruz Aug. 21.
The last time the Yankees were involved in a game in which both starters made their big league debuts was all the way back to Oct. 6, 1908 at Boston when the Highlanders’ Andy O’Connor was paired with the Red Sox’s Doc McMahon at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds.
Elias also uncovered some gems concerning Masahiro Tanaka’s first complete-game shutout Thursday night, a 4-0 four-hitter. The Japanese righthander joined Andy Pettitte as the second Yankees starter with a complete-game shutout over the Mets, joining Andy Pettitte in an 8-0 victory June 30, 2002. Tanaka has a 6-0 record and 66 strikeouts in his first eight career games with the Yankees. No other pitcher to debut since 1900 has had at least 60 strikeouts while earning at least six victories in his first eight appearances in the majors.
Tanaka is also the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out at least 60 hitters while allowing fewer than 10 walks in his first eight career games. He is the second Yankees pitcher to be undefeated with at least six victories through eight games in the majors. The other was Vic Raschi, who started 7-0 for the Yanks over the 1946 and ’47 seasons. The only other active pitcher who was 6-0 or better through his first eight career games is the Angels’ Jered Weaver (7-0 in 2006). Tanaka is also the first pitcher to win his first six decisions as a starter with the Yankees since Aaron Small went 8-0 in his first nine starts with the club in 2005. Small played for five teams before joining the Yankees.
Both clubs placed key players on the disabled list before the game. The Yankees disabled right fielder Carlos Beltran, who has bone spurs in his right elbow. Mets catcher Travis d’Arnau, who was struck in the helmet by Alfonso Soriano’s backswing earlier in the week, was placed on the 7-day concussion DL.
Thursday also marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of former Yankees publicist Bob Fishel, who led the department from 1954-73, a tenure that spanned three different ownership groups (Dan Topping/Del Webb, CBS and George M. Steinbrenner). He worked with managers Casey Stengel, Ralph Houk, Yogi Berra and Johnny Keane. Fishel left the Yankees after the 1973 season to become the PR director of the American League. The annual award presented by Major League Baseball to the PR director of the year is named in Bob’s honor.