From his age-35 season through his age-39 season, Yankees right-hander Mariano Rivera pitched in 331 games and accumulated 361 2/3 innings worth of amazement.
For in those frames, the closer extraordinaire produced a 0.904 WHIP, allowed 6.67 hits per nine innings, averaged 6.07 strikeouts for every walk, fanned 25.4 percent of the batters he faced and posted a 1.89 ERA for a 236 ERA+. Perhaps most stunning, each of those referenced rate numbers were better than the ones he had authored in his previous five-year span.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara is now pitching in his age-39 season, and from his age-35 season through Thursday night, he owns the following numbers in 246 games (248 innings): a 0.706 WHIP, 5.26 hits per nine innings, 10.77 strikeouts for every walk, a 35.2 strikeout percentage, a 1.78 ERA and a 238 ERA+.
If Rivera broke and then reshaped a mold for what an aging hurler could do out of the bullpen, Uehara seems to have found that pre-shaped impression quite form-fitting.
Koji has few peers
Uehara worked a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 14th save in Boston's 5-2 victory over Cleveland.
Uehara debuted in the Majors in 2009 with the Orioles, and in 12 starts that season, posted a 4.05 ERA and a 1.245 WHIP (among other less-than-stellar numbers). Since then, he hasn't made a start, and his numbers are among the most impressive that can be found when looking at pitchers and their combined numbers out of the bullpen.
Uehara is one of 96 pitchers with at least 200 games in relief since the start of the 2010 season. Among this group, his:
• 5.26 hits per nine rank third, behind the marks from Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel
• 0.706 WHIP is the lowest
• 10.77 K:BB ratio is the best
• 1.09 walks per nine is the best
• 11.72 K's per nine is eighth best
• 1.78 ERA is third lowest, behind marks from Kimbrel and Eric O'Flaherty
• .166 batting average against is third lowest (Chapman and Kimbrel are lower)
• .193 opponent on-base percentage is the lowest
• .296 slugging against is the fifth lowest (Kimbrel, Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Jonny Venters own lower marks)
• .489 OPS against is the second lowest (Kimbrel leads)
Simon says to keep rolling
The Reds defeated the Dodgers, 4-1, with Alfredo Simon allowing a run in eight innings to secure his ninth win of the season. Simon, who came into this campaign with zero starts in his past two seasons and 19 in his first six years, has five games in 2014 with at least seven innings pitched and no more than one run allowed.
Simon's five tie him with Tim Hudson, Julio Teheran, Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish for the fifth most in the Majors. Adam Wainwright leads with eight, while Tyson Ross, Mark Buehrle and Johnny Cueto each have six.
With Cueto and Simon leading the way, the Reds have gotten 16 starts of at least seven innings with one or no runs allowed. Those 16 are the second most in the Majors, behind the Braves' 17.
Hudson historically stingy for Giants
Tim Hudson allowed one unearned run in seven innings and improved to 7-2, as the Giants defeated the Nationals, 7-1.
In the victory, Hudson lowered his ERA to a National League-low 1.81 in 13 starts this season. Among the 275 Giants pitchers since 1914 to have at least 13 starts at this point in the year (by team games), that ERA is fifth lowest behind Fred Anderson (1.27 ERA in '17), Hal Schumacher (1.58 ERA in '33), Atlee Hammaker (1.66 ERA in '83) and Juan Marichal (1.76 ERA in '65). The previous four finished their seasons with an ERA of 2.25 or below.
Scherzer tosses first shutout
Making his 179th career start, Max Scherzer recorded his first career complete game: a three-hit shutout with eight K's and three walks. Scherzer's effort helped give the Tigers a 4-0 win over the White Sox.
Since the start of the 2012 season, Scherzer owns the seventh lowest hits-per-nine in the Majors (minimum 70 starts), with Clayton Kershaw, Darvish, Gio Gonzalez, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Stephen Strasburg ahead of him. Among this collection of seven, Scherzer has thrown the third-most innings, behind Kershaw and Bumgarner.
Scherzer entered this affair against Chicago with the most career starts (178) for any pitcher without a complete game. That title once again belongs to Tony Armas, who finished his career with 167. Bud Norris leads all active pitchers with 139 starts without a complete game.
Cutch heating up with the weather
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen continued his powerful June, dishing out two doubles and two RBIs in Pittsburgh's 4-0 win over the Cubs.
McCutchen has collected at least two hits in five straight games, and he has gone 18-for-42 with nine doubles, six home runs, 14 RBIs and six walks in 11 games this month.
McCutchen leads the Majors in total bases and extra-base hits in June. His 15 extra-base hits already tie him for the 24th most for a Pirates player in any June since 1914, and leave him nine away from matching the top tally, produced by Paul Waner in '27. For any team in any June since '14, Hank Greenberg holds the top mark with 28 extra-base hits in June 1935.
Here and there
• In the Rockies' 10-3 win over the Braves, leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon had a pair of doubles and a home run in a two-run, three-hit, three-RBI day at the plate. It was the seventh time this season Blackmon had put together a multihit, multirun, multi-RBI line from the leadoff spot, which gives him more than twice as many as any other player hitting in that spot in 2014. These seven through 67 team games also match Blackmon with Ian Kinsler in '09 for the second most for any player since 1914. In '96, Brady Anderson had nine at this point in the season. For a full year, Nomar Garciaparra's 14 games in '97 with these numbers from the top spot represent the highest tally since 1914 (Mike Trout had 12 in 2012, for the second most).
• Going up against Scherzer and Detroit, Chris Sale took the loss in a seven-inning, one-run stint. Sale fanned 10 with no walks in the game, and he now has three outings in his career with at least10 K's and no free passes. He is 25 years and 75 days old, making him the ninth left-hander since 1914 to have at least three of these games before his 26th birthday. Frank Tanana, Kershaw and Bumgarner lead with five apiece. With three, Sale joins Jon Matlack, Vida Blue, Johan Santana, Rick Ankiel and Scott Kazmir.
• In Detroit's victory, Victor Martinez hit his 16th home run of the season in a 1-for-4 night that saw him make outs on the ground and in the air, but not at the plate. With the night at the plate, he has 16 strikeouts to go along with his 16 homers. Baseball has never seen a switch-hitter finish a season with 20 or more homers and have more homers than K's, or an equal number of each. There have been 14 right-handed hitters and 35 lefty swingers to do it.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.