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Preview, #22: 4/21 @ Cubs

The rubber game at Wrigley sees Robbie Ray on the mound

Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Jarrod Dyson - CF Albert Almora - CF
Wilmer Flores - 1B Kris Bryant - LF
David Peralta - LF Anthony Rizzo - 1B
Adam Jones - RF Javier Baez - SS
Eduardo Escobar - 3B Willson Contreras - C
Ketel Marte - 2B David Bote - 3B
Nick Ahmed - SS Ben Zobrist - 2B
Carson Kelly - C Tyler Chatwood - RHP
Robbie Ray - LHP Mark Zagunis - RF

Taylor Clarke’s reward for becoming the first player with a hit and a save in their MLB debut, since saves became an official statistic? A bus-ticket to Reno. Well, given they’re in Chicago, I trust the team actually gave him a plane ticket, considering it’s a 1.910 mile trip, according to Google Maps. However, I quite like the idea of taking the train. The California Zephyr goes directly from Chicago, leaving Illinois Union Station at 2pm this afternoon. Clarke wouldn’t even have to change trains, since it goes direct to Reno. Well, for some loose definition of “direct,” considering the twenty-six stops along the way. It gets there at 8:25 am in the morning. Oh, that’s on Tuesday. Still, seems like would be a nice trip.

Replacing Clarke on the roster is Jimmie Sherfy, who currently holds the lowest ERA in the history of baseball for any player with 20 or more appearances, at 1.00. That’s more than half a run better than the next-best pitcher, the basically unknown Dalier Hinojosa, a Cuban who pitched in 29 games for the Red Sox and Phillies in 2015-16, with a 1.51 ERA. Despite that, he never appeared again, and retired in March 2018 at the age of 32: perhaps he wanted to be certain he’d maintain that pristine ERA? Actually. it appears he had shoulder problems, which caused him to miss the entire 2017 season, and that led to him quitting the game. Hopefully, Sherfy can avoid that fate.

There are a couple of other players in the 10-20 game range who had similarly great early form, and similar fates. Austin Maddox allowed one earned run over 17.1 innings for the Red Sox in 2017, making his way onto their post-season roster. But he was injured in spring training the following year, and has yet to get back to form: he had rotator cuff surgery in September and will probably miss all this year. There’s also Phil Stockman, who had a career 0.79 ERA in 2006-08, but again saw things cut short by injuries. He’s of interest for two reasons: he was originally signed by the D-backs (though never played for us), and he was one of the most recent players born in England.