Ziegler Snaps 101-Year Major League Mark
Middle relievers rarely get consideration for major awards, but Oakland A's rookie reliever Brad Ziegler could put some pressure on the Rookie of the Year voters if he continues his domination of major league hitters. The A's sidearm right-hander threw two more scoreless innings on Sunday in the A's 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers. Those two innings gave Ziegler 27 scoreless frames to start his major league career. That streak breaks a record scoreless streak for starting a career that had been held since 1907.
Ziegler's performance on Sunday is even more impressive when one considers his opponent, the Texas Rangers, the team that has the best offense in baseball this season. The Rangers had battered A's pitching this weekend to the tune of 20 runs in 24 innings before Ziegler came into the ballgame in the seventh inning on Sunday.
Ziegler broke the record of Philadelphia Phillies right-hander George McQuillan. Ironically, the Phillies were Ziegler's original organization. Philadelphia drafted Ziegler in the 20th round of the 2003 draft, but they cut the right-hander at the end of that season. The A's signed Ziegler out of the independent leagues in 2004 and he has been in their system ever since.
Ziegler was a starter in the A's chain through the 2006 season, and was converted by the team into a sidearm reliever before the 2007 season. Ziegler began the year in Triple-A Sacramento, where he had a 0.37 ERA and eight saves in 24.1 innings before being promoted to the big leagues.
Left-hander Jerry Blevins also had a milestone day on Sunday. The rookie reliever earned his first major league victory by working 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. He came into the game in the fifth inning with two-outs and a runner on second with the Rangers down by only a run. Blevins struck-out Gerald Laird to end the inning and then worked a scoreless sixth to earn the win.
Blevins, who worked 4.2 innings in September for Oakland last season, has been outstanding since joining the A's this year in early July from Triple-A Sacramento. In 10 appearances, he has allowed only six hits and three walks in 11.1 innings. He has allowed one run and has struck-out 11. Blevins was voted to the PCL All-Star team before his promotion to the big leagues. He had 10 saves and a 2.78 ERA in 32.1 innings for the River Cats and he struck-out 36 batters.
Blevins was a favorite to make the USA Olympic team before he was promoted to the big leagues, which took him out of the running. He was acquired by the A's last season from the Chicago Cubs for Jason Kendall.
Midland Rockhounds' right-hander Vince Mazzaro continues to rack up accolades in 2008. He was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the week of July 14-20. He earned two wins that week and posted an 0.64 ERA in 14 innings.
Mazzaro is in the midst of a breakout season for the Rockhounds. The right-hander is 11-3 with a Texas League-best 1.97 ERA in 132.1 innings this season. He has 99 strike-outs and only 33 walks in 2008. In 2007, Mazzaro had a 5.33 ERA and 115 strike-outs against 71 walks in 153.2 innings for the High-A Stockton Ports. He has allowed only three homeruns this season.
* Midland exploded for 20 hits and 12 runs in a 12-4 win over Corpus Christi on Sunday. Centerfielder Aaron Cunningham had a huge game, homering twice, doubling, scoring four runs and stealing a base. He has a .315 batting average, 11 homeruns, 10 stolen bases and 45 RBIs in 77 games for the Rockhounds this season. Shortstop Justin Sellers also had a big game. He tripled twice and homered, his fifth of the season. Designated hitter Javier Herrera had a two-hit game, as did catcher Anthony Recker, and Jon Zeringue added four hits and an RBI. Trevor Cahill earned the win with five innings of work. He allowed one earned run (three total) on three hits and four walks, and he moved his Double-A record to 6-1. Cahill struck-out four. In 20 appearances between High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland, Cahill is 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA. He has 136 strike-outs and 50 walks in 124.1 innings on the season. Cahill will be heading to Beijing as part of Team USA in August.
* Infielder Mike Affronti moved up to Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday from Double-A Midland after Eric Patterson was promoted to the big leagues. Affronti has played at A-ball, Double-A and Triple-A this season and is batting a combined .278 in 101 games this season.
* Right-hander Jared Lansford was promoted to Double-A Midland this weekend. He made his Midland debut on Saturday and worked a scoreless third of an inning. Lansford had a 4.41 ERA in 63.1 innings for the Stockton Ports this season, most of those innings coming in relief.
* Shortstop Michael Richard had another big game in Kane County's win on Sunday. He swiped his 30th base of the season in only 52 games played, and he scored three runsI. Richard is batting .337 with a 29:20 BB:K ratio and a .427 OBP. He has walked 11 times against only two strike-outs and is batting .361 over the past 10 games.
* Kane County utilityman Larry Cobb also had a big game on Sunday. He collected four hits to raise his average to .297 for the Cougars and he drove-in three runs. Cobb has nine homeruns and an 833 OPS for Kane County this season.
* Infielders Ryne Jernigan and Leonardo Gil switched spots on the Vancouver Canadians and Arizona A's rosters this weekend. Jernigan went to Arizona, while Gil went to Vancouver.
* 2008 high school draft picks Nino Leyja and Rashun Dixon continue to shine for the A's Rookie League club in Arizona. Both players are 17, making them among the youngest players in the league. Leyja went 4-5 with four runs scored and two RBIs in the Arizona A's on Saturday. He has a 979 OPS, six steals in seven chances and a 13:13 K:BB ratio in 20 games this season through Saturday. Dixon went 2-4 with his fifth homerun of the season and three RBIs on Saturday. He has an impressive .558 SLG and seven triples to go along with those five homeruns in 25 games this season.
* 2008 draft pick Shawn Haviland is off to a good start to his pro career. The Harvard alum has a 1.78 ERA in 25.1 innings for Vancouver thus far this season. The righty worked five innings on Sunday, allowing three runs on four hits. He didn't walk a batter and he struck-out six. Haviland has 26 strike-outs in 25.1 innings.
Oakland A's MLN: Ziegler Breaks Record
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