Predicting Which Unbeaten Pitcher Will Lose First

Three unbeatens remain. At least heading into today’s action.

The Tigers’ Max Scherzer (10-0), the Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin (9-0) and the Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz (9-0) are the last starters in the majors who have yet to take a decision loss in 2013 after having made more than three game starts.

It’s obviously only a matter of time before each of the three suffers their first “L”; the question is when?

Buchholz’s record is safe; at least for the time being. The right hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday because of a strained neck, but the move was retroactive to June 9 so he will be eligible to come back next week. Buchholz was able to throw a bit Thursday, and Red Sox manager John Farrell is hopeful his young hurler will be able to start Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. Whether Buchholz is able to return within that time frame remains to be seen, so for now it’s not possible to accurately predict when we can expect his first loss to come.

Both Scherzer and Corbin put their undefeated records on the line against good offensive opponents today. Scherzer will be up against a first-place Boston club that has scored more runs than any other in baseball. Cincinnati, who Corbin will be facing, has produced the eighth-most runs in Major League Baseball.

I believe Scherzer survives his encounter with the Red Sox tonight. A large reason for that belief is the fact that he will be opposed by Allen Webster, a 23-year-old rookie with just two spot starts to his name. In his last start on May 8, Webster lasted just 1.2 innings eight runs on six hits, two of which were home runs, to the Minnesota Twins. As long as Scherzer, whose earned run average is a solid 3.08, is able to limit his runs allowed to manageable number the Tigers should score enough to get him a no decision, at a minimum.

I don’t have the same confidence with Corbin’s matchup tonight. Not only is he up against a high run producing Reds lineup – featuring a smouldering hot Jay Bruce – but he is opposed by Mike Leake, who has performed well enough this season to warrant unexpected All Star consideration. Leake has an impressive win/loss record of 7-3, and boasts a 2.64 ERA despite pitching his home games in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in all of baseball.

Arizona has won three games in a row, but two of those wins came against the cellar-dwelling Marlins. The team is just 5-5 over its last 10 contests. During that stretch the Diamondbacks have scored more than three runs in just four games. Three runs will not be enough to notch a win against Cincinnati. It hasn’t been in in Corbin’s last three attempts at picking up elusive win number 10, which each resulted in no decisions. It likely won’t be enough to earn a no decision against this Reds offense, either.

Corbin lost his only career start against this Cincinnati team back on August 29 last year, a 6-2 defeat. The Reds have already seen and succeeded against the youngster’s stuff.

That’s why I’m calling the shot: the Reds hand Corbin his first loss tonight.

Perhaps Fox has the same feeling I do. The Reds-Diamondbacks game will be nationally televised on Fox tonight beginning at 7:15.

About Matthew George

Matthew George graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2008 with a bachelor of science in journalism. He spent three years writing sports for the Kentucky Kernel, the university's daily paper, and served as assistant sports editor. After undergrad, Matthew attended Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University where he earned his juris doctorate. He is now admitted to practice law in Kentucky and Indiana.

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