StaTuesday: Romero’s place in history after first two MLB starts

It looks like Fernando Romero is here to stay.

It is, after all, kind of hard to send down a guy with a 0.00 ERA.

The hard-throwing right-hander was dealing again Monday night in his second big-league start, bringing his career numbers to 14 strikeouts, seven hits and six walks in 11 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.

After kicking off his career with 5 2/3 shutout innings and five strikeouts, he upped the ante across the board in the follow-up, going an even six innings with nine strikeouts.

He’s just the seventh pitcher in MLB history to post a line of five-plus innings, five-plus strikeouts and no runs in each of his first two starts. It’s a list that also includes some surprisingly pedestrian company: Kyle Davies, Kazuhisa Ishii, Carlos Hernandez, Tom Phoebus, Karl Spooner and Al Worthington.

More broadly, he’s just the 20th pitcher ever to go the first two starts if his career without allowing a run.

Player Tm Year W GS IP H R ER BB K
Mike Wright BAL 2015 1 2 14.1 7 0 0 3 10
Al Worthington NYG 1953 2 2 18 6 0 0 5 13
Karl Spooner BRO 1954 2 2 18 7 0 0 6 27
Ryan Sadowski SFG 2009 2 2 13 7 0 0 4 6
Fernando Romero MIN 2018 2 2 11.2 7 0 0 6 14
Tom Phoebus BAL 1966 2 2 18 9 0 0 5 15
James Parr ATL 2008 1 2 12 7 0 0 3 8
Larry McWilliams ATL 1978 2 2 13 9 0 0 2 3
Vin Mazzaro OAK 2009 2 2 13.2 8 0 0 4 5
Johnny Marcum PHA 1933 2 2 18 10 0 0 9 7
Kenta Maeda LAD 2016 1 2 12 10 0 0 1 8
Scott Lewis CLE 2008 2 2 14 6 0 0 2 8
Kazuhisa Ishii LAD 2002 2 2 11.2 4 0 0 6 15
Carlos Hernandez HOU 2001 1 2 13 7 0 0 3 14
Chi Chi Gonzalez TEX 2015 2 2 14.2 5 0 0 7 4
Dave Ferriss BOS 1945 2 2 18 12 0 0 11 9
Vaughn Eshelman BOS 1995 2 2 13 7 0 0 2 4
Kyle Davies ATL 2005 2 2 10.1 9 0 0 4 12
Scott Chiamparino TEX 1990 0 2 12 7 0 0 2 7
Andrew Albers MIN 2013 2 2 17.1 6 0 0 1 4

A few more Romero-related fun facts:

Originally signed by the Twins as an international free agent in 2011, Romero entered 2018  as MLB Pipeline’s 66th-ranked overall prospect, and Minnesota’s No. 2 prospect, behind only 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis.

Romero missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, but had made his way from Single-A Cedar Rapids all the way to Triple-A Rochester by the beginning of 2018.

He’s the third pitcher in the last 30 years to make his major-league debut with the Twins and win his first two starts, joining one-time All-Star Eric Milton (1998) and Andrew Albers (2013).

Romero’s performance certainly calls to mind Albers’ Twins debut. The Canadian started his career with 17 1/3 scoreless innings over two games, a Twins record, though certainly one that’s well within Romero’s reach now.

In Twins history at least, it’s tough to find many comparable debuts.

There’s Albers, who followed up his record by allowing eight hits and five earned runs in seven innings in his third start, and didn’t win a game the rest of his rookie season.

Anthony Swarzak pitched seven shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009, and Milton pitched six scoreless against the Kansas City Royals in 1998.

Then there’s utility man Cesar Tovar, who pitched the first inning of a game against the Oakland A’s in 1968, in which he allowed no hits, played all nine positions and helped the Twins to a 2-1 win.

From there, 10 players — including our very own Bert Blyleven — had a one-run debut, while another 10 allowed two runs.

Player Date Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO Pit
Eric Milton 4/5/1998 KCR W 10-1 6 6 0 0 2 1 88
Anthony Swarzak 5/23/2009 MIL W 6-2 7 5 0 0 2 3 98
Andrew Albers 8/6/2013 KCR W 7-0 8.1 4 0 0 1 2 109
Fernando Romero 5/2/2018 TOR W 4-0 5.2 4 0 0 3 5 97

Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference