Spring is in the air. That means time to turn on the TV for America’s Pastime – baseball. In 2020, Opening day viewership saw a 232% increase from 2019, and 2021 is off to an even better start.
Baseball is thriving, and fans return to the ballparks across the U.S. as Covid-19 restrictions are easing. There is a lot of positivity about the new season. And with a new season, there are records to be broken.
In fact, Corbin Burnes did just that. The pitcher had ten strikeouts in the 6-0 win against the Padres on Wednesday, which put him at 40 strikeouts for the season (in four games), with no walks. That’s an MLB record.
Let’s rewind to 2019, a year Burnes probably wants to forget. He started his first four games with 11 surrendered home runs. After that, he was demoted to the Minors. Later he went through a Lasik surgery and worked with a mental skills coach.
In 2020, he posted a 2.11 ERA in 59 ⅔ innings and finished sixth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. He has more than carried that form into the 2021 season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, which has data back to 1893, and STATS, with data from 1901, Burnes has set a couple of records:
- Strikeouts without a walk for a starter (40) to start the season. The previous record was 35, set in 2013
- First pitcher in history to record 40 strikeouts without a walk at any point of the season
How did Burnes respond when he was told of the record? “I know. I know. Thanks, and let’s move on.”
Next, Corbin Burnes is chasing another record. In 2017, closer relief pitcher Kenley Jansen started the season with 51 strikeouts without a walk.