What else can be said about Andrew Abbott? He threw six more scoreless innings last night. Through three big league starts, this fiery lefty has thrown 17.2 scoreless innings to begin his career, a new Cincinnati Reds’ record. At this point, he’s only 41.1 innings from Orel Hershiser’s all-time record of 59.0 consecutive scoreless innings. Are we sure he isn’t just red-headed Sandy Koufax? Can anybody confirm this?
There aren’t enough superlative things to say about Abbott at this point. When he threw six scoreless innings against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, it was remarkable. The Brewers aren’t playing great baseball so far in 2023 – and their offense is one of the worst in the National League – but this is still a veteran-laden squad. Christian Yelich is a former MVP. Rowdy Telez and Willy Adames both hit more than 30 home runs last year. They might be struggling right now, but this isn’t a team of pushovers.
In his second outing Mr. Abbott faced another division-rival – this time the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals. In one of the surprise twists of the season though, the thought-to-be-contending Cardinals are wallowing in last place in the NL Central, an ugly sixteen games under .500. But while the Cardinals are putzing around as a team, their bats, however, have still been fairly dangerous. And we can't forget, this is still the Cardinals we're talking about. They've been the bane of the Reds' existence for two decades. Abbott took care of them with 5.2 scoreless innings.
Last night was Abbott’s biggest test: the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. The kid gloves were coming off. In each of Abbott’s starts, the level of difficulty had been ramped up, and now he was facing arguably the toughest challenge in the MLB. This is a team filled with sluggers. Jose Altuve is an eight-time All-Star and a former MVP. Alex Bregman is a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger. Kyle Tucker made his first All-Star team last year. Jeremy Peña was last year’s World Series MVP as a rookie. Abbott took one look at their accomplishments and sneered. He even out-mustached his pitching counterpart, the impeccably groomed J.P. France, who nearly equaled Abbott’s dominance until a two-run seventh inning.
At this point, it’s getting harder to believe that Abbott will ever give up a run. We might be witnessing the beginning of the most dominant pitching run in baseball history. I’ve been hearing unconfirmed reports that baseball is already toying with ways to slow down this red-haired Tasmanian devil that is Andrew Abbott. Possibilities include forcing him to pitch with a blindfold on, moving the mound to second base during his starts only, and having him pitch with a beach ball instead of a baseball. That’s how bad Abbott is making hitters look. He’s a left-handed version of Bob Gibson in 1968.
Maybe his bright red hair blinded the Astros. Maybe they just couldn’t believe this young kid – this nobody – was daring them to hit the high cheese over and over again. Maybe Abbott really just is Sandy Koufax. Either way, the Astros hitters were stymied. After dismantling the team that only just happened to win the whole thing last year and has serious designs on repeating, just put Abbott in the Hall of Fame already. Seriously, what’s left to prove?