Even the most die hard of baseball fans probably aren’t familiar with Blake Parker. The 31-year-old right-hander would best be described as a journeyman reliever, having appeared in 91 games for the Cubs, Mariners and Yankees since debuting in 2012.
He’ll be able to add to that total now though. Parker, who’s been claimed off waivers four different times since last August, has earned a spot on the Los Angeles Angels opening day roster after closing spring training on a pitching roll not seen since 1974.
Over his last five outings, Parker has recorded every out by strikeout. That puts his streak at 17 straight strikeouts, which hasn’t been accomplished during an MLB regular season game in 43 years.
Parker started by striking out five straight Texas Rangers on March 22. Then he struck out three Arizona Diamondbacks on March 25. During that outing Parker did allow one hit. But that would be the only blemish against him during the streak.
Here’s the recap of his March 28 outing against the Oakland A’s.
#Angels RHP Blake Parker struck out all 3 he faced today. His last 11 outs are Ks, with one hit in between. I think he's made the team— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) March 28, 2017
This is what he did to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.
Blake Parker strikes out the side and has now recorded each of his last 14 outs via strikeout this Spring.— Matt Birch (@MBirchAngels) March 31, 2017
And here’s his spring finale against the Dodgers on Friday.
Blake Parker's streak of 17 consecutive outs being strikeouts is longer than any regular season streak since at least 1974 (STATS LLC)— Matt Birch (@MBirchAngels) April 1, 2017
Parker’s streak is just one sign of his dominance this spring. Overall, he was lights out, allowing just one earned run over 11 1/3 innings to go along with two walks and 21 strikeouts. That’s a stretch typically reserved for the Dellin Betances’ and Andrew Miller’s of the baseball world.
Of course, Parker still has a long, long way to go before he’ll be mentioned in their category again. In fact, until Saturday’s announcement, he was being mentioned alongside fellow journeyman Austin Adams & Kirby Yates as they battled for that last roster spot. Still, it’s pretty cool to see a pitcher who even two weeks ago didn’t know when his big league opportunity would come go out there and take it with a stretch of absolute brilliance.