By Jon Weisman
Kenta Maeda brings his 0.36 ERA to his fifth start of his MLB career, and he’ll face Miami ace Jose Fernandez on the mound and childhood hero Ichiro Susuki in the lineup.
Among pitchers with at least 30 innings before April 30, Fernando Valenzuela holds the top two spots for lowest ERA: 0.20 in 1981 and 0.21 in 1982. The lowest that Maeda’s ERA could get tonight would be 0.26 if he throws a shutout, which would put him fifth all-time in March/April behind Walter Johnson (0.24 in 1913) and Ray Sadecki (0.25 in 1968).
Maeda’s longest outing this year was seven innings (98 pitches) April 17 against the Giants, the night he allowed his only run so far of 2016.
Ichiro, by the way, went 4 for 12 with a double and a walk in his career against Hideo Nomo, 3 for 4 with a home run against Kaz Ishii, 1 for 6 in his career against Hidoki Kuroda and 0 for 1 with a walk against Takashi Saito.