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Fulmer Records 9th Straight Start Allowing No More Than 1 ER

Detroit Tigers rookie pitcher Michael Fulmer saw his historic run come to an end in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals, just barely missing out on a 10th consecutive start allowing either one or zero earned runs, per MLB Stat of the Day.

Only seven pitchers have pieced together streaks longer than Fulmer's nine-gamer, and there have only been 11 instances since 1913 (including Fulmer) of a pitcher going nine or more consecutive starts with one or fewer earned runs allowed, per's play index.

The rookie barely missed out on becoming the eighth pitcher with a 10-start streak, as he held the Royals to two runs (both earned) over eight innings in Sunday's affair, eventually forced to settle for a tough-luck no-decision that still left his record at a sterling 9-2.

A supplemental first-round pick (44th overall) of the New York Mets in the 2011 June Amateur Draft, Fulmer joined the Detroit organization as the centerpiece of last summer's blockbuster deal that sent star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets.

Although Cespedes struggled during last season's playoffs, the trade appears to be working out just fine for both sides, as the 30-year-old Cuban outfielder has produced 38 home runs, a .294 batting average, .356 on-base percentage and .589 slugging percentage in 138 regular-season games for the Mets.

Despite being the young centerpiece in a trade for a highly-regarded veteran, the 23-year-old Fulmer has already given Detroit every reason to be pleased with the deal, sporting a 2.13 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through 14 career starts (all this season), with 78 strikeouts and just 28 walks and six homers allowed through 84.2 innings (6.05 innings per start).

After allowing 14 earned runs in just 19.1 innings through his first four MLB outings, the right-hander has been dominant in his subsequent 10 starts, posting a ridiculous 0.83 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 7-1 record over 65.1 innings (6.53 per outing), albeit with a somewhat modest (but still strong) 55-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that span.

While Fulmer's rate numbers might seem to hint at Cy Young candidacy, it will be all but impossible to overcome the reality that he spent his first three weeks of the season in the minor leagues.

His 2.13 ERA would lead all American League starters if he had enough innings to qualify, but his 84.2-inning workload still pales in comparison to those handled by the likes of Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale (125 innings, 3.38 ERA, 123 Ks), Boston Red Sox knuckle-baller Steven Wright (120 innings, 2.78 ERA) and Cleveland Indians fire-baller Danny Salazar (104.2 innings, 2.75 ERA, 118 Ks).

Fulmer might still have time to make up ground in a crowded AL Cy Young field that lacks an obvious favorite, if not for the general expectation that he'll have his work scaled back even if Detroit (48-44) remains in contention, having never pitched more than 124.2 innings in a professional season (2015).

Including his 15.1-inning stint for Triple-A Toledo back in April, the 23-year-old power pitcher is already up to exactly 100 innings this year.

While the Cy Young Award may thus be pipe dream—at least for this season—Fulmer is undeniably building a nice case for AL Rookie of the Year honors, with his 1.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) putting him even with Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin (who only has 187 plate appearances) for the lead among AL rookies, per FanGraphs' measure of the statistic.

Other AL ROY candidates include Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara (1.1 WAR), Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim (1.1) and Mariners first baseman Dae-Ho Lee (0.7). Fulmer may only need 150 or so innings to lock down the award.

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