July 5, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Canadian James Paxton has been named the American League Pitcher of the Month for the month of June.
The 34-year-old left-hander, who hails from Ladner, B.C., had a 3-0 record and a 1.74 ERA, with 34 strikeouts in 31 innings, in five starts for the Boston Red Sox during the month.
Here are some highlights of Paxton’s performance in June courtesy of a press release issued by Major League Baseball:
• Paxton opened the month with a season-high-tying nine strikeouts in a 5-4 win over the Guardians in Cleveland on June 6. The seven-inning outing marked his first of three consecutive starts with at least six innings pitched.
• He hurled a season-high 7 2/3 innings in his final start of June on Friday at Rogers Centre, holding the Toronto Blue Jays scoreless while permitting just three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts on the eve of Canada Day. The 110-pitch outing was his most in a start since April 16, 2019.
• Paxton enters July with a 2.70 ERA and a 10.9 strikeout per nine innings ratio through nine starts on the season.
The American League Pitcher of the Month honour is the second of Paxton’s career. He won it with the Seattle Mariners in July 2017 when he went 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA in six starts.
Paxton’s nine starts with the Red Sox this season are his first in the regular season since April 6, 2021 with the Mariners. Since that time, Paxton has endured his second Tommy John surgery, a grade 2 lat tear and, most recently, a hamstring injury.
The 6-foot-4 lefty, who had signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2022 season, exercised his $4-million option with the team in November.
A North Delta Blue Jays and Junior National Team alum, the veteran southpaw has pitched in parts of 10 major league campaigns with the Mariners, New York Yankees and Red Sox.
Romano closes in on Dempster
As the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame noted on Twitter this morning, Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano’s save against the Chicago White Sox last night was the 86th of his major league career. That leaves Romano one short of former Chicago Cubs closer Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, B.C.) for the fourth most by a Canadian.
Above Romano and Dempster on this last are Eric Gagne (Mascouche, Que.), 187 saves; John Axford (Port Dover, Ont.), 144 saves and John Hiller (Toronto, Ont.), 125 saves.