Corbin Burnes returns for the Brewers on Thursday hot on the pursuit of a record. He’s struck out 49 batters so far this season and has yet to issue a walk. That’s already a record for a starting pitcher to start a season since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. But he is close to the overall record, held by a reliever, too. Kenley Jansen had 51 strikeouts before his first walk in 2017, which stands as the mark -- for now.
Just how close has Burnes come to walking a batter this year? Well, he’s thrown 23 pitches in three-ball counts this season, and all but one of those have been in the strike zone. Thirteen ended the plate appearance, including eight that were strikeout pitches and two base hits. He’s thrown 22 three-ball cutters and one three-ball sinker. He’s gotten into at least one of these counts in each of his five starts thus far.