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Kernels: An amazing week for pitching

5/12/2013

Our weekly review of interesting and notable stats you might have missed.

Theme of the Week: Great pitching abounds

After allowing a leadoff single, Shelby Miller retired the next 27 Colorado Rockies batters, throwing a one-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts.

Only one other pitcher in the past 30 years has allowed a leadoff hit and then set down the next 27 batters-- John Lackey for the Angels against the Athletics in 2006.

Highest Bill James Game Score
2013 Season

Jon Lester also recorded a 28-batter shutout on Friday night, allowing only a sixth-inning double to Maicer Izturis.

There haven't been two 28-batter, nine-inning shutouts on the same day since July 3, 1984, when Jim Gott (Toronto Blue Jays) and John Candelaria (Pittsburgh Pirates) both did it. And they both allowed multiple hits, retiring the extra batters on double plays or pickoffs.

Adam Wainwright followed Miller's performance with a two-hit shutout on Saturday. The Cardinals as a team have seven shutouts this season, the most in the majors. Four of those have been complete-game shutouts by individual pitchers. The other 29 teams in the majors had nine shutouts combined through Saturday.

Chris Sale then threw a 28-batter one-hit shutout against the Angels on Sunday Night Baseball. He's the first White Sox pitcher to throw a one-hit shutout vs the Angels since Britt Burns in 1983. Both Sale and Burns were wearing the same style uniforms, as the White Sox were wearing throwback jerseys.

Earlier, Matt Harvey put together one of the most dominating no-decisions ever on Tuesday, allowing just one hit with no walks and 12 strikeouts while pitching the full nine innings against the Chicago White Sox.

It's been well-covered that Harvey was the first pitcher in the modern era (1900) to hit all of those marks (nine scoreless, no walks, 12 strikeouts, and a max of one hit) in a no-decision.

But just allowing zero runs made Harvey the first Mets pitcher to pitch at least nine scoreless innings, and NOT get the win, since Bret Saberhagen in 1994.

And even ignoring the one hit, the last pitcher in the majors to throw nine or more scoreless, with a dozen whiffs, in a no-decision, was ESPN's Mark Mulder (against Anaheim) on September 17, 2002.

Amazing Pitching Statline of the Week

Although he allowed five hits, two walks, and three runs on Friday night, Alex Cobb of the Tampa Bay Rays managed to record 14 outs before getting pulled. He also recorded 13 strikeouts-- 12 swinging-- including the rare four-strikeout inning when Will Venable of the San Diego Padres reached on a wild pitch.

According to Elias, Cobb is the first pitcher in the modern era (1900) to record 13 or more strikeouts in an outing of less than five innings.

As notable as that was, Cobb's name appeared in quite a few other sections of that box score-- he also balked and hit a batter.

No pitcher had gotten 13 strikeouts while also hitting a batter, throwing a wild pitch, and committing a balk, in exactly a quarter-century (Mark Langston 1988 Mariners vs Blue Jays on May 10, 1988).

Comeback of the Week

Trailing 4-3 with two out in the bottom of the 9th on Tuesday, the Reds pulled off another comeback when pinch hitter Devin Mesoraco and leadoff batter Shin-Soo Choo hit back-to-back homers off Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel. The Reds are tied with San Francisco for the most walk-off wins in the majors (five). They ranked third last year with 11.

It was Kimbrel's third blown save already this season, matching the number he had all of last year.

It also meant the Reds were the first team to walk off on back-to-back homers with two out in the 9th, since the Braves' Nick Green and J.D. Drew drove in four runs against the Montreal Expos on June 1, 2004.

The Reds hadn't done it since Dan Driessen legged out an inside-the-parker to tie the game, and Johnny Bench then homered to win it, against the Phillies' Tug McGraw on August 27, 1977.

Team feat of the week: Double your fun

On Tuesday the Blue Jays pounded out six doubles and three homers on the road against the Rays. They hadn't had six doubles in a road game in nearly two years (August 2011 at Baltimore).

Scorecard Watch of the Week

That was just the start of the week's outburst, however.

The Twins then had six doubles on Wednesday in their win against the Red Sox, and also scored 11 runs in the first two innings (their most in the opening two frames since putting up 11 vs the Mariners).

Their 15 runs were the team's most runs scored at Fenway Park since a 17-5 win in 1965.

On Friday night, three teams hit the six-double mark in a game, just the second day where that's happened in the past three years. The Cubs had seven doubles among their 10 base hits in Washington, yet scored only three runs and lost the game 7-3, They then posted six more doubles in Saturday's 8-2 win over the Nationals.

Before Saturday the Cubs had never had back-to-back six-double games in the Live-Ball Era.