Stats & Info: Jake Arrieta
That same night, Shields threw a five-hit shutout to beat the Red Sox and Jered Weaver got into the act as well -- he threw his own five-hit shutout in a win over Seattle.
One night later, Josh Beckett threw a one-hit shutout, striking out six and walking nobody, tied for the fifth-best Game Score (91) this season at the time. Livan Hernandez also threw a shutout that night -- his second since July 2004 -- with six strikeouts and no walks.
Cliff Lee threw a two-hit shutout the next night, the sixth shutout in the majors in three days. Pitchers gave hitters a two-day break before Seattle’s Jason Vargas threw his second career shutout (and second this season) against Lee’s Phillies on Sunday.
Shields got back in the action Sunday as well, allowing four hits and striking out 10 in a complete game victory, but didn’t get a shutout because of an unearned run. Verlander also went the distance, allowing four hits and one run. Those performances got them a spot in our Cross-Sport Power Rankings.
Kershaw finished his shutout by striking out the side in the ninth inning. According to Elias, the last Dodgers starter to finish a shutout by striking out the side in the ninth was Sandy Koufax in his perfect game in 1965.
With all these standout performances on the mound, teams are looking everywhere for offense, and they’ve been finding it lately from the pitchers who’ve been holding it down.
Lee got at many hits as he allowed Thursday, the first Phillies pitcher to allow two hits or fewer in a shutout and get a pair of hits since Steve Carlton in 1980 (according to the Elias Sports Bureau). He’s 8-for-20 with two doubles, four RBI and a stolen base in his past nine starts.
Daniel Hudson allowed one run in a complete game victory Friday, and added an RBI double off of Edwin Jackson -- for whom he was traded last season. The next night, Ubaldo Jimenez got his second win of the season, driving in two runs in a one-run win.
Finally, Tim Hudson hit a two-run homer in the Braves’ 2-0 win. According to Elias, he’s the fifth pitcher in the past 40 seasons to pitch in a game and hit a home run that accounted for all of that game’s runs.
In sports, baseball is one of the few that's not beholden to the clock. There's no 60- or 48- or 40-minute limit. There aren't timeouts to stop the clock. We could care less about tenths of a second. When you start a game, there's no telling when it will end. To some, it's the beauty of the game; to others, it's the biggest frustration.
In these days of commercials and warmup pitches and elaborate player routines (both at the plate and on the mound), even a two-hour game is the exception. Although most games come in under three hours, you can't bank on that. Rule changes to speed games up have largely been ignored. Seriously, have you ever seen a pitcher charged with an automatic ball for violating the "12-second rule" with nobody on base? Go ahead, we'll wait.
Here at Stats & Information, we've tracked the game times of every Major League Baseball contest this season. We can recommend some pitchers and teams to see, regardless of which side of the "clock argument" you fall on. For example, it's not a myth that the Chicago White Sox's Mark Buehrle pitches quickly. Or that the Boston Red Sox's Daisuke Matsuzaka takes forever. Or that you will get a marathon out of nearly any New York Yankees game.
While the official game times do adjust for rain delays, power outages and the occasional tornado outside Citi Field, there are obviously a few other factors at play. The speed of the pitcher's opponent isn't taken into account. A starter might get roughed up and turn things over to a slow- (or fast-) moving bullpen, but when you think of fast workers and slow workers, the list is pretty accurate.
Random fact: The total number of minutes consumed by all the games this season (through Thursday) is 383,639. That's more than 266 days. If you watched every game back-to-back, starting on Opening Night (April 4), you'd already have enough baseball to last you until Dec. 27. With no breaks.
Anyhow, this got us to thinking, which teams give you the most baseball for your money? If you want to watch as much baseball as possible in terms of time, which team's season tickets should you buy? Similarly, which teams are "cheating you" by playing really short games all the time?
Adjusting for extra innings, we can get the average length of a nine-inning home game for each team this season. We didn't adjust for home victories where the bottom of the ninth doesn't get played. (We figure you'd sacrifice those extra seven minutes in exchange for seeing the home team win.)
The Cleveland Indians have been involved in both the shortest and longest nine-inning games this season. The Detroit Tigers' Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game against the Indians on June 2 was the fastest nine-inning game played this season -- one hour, 44 minutes. As for the longest? The Indians and Yankees combined to score 24 runs on May 27, a game the Yankees won 13-11. That game lasted four hours and 22 minutes. There have been just four games this season played in less than two hours, compared with six games that have lasted longer than four hours.