Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Justin Verlander's scoreless streak
By David Schoenfield
Until Eduardo Nunez homered leading off the ninth inning against Justin Verlander on Tuesday, Tigers starters had thrown 30.1 consecutive scoreless innings, the most ever by a team in single postseason. Verlander also had his personal stretch of 23 scoreless innings snapped -- tied for the third longest in one postseason. Let's take a quick look at those other top streaks.
Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 1905: 27 innings
This was the famous World Series where Mathewson threw three shutouts in five games, blanking the Philadelphia A's in Games 1, 3 and 5 and allowing just 13 total hits. Even in the dead-ball era, it was an impressive accomplishment. It was the only title of Mathewson's career as the Giants made it back to the World Series three times while he was active but lost each time.
Lew Burdette, Milwaukee Braves, 1957: 24 innings
A right-hander with impeccable control and maybe the best spitball in the game, Burdette beat the Yankees three times in the World Series. In Game 2, he won 4-2, shutting them out over the final six innings. He outdueled Whitey Ford in Game 5 to win 1-0. When Warren Spahn came down with the flu before Game 7, Burdette was given the ball on two days' rest and pitched a seven-hit shutout in the Braves' 5-0 victory.
Jerry Reuss, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1981: 23 innings
This was one I didn't remember. In the Division Series against the Astros, Reuss threw nine scoreless innings in Game 2 (although the Astros won 1-0 in 11 innings) and then a shutout in Game 5 to beat Nolan Ryan. He also blanked the Expos for the first five innings in Game 3 of the NLCS.
Kenny Rogers, Detroit Tigers, 2006: 23 innings
Tigers fans don't have to go back far for a great postseason run. Rogers tossed 7.2 scoreless frames against the Yankees in the ALDS, 7.1 against the A's in the ALCS and eight against the Cardinals in the World Series. Not bad for a guy who entered that postseason with an 8.82 postseason ERA in 20.1 previous innings. In fact, you could argue that Jim Leyland's biggest mistake in that World Series was not starting Rogers until Game 2 when he could have pitched in Game 1. Instead he went with a rookie named Justin Verlander who lost both his starts and Rogers never got a second start as the Cardinals won in five games.