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Tuesday, February 15, 2011
The worst pitching duel ever?

By Geoff Young

Not long ago, I wrote a series of articles about the greatest pitchers duels in history. It was fun to research and celebrate such achievements, but it raised the question ... what about the worst pitchers duels?

One contender occurred on May 17, 1931. Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics were in Cleveland, taking on Roger Peckinpaugh's Indians. The starting pitchers that Sunday afternoon were George Earnshaw for the A's and Wes Ferrell for the Indians.

Earnshaw and Ferrell were good enough pitchers. Earnshaw was sort of his era's Jon Garland and won 21 games in 1931. Ferrell, who won 22 games that season, was better than that and a terrific hitter as well -- think Andy Pettitte on the mound and Ryan Spilborghs at the plate.

They were good pitchers who, on this day, did a nice job of hiding that fact:

Beyond the dreadful performances of our heroes, a few other items stand out about this game:
Part of baseball's appeal lies in the fact that, on any given day, anything can happen. Don Larsen can spin a perfect game in the World Series. Armando Galarraga can lose one on an umpire's blown call. Two good pitchers can face each other and stink up the joint like nobody's business.

We may think we know what's coming next, but we never do. I can't imagine a better reason to keep watching.

Geoff Young writes Ducksnorts, a blog about the San Diego Padres. Follow him on Twitter.