Monday, April 4, 2011
Matt Garza's wacky double dozen effort
By Christina Kahrl
Beyond having to see his effort go for naught thanks to Carlos Marmol's blown save, Matt Garza's 12-hit, 12-strikeout game against the Pirates put him in fairly exclusive company historically. As Rob Bradford of Baseball Prospectus notes, such a double-dozen combo had previously been achieved just 22 times from 1919 to the present, and just seven times since the lowering of the mound after 1968, most recently by Curt Schilling a decade ago.
Even among the most recent efforts, not all are the same sort of thing as Garza's seven-inning quality start. Bob Gibson's game in 1970 was a 14-inning victory over the recently invented Padres, while Bert Blyleven's contribution to the list in 1975 involved the first 10 innings of a 12-inning loss for the Twins. And Blyleven allowed his sixth run in the top of the 10th, after having already faced 37 batters through nine. If you think that's a horrifying feat, it pales next to Red Ruffing's 1927 spin, facing 73 batters by pitching the first 15 frames against the Red Sox in the first game of a doubleheader against the Yankees; the Yankees lost the game in 18, but they came back to win a 55-minute, five-inning shutout in the second.
Blyleven's game was the only one of the seven before Garza's where the dude dealing a double dozen didn't get a win -- and the only time before which puts Garza in even more exclusive company. Nobody has lost a double-dozen since "Blue Moon" Odom did in the bottom of the 13th on July 29, 1968.
The more basic point is that you have to be a pretty good pitcher to achieve this sort of statistical oddity. Schilling and Todd Stottlemyre are the two non-Hall of Famers among the most recent seven, with Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, and the newly elected Blyleven rounding out the field. Garza has a long road ahead of him before he might ever enter that kind of conversation, but there are those who will argue for Schilling's eventual election, of course.