May 30, 2014
This Week's New Pitching Lines, 5/30
Well this will be the end for this feature. So, in our last week of new pitching lines, let's see what we've learned. Below are the 50 most recent pitching lines that starters have produced, all of Wednesday's and Thursday's starts. Think you can guess which ones are new? I'm going to guess. Go ahead and guess! I have no idea how many are going to be new, but based on our typical averages, five to seven is a good estimate.
You've got your guesses? Here are mine.
The ones I'm absolutely certain of: None.
The ones I'm fairly certain of: Rick Porcello's, John Lackey's.
The ones I suspect are: R.A. Dickey's, Edwin Jackson's, Danny Duffy's, Zack Wheeler's, Chase Anderson's.
There is probably one in here that I'm going to miss completely. Not many unearned runs to make this easy on us. I really, really, really want to say Tim Stauffer's, and I assume most of you did, but I've just been burned way too often on these short nightmare starts. I'll say no. (Remember that I only count starter's lines as precedents, which will favor Stauffer.) Tim Lincecum's "no-hitter" will lure most of you, too. In my experience, the short no-hitters and the blowouts are always tricks. No Lincecum for me.
Okay, we're good to move on? Now here's the same chart, but with one column added to the right indicating frequency.
There we go. Seven. One of my "fairly certains" was not. Matt Shoemaker's, shockingly, was. I'd have guessed around six precedents for that one. Kuroda, the same. No Lincecum! No Stauffer! We've learned something through this after all.
About that no-hit start by Lincecum (a replication, if you're curious, of a previous Jarrod Washburn start). Shortened no-hitters seem like they should be very rare, because there's an artificial force keeping the pitcher in the game until the no-hitter is either a) finished or b) done. Pitchers get pulled in the seventh inning of a two-hit game all the time, but it's assumed that he'll get a chance to complete his no-hitter. Constantly surprised by how many non-complete "no-hitters" there are. Chris Sale, for instance, threw a three-inning no-hitter this week that was interrupted by rain. Not a new line. The exact line was a third-timer, actually. Always surprising. A tally of the number of starting pitching lines that involve no hits, by length of start:
Oh, one more: Zero innings pitched, at least one batter faced: 133. My favorite of those no-outter no-hitters is Dock Ellis'. Ellis has one of the half-dozen most famous actual no-hitters, of course, but this (either this or Babe Ruth's "combined" no-hitter) is also probably the most famous no-out no-hitter: Four batters faced, one walk, three hit by pitch. The story:
He shouldn't have collected. He didn't hit Perez. I bet he didn't collect. I'd bet a Cheateaubriand that he's telling a tall tale about collecting, and that Bevacqua collected, or would have, except I'd further bet Dock Ellis flaked out on a lot of bets he made.
He actually faced a fifth batter, Johnny Bench, and tried to hit Bench twice. After the two pitches, he got pulled from the game, and Bench popped out. When you spend four hours a week on starting pitching lines, this is the sort of thing that starts to strike you as profound somehow. See, if the reliever had come in and thrown Bench two more balls, the walk would have been credited to Ellis, and Ellis' line would have read 0/0/1/1/2/0, and his record would note that he faced five batters in the game. But because he didn't walk, the at-bat is credited to the reliever, and Ellis' line reads 0/0/1/1/1/0, and the record states that he faced four batters in a game. Did he face five batters or did he face four batters? Well, it depends how good John Morlan's control coming out of the bullpen was that day. This strikes me as significant, in a philosophical sense, but of course it's not, at all.
Anyway, there are two unexplored non-no-hitters: 8 1/3, and 7 1/3. The story behind that 8 2/3 is undoubtedly interesting. It won't insult me at all if you go look it up on your own time.
The best new line of the week: Chris Archer’s 6/4/0/0/4/11
The worst new line of the week: Clay Buchholz’s 3/4/6/6/8/4
The most surprisingly new line of the week: Hyun-Jin Ryu’s 7.1/3/3/3/0/7
The Zach McAllister line of the week: Did not pitch.
Thanks for reading.