Did you notice anything different about the Houston Astros 2-1 win over the Yankees on Saturday, October 14? They didn’t use any of their bullpen!
Justin Verlander tossed the first complete game of the 2017 playoffs in the Astros’ Game #2 win over the Yanks. It was only the 16th complete game in the post-season since 2010. Last season there were three complete games in the MLB playoffs.
Verlander is one of 12 pitchers to have a complete game in the post-season since 2010; he also had one in 2012. Madison Baumgarner tops the list with three post-season complete games since 2010; Johnny Cueto is the only other pitcher since 2010 to have two playoff complete games.
The last time there were no complete games in the post-season was in 2008. The most complete games in a post-season were in 1921 and 1981… there were 11 in each of those playoff seasons.
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg set the franchise record for most strikeouts in a post-season game with 10 last night, Unfortunately, the Nats could not score and lost to the Chicago Cubs, 3-0 in Game One of their playoff series.
Strasburg became the 70th pitcher in MLB history to have 10 or more strikeouts in a playoff game (it was the 122nd time a pitcher had 10+ strikeouts in a post-season contest). Teams usually win about two-thirds of post-season games when they have a pitcher get 10 or more K’s in a game; teams are 82-39-1 (.676). In the last 25 playoff games, however, teams are only 11-15 (.440) when a pitcher has 10 + strikeouts.
Justin Verlander holds the MLB mark for most post-season games with 10 or more strikeouts with six. He is followed by Cliff Lee, Randy Johnson and Bob Gibson with five, and John Smoltz, Mike Mussina and Clayton Kershaw with five.
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Forty percent of the major league teams (12 of the 30 teams) have not had a 20-game winning pitcher on their staff this century. Two teams, Colorado and Tampa Bay, have never had a 20-game winner in their history.
Of those teams that have had a 20-game winner in their franchise’s history, two teams, San Diego and Washington (previously Montreal) have not had a 20-game winner since 1978. The Nationals, however, are knocking at the door to end this drought. Through games of August 29, the Nationals have two pitchers with 15 or more wins, Gio Gonzalez (16) and Stephen Strasburg (15), although there is quite a bit of discussion that Strasburg will be shut-down sometime in September and will likely not have a shot at 20 wins.
In 2011, two teams ended long droughts of not having a 20-game winner. American League Cy Young Award winner and league MVP Justin Verlander won 24 games last year, giving the Tigers their first 20-game winner since Bill Gullickson won 20 in 1991. In the National League, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw won the league Cy Young Award and 21 games, giving Los Angeles their first 20-game winner since 1990 when Ramon Martinez won 20.
Following are the teams that have the longest drought since their last 20-game winner.
Team, Last 20-game winner year, pitcher
San Diego: 1978-Gaylord Perry
*Washington: 1978-Ross Grimsley
Baltimore: 1984-Mike Boddicker
Milwaukee: 1986-Teddy Higuera
Cincinnati: 1988-Danny Jackson
Kansas City: 1989-Bret Saberhagen
NY Mets: 1990-Frank Viola
Pittsburgh: 1991-John Smiley
Colorado: 1993-Never had a 20-game winner
San Francisco: 1993-Bill Swift/John Burkett
Tampa Bay: 1998-Never had a 20-game winner
Texas: 1998-Rick Helling
* Previously Montreal
With just about a month to go in the 2012 season, a couple of other teams on the list above may be close to ending their drought like the Nationals. In Cincinnati, Johnny Cueto leads the N.L. with 17 wins and three more victories for him would give the Reds their first 20-game winner since 1988. The Mets have not had a 20-game winner since 1990 with Frank Viola. R.A. Dickey has 16 victories and will have a good shot at reaching that 20-win mark for the Mets. Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett has 15 wins this season and could end the Pirates more than two-decade drought of 20-game winners.
In the A.L., Tampa Bay’s David Price has 16 wins, and Texas Rangers’ starter Matt Harrison has 15 wins (he lost his attempt for number 16 on Wednesday versus Tampa Bay. Both have a shot at 20 wins.
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain pitched a one-hitter last night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up a sixth-inning single to James McDonald. Had Cain tossed a no-hitter against the Pirates, it would have ended the second-longest active timeframe since a team has been no-hit. The last time the Pirates were held hitless in a game was on August 14, 1971 when they were no-hit by St. Louis’ Bob Gibson.
Following is the last time each MLB team was no-hit.
National League, last time team was no-hit (pitcher)
Pittsburgh… 8-14-1971 (Bob Gibson, St. Louis)
Philadelphia… 4-16-1978 (Bob Forsch, St. Louis)
St. Louis… 6-29-1990 (Fernando Valenzuela, LA Dodgers)
NY Mets… 9-8-1993 (Darryl Kile, Houston)
LA Dodgers… 4-8-1994 (Kent Mercker, Atlanta)
Colorado… 9-17-1996 (Hideo Nomo, LA Dodgers)
Washington (as Montreal Expos)… 7-18-1999 (David Cone, NY Yankees)
San Francisco… 4-27-2003 (Kevin Millwood, Philadlephia)
Arizona… 9-6-2006 (Anibal Sanchez, Florida)
Milwaukee… 6-12-2007 (Justin Verlander, Detroit)
Houston… 9-14-2008 (Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs)
San Diego… 7-10-2009 (Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco)
Atlanta… 4-17-2010 (Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado)
Cincinnati… 10-6-2010 (Roy Halladay, Philadelphia)
American League, last time team was no-hit (pitcher)
Oakland… 7-13-1991 (four different Baltimore pitchers)
Boston… 4-22-1993 (Chris Bosio, Seattle)
Seattle… 5-14-1996 (Dwight Gooden, NY Yankees)
Minnesota… 5-7-1998 (David Wells, NY Yankees)
LA Angels… 9-11-1999 (Eric Milton, Minnesota)
NY Yankees… 6-11-2003 (six different Houston pitchers)
Texas… 4-18-2007 (Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox)
Baltimore… 9-1-2007 (Clay Buchholz, Boston)
Kansas City… 5-19-2008 (Jon Lester, Boston)
Tampa Bay… 6-25-2010 (Edwin Jackson, Arizona)
Detroit… 7-26-2010 (Matt Garza, Tampa Bay)
Chicago White Sox… 5-3-2011 (Francisco Liriano, Minnesota)
Toronto… 5-7-2011 (Justin Verlander, Detroit)
Cleveland… 7-27-2011 (Ervin Santana, LA Angeles)
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday
There has been quite a bit of talk and discussion among baseball experts and analysts about the possibility of Detroit’s Justin Verlander winning the American League Most Valuable Player. The Tigers pitcher has a record of 22-5 and an ERA of 2.56 to go with 232 strikeouts as of Sept. 10 for the division-leading Tigers. Whether or not you believe he deserves the honor or if pitchers should even be considered for the honor, past history has shown that the voters have been less than enthusiastic to name a pitcher the MVP.
In the history of the MVP award, 23 pitchers have won the MVP honor; 10 in the National League, 13 in the American League. The last pitcher to win an MVP was Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Bob Gibson is the last NL pitcher to win the MVP; he won the award in 1968.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION. Can you name the last NL pitcher to finish in the top 5 for the MVP award? Hint: It was an Atlanta Braves pitcher in the ’90s. Answer at end of blog.
Following is a look at the pitchers this century who have finished in the Top 10 of the MVP voting. As you will see, only one pitcher, Pedro Martinez in 2000, has finished in the top 5 in the past 11 seasons.
Year, pitcher, finish in MVP voting
2010: Roy Halladay-Philadelphia (6th)
2008: Francisco Rodriquez-LA Angels (6th); CC Sabathia-Milwaukee (6th); Brad Lidge-Houston (8th)
2007: Jake Peavy-San Diego (7th)
2006: Johan Santana-Minnesota (7th); Trevor Hoffman-San Diego (10th)
2005: Mariano Rivera-NY Yankees (9th); Chris Carpenter-St. Louis (8th)
2004: Johan Santana-Minnesota (6th); Mariano Rivera-NY Yankees (9th); Roger Clemens-Houston (8th)
2003: Eric Gane-LA Dodgers (6th); Mark Prior-Chicago Cubs (9th)
2002: Randy Johnson-Arizona (7th); John Smoltz-Atlanta (8th); Curt Schilling-Arizona (10th)
2001: Roger Clemens-NY Yankees (8th); Curt Schilling-Arizona (10th)
2000: Pedro Martinez-Boston (5th)
TRIVIA ANSWER: Greg Maddux was the last NL pitcher to finish in the top 5 in the MVP voting. Maddux had a 19-2 record with a 1.63 ERA in 1995.