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Vin Mazzaro and giving up 14 earned runs

Posted by Andy on May 17, 2011

Yesterday Vin Mazarro gave up 14 earned runs, becoming the first pitcher in 13 years to do it, and just the 7th in the last 70 years:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR GSc
1 Vin Mazzaro 2011-05-16 KCR CLE L 1-19 2.1 11 14 14 3 2 1
2 Mike Oquist 1998-08-03 OAK NYY L 1-14 5.0 16 14 14 3 3 4 -21
3 Bill Travers 1977-08-14 (2) MIL CLE L 5-14 7.2 18 14 14 4 4 2 -13
4 Al Jurisich 1947-06-28 PHI NYG L 6-14 8.0 16 14 14 6 1 3 -11
5 Les McCrabb 1942-04-16 PHA BOS L 4-19 4.0 14 14 14 2 0 2
6 Chubby Dean 1940-09-28 (1) PHA BOS L 4-16 8.0 19 16 14 5 1 1 -20
7 Carl Doyle 1940-06-08 BRO CIN L 2-23 4.0 16 14 14 4 2 1
8 Bob Feller 1938-08-26 (1) CLE NYY L 9-15 7.0 15 15 15 9 7 2 -15
9 Jim Walkup 1937-07-25 (2) SLB WSH L 5-15 8.0 16 14 14 5 3 1 -8
10 Hod Lisenbee 1936-09-11 PHA CHW L 2-17 8.0 26 17 14 4 1 2 -35
11 Slick Castleman 1936-06-09 NYG CIN L 4-15 8.0 18 15 15 3 2 1 -15
12 Flint Rhem 1933-08-04 PHI NYG L 1-18 8.0 21 16 15 3 1 0 -24
13 Dutch Schesler 1931-07-11 (1) PHI NYG L 5-23 8.0 22 16 14 0 1 4
14 Johnny Miljus 1929-07-25 CLE PHA L 3-21 3.0 13 14 14 3 0 3 -26
15 Hugh McQuillan 1927-09-11 (2) BSN CIN L 5-16 6.2 17 16 15 3 2 1 -23
16 Nelson Greene 1925-06-20 BRO PIT L 5-21 6.2 18 15 15 3 0 3
17 Ted Lyons 1924-07-21 CHW WSH L 2-16 8.0 18 16 14 5 3 0 -16
18 Howard Ehmke 1923-09-28 BOS NYY L 4-24 6.0 21 17 16 4 6 2 -34
19 Win Noyes 1919-09-05 PHA BOS L 7-15 7.0 22 15 15 2 3 1 -26
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2011.

Mazzaro is the first to do it in relief McCrabb in 1942.

The record in our box score era (since 1919) is 16 earned runs:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR GSc
1 Howard Ehmke 1923-09-28 BOS NYY L 4-24 6.0 21 17 16 4 6 2 -34
2 Bob Feller 1938-08-26 (1) CLE NYY L 9-15 7.0 15 15 15 9 7 2 -15
3 Slick Castleman 1936-06-09 NYG CIN L 4-15 8.0 18 15 15 3 2 1 -15
4 Flint Rhem 1933-08-04 PHI NYG L 1-18 8.0 21 16 15 3 1 0 -24
5 Hugh McQuillan 1927-09-11 (2) BSN CIN L 5-16 6.2 17 16 15 3 2 1 -23
6 Nelson Greene 1925-06-20 BRO PIT L 5-21 6.2 18 15 15 3 0 3
7 Win Noyes 1919-09-05 PHA BOS L 7-15 7.0 22 15 15 2 3 1 -26
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2011.

These guys were all starters.

43 Responses to “Vin Mazzaro and giving up 14 earned runs”

  1. Matthew Glidden Says:

    Wow, what a list of games. Surprising to see Bob Feller on there!

    Since none of these guys won, it's worth mentioning that Ed Rommel allowed 14 runs--13 earned--and 29 hits in 17 innings of relief and picked up the victory for Philly in 1932. (B-R blog has pointed back to it before.)

    My second-fave stat from that game is the line for CLE shortstop Johnny Burnett, who went 9-for-11. (Rommel himself went 3-for-7 and scored twice.)

  2. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Allan Travers must be mentioned for his 24-run effort in 1912.

  3. statboy Says:

    Some people are calling it the worst game a pitcher has ever had, which I disagree with. 10 ER in 0.1 IP is worse than 14 ER in 2.1 IP, no?

  4. John Autin Says:

    Which event was more unlikely:
    -- Any pitcher allowing 14 runs in a game; or
    -- Cliff Lee allowing 6 walks in 6 innings?

    The 6 walks set a new career high for Lee. He hadn't issued more than 4 walks, nor had more walks than strikeouts, since July 2009. He had walked just 7 in 52.2 IP this year before last night.

    None of Lee's 6 walks were officially intentional, though I suspect there was some intent in the consecutive walks to Holliday and Berkman with 2 out in the 1st, which brought up Allen Craig. But then Lee walked those same 2 leading off the 4th, which proved to be his downfall.

    One other thing that this game brought home to me, even though the message has been out there for a while: Scoring is way down this year. Cliff Lee now has a 3.84 ERA, which for the last 2 decades or so would have been pretty good, especially with that park as his home. But this year, it's good for an even 100 ERA+.

  5. John Autin Says:

    BTW, that first list is just an outstanding bunch of names, no matter what else it signifies.

    Les McCrabb? Chubby Dean? Jim Walkup? Hod Lisenbee?
    (I still remember when my pals and I bought the Strat-O-Matic retro 1930 set and came face to face with Hod Lisenbee. Only Smead Jolley provoked more hilarity....)

    Slick Castleman? Flint Rhem? Win Noyes???
    ("Win Noyes" sounds like a saberist's comment on Catfish Hunter's record.)

  6. Whiz Says:

    There are some really bad Game Scores on that first list, too. Not surprisingly, the Lisenbee and Ehmke ones are the two worst in the game searchable era. Mazzaro's Game Score would have been -22 if he had started.

  7. jason Says:

    i wonder how much this list would explode if we went back to 1871

  8. Frank Clingenpeel Says:


    He was the FIFTH pitcher to do it in the past seventy years. The two 1940 episodes occurred 72 years ago.

  9. John Says:

    I agree with Statboy... I came across this article from the USA today and Jason Jennings' 11ER in .2IP is worse IMO. Dempster gave up 7 in .1IP earlier this year and was only saved because the manager relieved him of his duties. They ran Vin into the ground to be the whipping boy for a defeat that was inevitable.

  10. kingcrab Says:

    the city of philadelphia is well represented in this list, absorbing 14+ er 7 times and dishing it out once. the 3 times it happened to the phils, it was the giants each time and 3 of 4 times it happened to the a's, it was the red sox.

  11. Andy Says:

    JA, I'd say your post at #5 made me laugh, except that I am ignoring you now since you haven't started blogging here yet or responded to my email about it.

  12. Devon & His 1982 Topps blog Says:

    Hey, anytime you're on a list with Bob Feller, you must be doin' somethin' right ...for the Indians 😉

  13. sansho1 Says:

    I have to go with Allen Travers as the worst performance ever. It's no easy trick to play in one major league game and be 2.1 wins below replacement!

  14. eorns Says:

    Also unlikely yesterday:
    In the same (extra) inning, a relief pitcher with a career average of .043 gets the eventual winning hit in the top while another pitcher gets a pinch-hit triple in the bottom. [Bonus: Hitting hero BADenHOP was also the beneficiary of a bad hop that somehow caromed perfectly off the shortstop's shoulder to the second baseman, who turned a double play (off the batter named Turner).]
    Tampa Bay, Boston, Cincinnati, and Colorado each score at least 5 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning of their respective games to overcome a deficit and win the game.
    Cleveland took a 17-1 lead in only the fifth inning. (ok, it's related, but still)
    The Yankees lost their sixth straight, their longest slide in four years.
    Both Upton brothers homered.
    Tim Lincecum also walked six and allowed 7 runs. Meanwhile Grant Balfour didn't walk anyone.
    Did I miss anything?

    Perhaps the baseball gods were distressed by the passing of Harmon Killebrew...

  15. GhostToMost Says:

    Hey just a heads up to the BR guys. I clicked on the boxscore from the game in which Bob Feller surrendered 15 runs against the Yankees, in the boxscore it refers to them as the "Highlanders". Not sure if that is an error or if it is supposed to be there.

  16. Larry R. Says:


    JA...I was thinking the same thing. You haven't lived until you've opened your APBA set and come face-to-face with Bow Wow Arft or Pickles Dillhoefer.

    Oddibe (Young Again) McDowell...

  17. Camlane-Flehinger Says:

    Impresive performance by Allan Travers, first baseball game ever pitched college or major leagues and he recorded 23 outs in play and one strikeout while only giving up 14 earned runs. almost had more outs that hits.

  18. LJF Says:

    Is there a stranger career than Hod Lisenbee? I mean, other than the name, which is just fun to say. He didn't make the majors until he was 28 (4 years of college, some other time in the military), then was 18-9 and led the league in shutouts. He pitched in the majors from 1927-32 (although spent some time in the minors in both '28 and '29). He was then out of the majors until 1936, when he was 1-7 with a 6.20 for the A's. He returned to the minors, retired once, unretired, and made it back tot he majors with the Reds in 1945. Other than his terrific rookie season, he was 19-49, 5.22 ERA and 1.8 SO/9.

    He became part owner of the team in his hometown of Clarksville TN and pitched for them until he was 50 years old.

  19. kingturtle Says:

    it is just evil to leave a 24 year old pitcher in there that long. he should AT LEAST been replaced to start the top of the 5th. i'd have taken him out after LaPorta's double. really unconscionable of Ned Yost.

  20. John Autin Says:

    @14, Eorns -- "another pitcher gets a pinch-hit triple in the bottom [of the 11th]."

    Did you happen to watch that game? Are you a Mets fan?
    I swear, I am now so spooked by Mets injuries that I was sure Niese would break an ankle sliding into 3rd.

  21. Poor Vin Mazzaro » Stathead » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] Vin Mazzaro: Reactions to Mazzaro’s dreadful game from The Platoon Advantage, Baseball-Reference, and Joe [...]

  22. eorns Says:

    I was dying for the center fielder to have kicked the ball away after it went off his glove to get that elusive pitcher ITPHR!!

  23. TheGoof Says:

    Now we know why Bob Feller's ERA was over 4 that year. Without that game, 3.69.

  24. Spindlebrook Says:

    @ LJF

    For strange careers, I give you Joe Pactwa:

  25. Nash Bruce Says:

    In 1999, Pedro Martinez gave up double-digit ER's in only one month. (11, in July, in which he pitched only 19+ innings, no less....)

  26. Nash Bruce Says:

    re: Spindlebrook: I wonder if he has a son/daughter, trying to make the 6+ years in the Mexican League, made Dad (and, makes his progeny) a pretty interesting interview:)

  27. Nash Bruce Says:

    @14: yeah, it has really been one of 'those' years' in MN. Godspeed HK.

    sorry for the numerous postings, btw:(

  28. Neil L. Says:

    Larry R, gotta be a "Bermanism" or is it your original?

  29. Andy Says:

    Nash, no worries. It's not easy when a hero dies.

  30. Neil L. Says:

    OK, so why was Mazzaro hung out to dry and take one for the team last night, especially as a young pitcher?

    Nobody has addressed this issue in here. Was it a short KC bullpen or some other reason. I can't imagine the KC pitching coach being so classless as to let his man be hammered like that.

    Vic Mazzaro has now become the answer to a very cruel trivia question "What reliever had an ERA of more than 22.0 in a single appearance?"

    Somebody better buy Vin a steak dinner!

  31. John Autin Says:

    Spindlebrook, thanks for the pointer to Pactwa. That 1973 season was quite amazing.

    Someday, we'll see another MLB pitcher who's also truly a terrific batter.

    BTW, while gazing at Pactwa's 1970 AA stats (128 walks in 132 G, etc.), I noticed the real hitting star of the Eastern League that year: 19-year-old Greg Luzinski, with a 1.048 OPS, .325-33-120. It was the 2nd of The Bull's 3 straight 30-HR seasons, at A/AA/AAA, all by the age of 20.

    Luzinski's name didn't come up in the recent Bryce Harper theme, but he was a similar prodigy. Luzinski led the 1969 Carolina League (class A) with 31 HRs at age 18. Only 4 other players in that league had 20+ HRs, and they were all at least 4 years older. There were only 2 other 18-year-olds: Cesar Cedeno (who was a MLB regular the next year); and George Zeber, who took another 8 years to finally reach the majors, then had a nice 25-game debut with the '77 Yankees, hitting .323/.405/.508.

    Back to The Bull ... Luzinski played exclusively 1B in the minors and in his first month in the bigs. Somehow the Phillies decided to make him an OF in '72. It didn't exactly take; Luzinski compiled an even -9.0 dWAR in his 9 years in the OF, and that was all in his 20s. The passage on Luzinski's defensive stance in the Bill James HBA is hilarious.

    P.S. Luzinski is credited with 0.2 and 0.1 dWAR in 1981-82, but he played exclusively DH those years with the White Sox. Does that make sense to anyone?

  32. Doug Says:


    I'm with Neil L. What was Yost doing?

    He uses up two pitchers to get through only 2 innings plus a batter. Even though those first two pitchers allowed "only" 3 runs between them.

    Then, Mazzaro comes in and gets through the 3rd unscathed. But, he's left in to face 14 batters in the 10-run fourth. And, (here's the kicker) he's brought out for the 5th to face 5 more hitters (4 of whom reach base). Wonder how many guys have come back to start another inning after absorbing all of a 10-spot?

    I can understand Yost thinking he's got to get more than an inning apiece from his pitchers. But, to treat the first two guys with kid gloves, and then dump on Mazzaro just seems weird.

  33. Larry R. Says:


    I'm not that clever, Neil. It's tied for my favorite Bermanism with Bert (Be Home) Blyleven.

  34. Mets Maven Says:

    Eddie Rommel faced 87 batters in that game. He recorded 9 walks and 7 strikeouts. Does anybody know if that's the record for batters faced in one game? Also, Johnny Burnett went 9 for 11. Is that the record for hits in a game?

  35. John Autin Says:

    @32, Doug -- The SP, Kyle Davies, left with an injury during the 1st inning. So Yost called in a reliever, Nate Adcock, someone who's used to warming up in a hurry. I presume that Yost also had Mazzaro (a starting pitcher) start warming up at the same time.

    Adcock faced 9 batters, which is a longer-than-average stint for today's relievers. So then Mazzaro came in, and retired the side in order in the 3rd. Cleveland already led, 3-0.

    In the 4th, Mazzaro allowed a 1-out run on a bloop single. Then, with 2 out and the bases loaded, Hafner drove a ball into left-center. Melky Cabrera got a bad jump and stumbled going after it; I think he catches that ball more often than not. Anyway, 3 runs scored, and now it's 7-0.

    What should Yost do? It's still just the 4th inning. Mazzaro isn't pitching brilliantly, but he's hardly getting pounded. Should he run through the rest of his bullpen, in a game that they have very little chance of winning?

    I think Yost made reasonable choices. It so happens that the wheels came off: Another soft hit to RF scored a run. A grounder to SS should have been the 3rd out (again), but he double-clutched and threw late; the official scorer gifted a single. A loud double scores 2 more, making it 10-0. But if Yost didn't take out Mazzaro at 7-0, why should he take him out now?

    The score did get ugly, and certainly Mazzaro gave up a good number of hard hits. But in the end, he only threw 77 pitches total. Where, exactly, is the abuse?

    Mazzaro is not a rookie. He has over 200 innings in the big leagues. It's just one game, early in the season. He didn't set any all-time records for runs or hits allowed. This game will be remembered for a while, but not for all time. I don't know how Mazzaro felt about it. But as long as it didn't present any danger to his physical health, I don't see why Yost should be criticized.

  36. nightfly Says:

    Al Travers really deserves an asterisk, because as Furman Bisher reminds us in his collection of essays on baseball oddities, that was "The Day the Tigers Struck." Ty Cobb had been suspended, and the Tigers refused to play until the suspension was lifted. Ban Johnson (IIRC) retaliated by threatening to forfeit all Detroit's games until they returned to the field.

    In desperation, the Tigers were forced to field a team of scrubs and replacements for their game against the A's, and Travers, a Roman Catholic seminarian, took the hill for the faux-Tigers. A couple of their coaches were pressed into service, they scrounged up some sandlotters, and proceeded to be trounced handily.

    You might enjoy this small essay about the game, which also fills in a few of the blanks on the other players and some of the surrounding carnival atmosphere of early major league baseball.

  37. nightfly Says:

    OK... you might enjoy THIS small essay about the game, whose link apparently went down the rabbit hole.

    You guys gotta get a preview button!

  38. John Autin Says:

    In the past 10 years alone, there were 40 other games in which a pitcher allowed at least 11 runs. Should all those managers be criticized for hanging their pitcher out to dry? Consider just a couple of those games:

    -- July 10, 2010, starter Scott Kazmir allows 13 runs over 5 innings in a 15-1 blowout. Kazmir allows 8 runs in the 3rd. With 2 out and a man on in the 5th, Kazmir allows an RBI double (9-0), a single, a 3-run HR (12-0), and another HR (13-0). Mike Scioscia still leaves him in to finish the inning.

    -- August 6, 2008, starter Brandon Backe takes a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the 3rd. With 2 out and a man on, he allows walk, walk, grand slam, double, intentional walk (to face the pitcher), double (by the pitcher), 3-run HR. That's 8 runs, making the score 9-4. Cecil Cooper not only had Backe finish the inning, but sent him out for the 4th, which went like this: walk, single, out, walk, single (and finally Backe was lifted).

  39. Andy Says:

    Yost does not deserve criticism for this move. It was early in the game and he'd already gone through 2 pitchers. If Mazzaro doesn't get through at least a couple of innings, Yost is faced with blowing through his entire bullpen and maybe at least 1 other starting pitcher. The Royals could have been hurt for the next several games.
    As it is, it didn't work out so well because Mazzaro didn't go all that long. But if Mazzaro could have finished out the game and allowed 6 or 7 runs, we'd be calling him a hero. (At least I would.)

  40. Jeff Says:


    My personal favorite Bermanism was José "Won't You Let Me Take You On A Sea" Cruz.

  41. MichaelPat Says:

    @ 31
    P.S. Luzinski is credited with 0.2 and 0.1 dWAR in 1981-82, but he played exclusively DH those years with the White Sox. Does that make sense to anyone?

    Absolutely no sense at all, no. Having Luzinski mash for you without ever having to put on a fielder's glove should be worth 2.0 to 3.0 wins above replacement, easy.

  42. Neil L. Says:

    John, don't be too hard on Doug. I was the one who first inferred mis-use by Ned Yost in post 30.

    Your account of Mazzero's 4th and 5th innings makes it seems as if he was at least partly a victim of bloops, bleeders and defensive gaffes. In the gamelog I can only see two weakly hit balls. How did you get the extra context of the batted balls off Mazzero? Video highlights?

    He got no help anywhere, from the official scorer, his defense, his reliever in the fifth inning...... And after the home run, the horse was out of the barn in that inning so no point yanking him then.

    Two of the ER were his inherited runners scoring in the fifth. Looking over the outing I conclude it was not as if he was being left out there to be embarrased by absorbing punishment.

  43. John Autin Says:

    @42, Neil -- I did not mean to be hard on anyone. I do tend to get argumentative.

    Yes, I saw the video replay of Mazzaro's 10-run inning; I think ESPN showed the outcome of every AB once the carnage started.

    I do feel for Mazzaro, and it sure took some composure and manhood to tough it out.