You Are Here > Baseball-Reference.com > Blog >

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all B-R content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing B-R blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Baseball-Reference.com » Sports Reference

For more from Andy and the gang, check out their new site High Heat Stats.

Josh Tomlin – Part 1: Starts of 5+ Innings to Begin a Career

Posted by Raphy on July 26, 2011

While researching Josh Tomlin for an upcoming post, I came across this tidbit on mlb.com:

"Tomlin has lasted at least five innings in each of his 32 career starts, a modern Major League record."

This is an interesting piece of information that makes for an interesting PI exercise, so lets have at it.

The fact as it is stated, seems to say that Tomlin is the first "modern" pitcher to have pitched at least 5 innings in each of his first 32 major league starts. A quick run of the PI (Pitching streak finder, Pitchers Role:Starter, to start player's career,  IP>=5) reveals that this is not true.

Rk Strk Start End Games W L GS CG SHO GF SV IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA HBP WP BK Tm
1 Pete Alexander 1919-05-09 1920-08-03 54 33 20 54 43 12 0 0 473.1 403 119 99 87 240 11 1.88 1 2 0 CHC
2 John Farrell 1987-08-21 1988-09-20 37 17 10 37 5 0 0 0 262.2 269 128 118 79 112 21 4.04 14 2 4 CLE
3 Pat Malone 1928-04-23 1929-05-24 33 21 11 33 22 4 0 0 276.1 254 104 89 111 148 19 2.90 5 10 0 CHC
4 Josh Tomlin 2010-07-27 2011-07-20 32 17 8 32 1 0 0 0 199.2 190 98 95 34 113 28 4.28 6 3 0 CLE
5 Rick Sutcliffe 1976-09-29 1980-04-11 32 16 8 32 5 1 0 0 232.0 209 102 92 94 112 15 3.57 2 7 6 LAD
6 Leon Cadore 1919-04-19 1920-05-01 31 14 13 31 19 4 0 0 277.2 249 85 68 40 109 4 2.20 7 3 0 BRO
7 Bill Voiselle 1942-09-24 1944-07-28 30 13 15 30 20 1 0 0 239.1 189 87 61 87 125 17 2.29 4 5 0 NYG
8 Josh Towers 2001-05-28 2003-09-18 29 12 13 29 2 1 0 0 192.0 220 97 92 22 90 35 4.31 8 1 0 BAL-TOR
9 Monk Dubiel 1944-04-19 1945-04-19 29 13 13 29 20 3 0 0 239.2 224 96 89 86 81 12 3.34 1 1 1 NYY
10 Waite Hoyt 1919-07-31 1921-05-27 29 14 12 29 17 3 0 0 240.0 242 110 96 66 76 4 3.60 1 3 0 BOS-NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/26/2011.

EDIT: As Johnny pointed out in the comments, #1  and #6 don't count because their careers actually began before 1919.  So John Farrell would actually be the post-1919 record holder.

Unless the "modern era" started after 1988, Tomlin is not quite there yet.

Perhaps the intended meaning is that Tomlin is the first pitcher to have made starts of at least 5 innings in each of his first 32 big league games. There are couple of ways to check this with PI. One way is to use the pitching game finder to find streaks of all games to start a career requiring that the pitcher started and pitched at least 5 innings. You can do that by:

  • Selecting Pitcher's role: Either
  • Selecting: To Start a player's career
  • Setting IP>=5
  • Setting Game Score <=999 (This eliminates pitchers who relieved during their streak)

This list has Tomlin on top:

Rk Strk Start End Games W L GS CG SHO GF SV IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA HBP WP BK Tm
1 Josh Tomlin 2010-07-27 2011-07-20 32 17 8 32 1 0 0 0 199.2 190 98 95 34 113 28 4.28 6 3 0 CLE
2 Daisuke Matsuzaka 2007-04-05 2007-09-03 28 14 11 28 1 0 0 0 181.2 169 83 83 67 177 21 4.11 12 4 0 BOS
3 Steve Rogers 1973-07-18 1974-05-14 24 16 6 24 12 3 0 0 193.0 140 50 44 68 99 9 2.05 1 3 1 MON
4 Runelvys Hernandez 2002-07-15 2003-05-14 21 8 7 21 0 0 0 0 132.1 121 58 54 44 76 13 3.67 3 3 1 KCR
5 Chris Nabholz 1990-06-11 1991-06-06 21 8 5 21 1 1 0 0 133.0 93 48 47 61 93 9 3.18 3 3 1 MON
6 Barry Zito 2000-07-22 2001-04-29 20 10 6 20 1 1 0 0 130.0 101 52 47 59 122 9 3.25 3 5 0 OAK
7 Howard Ehmke 1919-04-25 1919-07-21 20 12 7 20 16 2 0 0 173.2 163 69 49 71 58 3 2.54 4 2 0 DET
8 Michael Pineda 2011-04-05 2011-07-19 19 8 6 19 0 0 0 0 119.1 88 46 43 38 119 11 3.24 4 6 0 SEA
9 Butch Wensloff 1943-05-02 1943-08-17 19 10 7 19 14 0 0 0 163.2 122 52 41 58 85 1 2.25 1 2 1 NYY
10 Wayne Simpson 1970-04-09 1970-07-05 18 13 1 18 9 2 0 0 139.0 86 40 35 60 93 10 2.27 3 4 1 CIN
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/26/2011.

EDIT: Howard Ehmke's career actually began before 1919, so his numbers here don't count. See note above.

Now this seems a lot more likely. Tomlin tops this list, passing up Daisuke's streak from 4 years ago.

I suppose I am over-looking the obvious meaning of the stat, that as we stand today, Tomlin holds the career record for most starts by a pitcher who pitched at least 5 innings in every career start, but that seems silly. Presumably Tomlin will pitch many more games in his career. However, if you wish to confirm this (since 1919) all you have to do is check the 3 pitchers above Tomlin on the first list and note that the number of starts in their streaks are less than their total career starts. Hence, for the time being, Tomlin is the record holder in this stat, as well.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 at 1:44 pm and is filed under Streak Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Josh Tomlin – Part 1: Starts of 5+ Innings to Begin a Career”

  1. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Some people may not realize that Alexander's career started before 1919, but the search is only picking up from the beginning of B-R's boxscore database.

  2. Thanks Johnny.
    That used to be a standard disclaimer, but I haven't posted a search like this in while and forgot all about it. Thanks for backing up my error.
    I have edited the post to reflect this information.

  3. I'm starting to use the PI... How may I (for example) find out the Joe DiMaggio streak? I'm trying but I'm doing something wrong.... Thanks!

  4. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Aaron, not sure where you're going wrong, so I'll just go through the whole process.

    On the PI front page, under Streak Finders, choose Player Batting.

    On the right side, under "Find the Longest Streaks..." you select what type of streak you are looking for. Choose Hits >= 1.

    Streak searches are server-intensive, so you can't search all seasons at once. Pick a subset of seasons, for instance 1919 to 1950. And you get the longest hitting streaks in that period, with Joe D right on top: http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/RolIi

  5. Oooh! Right! I got it and did it. I have to subscribe to B-R now for getting more information. Thank you.

    I read you everytime like all the others... Thanks!

  6. Steve Rogers again...nice.

  7. Mike Gaber Says:

    Any list that has Monk Dubiel's name on it is of interest to me.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/d/dubiemo01.shtml

    I remember when I first heard the PA announcer at Wrigley Field announce his name in 1948.
    Then the following year 1949 he pitched for the Cubs thru 1952.
    So we got to hear it a lot. Seemed then every player had a great nickname.

    Didn't know until checking he BB-Ref link above that he was a war time callup by the Yanks in 1944 and 1945.

  8. John Farrell should have started himself against the Orioles tonight.

  9. John Autin Says:

    @6, Tmckelv -- Steve Rogers, indeed. He had one of the best half-season debuts in MLB history:

    -- 13 straight Game Scores of 50+ to start his career. No one else since 1919 has started off with more than 11 (Bob Stoddard, 1981-82), nor more than 9 in the same season.

    -- 18 straight starts allowing 3 ERs or less; topped just once since them (Aaron Sele, 21, 1993-94).

  10. Raphy, as always, thanks for the nitty-gritty details on the search.

  11. Hey john thanks for the solid explanation !! It proved a point for me !!

  12. I'd almost forgotten about Wayne Simpson and his one big year. I'd also forgotten he was traded by the Pirates even-up for Bill Robinson in '75. That one worked out pretty well for the Bucs.

  13. @12 Wayne Simpson had arm problems in 1970 and only pitched in 1 game in August and 1 game in September and missed the playoffs. His arm troubles hindered him his entire year and he could never match his 14 wins in 1970.