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Derek Holland has 4 shutouts and a 4.14 ERA

Posted by John Autin on July 30, 2011

Derek Holland shut out the Blue Jays in Toronto Saturday, his 4th shutout of the year and 3rd in his last 5 starts. He threw just 26 balls out of 95 pitches, walking 1, with 5 strikeouts. In the 4 shutouts, he's allowed a total of 18 hits, 5 walks and 1 HBP.

Despite the shutouts, Holland's season ERA is 4.14 in 22 starts. In the previous 30 years, 107 pitchers had a season with at least 4 shutouts; every last one finished the season with an ERA under 4.00, and the majority were under 3.00.

Since 1981, here are the 25 highest ERAs in a season of 4+ shutouts:

1 Bob Ojeda 3.99 5 1984 26 BOS AL 33 32 8 0 12 12 .500 0 216.2 211 106 96 96 137 105 17 928 816 34 6 2 2 8 6 15 13 19 2 1 0 .259 .336 .377 .713
2 Britt Burns 3.96 4 1985 26 CHW AL 36 34 8 1 18 11 .621 0 227.0 206 105 100 79 172 109 26 944 852 36 5 1 2 6 5 20 17 8 1 0 2 .242 .306 .387 .693
3 Tom Seaver 3.95 4 1984 39 CHW AL 34 33 10 1 15 11 .577 0 236.2 216 108 104 61 131 105 27 978 900 39 5 3 2 8 7 8 27 4 2 0 5 .240 .288 .384 .672
4 Carlos Perez 3.88 5 1997 26 MON NL 33 32 8 0 12 13 .480 0 206.2 206 109 89 48 110 108 21 857 793 51 9 1 4 5 7 24 11 4 4 1 2 .260 .303 .426 .729
5 Ken Forsch 3.87 4 1982 35 CAL AL 37 35 12 2 13 11 .542 0 228.0 225 108 98 57 73 105 25 955 873 35 5 2 11 8 6 16 9 11 0 0 1 .258 .309 .395 .705
6 Bruce Hurst 3.85 4 1992 34 SDP NL 32 32 6 0 14 9 .609 0 217.1 223 96 93 51 131 93 22 902 835 31 3 3 0 12 4 8 18 10 2 3 4 .267 .308 .390 .698
7 Richard Dotson 3.77 4 1981 22 CHW AL 24 24 5 0 9 8 .529 0 141.0 145 67 59 49 73 96 13 599 537 21 4 0 4 4 5 16 15 7 0 2 3 .270 .333 .397 .729
8 Mike Morgan 3.75 4 1990 30 LAD NL 33 33 6 0 11 15 .423 0 211.0 216 100 88 60 106 98 19 891 811 37 4 5 5 11 4 19 16 13 0 1 4 .266 .319 .392 .711
9 Fernando Valenzuela 3.75 4 1983 22 LAD NL 35 35 9 0 15 10 .600 0 257.0 245 122 107 99 189 96 16 1094 960 51 4 10 3 27 5 19 24 17 7 1 12 .255 .325 .367 .692
10 Geoff Zahn 3.73 4 1982 36 CAL AL 34 34 12 0 18 8 .692 0 229.1 225 100 95 65 81 109 18 944 868 48 8 5 4 4 3 32 2 12 2 0 2 .259 .313 .395 .708
11 Tom Glavine 3.68 4 1989 23 ATL NL 29 29 6 0 14 8 .636 0 186.0 172 88 76 40 90 99 20 766 709 25 3 3 2 11 4 14 12 11 8 0 2 .243 .283 .371 .654
12 Britt Burns 3.58 4 1983 24 CHW AL 29 26 8 0 10 11 .476 0 173.2 165 79 69 55 115 118 14 732 663 26 9 2 5 6 3 10 15 8 4 0 6 .249 .310 .379 .688
13 Tom Browning 3.55 4 1985 25 CIN NL 38 38 6 0 20 9 .690 0 261.1 242 111 103 73 155 107 29 1083 987 48 1 8 3 13 7 18 16 8 1 0 2 .245 .297 .384 .681
14 David Wells 3.49 5 1998 35 NYY AL 30 30 8 0 18 4 .818 0 214.1 195 86 83 29 163 127 29 851 817 35 4 0 1 2 2 14 9 7 0 0 2 .239 .265 .398 .663
15 Mark Mulder 3.45 4 2001 23 OAK AL 34 34 6 0 21 8 .724 0 229.1 214 92 88 51 153 126 16 927 860 34 2 4 5 8 3 26 18 8 6 0 4 .249 .294 .349 .643 3307 2108
16 Dave Fleming 3.39 4 1992 22 SEA AL 33 33 7 0 17 10 .630 0 228.1 225 95 86 60 112 117 13 946 877 53 4 3 4 3 2 16 18 14 0 1 8 .257 .306 .371 .677
17 Jack McDowell 3.37 4 1993 27 CHW AL 34 34 10 0 22 10 .688 0 256.2 261 104 96 69 158 125 20 1067 981 43 4 6 3 8 6 19 10 15 6 1 8 .266 .314 .379 .694
18 Bret Saberhagen 3.36 4 1987 23 KCR AL 33 33 15 0 18 10 .643 0 257.0 246 99 96 53 163 136 27 1048 975 49 7 2 6 8 5 19 10 10 2 1 6 .252 .294 .400 .694
19 Joaquin Andujar 3.34 4 1984 31 STL NL 36 36 12 0 20 14 .588 0 261.1 218 104 97 70 147 106 20 1052 954 35 8 13 7 12 9 18 28 8 5 4 6 .229 .284 .345 .629
20 Jack Morris 3.33 4 1985 30 DET AL 35 35 13 0 16 11 .593 0 257.0 212 102 95 110 191 122 21 1077 944 32 7 7 5 11 7 20 19 9 0 3 15 .225 .307 .340 .647
21 A.J. Burnett 3.30 5 2002 25 FLA NL 31 29 7 0 12 9 .571 0 204.1 153 84 75 90 203 122 12 844 732 31 3 5 9 9 4 14 10 10 1 0 14 .209 .302 .309 .611 3263 1991
22 Mike Mussina 3.29 4 1995 26 BAL AL 32 32 7 0 19 9 .679 0 221.2 187 86 81 50 158 145 24 882 827 45 7 4 1 2 2 14 4 6 1 0 2 .226 .270 .385 .655
23 Randy Johnson 3.28 6 1998 34 TOT ML 34 34 10 0 19 11 .633 0 244.1 203 102 89 86 329 136 23 1014 907 38 1 1 14 5 2 13 31 19 3 2 7 .224 .300 .344 .644
24 Ramon Martinez 3.27 4 1991 23 LAD NL 33 33 6 0 17 13 .567 0 220.1 190 89 80 69 150 110 18 916 828 33 1 4 7 8 4 6 16 9 1 0 6 .229 .293 .337 .630
25 Jack Morris 3.27 6 1986 31 DET AL 35 35 15 0 21 8 .724 0 267.0 229 105 97 82 223 127 40 1092 1000 38 8 7 0 7 3 20 21 8 1 0 12 .229 .287 .403 .690
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/30/2011.

All but 5 of those 107 pitchers had an ERA+ of at least 100; Holland's ERA+ was 97 before Saturday, so it's probably over 100 now. The last pitcher with at least 4 shutouts and an ERA+ below 110 was Carlos Perez in 1997 (5 shutouts, 108 ERA+).

It's been an up-and-down month for Holland. In his first July start, he was knocked out in the 1st inning after allowing 5 runs. He threw shutouts in his next 2 starts, home to Oakland and at Seattle. Then he was roughed up by the Angels for 7 ER in 5.1 IP. In his next start, the 20-6 win over Minnesota, he allowed 1 unearned run in 6 IP. And then another shutout today.

Holland now has 5 shutouts in 53 career starts (69 games). That's the most shutouts in the first 70 career games since 1997 (Carlos Perez). Among active pitchers, only A.J. Burnett and Dontrelle Willis had even 4 shutouts in their first 70 games. All of Holland's CGs have been shutouts.

73 Responses to “Derek Holland has 4 shutouts and a 4.14 ERA”

  1. jim Says:

    now if only he could get a cool nickname like complete-game james has

  2. Neil L. Says:

    JA, having been a fan victim of Holland's dominance today, I have to say he was amazing. He threw a 96-mph fastball in the bottom of the ninth inning and kept his pitch count low all day. Toronto is not Seattle or San Diego offensively.

    And what about the number of shutouts by the entire Texas staff this year, not just Derek Holland? I like their post-season chances, even without bolstering their bullpen.

    The point was made today, on the Blue Jays' broadcast, that the Texas Rangers starters have the best winning percentage in baseball, not even counting Holland's win today.

    Nice post, JA. You are all over an interesting pitching statistic. In an up-and-down month for Derek, today was an up day!

  3. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    To put it a slightly different way, most pitcher seasons with ShO ≥ 4 and ERA+ ≤ 99, 1901 to 2011:

    Three: Pol Perritt, 1915 to 1918; Bob Groom, 1913 to 1917.

    Two: Larry Dierker, 1972 and 1976; Don Sutton, 1969 and 1970; Bill Singer, 1968 and 1976; Claude Osteen, 1967 and 1971; Vern Law, 1964 and 1966; Bill ("Pray for Rain") Voiselle, 1945 and 1949; Irv Young, 1906 and 1910; Harry McIntire, 1906 and 1908; Christy Mathewson, 1906 and 1914; Chief Bender, 1904 and 1905.

    Neil, don't you think the expansion Blue Jays would have gladly taken another season like 1976 from Singer?

  4. donburgh Says:

    Somewhat surprised that no one has mentioned that Doug Fister will be getting his run support as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

  5. Max Says:

    Holland is the second player with four shutouts this season - after Cliff Lee, of course - leaving behind Big Game James and Jason Vargas, still with three. Lee has an ERA+ of 124, Shields 118. Vargas? 91. (4.09 ERA) I'm highly anticipating Vargas's fourth of the season, just to see the post here about how rare it is for two pitchers with ERAs that high to have so many flashes of brilliance.

  6. Neil L. Says:

    Kahuna, no doubt. But it was the first year of expansion for Toronto and was Bill Singer available in the expansion draft?

  7. Liam Says:

    the yanks juse score 12 runs in the first inning against BAL . Most ever for Yanks in an inning and most in a game since '05. Is this a sign of a great offensive team or a random occurance? their 2009 team had a prolific offense, but i wonder how many of their awful teams in the late 60s to mid 70s had sporadic outbursts like this is ever

  8. Timmy P Says:

    The Dutch Oven!

  9. TheLegendaryFrankKing Says:

    I was going to say it but #8 (Timmy) beat me to it...

    Holland is very streaky, that's where the 4+ ERA comes from. He is very prone to giving up the big inning. Everybody that follows him knows this and it's gotten to the point where as a Rangers fan I am almost waiting for him to blow up. He's a young kid so usually a good talking to get's him back on track. If you can get a look at it, the video of Ron Washington yelling expletives in his face during a mound visit in the second is pretty hilarious.

  10. BSK Says:

    Off topic, but the Yanks put up a 12 spot in the first handing and were up 15-0 in the 2nd. Since the game isn't uploaded here, I can't see any WPA data, but I'm curious what their odds of winning were during the 1st and 2nd innings and whether that is the highest achieved so early in the game. I also saw that Britton let 9 of the 10 batters he face score (only 6 ER). What is the most number of runs allowed when BF >= 10? 20? How would I search for this?

  11. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ John,

    Since you seemed to enjoy our mutual and somewhat bemused success of Ned Garver, and partially inspired by this post (4 SHO), some previous posts and the wonders of the play Index, I unearthed this pitching oddity, which I thought - you of all people would be as astonished and interested as I was.
    1919 Slim Sallee, 24 SO, 20 BB, 227.67 IP, 28 GS, 21-7 or 28 decisions in 28 GSs and 2.03 ERA (135 ERA+).
    Nicknamed SCATTER!

  12. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    What is the most number of runs allowed when BF [≤] 10? 20? How would I search for this?

    BSK, here's how. On the Pitching Game Finder, 1) keep “Find All Matching Games” checked at the top, 2) under Pitcher’s Role, check “Starter,” 3) Sorted by “R,” and 4) under “Select Additional Criteria Games Must Match,” select “BF” and set the number to whatever you want.

  13. Richard Chester Says:


    Why not check the Dodgers-Reds box score of 5/21/52.

  14. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    But . . . was Bill Singer available in the expansion draft?

    I thought you'd catch my reference, Neil — sorry! Search for "Singer" on this page, then look at the box score for Opening Day 1977. Singer had come to Minnesota in mid-1976 as part of the Rangers' trade for Bert Blyleven.

  15. Doug Says:


    Okay, Duke, I'll bite.

    Other than matching his career-best 4 shutouts, what is so "astonishing" about Slim (Scatter) Sallee's 1919 season?

  16. Doug Says:


    I remember the 1977 game (Blue Jays franchise opener) well. Jays win in a snowstorm (literally) behind Doug Ault's two homers.

    Certainly, as their opening day starter, the Jays were expecting more than they got from Singer that year. Only 33, he really fell off a cliff, going out of the majors for good after only 12 starts and a 6.79 ERA. I'm presuming Singer must have been injured (I don't recall) as he didn't play in the minors after his last major league game, but wasn't released by the Blue Jays until after the following (1978) season.

  17. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Doug, look at his K and BB numbers.

    That season was recently mentioned for some reason on the blog here.

    OFF-TOPIC ALERT: Justin Verlander has 41 straight starts of at least 100 pitches. This *may* be the longest since 1988 (but some incomplete pitch data could be screwing with those results). This may be the longest going back even further than that, since back in the day there was a tendency for SP to get pulled quicker as well as last longer. Perhaps one of our intrepid bloggers can figure out whose streak likely topped Verlander's, using the pitch count estimator or whatever other tools may be available to them.

  18. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    I'm presuming Singer must have been injured (I don't recall) as he didn't play in the minors after his last major league game, but wasn't released by the Blue Jays until after the following (1978) season.

    Here’s a thumbnail sketch of Bill Singer’s injury history.

    Singer hurt his pitching shoulder in the minors in 1963. In 1966, while at AAA Spokane, Singer had an operation on the shoulder, which was apparently so enlarged that it restricted blood flow in the artery that ran through it. Surgeons removed a rib to relieve the pressure. During the 1970 season Singer missed two months with hepatitis and broke a finger on his pitching hand while running the bases. In 1974, after a fast start, he went on the DL with back problems and had to have lumbar surgery. The next season he had calcium deposits removed from his elbow. By the time the Angels traded him he was a shadow of the prospect he'd been in the mid-'60s.

    Singer started the first Toronto game ever (4/7/77), but his back and shoulder problems recurred and he battled general ineffectiveness. He went 2-8 in 1977 with a 6.79 ERA. He remained on the Blue Jays’ roster through the 1978 season but did not pitch again.

    (I’ve edited this summary from the 1974 Topps – Pennant Fever blog. Link to the Singer entry is here.)

  19. Gerry Says:

    Jim Bibby threw 5 shutouts in 1974 with an ERA of 4.74 (and an ERA+ of 75). Going back a couple more generations, Joe Giard threw 5 shutouts in 1925 with an ERA of 5.04.

  20. Doug Says:


    Thanks JT. Missed the earlier blog reference to Slim (guess you had to be there).

    I did see the BB and K numbers and, yeah, they look pretty weird today, but I was thinking perhaps not so much then. Seems Sallee always had good control and, when he was younger, perhaps a bit of zip, at least by deadball standards (100+ Ks in '12, '13 and '14). As his strikeout totals faded, so did his walks - probably to compensate. Still, his walk rates were only top 10 most of his career, and he had to go under 1 BB/9 to lead the league. So, doesn't seem like he was in a class by himself or something in having that kind of control.

  21. Doug Says:


    Thanks, Kahuna, for the injury story on Singer.

    One thing I noticed about his game logs for '77 was that he took his regular turn through to June 1, then didn't pitch again until mid-July when he had one start followed by a final relief apperance a few days later. Guess, he gave it a rest for a month or so, then tried it out again, but it just wasn't happening.

    The real question is what were the Twins thinking in giving up Blyleven to get a guy with all that injury history plus the extra mileage (7 years older than Bert). I know the trade was more than Blyleven and Singer, but doesn't seem like the Twins got very much for a young guy who could consistently deliver 275+ IP with an ERA under 3.

    Evidently, the Twins realized their mistake (despite Singer's decent showing for them in '76) and left him unprotected for the expansion draft. Buyer beware!

  22. BSK Says:

    Thanks, Richard.

    On May 21st, 1952, the Dodgers put up a 15 spot in the bottom on the first inning, going on to win 19-1. Andy Pafko drove in Snider and Reese with a single off Herm Wehmeier, racked up a WPA of 1 and moved the Dodgers odds of winning to 99% with the score 10-0, runners on 1st and 2nd, and 2 outs in the 1st. The Dodgers actually held a 100% chance of winning as early as the top of the 2nd and reached this level for good after the top of the 3rd. Now, obviously, no team has a 100% chance of winning a game that isn't over, which means this is either a rounding issue or a slight breakdown in expected winning percentage towards the very tail ends of the curve. But, my hunch is that this game trumps last night's Yankees game for quickest to achieve such levels.

  23. Dave Says:

    3 shutouts in July and he still had a 3.60 ERA for the month...and that includes a 4th start where he gave up 0 ERs as well. Feast of famine with this guy.

  24. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 15

    It wasn't a 'bite' type comment, and no JT he wasn't mentioned earlier (I think), Ned Garver was.
    But @ Doug, I just put in shutouts = 4 into the PI finder and saw a guy who had great numbers for only striking out 24 guys in over 220 IP.
    For all the talk of Batting AVG on balls in play, I find it hard to believe he would have such a great season with so few SOs and figured some guys on this blog who find that stat interesting, or at the least, spark some conversation.
    Basically, Slim got 683 outs - 24 by SO. So 659 outs were made in the field, or you can say, with the 221 hits he allowed 880 balls were put in play, but he still had a 2.04 ERA.
    In 1999, Pedro Martinez, with a similar IP total and ERA got 640 outs, but struck out 313, so only 327 outs were made in the field, plus his 160 hits, 487 balls were put into play.
    We know that by the law of averages that BALLs IN PLAY even out over a long season, an equal amount fall for hits, on average. I'd even speculate that more balls in play fell for hits in the dead ball due to slap hitting and poor fielding and bad gloves, etc.
    It, to me, is a astonishing, that for all the Balls in Play for Mr. Scatter, he was incredibly lucky. I think minus the luck, Scatter would of gave up closer to 300 hits. I know his walk total helped, the lack of HRs in 1919 and maybe his ability to keep batters off balance led to his low ERA, but I still think he pitched one of the luckier seasons you'll ever see.

  25. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Also Balls in Play can result in runners moving up, errors and Sac Flys, all things Pedro avoided about 300 more times than Scatter. So say, 1 in 10 balls in play results in one of the 3 scenarios I just mentioned, Scatter would have given up 30 extra bases than Pedro, not counting GIDPs of course.

  26. Richard Chester Says:


    The largest overcome lead is 12 runs and it has occurred 3 times.
    8-5-2001 Cleveland over Seattle, final score 15-14
    6-15-1925 Philadelphia over Cleveland 17-15
    6-18-1911 Detroit over Chicago 15-13

  27. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I did see the BB and K numbers and, yeah, they look pretty weird today, but I was thinking perhaps not so much then. ... doesn't seem like he was in a class by himself or something in having that kind of control.

    Yeah, it's really more about the Ks than the BBs. Since 1903 (which is when I believe the AL instituted the foul-strike rule), there have been 4,767 pitcher-seasons of at least 200 IP. Of those, only 97 averaged fewer than 2 K/9. Only TWO averaged under 1 K/9: Slim Sallee 1919 and Ernie Wingard 1924, both at 0.95. It's true they were a product of their times, but even for their times they were only at about 1/3 of the league K-rate.

    I was already familiar with Sallee's season for some reason. I don't remember ever hearing of Wingard. 1924 was his first season and his best. He only lasted three more years.


    For all the talk of Batting AVG on balls in play, I find it hard to believe he would have such a great season with so few SOs.... We know that by the law of averages that BALLs IN PLAY even out over a long season, an equal amount fall for hits, on average. I'd even speculate that more balls in play fell for hits in the dead ball due to slap hitting and poor fielding and bad gloves, etc.

    Sallee's BABIP was .262, vs a league average of .278, so not such an outlier. With such a low K-rate there's less margin for error, but he did all the things a pitcher has to do to survive. He didn't walk people, he didn't give up HR, he didn't hit batters or make wild pitches or commit balks. And it looks like he probably had a pretty good defense helping him out. It's a good point that errors were a bigger part of the game at that time, and a low-K pitcher would be hurt more by them. We don't have records yet on how many players ROE vs Sallee compared to others.

    It's interesting that the formulas for projecting a pitcher's ERA based only on his fielding-independent stats (DIPS or FIP) say that a theoretical pitcher who struck out no one, but also walked no one and allowed no HR, would be quite effective (this season, an ERA of about 3.08).

  28. Neil L. Says:

    Kahuna, duhhh ~slaps himself in the forehead~ I was around for the Blue Jays first season. 🙁

  29. Gerry Says:

    The worst single-season strikeouts-relative-to-league for 1901-1919 was Slim Sallee, 33 (that means striking out batters at a rate 33% of league average) in 1919. The worst since 1920 is Ernie Wingard, 35 in 1924.

    The fewest strikeouts-plus-walks relative to league since 1920 goes to Dick Errickson, 1940, at 33% of league.

    In 1927, Wingard gave up 16.96 baserunners per nine innings pitched, in a league where the average was only 13.34; the difference, 3.62, is in the all-time top ten (or was, in 2003, when someone worked this out). His ERA that season was 6.58, compared to league average 4.13; the 2.45 difference was the 3rd worst ever (again, at least up to 2003).

    Sallee, with his 21 wins and 24 strikeouts, is the only 20th century 20-game winner with 35 or fewer strikeouts.

  30. Doug Says:

    @Duke, JT, Gerry.

    Wow. Thanks for the dope on Sallee.

    JT's explanation below seems to be the most likely reason for Sallee's success in his later years. Hard to wrap your mind around it, but there it is.

    "It's interesting that the formulas for projecting a pitcher's ERA based only on his fielding-independent stats (DIPS or FIP) say that a theoretical pitcher who struck out no one, but also walked no one and allowed no HR, would be quite effective (this season, an ERA of about 3.08)."

    Wingard's name also popped up on a blog recently. He's the proud owner of the lowest game score ever for a pitcher recording a complete game victory (it was a game score of 6 in a game he won 15-11). That seems to fit with Gerry's description @29.

  31. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ Jerry, Doug, and Must Rep,

    I think a good modern day comparison for "Scatter" - would be Bob Tewksbury. In 92-93 'Tewks" walked 40 while recording 33 wins.
    He also didn't strikeout 100 in either season.
    Incredibly, his '92 ERA (2.16) was 2nd to a Bob Swift who only clocked 164 IP, but them rules r them rules.
    Amazing in '92 how Swift beat out Tewksbury, Maddux, Schilling, Martinez and Rijo.
    For pitchers with at least 162 IP & and a WHIP of 1.3, Tewks in '93 has the second fewest BB with 20. If you raise the threshold to 200 IP no one even comes close.
    also in 1993, Tewksbury did something pretty strange, he had the best BB/9 and the worst H/9.

  32. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I seem to recall that some people thought Tewks threw *too many* strikes, which led to his getting roughed up at times. I don't remember what his stuff was like, but my guess is that it was very marginal, and pinpoint control was the only way he could survive. The guy had a quality career and I'm not sure if he could have done any better by changing his style. One of a few useful starters that the mid-80s Yankees traded away and could have been used by the early '90s Yankees.

  33. Gerry Says:

    @30, since 1919, on 7 occasions a pitcher had a complete game victory with a Game Score of 16 or worse, and every single one was in the American League, and all came between 1921 and 1938. In three of the 7 games, the Browns were the losing team.

  34. Gerry Says:

    Ernie Wingard's list of most similar pitchers includes both Chubby Dean and Tiny Osborne. I guess the similarity scores don't include points for nicknames.

  35. Nash Bruce Says:

    @31 Duke: OMG I have so little to offer this site, but I think that I just found something, that I hope no one else has ever mentioned before, because, I'd have to believe, that it is a totally unique occurence.......
    When you mentioned 'Bob' Swift, you'd actually meant Bill Swift, and I felt a little nostalgic, and so then I went back and looked at Bill Swift's career stats.......and, there, at number 10, in Bill Swift's career similarity scores, was none other than......Bill Swift.
    This Bill Swift was apparently a (fairly decent) Pirates pitcher, in the 30's.....
    I'm not a mathematics genius, sorry:( but if someone would care to calculate the odds of that happening, I'd be interested....:)

  36. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Sorry Nash,

    I hate to burst balloons, but their are a pair of SSs named Alex Gonzalez. One retired 4 years ago, the other still active, so this is liable to change, but they are eachothers #1 similarity score.
    I like to refer to this as the GONZALI EFFECT.

  37. ottoc Says:

    Virgil Trucks should be an honorary member of that list. In 1952, while going 5-19 for the Tigers, he had three shut-out victories, a 9-inning shut-out no decision, and was deprived of another shut-out by an unearned run. Amazingly, two of his wins were no-hitters and a third was a one-hitter (first batter of the game).

  38. Dukeofflatbush Says:


    Isn't it a strange phenomenon, that a 1 hitter is given less credibility or respect, when the hit came in the early innings.
    Mike Mussina lost two no-hitters in the 9th and everyone made such a big deal of that. I know dramatics play a role in that, but I never heard of the Trucks one hitter. Same for Dave Steib, I think he had two no-hitters broke up in the ninth.
    I even think the Galarga "Call" of last year, wouldn't of been that big a deal if it happened in the 4th inning and he still went on to face 28 batters.

  39. Tmckelv Says:


    "Isn't it a strange phenomenon, that a 1 hitter is given less credibility or respect, when the hit came in the early innings."

    I don't think it is strange. I believe it is "easier" to get hitters out without the No-Hitter possibility hanging over someone's head. It would be strange if there was some kind of statistic (like game score or something) that credited a pitcher more for giving up a late hit rather than an early hit - but for ALL stats, the 2 games look the same.

    "I even think the Galarga "Call" of last year, wouldn't of been that big a deal if it happened in the 4th inning and he still went on to face 28 batters."

    I agree with this point, but not to the same degree as you (perceived). I don't believe that everything would necessarily happen exactly the same after a certain event is changed. Therefore, I can't get too upset over a "blown call" in the 4th inning, because I don't think the game would have necessarily ended up the same (i.e. the rest of the batters making out) if the "call" was not missed. Obviously the outrage in the Galaraga game is that if the call is not missed, the game IS over - no other events would be necessary to contemplate. In my mind, the blown call at the end of the game does take away a perfect game, whereas the one in the 4th only takes away a theoretical perfect game (one pitched without the No-Hitter/Perfect Game hanging over the players head).

  40. MCT Says:

    re: Bill Singer's 1977 season. According to newspaper articles in the Google News Archive:

    --Singer was placed on the DL on 6/8/77 due to "recurring arm problems". Placing Singer on the DL made room on the 25-man roster for Doug Rader, who was acquired from the Padres on the same day.

    --Singer was activated from the DL on or about 7/13/77. To make room for him, the Blue Jays optioned Tom Bruno to AAA.

    --Singer was returned to the DL on or about 7/22/77 due to "back problems". His roster spot was filled by calling up Jim Clancy from AA.

    --On 8/3/77, Singer had surgery on a ruptured disc in his back. Articles indicated that he was done for the season and that it was questionable whether he would ever pitch again.

    --According to an AP article that ran in a couple of a different papers in the Archive on 8/3/77, the Blue Jays had become involved in a dispute with the Twins and the league office over the terms of Singer's contract. At the time Singer was traded to the Twins, he was playing under an $80,000 a year contract. While the article doesn't explicitly state this, it seems to imply that this contract expired after the 1976 season, but was subject to an additional one-year option under the reserve clause. Shortly after the Twins acquired Singer, however, they signed him to a new contract for the 1977, 1978 and 1979 seasons, at $100,000 a year, guaranteed. The Blue Jays claimed that were only aware of the old contract when they drafted Singer, and didn't realize they were taking on a $100,000 a year guaranteed obligation through 1979. (This contract may explain why Singer was carried on the DL for so long after he played his last game; the Blue Jays apparently had to pay him either way.)

    Singer was placed on the DL again for the start of the 1978 season. During the following offseason, on 12/1/78, he was placed on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.

  41. John Autin Says:

    Hi, gang -- I'm away for a long weekend, just doing a quick check-in.

    Re: Verlander's latest near-no-hitter on Sunday:

    It was his 4th game this year with at least 8 IP and no more than 2 hits allowed. (9 IP-0 hits; 9 IP-2 hits; 8 IP-1 hit; 8 IP-2 hits.)

    The season record since 1919 for starts of 8+ IP and 2 hits or less is 5, done by 5 different pitchers, only one of whom I would have guessed in 20 tries:

    Verlander's 5 total hits allowed in those 4 games matches the fewest for any pitcher with 4 or 5 such games in a season, including Nolan Ryan, who appears 3 times in the "4 games" group.

    The most surprising one in the "5 games" group is Ron Darling, for the 1992 A's: Three 2-hit shutouts (two vs. Toronto in July) and two games of 8 IP-2 hits. Darling's season hits rate was 8.6 H/9, and the trio of 2-hitters were all of his shutouts that year.

    Also ... Verlander's current hit rate of 6.02 H/9 would be the 27th-lowest qualifying season since 1893, as well as a Tigers franchise record (by far). Verlander and Beckett (currently 5.75 H/9) would be the lowest hit rates since 2000 (Pedro).

  42. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It was also Verlander's 42nd straight start of at least 100 pitches, extending the longest streak in.....over 20 years?

  43. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Another not on the Tewk, He had two seasons of SO than 4.5 (he actually led the league in the latter category both years).
    Only two other pitchers have had SO 4.5 in a qualifying season.
    Bob Tewks SO=97 SO/BB=4.85 213.2 1993 STL 0 17 10 20 3.83 104
    Bob Tewks SO=91 SO/BB=4.55 233.0 1992 STL 0 16 5 20 2.16 158
    Babe Adams SO=84 SO/BB=4.67 263.0 1920 PIT 8 17 13 18 2.16 150
    Carlos Silva SO=71 SO/BB=7.89 188.1 2005 MIN 0 9 8 9 3.44 130

    amazing they all had good ERA+ and winning seasons. Babe Adams even led the league in SHO.

  44. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ JT,

    What is even more impressive than those 42-100+ games, IMO, because I think plenty of pitchers (CC comes to mind) that can do 100 every time out, is even if the pitcher can go 100+ every game of a season - you rarely see a guy not have at least one 'mulligan' type game where he gets knocked out in the third or fourth inning.
    With Verlander I think it is a combination of; when he does give up a few, he stays composed and sticks with the game plan, and second, Leyland has faith in him and will let him work out of it.

  45. Neil L. Says:

    JA, no checking your laptop whle on vacation! 🙂

    I broke that rule this summer, while on holidays.

  46. Nash Bruce Says:

    @44: Or, it might be that Leyland just nods off sometimes, and doesn't watch what's the game.......that would be my guess.
    in any case though, Verlander is still awesome.
    @36: Too bizarre! (I think that I watched the one play a little bit, in Double A, this would have been in '97, if it's him.....or, well, the other him.)

  47. Nash Bruce Says:

    *watch the game*

  48. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Verlander is also averaging 117 pitches per start, highest since Randy Johnson's 120 in 1999.

    Johnson had one start of 93 pitches that season, due to pitching brilliantly and efficiently and getting pulled with a big lead. He also topped 130 nine times. Since then, no one other than Johnson and Livan Hernandez has had more than three 130-pitch starts in a season. In the last 6 seasons, only Tim Lincecum has done it more than once in a season.

    It's not just a decline in pitcher usage, it's an increase in managed usage, for both starters and relievers. Most Verlander starts will last from 110 to 120 pitches. Another starter will stay in for 90 to 100 pitches. A reliever will pitch one inning, coming in at the beginning and getting pulled after he gets the third out. The circumstances of the game itself are having less and less effect on pitching changes.

  49. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Verlander's current hit rate of 6.02 H/9 would be . . . a Tigers franchise record (by far).

    Beating Jeff Robinson's 6.33 in 1988. I never would have guessed that.

  50. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 46 Nash Bruce,
    It Ok to be somewhat taken back after gaining knowledge of the Gonzali effect. I don't know if you checked either of their stats, but they were contemporaries for a few years, and the closeness in stats, not to mention position is just freaky.
    The younger current AG in '03 followed by the older retired AG in '03
    150 582 528 52 135 33 6 18 77 0 4 33 106 .256./3I3./443. 96 OPS+ 1.9WAR
    152 601 536 71 122 37 0 20 59 3 3 47 123 .228/.295./409. 81OPS+ 1.8 WAR

    And although this has been brought up on numerous posts, I saw it live on TV and thought you would enjoy it.

    The Mets started a Bobby Jones that was relieved by a Bobby Jones.
    I'll look for the box score in a minuate.

  51. Johnny Twisto Says:

    D U K E :

    Is it true that you wrote your dissertation on the results of crossing the Gonzali Effect with the Coriolis Force? Please, if you would, summarize your findings for us laymen.

  52. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 39 tmckelv,

    sorry, missed your response my first zip through the posts.
    I think you make excellent points.
    It was just recently brought up during a discussion regarding that Braves/Pirates game where the guy got thrown out at home and the umpire missed the call. And it is exactly your point, if we overturn the out call to a safe call, what do we do with the rest of the runners. I believe the hitter fell 10 ft out of the box and would of been doubled up at first easily. Also, do you let the runners have the extra base they took?
    I remember getting to the ball park late as a teen, and the coach sat me the first three innings as punishment. I came off the bench to hit 2 HRs that game. And I remember I kept thinking - "i would of had 3 if that jerk didn't bench me." But as I got older I realized I might not have got the first if he played me.

  53. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Johnny Twisted,
    There is a film scene, no… not scene… that word barely justifies itself, scarcely scratching at the cinematic glory that is the… THE zenith in and of art; a flawless, ephianal, aesthetic moment, from the very apex of art – and of course, I am referring to Canadian born auteur, David Cronenburg’s 1981 mind-blowing (literally) landmark film, Scanners, where underrated but nuanced actor Michael Ironside, near the climax, telepathically explodes the heads of his foil.
    I believe you are risking the same fate. That paper you mentioned killed two teaching adjuncts and one professor of physics. Just think of Pandora, or Eve.

  54. Johnny Twisto Says:

    <a href="; title="Sir Duke", Ph.D.,

    I'll not watch that scene at this time, as I unfortunately have not yet caught up with Scanners and don't want the experience to be ruined (tho' I am aware of an exploding head "scene") (and it is on the ol' Netflix Queue).

    Regardless, your point is frightfully taken. For the good of this blog, I'll try not to bring up the two forces in the same post again. (I hope our friend Timothy Pee is as wise.)

  55. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Derp, I'm not to be trusted with HTML. Trying again,

    SIR DUKE, Ph.D.

  56. John Autin Says:

    Popping in again for another quick unrelated item:

    For the 2nd game in a row, the Mets were trailing with 2 outs in the 9th, but got a tying HR. And in each game, they allowed the winning or go-ahead run(s) in the next half-inning.

    So much for momentum!

    Oh, by the way -- in the first of those games, the last-gasp HR was hit by Scott Hairston, who had homered as a PH in his previous time up. His 2 HRs accounted for all the Mets' runs.

  57. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ JA,

    There might be some kind of record there for swing in WPA in consecutive games.
    Also I posted the Scatter Sallee facts mostly to pique your interest. I know your love, appreciation and preternatural knowledge of esoteric baseball lore is, well; the stuff of lore.
    Any comments about Sallee's # of balls in play and his astounding success witht hem turning into outs.
    I have 800 Sallee balls in play vs 221 hits for a .251 avg.
    I also have Pedro with 476 BIP vs 160 hits for a 313 avg.
    How, besides luck, can this make sense - being their ERAs were 2.03 and 2.04 respectively.
    Was it HRs? Although Sallee only gave up 5 fewer.

    On an unrelated point, I sent some pretty neat blog suggestions, although you seem to have an inexhaustible supply of great tidbits (hence my suggestion for your own ABSTRACT) but did the powers that be show you any of the suggestions i sent your way? As your name does not appear amongst the Contactable.
    One suggestion, was that at 107 hits and 96 runs Granderson, is one of only 9 players to have a H/R ratio of .9. He of course is right on the edge, and may fall off the .9, but with the return of A-rod and the continuation of hitting him second, gives him a great shot at it, especially with 50 games left. His combination of power, speed, relatively high walk rate, a low-ish average (hence low hit totals) and being in the middle of that order all lend him a great chance?
    Any thoughts?
    Also, if you were comfortable with allowing me to contact you, I'd love to send you some baseball related post suggestions, and possibly begin stalking you. I feel celebrities have monopolized stalking and I'd like to break that up, with your permission of course.

    @ JT

    Thanks for the song. I actually live 3 blocks from Flatbush Ave in Park Slope Brooklyn, and, you won't believe it, but my family name (not last name) but a male first name that is used at least once a generation, is a Greek name (no it does not help me love Youklis) but it, like all greek names, is cumbersome, so we and our friends have shortened it to DUKE. My son is turning two in 3 months. And he is a Duke. My proximity to Flatbush has my family very happy. My dad grew up a fan of - who else? (as Timmy PEA would call him- convicted fellon) Duke Snider.
    So thank you, we are always searching for songs and the like with the word DUKE in them. Although a fan of Stevie and that song, I never realized its name.
    And... since your life is poorer due to the void left by missing SCANNERS, I suggest, to properly understand the danger of the afforementioned paper, watch or re-watch the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, the scene where the Nazis (occupiers of Zeist) open the Ark of the covenant.

  58. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 56 Autin,
    I realize I was vague at the begining of the last post, but I meant the Mets must of swung the WPA tremendously with 2 out game tying rallies in the 9th, and then had WPAs in the negatives, a half inning later. (Besides - the I'll never learn the Mets will break my heart) is there a way of checking WPA change in two consecutive games?

  59. ottoc Says:

    Dukeofflatbush said: Isn't it a strange phenomenon, that a 1 hitter is given less credibility or respect, when the hit came in the early innings.

    I think it is the dramatics. The first batter of the game gets a hit and the announcer says, "There goes the no-hitter." There's nothing to look forward to. But when the fifth inning rolls around and the starter hasn't given up a hit I start thinking about a no-hitter and the suspense keeps building.

    It seems to me that there has been a no-hitter, or two, that benefited from an official scorer changing a a call from earlier in the game but I can't cite a specific game.

  60. Richard Chester Says:


    The second of Vigil Trucks' 1952 no-hitters was the benefit of an official scorer change. Early in the game Phil Rizzuto hit a ground ball that Johnny Pesky mishandled and was judged an error. Later in the game, when Trucks gave up no other hits, the official score got in touch with Pesky. After conferring with Pesky the hit was changed to an error.

  61. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Duke, only one son? I thought a requirement of the Park Slope residency application was a showing of twins. I hope at least you do your part to clog up the sidewalks by needlessly pushing about a double-wide stroller.

    Another hidden treasure for your dukedom:

  62. Richard Chester Says:


    Sorry for the typo. I should have written "...Johnny Pesky mishandled and was judged a hit."

  63. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Richard Chester,

    That is a very interesting piece there. I did not know official scorers contacted players. It sounds like a great idea.
    Was/is this standard practice. I find it pretty cool, especially in the case of a no-no, that a scorer would double check like that. But I guess it all depends on how honest the player is. I here Pesky is a gentleman but that is from mostly Boston fans, who are dumb enough to honor one of their legends by naming a pole after him.
    Reminds me of the Timmy P lampost on the corner of Idiot and Shame in Yahoo Nebraska.

    @ JT

    I was told, by reliable sources, the next Park Slopian to have a child would be publicaly flogged by a naked Marty Markowitz, although there is a park that disputes with Hobokenen, that IT is where the first new rule baseball game was played. Yes there is a tremendous amount of kids here, but how do you know this info?
    Twisto, your mystery widens.

  64. Richard Chester Says:


    I posted that blog from memory. Subsequently I did research under Today in Baseball History on BR and This Day in Baseball on Rizzuto's grounder was in the third inning and was first scored as an error by scorer John Drebinger of the NY Times. His colleague in the press box, Dan Daniel, convinced him to change the scoring to a hit. Then in the 6th inning when it looked like Trucks might get a no-hitter Drebinger had a change of heart and contacted Pesky via a phone from the press box to the dugout. The game took place on 8/25/52.

  65. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Reminds me of the Timmy P lampost on the corner of Idiot and Shame in Yahoo Nebraska.

    I have rarely laughed as hard as I have at some of your posts in the past couple months. I think it took the emergence of Tim Pe for you to really blossom on this board. He has pushed you to heights no one thought possible. He is the McCartney to your Lennon, the Big Boi to your Andre Benjamin. Dare I say, the Hitler to your Churchill? To the neophyte, your two personalities may appear to be in constant conflict and friction. But with time, one comes to realize how your respective posts complement and even enhance the other's, creating performance art of the very finest quality. BRAVO, gentlemen! I say, a hearty BRAVO!

  66. Timmy p Says:

    @57 Duke, you actually live in Brooklyn? With your family? Are you part of a neighborhood watch group?

  67. Richard Chester Says:


    I know of one other occasion where the player influenced the official scorer. On June 17, 1942 Paul Waner came to bat with 2,999 career hits. He hit a ground ball to Eddie Joost which was misplayed and scored as a base hit. Waner did not think so but was able to attract the attention of the scorer and vigorously shook his head. The scorer complied and changed the hit to an error.

  68. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    John Autin,

    METS GAME!!!!
    how does this keep happening.

    JT, I'm digesting your nugget. Thanx.

    The extra p is for....
    Error! Marlins take the lead.

    I'll get to you in a minute TPP

  69. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Richard Chester,
    You have some of the coolest tidbits to offer here, try to come up with some more. I'd love to hear/read them.
    I can think of a few plays where a player or manager had an ump overturn a call.
    Supposedly, Evers, complained to an ump the week before 'Merkle's Boner' about a similar play, and 'influenced' the the same ump's decision on the Merkle play.
    Also, less not forget the wily Billy Martin's role in George Brett's "PINE-TAR" game. I think of that as one of the most shrewd managerial maneuvers in the history of the game; if the story I've heard is true- and that is: Brett's bat and its Pine Tar limit was pointed out to Martin a few days before and he, instead of riling George and having his bat essentially not changed, waits for something to happen, just to nullify it.
    We miss you Billy.

  70. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    When I first came across Timmy, I found his posts a bit condescending in a way that bothered me. The reason for that, is he took on this ridiculous persona to poke fun at our little baseball clique in a way that bordered on trolling. What bothered me further, is he had some pretty smart guys hooked, lined and sinkered into his inane comments. It pained me, when one of our own, would painfully explain to Timmy something he obviously understands but allows his Timmy persona to play dumb.
    He obviously is a pretty smart guy and darn funny too. Its hard to stay mad at a guy who mentions phone calls to himself in between posts.
    But in all honestly, I’ve suspected Timmy was actually a friend of mine, who for 15 years has hounded me to give up my baseball obsession. I still haven’t ruled this out. But he seems to bother everyone equally, so I’m not sure.
    Then when he started quoting Orwell, Einstein, Heisenburg, I admittedly was getting reeled in too.
    But then he pulled the curtain back on his Corrolios Effect nonsense and revealed he was using it to prove a larger point actually related to baseball; which is anyone can employ arcane science to explain or back their agenda.
    WELL, after that, I guess I just enjoy bobbing and weaving with him that much more.

  71. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    At Timmy

    Yes I am in Brooklyn with my family.
    It includes a cat and an unhatched duck egg.
    My neighborhood watch is quite secretive, but I will allow this, as much as it pains me, we were the ones to solve the Snider caper, rendering him the criminal you now parade around this site.

  72. Timmy p Says:

    I went to Google maps and looked up Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY expecting to see dead bodies and chalk outlines, but actually it didn't look too bad. Must have been a slow day when the Google car rolled through.

  73. Timmy p Says:

    @70 I’ve suspected Timmy was actually a friend of mine, who for 15 years has hounded me to give up my baseball obsession. Having a baseball obsession is a healthy habit to have, and I would never suggest, to even my worst enemy that they should give up baseball.