Posted by John Autin on September 6, 2011
Zach Stewart tossed a near-perfect game Monday in his 10th career game, allowing 1 hit and no other baserunners in 9 innings.
Since 1919, here are the 11 pitchers with a start of at least 9 innings allowing no more than 1 baserunner, within their first 20 games:
|1||1||Jimmy Jones||22.154||1986-09-21||SDP||HOU||W 5-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||5||0||90||28||28||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.257||4.036||.414|
|2||3||Travis Wood||23.154||2010-07-10||CIN||PHI||L 0-1||GS-9||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||8||0||109||74||93||28||28||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.681||4.430||1.228|
|3||5||Charlie Robertson||26.089||1922-04-30||CHW||DET||W 2-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||0||0||0||0||0||6||0||93||27||27||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|4||9||Von McDaniel||18.101||1957-07-28 (1)||STL||PIT||W 4-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||4||0||89||28||28||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.468||4.440||.706|
|5||10||Zach Stewart||24.342||2011-09-05 (2)||CHW||MIN||W 4-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||9||0||114||75||94||28||28||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.440||4.389||.692|
|6||16||Hiroki Kuroda||33.148||2008-07-07||LAD||ATL||W 3-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||6||0||91||61||91||28||28||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.449||4.500||.733|
|7||16||Vida Blue||21.055||1970-09-21||OAK||MIN||W 6-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||0||0||0||1||1||9||0||95||28||27||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.563||4.046||.856|
|8||17||Woodie Fryman||26.077||1966-07-01||PIT||NYM||W 12-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||8||0||93||27||27||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0.00||0.285||3.976||.471|
|9||17||Mat Latos||22.155||2010-05-13||SDP||SFG||W 1-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||6||0||106||67||91||28||28||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.819||4.430||1.341|
|10||18||Jonathon Niese||23.226||2010-06-10 (2)||NYM||SDP||W 3-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||6||0||108||76||91||28||28||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.399||4.258||.685|
|11||19||Hipolito Pichardo||22.334||1992-07-21||KCR||BOS||W 8-0||SHO9 ,W||9.0||1||0||0||0||1||4||0||104||69||89||28||28||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.280||4.430||.400|
A few notes:
-- See also Raphy's 2010 post, "A Game Score of 90 Early in a Career." Stewart's 94 Game Score would have ranked 6th in that group.
-- Stewart's most notable game before this was when he fanned 5 out of 6 batters in a relief stint (including 4 in a row swinging), making him 1 of 6 pitchers this year with 5 Ks while facing no more than 6 batters.
-- Charlie Robertson's 1922 perfect game is one of 18 in the modern era. He beat a Detroit team that hit .306 for the year; the lineup that day included Ty Cobb (.401), Harry Heilmann (.356), Bobby Veach (.327), Lu Blue (.300) and Topper Rigney (.300). It was the 4th start of his career; in his previous outing, he'd allowed 12 hits and 4 walks in a CG win. The perfect game was easily the high point of Robertson's 8-year career; he had a losing record every season, and finished with a record of 49-80 with a 90 ERA+. He also had a losing record in the minors.
-- Jimmy Jones is the only one to do it in his debut game. The only baserunner was a 3rd-inning triple by opposing pitcher Bob Knepper, a career .137 hitter. Jones was the 3rd overall pick in the 1982 draft, but never lived up to that billing in an injury-plagued career, finishing 43-39 with an 82 ERA+.
-- Von McDaniel was the brother of Lindy McDaniel, who pitched 21 years in the majors. The two were teammates on St. Louis in 1957, when Lindy completed his first full year in the rotation with a 15-9 record and 114 ERA+. On May 16, Lindy threw his 1st shutout, a 4-hitter against the Phillies. Five weeks later, little brother Von -- 2 months past his 18th birthday, and on the roster mainly because of the "bonus baby" rule -- blanked Brooklyn on 2 hits in his first MLB start, giving him 17 straight scoreless innings to start his career. And 5 weeks after that, Von tossed the 1-hitter listed above; Gene Baker spoiled the chance at history with a double in the 2nd inning. That was the last shutout Von McDaniel ever threw; he developed arm trouble, and his MLB career ended the following year. Lindy McDaniel, who was also a bonus baby, also threw just 1 more shutout after 1957; he converted to relief 2 years later, and had a long and successful career.
-- Vida Blue, the 2nd-youngest on the list, threw a 1-hit shutout in his 6th career start (no-no broken up with 2 out in the 8th). He followed that 10 days later with the no-hitter shown above, against the top batting team in the AL, in his 8th start, allowing only a walk to Harmon Killebrew. Blue blazed to a 16-2, 1.37 start in 1971, with 6 shutouts in 19 games, and cruised to the AL Cy Young and MVP Awards (sorry, Wilbur). He never had another season close to that, but he did pitch effectively through age 36, winning 209 games with a 108 ERA+ in over 3,000 IP.
-- Woodie Fryman was a 26-year-old rookie in 1966 when he reeled off one of the most dominant 3-game runs in history -- 3 straight shutouts allowing a total of 7 hits and 1 walk, with the game shown above as the centerpiece. (A .138 career hitter, he also went 5 for 14 in those 3 games.) Fryman was 25 before he ever signed a pro contract, then made just 12 minor-league appearances before making the '66 Pirates out of spring training. He threw four 1-hitters in his career -- the last a 1-0 win over Vida Blue in 1978 -- but never landed the big one. In the game above, Ron Hunt singled to start the 1st but was thrown out trying to steal, and Fryman retired the next 26 hitters. Woody never had a big year as a SP, though he had a big finish in '72 after Detroit picked him up on waivers from Philadelphia, going 10-3, 2.06, helping the Tigers win the division by a half-game. He also turned in some fine relief seasons with Montreal at the end of his career, and pitched through age 43.
-- Mat Latos tossed his 2010 gem against Jonathan Sanchez, who threw his own no-hitter against the Padres 10 months before. The only baserunner off Latos came on an infield single by catcher Eli Whiteside; Latos also drove in the game's only run with a 2-out single in the 5th, giving him a combined WPA of 0.932 for the game. Latos was among the ERA leaders last year, his first full season; his rate stats this year are off just a bit, but his results are off a good bit more.
-- Travis Wood's perfect game ended on a double by Carlos Ruiz leading off the 9th. In the top of the 10th, the Reds failed to get a runner home from 3rd with 1 out, which cost Wood a chance at the win; he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in that inning and wound up with no decision.
-- Hipolito Pichardo never threw another shutout.
[Note: It's possible that some pitchers on this list were not capital-R "Rookies" at the time of their feat -- as in, eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award. Since I'm not talking about award eligibility, I feel OK calling someone with less than 20 games in the majors a small-r "rookie." Anyone who sends in a "correction" on this count gets one demerit for not reading the whole post.]