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Reaching The Post Season With Just 3 Horses

Posted by Steve Lombardi on September 29, 2007

I noticed a comment from "jmvbaseball" at another entry to the Stat of the Day blog that asked:  "The Yankees only have 3 pitchers with 100+ innings.  Have any other teams made the post season with such a flimsy rotation?"

Thanks to's Play Index Pitching Season Finder, we can look up the answer.

The 1995 Reds only had two pitchers with 100+ IP (Pete Schourek /John Smiley) - and they were a post-season team.  But, that was a shortened season.

If you're looking for the last full-season that a post-season team had only three pitchers with 100+ IP in a season, that would be last year - when the 2006 World Champion Cardinals had only three hurlers meet that mark:  Jason Marquis/Jeff Suppan/Chris Carpenter.

The full-season post-season team before that to do it was the 2004 Astros - with Roy Oswalt/Roger Clemens/Tim Redding.    The full-season post-season reaching 2002 Cardinals also did it - with Matt Morris/Jason Simontacchi /Woody Williams.  And, the full-season pennant winning 1997 Indians only had three 100+ IP hurlers:  Charles Nagy/Orel Hershiser/Chad Ogea.  That same season ('97), the Giants reached the post-season with just three reaching this mark:  Kirk Rueter/Shawn Estes/Mark Gardner.

So, to answer the question, yes, it's happened before.

5 Responses to “Reaching The Post Season With Just 3 Horses”

  1. BunnyWrangler Says:

    I was looking at the 2002 Braves' pitching staff. It looked great - Glavine and Maddux were still heading the rotation, Kevin Millwood had of the very good years that he has every so often, and Damian Moss had his only good year. Jason Marquis, who has been good, didn't pitch particularly well.

    Their bullpen was legitimately outstanding, though. The starting pitching was very good, but I distinctly remembered that three guys - Chris Hammond, Darren Holmes, and Mike Remlinger - each had an ERA under 2, with Hammond's clocking in at under 1. I also remembered that Smoltz saved 50+ games. Today I looked at the rest of the pen, however, and I saw that the bullpen's greatness extended beyond these guys. Kerry Ligtenberg and Tim Spooneybarger, both of whom pitched in more than 50 games, each had an ERA under 3, too.

    My point? I was wondering how to determine a bullpen's overall greatness and how the 2002 Braves' stacked up in history. Is there any way that you can do this?

  2. Andy Says:

    Steve--I wasn't sure how to do this, but you certainly figured it out. Great job.

  3. Steve Lombardi Says:

    Andy - thanks!

    BunnyWrangler - here's what you're looking, for, I think:

  4. kingturtle Says:

    I had another "has it happened before question." But I did my own research on it before I asked it, and lucky I did, because it happened last year, the year before that, and the year before that.

    Eric Byrnes leads the Diamondbacks with 83 RBIs. My question was "Has it ever happened before that a team made the post season without a player reaching 90 RBIs?" Well, it was not unusual during the deadball era. And since the deadball era, it has happened 28 times (never by a wild card team), most recently by the '06 Padres (with 83 RBIs by Brian Giles and Mike Cameron each).

    Here are the worst RBI leaders for play-off making teams since 1920:
    *'72 Tigers (156 games played), 61 RBIs by Norm Cash
    *'38 Cubs (154 games played), 69 RBIs by Augie Galan
    *'65 Dodgers (162 games played), 70 RBIs by Ron Fairly (won WS)
    *'66 Dodgers (162 games played), 74 RBIs by Jim Lefebvre
    *'73 Mets (161 games played), 76 RBIs by Rusty Staub
    *'69 Mets (162 games played), 76 RBIs by Tommie Agee (won WS)
    *'84 Royals (162 games played), 77 RBIs by Steve Balboni
    *'72 Athletics (155 games played), 77 RBIs by Sal Bando (won WS)
    *'68 Cardinals (162 games played), 79 RBIs by Mike Shannon
    *'89 Cubs (162 games played), 79 RBIs by Mark Grace

    Here are all 28 times: '06 Padres (83), '05 Padres (83), '04 Twins (81), '90 Red Sox (89), '90 Reds (86), '89 Cubs (79), '88 Dodgers (82), '84 Royals (77), '84 Padres (86), '74 Orioles (84), '73 Orioles (89), '73 Mets (76), '72 Athletics (77), '72 Tigers (61), 70 Pirates (85), '69 Mets (76), '68 Cardinals (79), '66 Dodgers (74), '65 Dodgers (70), '63 Dodgers (88), '63 Yankees (89), '59 Dodgers (88), '59 White Sox (84), '51 Yankees (88), '43 Cardinals (81), '38 Cubs (69), '32 Cubs (85), '20 Robins (80).

  5. BunnyWrangler Says:

    Thanks for looking that up. I never would have thought of Gryboski - he was the team's ground-ball specialist, but he would always enter a game with someone else's men on base and allow a hit to score one or more of those guys, leaving his ERA unscathed while hurting the previous pitcher's.