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Scherzer’s 14 Strikeouts

Posted by Raphy on May 30, 2010

Max Scherzer's 14 strikeouts in 5-2/3 innings today was quite a feat. As Alex DiFilippo of mlb.com points out, Scherzer became the first pitcher in the PI era (1920-1939,1952-2010) to post 14 strikeouts while throwing less than 6 innings. Here the leaders before today:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
1 Kevin Appier 1994-05-25 KCR TEX W 8-3 GS-6 ,W 5.2 4 1 1 3 13 1 110 71 67 26 23 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.59 0.230 2.243 .858
2 Joba Chamberlain 2009-05-05 NYY BOS L 3-7 GS-6 ,L 5.2 6 4 4 2 12 1 108 65 51 25 22 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.35 -0.103 -0.955 .792
3 Cole Hamels 2006-07-24 PHI ATL L 8-10 GS-6 ,L 5.1 6 7 7 2 12 3 106 69 38 24 22 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 11.81 -0.255 -3.902 .733
4 Curt Schilling 1997-06-28 PHI ATL L 1-9 GS-6 ,L 5.2 8 7 7 4 12 4 113 67 33 28 23 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 11.12 -0.258 -4.098 .462
5 J.R. Richard 1978-06-09 HOU STL W 11-7 GS-6 ,W 5.1 5 5 5 6 12 0 44 27 21 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8.44 -0.482 -3.848 1.387
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/30/2010.

There are 19 others with 11, so I'm cutting the list off there.

It would follow that Scherzer had the fewest IP of any pitcher in those years to strikeout at least 14 batters. Here are the runners up:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
1 Kelvim Escobar 2007-06-12 LAA CIN L 3-5 GS-6 6.0 5 3 3 1 14 0 116 78 63 26 24 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4.50 -0.006 0.282 1.292
2 A.J. Burnett 2005-07-06 FLA MIL W 5-4 GS-6 6.0 4 4 4 5 14 0 125 74 57 27 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 6.00 -0.199 -1.141 .859
3 Randy Johnson 2001-06-03 ARI SDP W 8-4 GS-6 ,W 6.0 7 4 3 0 14 1 106 72 58 27 26 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4.50 0.008 -0.591 1.117
4 Kerry Wood 2001-04-27 CHC SFG W 7-3 GS-6 ,W 6.0 2 3 3 3 14 1 112 66 67 24 20 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50 0.101 -0.067 1.040
5 Nolan Ryan 1989-07-25 TEX TOR L 0-4 GS-6 ,L 6.0 6 3 2 3 14 0 132 80 61 31 28 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 3.00 -0.066 -0.668 .914
6 Sam McDowell 1966-09-18 CLE DET W 6-5 GS-6 6.0 7 1 1 2 14 0 66 25 23 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.50 0.174 1.677 .960
7 Randy Johnson 2001-09-27 ARI MIL W 13-11 GS-7 ,W 6.2 7 5 5 2 16 1 126 81 54 30 28 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6.75 0.124 1.157 .416
8 Ron Guidry 1987-07-11 NYY CHW L 2-5 GS-7 6.2 7 2 2 3 14 2 63 30 27 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 2.70 0.108 1.010 1.207
9 Denny McLain 1965-06-15 DET BOS W 6-5 1-7 6.2 6 2 2 2 14 0 2 0 28 26 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2.70 -0.020 1.537 .605
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/30/2010.

Another way to look at Scherzer's strikeout total is to look at his rate of SO per IP. Scherzer struck out over 2.47  batters per IP. Prior to today (1920-1939,1952-2010) , the most innings thrown by a pitcher with a SO:IP ratio over 2.47 was 3.

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
1 Rich Harden 2009-04-15 CHC COL L 2-5 GS-3 ,L 3.0 5 4 4 4 8 1 92 53 37 17 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12.00 -0.226 -2.386 1.058
2 Bruce Chen 2000-07-26 PHI CHC L 9-14 GS-3 3.0 5 4 4 3 8 1 73 43 38 17 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12.00 -0.221 -2.319 .989
3 Ron Davis 1981-05-04 NYY CAL W 4-2 7-9f ,S 3.0 0 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.237 1.362 1.067
4 John Hiller 1977-09-09 (2) DET BOS L 6-8 6-8f 3.0 4 2 2 1 8 0 0 0 14 13 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.00 -0.075 -0.282 .819
5 Rich Gossage 1977-05-19 PIT LAD W 6-5 8-10f,W 3.0 1 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 11 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.381 1.497 2.035
6 Terry Forster 1974-04-24 CHW MIL W 7-2 7-9f ,S 3.0 1 0 0 1 8 0 1 0 11 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.129 1.785 .673
7 Dick Radatz 1965-06-05 BOS KCA W 5-3 9-11f,W 3.0 2 0 0 1 8 0 0 0 12 11 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.324 1.302 2.244
8 Ryne Duren 1959-06-26 NYY CHW W 8-4 7-9f ,S 3.0 1 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 11 10 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.076 1.450 .601
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/30/2010.

What then, were the highest SO rates for pitchers who threw more than 5 innings? Click on SO/IP to sort the list.

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec SO/IP IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
1 Jake Peavy 2007-04-25 SDP ARI L 2-3 GS-7 2.286 7.0 2 0 0 3 16 0 117 75 86 25 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.474 3.938 1.028
2 Jake Peavy 2006-05-22 SDP ATL L 1-3 GS-7 ,L 2.286 7.0 3 2 2 1 16 1 114 74 78 25 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2.57 0.067 1.437 .670
3 Randy Johnson 2001-08-23 ARI PIT L 1-5 GS-7 ,L 2.286 7.0 5 4 4 2 16 1 115 78 65 28 26 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5.14 -0.003 -0.210 .885
4 Randy Johnson 2001-07-18 ARI SDP W 3-0 3-9f ,W 2.286 7.0 1 0 0 1 16 0 109 68 0 0 23 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.416 3.343 .926
5 Randy Johnson 2001-09-27 ARI MIL W 13-11 GS-7 ,W 2.400 6.2 7 5 5 2 16 1 126 81 54 30 28 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6.75 0.124 1.157 .416
6 Kelvim Escobar 2007-06-12 LAA CIN L 3-5 GS-6 2.333 6.0 5 3 3 1 14 0 116 78 63 26 24 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4.50 -0.006 0.282 1.292
7 A.J. Burnett 2005-07-06 FLA MIL W 5-4 GS-6 2.333 6.0 4 4 4 5 14 0 125 74 57 27 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 6.00 -0.199 -1.141 .859
8 Randy Johnson 2001-06-03 ARI SDP W 8-4 GS-6 ,W 2.333 7 4 3 0 14 1 106 72 58 27 26 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4.50 0.008 -0.591 1.117
9 Kerry Wood 2001-04-27 CHC SFG W 7-3 GS-6 ,W 2.333 6.0 2 3 3 3 14 1 112 66 67 24 20 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50 0.101 -0.067 1.040
10 Nolan Ryan 1989-07-25 TEX TOR L 0-4 GS-6 ,L 2.333 6.0 6 3 2 3 14 0 132 80 61 31 28 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 3.00 -0.066 -0.668 .914
11 Sam McDowell 1966-09-18 CLE DET W 6-5 GS-6 2.333 6.0 7 1 1 2 14 0 66 25 23 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.50 0.174 1.677 .960
12 Kevin Appier 1994-05-25 KCR TEX W 8-3 GS-6 ,W 2.294 5.2 4 1 1 3 13 1 110 71 67 26 23 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.59 0.230 2.243 .858
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/30/2010.

Scherzer dethrones Randy Johnson who struck out 16 in 6-2/3 innings in September of 2001. Remarkably, in the list above, Randy has a game from four consecutive months of 2001!

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 30th, 2010 at 9:50 pm and is filed under Game Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Scherzer’s 14 Strikeouts”

  1. I remember seeing Scherzer pitch for the Tuscon Sidewinders a couple years ago. He was tipping his pitches ... I guess he figured it out!

  2. [...] Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive » Scherzer’s 14 Strikeouts [...]

  3. Johnny Twisto Says:

    How odd that most of those games in the first list were not that well-pitched, at least in terms of runs given up. But I guess most of those guys would have stayed in the game longer if they had been more effective.

    I remember that Joba game. An odd one; got hit early, then started mowing them down, then had to be pulled for working too hard. I think he made a great diving catch on a pop-up bunt.

  4. Martin Manley Says:

    I'm not sure if just didn't come through on the Index Tool Used, but if you also set one of the paremeters to IP <=5.7, it shows the exact list.

  5. Martin - The "View Play Index Tool Used" doesn't show the search that was done, only the PI tools used. You are correct - That is the way to create the list. (I think I used 5.9, but its the same thing in this case.)

  6. Johnny - You have the wrong game. Joba had no putouts in that game. The only time in his career that Joba caught a bunt was in the 5th inning of this game:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE200906010.shtml

  7. [...] complete game shutout. In fact, according to the good folks at Baseball Reference, Scherzer is the only pitcher in the modern era to notch 14 Ks while pitching less than 6 innings. It’s the highest total of the 2010 season [...]

  8. Continuing from #6- Johnny, Here is the play: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=4820689

  9. Elias says Scherzer is the first pitcher in major-league history (not just PI history) to collect as many as 14 strikeouts in a game while pitching fewer than six innings.

  10. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Yup, that's the one Raphy. I guess I'm like one of those old ballplayers who tells invented stories about past glories, except in this case I've forgotten something which only happened a year ago. Oy...

  11. A note on the 7-18-2001 Randy Johnson game in this list - that game started the day before with Curt Schilling facing the Padres. In the 2nd (or maybe 3rd) inning, a huge transformer over the field exploded causing the umps to postpone the game to the next day to be played before the regularly scheduled game. Since Schilling had pitched, Bob Brenly decided to just have Johnson (who was scheduled to go in the regularly scheduled game) take over for Schilling who obviously could not pitch after pitching the day before.

    IIRC, the 16 Ks is the record for the most in relief.

  12. 16 is indeed the record for K in relief, at least in the Play-Index era. In second place, Denny McLain, 14 in 6-and-two-thirds, for Detroit, against Boston, 15 June 1965. Then Billy O'Dell, 13 in 9 innings of relief, in the 1st game of a 4th of July doubleheader in 1961; his Giants beat the Cubs 19-3 in that game. There are three pitchers with 12 K in relief; Jumbo Brown, 3 June 1933; Diego Segui, 22 September 1974, and Mark Guthrie, 25 May 1995. Guthrie did it in 6 IP.

  13. I was at the game and wrote a post about it at baseballindepth.com. It was agonizing to watch because it was obvious that Leyland wanted him to at least finish 6 innings, but his pitch count got too high and he kept allowing runners on even with 14 K. At he left, the Tigers only managed 3 more over the next 3 innings, which is too bad because they could have approached the record for 9 innings.

  14. [...] Scherzer was good in his first MLB start since being sent down to the minors, but how good was he? Baseball Reference shows us that Scherzer was “never been done before” good. While I don’t think we [...]