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Starting pitcher goes 9+ innings without getting credited for a complete game

Posted by Andy on July 2, 2010

Yesterday we looked at the recent game in which Felix Hernandez pitched 9 innings but failed to complete the game since it went to extra innings. Turns out there are some pretty interesting occurrences of these games in the past.

First ask yourself--on what list would I see Tanyon Sturtze and John Tudor at the top?

Using the Pitching Streak Finder we can find individual games where the pitcher went at least 9 innings but didn't pitch a complete game. (It's pretty easy....set role to starter, CG = 0 and IP >= 9.)

The box score data correctly assigns complete games going back as far as 1952. Before that, there are still some bugs in the database. So all the data you see in this post covers only 1952-present.

Here are the longest streaks (since 1952) where the starting pitcher went at least 9 innings but didn't get credit for a complete game.

Rk Strk Start End Games W L GS CG IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Tm
1 John Tudor 1986-06-13 1986-06-23 3 0 0 3 0 27.1 14 4 2 5 12 0 0.66 STL
2 Tanyon Sturtze 2002-07-07 2002-07-13 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 16 4 4 3 10 3 2.00 TBD
3 Tanyon Sturtze 2002-06-08 2002-06-14 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 10 4 4 4 12 1 2.00 TBD
4 Pat Hentgen 1995-09-10 1995-09-15 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 15 3 3 0 15 1 1.50 TOR
5 Dave Stewart 1992-04-11 1992-04-16 2 1 0 2 0 18.0 9 6 6 8 8 1 3.00 OAK
6 Greg Swindell 1991-06-06 1991-06-11 2 0 0 2 0 19.0 16 2 2 2 16 0 0.95 CLE
7 Jack Morris 1987-10-03 1988-04-04 2 1 0 2 0 18.0 17 5 5 6 15 0 2.50 DET
8 John Tudor 1986-05-07 1986-05-13 2 0 0 2 0 19.0 16 6 6 3 8 1 2.84 STL
9 Dwight Gooden 1985-09-06 1985-09-11 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 10 0 0 3 17 0 0.00 NYM
10 Mike Witt 1985-07-03 1985-07-08 2 0 0 2 0 18.2 14 4 4 11 12 2 1.93 CAL
11 Richard Dotson 1983-08-19 1983-08-24 2 2 0 2 0 18.0 14 5 4 3 5 0 2.00 CHW
12 Dave Stieb 1982-08-24 1982-08-28 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 15 5 5 7 7 1 2.50 TOR
13 Steve Rogers 1982-06-08 1982-06-13 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 12 5 5 7 11 1 2.50 MON
14 Ron Guidry 1980-04-10 1980-04-15 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 9 3 3 5 11 0 1.50 NYY
15 Don Hood 1977-09-14 1977-09-20 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 14 5 4 5 11 1 2.00 CLE
16 Tom Seaver 1976-07-23 1976-07-28 2 0 0 2 0 19.0 13 2 2 6 18 2 0.95 NYM
17 Paul Splittorff 1976-05-10 1976-05-15 2 0 0 2 0 19.0 18 5 4 4 9 1 1.89 KCR
18 Jim Palmer 1974-04-21 1974-04-26 2 0 0 2 0 21.0 18 9 7 5 7 2 3.00 BAL
19 Bill Hands 1972-09-24 1972-09-30 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 11 2 2 3 12 1 1.00 CHC
20 Ken Forsch 1972-04-24 1972-04-29 2 0 1 2 0 19.0 16 6 6 6 9 2 2.84 HOU
21 Jerry Koosman 1971-05-25 1971-05-31 2 0 1 2 0 19.0 14 6 6 6 6 2 2.84 NYM
22 Gaylord Perry 1971-05-02 1971-05-07 2 0 0 2 0 20.1 15 6 5 4 7 1 2.21 SFG
23 Alan Foster 1970-04-24 1970-04-28 2 0 1 2 0 18.2 13 3 3 6 8 2 1.45 LAD
24 Joe Coleman 1970-04-22 1970-04-27 2 0 0 2 0 18.2 9 5 5 8 10 3 2.41 WSA
25 Jerry Koosman 1970-04-19 1970-04-24 2 0 1 2 0 18.2 19 3 3 5 9 0 1.45 NYM
26 Paul Edmondson 1969-09-06 1969-09-13 2 0 0 2 0 18.1 11 1 1 7 7 0 0.49 CHW
27 Jim Palmer 1969-08-22 1969-08-28 2 1 0 2 0 18.0 17 6 6 7 10 1 3.00 BAL
28 Chris Short 1965-10-02 1966-04-13 2 0 0 2 0 24.2 19 2 2 5 26 0 0.73 PHI
29 Sam McDowell 1965-09-14 1965-09-24 2 1 0 2 0 18.0 10 6 3 9 18 1 1.50 CLE
30 Rollie Sheldon 1965-05-30 1965-06-06 2 0 0 2 0 18.1 11 5 4 6 7 2 1.96 KCA
31 Johnny Podres 1965-05-10 1965-05-16 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 12 3 3 7 12 0 1.50 LAD
32 Al Downing 1964-06-21 1964-06-26 2 0 0 2 0 21.0 11 1 1 6 17 0 0.43 NYY
33 Ron Kline 1961-04-23 1961-04-28 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 16 5 4 7 5 0 2.00 LAA
34 Don Drysdale 1959-05-05 1959-05-09 2 0 0 2 0 20.0 18 7 6 6 13 0 2.70 LAD
35 Lew Burdette 1957-05-02 1957-05-06 2 1 0 2 0 21.0 22 9 9 8 7 2 3.86 MLN
36 Vic Raschi 1954-04-23 1954-04-28 2 0 0 2 0 18.0 18 9 8 5 9 3 4.00 STL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/2/2010.

John Tudor, amazingly, had 3 consecutive games like this in 1986. He had another streak of 2 such games earlier in 1986 (line #8 on the list below.)

Tudor's performance across these 5 games was incredible. (You can click the streak number--the "3" or the "2" to get to his game log page, where the given games will be highlighted. You can then click on each game for its box score.)

In the earlier two games, he pitched 10 innings and 9 innings, getting no-decisions in both. In the later 3-game streak he went 9.1, 9, and 9 innings, against getting 3 no-decisions. Over those 5 games, Tudor allowed 8 earned runs in 46.1 IP (1.56 ERA) and got all no-decisions. He finished the season 13-7 but definitely deserved a few more wins.

Tanyon Sturtze, meanwhile, not only has the most recent 2-game streak of such games--he has the two most recent streaks, having pitched 2 such games in a row twice in his career. Sturtze pitched quite well in those games for an awful Rays team (106 losses) and got saddled with 4 no-decisions. For a guy who led the league in losses that year, Sturtze could have used a little more luck. He pitched a lot better than a 4-18 record would indicate.

Some other interesting notes about this list:

  • In addition to Tudor and Sturtze, both Jim Palmer and Jerry Koosman appear with 2 streaks.
  • Two streaks, those by Jack Morris and Chris Short, were consecutive games that spanned seasons (i.e. the last start of one year and the first start of the next year.) In both cases, the second start came on opening day. The 1988 game by Morris was quite memorable as both Morris and Roger Clemens went 9 but didn't earn a complete game. Alan Trammell homered off Lee Smith in the 10th to win it.
  • Rich Dotson lucked out here by still getting two wins in his two games.
  • Dwight Gooden was the ultimate hard-luck guy by yielding no runs at all over his 2 games. In one game, the Mets scored in the 13th inning to win 2-0 (and, oh by the way, Fernando Valenzuela pitched 11 innings...) In the other game, the Mets got blanked 1-0.

A few other tidbits:

  • The last time a pitcher threw 1 such game and went more than 9 innings was Aaron Harang, who went 10 innings in this 2007 game. Here's a link to the 10 most recent such games. You'll NEVER guess who did it twice.
  • The leader among such games (9+ IP, no CG) since 2000 is, by far, Roy Halladay with 6. After him it's Tim Hudson and Mark Buehrle with 3 each.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2010 at 8:48 am 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.

10 Responses to “Starting pitcher goes 9+ innings without getting credited for a complete game”

  1. UNfortunately the list of guys who went more than 9 doesn't account for someone who started the 10th but retired no batters, most notably Pedro's near perfect game in 1995 when he was perfect through 9 and gave up a leadoff double in the 10th and was immediately yanked.

  2. Oh, Pedro DID get the win in that one - my mistake.

  3. Gotta love Tudor's 1985. 21 Wins, 1.93 ERA, 10 shutouts, 275 IP, .938 whip and no one in their right mind thought he was anywhere close to getting the Cy Young that year. He could of had that season any other year in the decade and won the Cy Young easily.

  4. Dumb question maybe (and certainly off-topic), but why is the 2002 Tampa Bay team abbreviated as "TBD" and not "TBR"? The "Rays" are the same franchise, playing in the same city, only under a new team name. If we're going to track teams' name changes, then shouldn't Jack Chesbro be reported as having won 41 games in 1904 for "NYH", and not "NYY". Why are these two treated differently? There may be other examples although I can't think of any off the top of my head. It only matters (to the extent it matters at all) for the teams that have their nickname as part of their three letter abbreviation, namely the Rays, Yankees, Royals, Angels, White Sox, Mets, Cubs, Dodgers, Padres and Giants.

  5. Kelly, I don't know the answer but I agree that there do seem to be discrepancies. If you're really curious, I would suggest you submit the question on the feedback form here.

  6. They are TBD because they were first the TB Devil Rays and I did not want to go back and retroactively change their team ID when they changed their name. It would have hurt our SEO and broken some links, etc.

  7. Greg Maddux did throw 10+ innings in consecutive starts in 1988, but one of them was a 10 inning shutout. So it doesn't count. In the other start he went 10.2 innings and threw 167 pitches. Had Maddux not been so overused early that season, he would have contended for a Cy Young Award that season (he should have easily been runner up to Hershiser). As late as July 15th, Maddux had a 15-3 record and a 2.13 ERA. During the final 2 and half months of the 1988 season, Maddux went just 3-5 with a 5.28 ERA because of his tired arm.

  8. John Tudor in 1985:

    April and May: 1-7, 3.74 ERA, 65 IP, 1 CG
    June-September: 20-1, 1.37 ERA, 210 IP, 10 SHO, 13 CG

    No pitcher has ever thrown 10 shutouts in a season since then, and Tudor did it during the final four months of the 1985 season. 210 IP's in a four month stretch in just insane too.

    If you include the 1985 postseason, he tossed a total of 305.2 IP in 1985.

  9. Greg Maddux is a classic case of a pitcher throwing too many pitches early in his career and getting burned out early. When are managers going to learn?

    (a joke...yes...a joke...)

  10. DoubleDiamond Says:

    As for the "You'll NEVER guess who did it twice" remark, the guy who did do it twice has the same name as another major league pitcher from not too long ago. If you hadn't mentioned that someone did it twice, I might have thought it was one for each of them.