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.
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.