One Pitch Victories

I didn’t even look at the boxscore after watching game 7, so I didn’t even know ’til I read How to get credited with a win while not making it out of the fifth inning, that Madison Bumgarner didn’t get credit for the W. I assumed he would, ’cause, honestly, he pitched most of the game for San Francisco and pitched brilliantly on just a couple days rest.

This makes for a silly sounding trivia question — what does Madison Bumgarner, Joaquin Benoit, and Blas Minor, have in common?

They are the only pitchers since the 1980’s to have a save of 5+ innings long.

Madison Bumgarner. 5 innings, 0 ER. October 29, 2014. I don’t think I need to say much about this, ’cause you probably just watched it a couple nights ago. Thing is, Jeremy Affeldt pitched well, but, when you’ve got a pitcher who throws a shutout for more than half the game, it seems like he was more crucial to the victory than any other pitcher, don’t ya think?

Joaquin Benoit. 7 innings, 1 ER. September 3, 2002. The Rangers starter, Aaron Myette, was replaced during the 1st batter he faced. So obviously there was an injury of some sort. His replacement, Todd Van Poppel, and he hadn’t pitched more than 3 innings in any game all year. He threw 2 innings in this game, and ended up with the pitcher victory, probably because his offense gave him a lead.

Like Bumgarner, Benoit was a starter at this point in his career. In fact, he wouldn’t get credited with another save for over 4 years. So it really looks like manager Jerry Narron was just replacing his starter, but needed somebody else to pitch while his 2nd starter took time to warm up. If only the offense had waited another couple innings to get the lead, then maybe Benoit would’ve been given the big phat W.

Blas Minor. 5 innings, 0 ER. June 19, 1993. The official scorer gave the pitcher win to Freddie Tolivar, who only threw 3 pitches to 1 batter in the 4th. Yeah, seriously. If only Minor had started the game, he’d have gotten the win ’cause he went 5 innings. Or, if only Minor had been in the game for 1 batter, he could’ve gotten it too. Holdin’ down the fort for the first 5 innings, or for 1 batter, is apparently much more win worthy than holdin’ down the fort for the last half of the game. Don’t feel too bad for Minor though, ’cause he beat the Giants on only 2 pitches a couple months earlier.

The Blas Minor situation got me thinking. How many times has this happened? How many times has a pitcher been credited with the victory when they threw only 2 pitches? I would’ve guessed maybe 5 or 10 times, but a quick search on Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, shows that from the start of 1988 (when reliable pitch count data starts), there’s been 176 cases of a pitcher tossing just 2 pitches and getting the W. In almost all of these cases (165 of them), both pitches were to the same batter. It happened 6 times in this past season alone. Which leads us to an even more obvious question —

Has anyone ever gotten credited with a pitcher win, when they only threw 1 pitch during the game? Yep. 122 times from 1988-2014.

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec Pit
1 Zach Duke 2014-09-20 MIL PIT W 1-0 8-8, W 1
2 Matt Belisle 2014-08-10 COL ARI W 5-3 9-9, W 1
3 Ryan Pressly 2014-08-02 MIN CHW W 8-6 7-7, W 1
4 Darin Downs 2014-07-22 HOU OAK W 3-2 11-11, W 1
5 Randy Choate 2014-06-14 STL WSN W 4-1 7-7, W 1
6 Daniel Webb 2014-04-15 CHW BOS W 2-1 9-9f, W 1
7 Tony Sipp 2013-06-10 ARI LAD W 5-4 8-8, W 1
8 Sergio Romo 2013-04-22 SFG ARI W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
9 Matt Guerrier 2013-04-11 LAD SDP W 3-2 7-7, W 1
10 Luke Gregerson 2013-04-09 SDP LAD W 9-3 7-7, W 1
11 Nate Jones 2012-08-25 CHW SEA W 5-4 6-6, W 1
12 Bryan Shaw 2012-05-27 ARI MIL W 4-3 6-6, W 1
13 Brad Ziegler 2012-05-17 ARI COL W 9-7 8-8, W 1
14 Joe Smith 2012-05-14 CLE MIN W 5-4 8-8, W 1
15 Jeff Gray 2012-04-11 MIN LAA W 6-5 7-7, W 1
16 David Robertson 2011-09-21 (2) NYY TBR W 4-2 8-8, W 1
17 Kyle McClellan 2011-09-13 STL PIT W 6-4 8-8, W 1
18 Tony Watson 2011-09-07 PIT HOU W 5-4 8-8, W 1
19 Pedro Beato 2011-07-08 NYM SFG W 5-2 8-8, W 1
20 Mark Lowe 2011-05-15 TEX LAA W 5-4 8-8, W 1
21 Jorge Sosa 2010-05-31 FLA MIL W 13-5 6-6, W 1
22 Bobby Seay 2009-09-14 DET TOR W 6-5 10-10f, W 1
23 David Robertson 2009-06-04 NYY TEX W 8-6 8-8, W 1
24 Jason Motte 2009-04-21 STL NYM W 6-4 8-8, W 1
25 Edward Mujica 2009-04-13 SDP NYM W 6-5 5-5, W 1
26 Brian Shouse 2008-09-05 MIL SDP W 3-2 11-11f, W 1
27 Joe Beimel 2008-08-17 LAD MIL W 7-5 9-9f, W 1
28 David Robertson 2008-07-22 NYY MIN W 8-2 6-6, W 1
29 Dennys Reyes 2008-06-24 MIN SDP W 3-1 8-8, W 1
30 Royce Ring 2008-05-04 ATL CIN W 14-7 5-5, W 1
31 Brian Shouse 2008-05-01 MIL CHC W 4-3 8-8, W 1
32 Joe Beimel 2008-05-01 LAD FLA W 5-3 8-8, W 1
33 Javier Lopez 2008-04-19 BOS TEX W 5-3 8-8, W 1
34 Brian Shouse 2008-04-17 MIL STL W 5-3 9-9, W 1
35 Jorge Sosa 2008-04-10 NYM PHI W 4-3 12-12f, W 1
36 Bill Bray 2007-08-19 CIN MIL W 7-6 7-7, W 1
37 Zach Miner 2007-08-06 DET TBD W 6-4 7-7, W 1
38 Ray King 2007-08-05 WSN STL W 6-3 8-8, W 1
39 Luis Vizcaino 2007-07-15 NYY TBD W 7-6 7-7, W 1
40 Ryan Bukvich 2007-06-30 CHW KCR W 3-1 9-9, W 1
41 Eric O’Flaherty 2007-06-08 SEA SDP W 6-5 10-10, W 1
42 Aaron Heilman 2007-05-14 NYM CHC W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
43 Chad Paronto 2007-05-06 ATL LAD W 6-4 7-7, W 1
44 Macay McBride 2007-04-04 ATL PHI W 3-2 10-10, W 1
45 Manny Corpas 2006-09-07 COL WSN W 10-5 8-8, W 1
46 Jason Grilli 2006-08-30 (2) DET NYY W 5-3 8-8, W 1
47 Jonathan Broxton 2006-08-26 LAD ARI W 4-3 8-8, W 1
48 Chad Paronto 2006-08-13 ATL MIL W 7-4 7-7, W 1
49 Jeremy Affeldt 2006-07-05 KCR MIN W 6-3 7-7, W 1
50 Neal Cotts 2006-07-01 CHW CHC W 8-6 8-8, W 1
51 Geoff Geary 2006-06-04 PHI LAD W 6-4 7-7, W 1
52 Bill Bray 2006-06-03 WSN MIL W 4-3 8-8, W 1
53 Tim Byrdak 2006-04-14 BAL LAA W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
54 Jorge De La Rosa 2006-04-13 MIL STL W 4-3 10-10, W 1
55 Dennys Reyes 2005-05-17 SDP ATL W 3-2 9-9f, W 1
56 Hector Carrasco 2005-05-15 WSN CHC W 5-4 6-6, W 1
57 Neal Cotts 2004-09-22 CHW MIN W 7-6 9-9f, W 1
58 Julian Tavarez 2004-08-25 STL CIN W 6-5 8-8, W 1
59 Gabe White 2004-08-12 CIN LAD W 6-5 8-8, W 1
60 Joe Horgan 2004-07-19 MON PIT W 6-2 6-6, W 1
61 Joe Horgan 2004-06-30 MON PHI W 6-3 7-7, W 1
62 Scott Service 2004-06-06 ARI LAD W 6-5 7-7, W 1
63 Matt Perisho 2004-05-13 FLA HOU W 3-2 8-8, W 1
64 C.J. Nitkowski 2004-05-01 (2) ATL COL W 11-7 7-7, W 1
65 Michael Tejera 2003-09-23 FLA PHI W 5-4 7-7, W 1
66 Gabe White 2003-09-09 NYY DET W 4-2 8-8, W 1
67 Ricardo Rincon 2003-09-02 OAK BAL W 2-0 11-11, W 1
68 Kyle Farnsworth 2003-07-02 CHC PHI W 1-0 8-8, W 1
69 Alan Embree 2003-04-30 BOS KCR W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
70 Kent Mercker 2002-09-13 COL LAD W 5-4 7-7, W 1
71 Rich Rodriguez 2002-09-10 TEX SEA W 3-2 8-8, W 1
72 Rich Rodriguez 2002-08-20 TEX BOS W 3-2 9-9, W 1
73 Antonio Osuna 2002-08-07 CHW ANA W 7-6 9-9f, W 1
74 Kelly Wunsch 2002-05-25 CHW DET W 6-4 5-5, W 1
75 Luis Vizcaino 2002-04-20 MIL STL W 5-3 7-7, W 1
76 Luis Vizcaino 2002-04-14 MIL SFG W 4-3 7-7, W 1
77 Robb Nen 2001-08-15 SFG FLA W 2-1 9-9f, W 1
78 Mark Guthrie 2001-05-15 OAK NYY W 3-2 12-12f, W 1
79 Pat Mahomes 2000-07-14 NYM BOS W 6-4 7-7, W 1
80 Armando Almanza 2000-06-30 FLA MON W 5-4 8-8, W 1
81 Alan Mills 2000-05-17 LAD CHC W 8-6 8-8, W 1
82 Jeff Wallace 2000-05-02 PIT STL W 10-7 7-7, W 1
83 Matt Anderson 2000-04-30 DET CHW W 4-3 12-12f, W 1
84 Mark Redman 2000-04-14 MIN BAL W 10-9 8-8, W 1
85 Pedro Borbon 1999-08-07 LAD NYM W 7-6 8-8, W 1
86 T.J. Mathews 1999-05-15 OAK MIN W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
87 Dennis Cook 1999-04-10 NYM MON W 4-3 10-10, W 1
88 Graeme Lloyd 1998-09-04 NYY CHW W 11-6 7-7, W 1
89 Jason Christiansen 1998-08-20 PIT CIN W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
90 Aaron Small 1998-07-19 ARI COL W 6-4 7-7, W 1
91 Xavier Hernandez 1998-07-11 TEX OAK W 4-2 8-8, W 1
92 Greg McMichael 1997-07-10 NYM ATL W 10-7 8-8, W 1
93 Paul Assenmacher 1997-05-28 CLE KCR W 10-3 7-7, W 1
94 Rich Rodriguez 1997-04-04 SFG NYM W 6-4 7-7, W 1
95 Dan Naulty 1997-04-01 MIN DET W 7-5 8-8, W 1
96 Steve Reed 1996-09-08 COL HOU W 5-2 8-8, W 1
97 Jeff Schmidt 1996-07-20 CAL SEA W 5-4 8-8, W 1
98 Eddie Guardado 1996-07-05 MIN KCR W 9-8 9-9f, W 1
99 Mark Guthrie 1995-07-22 MIN BOS W 8-7 8-8, W 1
100 Danny Cox 1995-06-30 TOR BAL W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
101 Steve Bedrosian 1995-06-05 ATL CHC W 7-5 7-7, W 1
102 Joe Ausanio 1995-05-04 NYY BOS W 5-3 8-8, W 1
103 Jim Dougherty 1995-05-02 HOU CHC W 5-2 6-6, W 1
104 Josias Manzanillo 1994-07-19 NYM LAD W 7-4 8-8, W 1
105 Rob Murphy 1994-06-21 STL MON W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
106 Tim Mauser 1994-06-06 SDP ATL W 4-3 8-8, W 1
107 Scott Service 1993-08-28 CIN PHI W 9-5 5-5, W 1
108 Roger McDowell 1993-05-12 LAD CHC W 9-3 7-7, W 1
109 Norm Charlton 1992-09-05 CIN NYM W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
110 Tony Fossas 1992-07-08 BOS KCR W 5-4 8-8, W 1
111 Scott Ruskin 1992-04-21 CIN LAD W 4-3 6-6, W 1
112 Mike Henneman 1990-09-25 DET SEA W 4-1 9-9f, W 1
113 Willie Blair 1990-09-14 TOR BAL W 8-7 9-9f, W 1
114 Jesse Orosco 1990-05-19 CLE SEA W 4-3 7-7, W 1
115 Norm Charlton 1990-05-11 CIN CHC W 7-5 8-8, W 1
116 Ed Nunez 1989-09-06 DET KCR W 11-5 4-4, W 1
117 Atlee Hammaker 1989-05-21 SFG NYM W 10-6 6-6, W 1
118 Willie Hernandez 1988-09-16 DET BAL W 8-7 9-9f, W 1
119 Brian Holton 1988-06-25 LAD CIN W 6-4 1-1, W 1
120 Craig Lefferts 1988-06-22 SFG SDP W 8-7 9-9f, W 1
121 Willie Hernandez 1988-06-20 DET NYY W 2-1 10-10f, W 1
122 Jose Rijo 1988-04-16 CIN HOU W 8-2 7-7, W 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/31/2014.

That is like, Bugs Bunny territory. Throw one pitch, and the game is decided! Won! Shout in the streets riot ’til you drop! Not even Cy Young could’ve pulled that off, and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to.

Looks Bad for KC, but…

So the Giants are 1 win away from securing the 2014 championship, and they have experience in recent years with not choking. If the Royals can win game 6, and I think they will, they’ll have history on their side for game 7. Nobody in the World Series has lost a game 7 at home since the ’79 Orioles. That’s 9-0, with the most recent being the 2011 Cardinals. Those Cardinals came back to St Louis needing to win 2 games, just like this year’s Royals.

  • ’82 Cardinals
  • ’85 Royals
  • ’86 Mets
  • ’87 Twins
  • ’91 Twins
  • ’97 Marlins
  • ’01 Diamondbacks
  • ’02 Angels
  • ’11 Cardinals

What I find more interesting than that though, is the pattern of wins in these series.

1982 – 2011, World Series’s That Went 7 Games
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Last 2 Games
19-26 17- 1
1982 Cardinals 2-3 2-0
1985 Royals 2-3 2-0
1986 Mets 2-3 2-0
1987 Twins 2-3 2-0
1991 Twins 2-3 2-0
1997 Marlins 3-2 1-1
2001 Diamondbacks 2-3 2-0
2002 Angels 2-3 2-0
2011 Cardinals 2-3 2-0

8 of those 9 teams, like this year’s Royals, came back home for game 6 with a 2-3 record. 100% of them went on to win both games 6 & 7. It remains to be seen if the Royals will join the club, but if history repeats itself, then they will. It’s possible Kansas City could lose game 6 though, and never see a game 7 to join this club. So how many teams coming back home with a 2-3 record have blown game 6?

1982 – 2011, World Series’s That Went 6 Games
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Last Game
24-21 6-3
1992 Braves 2-3 0-1
1993 Blue Jays 3-2 1-0
1995 Braves 3-2 1-0
1996 Yankees 3-2 1-0
2003 Yankees 2-3 0-1
2009 Yankees 3-2 1-0
2013 Red Sox 3-2 1-0

Only 2. So in total, 8 of these teams with the same criteria as the Royals went on to win game 6, and 2 of these teams lost it. That’s an 80% success rate for game 6, and 100% success rate for game 7. That’s really good news for the Royals.

On the other hand, this was nowhere near common before the ’82 Cardinals did it. Check out how clubs did from 1946-1981 when they had home field advantage, after game 5, being down 2 games to 3 (started at ’46, ’cause the ’45 World Series was a different format – 3 away, THEN 4 straight home).

1946-1981 World Series’s That Fit Criteria
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Game 6 Game 7
30-45 11-4 2-9
1946 Cardinals 2-3 W W
1948 Braves 2-3 L -
1955 Yankees 2-3 W L
1956 Dodgers 2-3 W L
1957 Yankees 2-3 W L
1959 White Sox 2-3 L -
1962 Giants 2-3 W L
1965 Twins 2-3 W L
1967 Red Sox 2-3 W L
1971 Orioles 2-3 W L
1972 Reds 2-3 W L
1973 A’s 2-3 W W
1975 Red Sox 2-3 W L
1978 Dodgers 2-3 L -
1981 Yankees 2-3 L -

Not only was it uncommon, it was quite rare. Only 13.3% accomplished it (2 out of 15).

I have no idea why there was such a big swing of change after 1981, but there was. It could be just plain ‘ol regression, post-season roster rules, teams figuring something out, a mental attitude, a mental block, pure chance, changes in free agency, or something else entirely.

I should mention that I don’t consider any of this predictive, since history has nothing to do with the current roster talent of either club. This ain’t sabermetrics, so don’t pretend it is. It’s just a curious historical observation. If history continues on its current track, the Royals will win games 6 & 7 to #TakeTheCrown.

A Team in Montreal Soon?

The Tampa Bay Rays ownership have started discussing a move to Montreal. I say started, because they won’t leave Tropicana Field until 2017, unless they want to pay Tampa some cash. I won’t be surprised if they go though. Historically, every time a team leaves a city without an MLB team since 60 years ago, another team has moved back in.

1957 Dodgers & Giants leave NYC
1960 Senators leave Washington, DC
1961 MLB expands, new Senators in Washington, DC
1962 MLB expands, gives NYC the Mets
1966 Braves leave Milwaukee
1968 A’s leave Kansas City
1969 MLB expands into Kansas City
1970 Pilots leave Seattle, move to Milwaukee
1973 Rangers leave Washington, DC
1977 MLB expands, Mariners fill the Seattle slot
2005 Expos move from Montreal to Washington, DC

It took Washington a while, but for a good 20 year period, this was normal for MLB. So, sooner or later, there will be a team in Montreal again. We just don’t know if it’ll be the Rays going there, or if it’ll be some other franchise playing in Montreal someday.

It seems it’d be pretty easy for the Rays to sell the move to enough owners, for a 75% vote. As of right now, I think the Blue Jays have territorial rights for all of Canada. They have to share some of Canada, but they still have rights throughout it. I doubt any other club would like to let the Blue Jays have that much possible revenue at their fingertips if there’s any chance to allow it or stop it, so it’d be in the best interest of baseball & every non-Toronto ownerships to slice some of that area off.

So I think right now, the rays are bringing the subject up to begin the discussion, since there’s only a couple more seasons before 2017. As the article points out, this might simply be a ploy to get Tampa to support the team more. Of course, if it doesn’t, then the Rays can walk away without a problem. I think the Rays really are interested in moving though.

Clem Labine & Jack Morris

Graham Womack’s recent blog post Why do people still think Jack Morris pitched to the score? got me wondering about a side point. Has anyone besides Jack Morris ever thrown 10 shutout innings in an elimination game in the World Series with a final score of 1-0? Sure enough, someone has and that someone was someone most fans probably never heard of — Clem Labine.

Back in 1956, the Dodgers would’ve lost the series but Clem threw a gem and held off the Yankees offense for 10 solid innings of a 0-0 tie, to keep Brooklyn’s hope alive. In fact, he gave up the same number of hits & walks that Morris did in 1991’s game 7 while facing the exact same number of batters. It’s a very close comparison.

So as great as Morris’s performance was on that October night in 1991, it was not so unique that it couldn’t have been done by someone else in a similar situation.