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.
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.
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.