The Sixth Inning Sense

A.J. Griffin has had an interesting start to his career.  The A’s rookie righty has made six starts, each of them lasting exactly six innings:

Date Opp IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit
Jun 24 SFG 6.0 3 2 2 1 4 1 104
Jun 29 TEX 6.0 2 0 0 2 4 0 109
July Opp IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit
Jul 4 BOS 6.0 4 2 2 2 3 1 108
Jul 13 MIN 6.0 8 3 3 1 5 2 95
Jul 19 NYY 6.0 7 2 2 0 4 0 90
Jul 25 TOR 6.0 3 0 0 2 9 0 104
36.0 27 9 9 8 29 4
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/27/2012.

In only one game did Griffin even start the seventh inning.  He pitched to one batter in the 7th in his debut.  Other than that . . . its six innings/18 outs . . . and nothing else.

That got us thinking, what are the longest starting pitcher streaks of exactly “x” innings pitched?  To the Baseball Reference Play Index we go.  Here is the most recent pitcher to tie/set each mark, along with the number of different players/instances hitting this mark (all records since 1918):

Bruce Chen!  Bruce Chen appears on this list three different times . . . for three different teams.  Bruce Chen!  (Did I mention “Bruce Chen”?).  Duane Ward eventually found his true calling as a reliever.  I don’t think anyone will pitch 16 games of nine innings in a SEASON anymore, much less consecutively and/or exactly nine innings, as Red Lucas did.

While I have your attention, here’s a reminder that the VORG is having a Pledge Drive.  Appreciate any/all donations!  Thanks!






1 thought on “The Sixth Inning Sense

  1. Yeah, I can imagine that would be tough. Even in the era where pitchers were expected to complete games they started, so much could mess up a string of consecutive starts of exactly 9 innings. Your team could end up tied after 9 and you get sent back out for the tenth; you could slip up on the road and end up with 8 (or 8.1 or 8.2, if it’s a walk-off) in a complete game loss…

    But some of those are truly amazing. Chen being on the list 3 times is pretty strange, but his appearance in the 8.2 section is the strangest. 1 run over two starts of 8.2 innings each and two no-decisions. That is some seriously bad run support, or possibly some seriously bad relief pitching.

    Also interesting: the Jimmy Haynes line. Duane Ward’s and Carl Pavano’s also end in different years than they began, but in both cases the string started in late September and ended in early to mid-April. At first I was actually a bit confused about Pavano’s being four starts long until I remembered that 2001 was the year that ended a week late due to the season being put on hold after 9/11. But Haynes started his run of 4.1-inning starts in July of 1996 and ended it in August of 1997! Obviously there was a long stint in the minors tucked in there as well.

    Two more things that jump out at me, both involving wins in short starts: Nick Blackburn, who tied the record for consecutive starts going the minimum 5 innings required to pick up a win as a starter with five earlier this year, was 4-1 during that stretch. That’s…kind of amazing, given that pitching just 5 innings really isn’t that great, and moreover the Twins are pretty bad this year. And yet the lone pitcher to have three straight starts of just three innings, Emilio Palmeiro way back in 1926, went 1-2! I guess the 5-inning minimum for a starter to receive a win wasn’t in place in 1926. I wonder when it was implemented.

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