Just before the All-Star break I wrote about how Carlos Marmol was on pace for the highest strikeout rate in baseball history among pitchers with at least 50 innings.
In the two months since then he hasn’t missed quite as many bats, but the Cubs’ closer is still on an historic track. Marmol has racked up an amazing 120 strikeouts in 68.2 innings, which works out to 15.73 strikeouts per nine innings.
Not only is that the best strikeout rate of all time, Marmol is the only pitcher to ever crack 15 per nine innings:
CARLOS MARMOL 2010 15.73
Eric Gagne 2003 14.98
Billy Wagner 1999 14.95
Brad Lidge 2004 14.93
Armando Benitez 1999 14.77
Billy Wagner 1998 14.55
Billy Wagner 1997 14.38
In terms of this season Rafael Betancourt has the second-highest strikeout rate at 12.83, which is 23 percent fewer strikeouts per nine innings than Marmol. Amazing.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.