June 9, 1961
Making his first start of the year in the second game of a doubleheader, the California Angels’ Ryne Duren fans seven straight Red Sox to set an American League record in a 5-1 victory.
Duren’s streak started when Frank Malzone whiffed to end the first inning with two men on. He went on to strike out the side in both the second and third innings before Carl Yastrzemski grounded out to begin the fourth.
The hard-throwing Duren ended his outing with 11 strikeouts. He gave up one run and walked four in 6 2/3 innings. Eli Grba took over in the seventh and finished the game from there for a save.
Duren’s rotation stint didn’t last, however. He walked eight in 2 1/3 innings in a game against the Athletics later in June. He was sent back to the pen in July after two starts in which he combined to allow eight runs and walk nine in 4 2/3 innings.
Duren was selected to his third and final All-Star Game in 1961 anyway, but he didn’t get to pitch. He ended the year 6-13 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 starts and 30 relief appearances. He struck out 115 and walked 79 in 104 innings.
Duren ended up making 32 career starts and going 7-11 with a 4.55 ERA. A feared reliever in his early years because of his wildness and poor eyesight, he finished with a 3.57 ERA in 279 appearances out of the pen. In 589 1/3 major league innings, he struck out 630 and walked 393.
Duren’s AL strikeout record was matched a few times during the 1960s before being broken by Nolan Ryan on July 9, 1972. Ryan struck out eight in a row against the Red Sox then and again just a year later versus the Tigers on July 15, 1973. The major league record for consecutive strikeouts is 10, set by the Mets’ Tom Seaver on April 22, 1970. He fanned the last 10 Padres he faced and 19 overall.
Duren passed away earlier this year at age 71.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.