Stat of the Day: Most pitches thrown in a postseason start


Justin Verlander threw 133 pitches in last night’s win over the Rangers, which got me wondering about the most pitches ever thrown in a postseason start.

Turns out, Verlander wasn’t even close to cracking the top 10. And that’s only counting games since people started tracking pitch counts, which rules out a whole lot of data before 1970 or so:

                   YEAR     IP     PIT
Steve Carlton      1980    8.0     159
Luis Tiant         1975    9.0     155
Britt Burns        1983    9.1     150
David Cone         1995    7.2     147
Curt Schilling     1993    9.0     147
F. Valenzuela      1981    9.0     147
Livan Hernandez    1997    9.0     143
Al Leiter          2000    8.2     142
Livan Hernandez    1997    8.0     142
Roger Clemens      1986    7.1     142

Verlander ranks tied for 44th and only three of the 43 guys ahead of him logged fewer than his 7.1 innings.

Livan Hernandez is the only pitcher to appear on the list twice and even more amazingly the two starts were 11 days apart in 1997. One was the famous 15-strikeout, Eric Gregg-umpired complete game versus the Braves in the NLCS and the other was an eight-inning, six-run outing versus the Indians in the World Series.

Also of note is that four of the top-10 highest pitch counts in playoff history came in losing efforts.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

Bob Levey/Getty Images

No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.