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

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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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.