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.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.