Seven walks by Edwin Jackson? Big deal, Nolan Ryan did that all time

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Edwin Jackson walked seven batters last night before being pulled from Game 4 in the sixth inning, marking the third time in his career the 28-year-old right-hander has issued seven or more walks in a game. And one of those three was a no-hitter.

It was the first time a pitcher had walked seven batters in a World Series game since Livan Hernandez in 1997 and also got me curious about which pitchers have the most seven-walk starts in baseball history.

In retrospect, I should have known the answer before looking it up. After all he was sitting in the stands, next to George W. Bush, watching Jackson’s walk-fest last night.

Via the magic of Baseball-Reference.com:

STARTS WITH 7+ WALKS
Nolan Ryan        71
Bob Feller        44
Tommy Byrne       37
Bob Turley        32
Bobo Newsom       32

Amazing. Nolan Ryan walked seven or more batters 71 times, which is 61 percent more than any other pitcher in the history of baseball. Also of note is that Ryan had just 27 career starts in which he walked zero batters. My favorite Ryan pitching line might be this one. Seriously, it’s insane. I estimate his pitch count in that game at 1,572.

During the past 20 seasons Randy Johnson has the most seven-plus-walk starts with 12, followed by Oliver Perez, Darryl Kile, and Wilson Alvarez with nine apiece.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.