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.
For the first time in major league history, both pitchers in a playoff game have struck out at least 11 batters, per MLB.com’s Paul Casella. Mets starter Jacob deGrom has pitched just a hair better than Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw overall. deGrom has blanked the Dodgers over six frames on five hits and a walk. Kershaw made one mistake, resulting in a solo home run to Daniel Murphy in the fourth inning. He’s allowed four hits and four walks total in 6 2/3 innings.
The last time opposing starters each struck out 10 in a post-season game was back in 1944 in Game 5 of the World Series when Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out 12 and Denny Galehouse of the St. Louis Browns struck out 10.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.