Joe Paterson’s horrible start tops all other horrible starts

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After entering with a 9-0 lead to start the ninth inning Monday, Diamondbacks left-hander Joe Paterson gave up five straight hits, including back-to-back homers, to the Phillies. He was charged with five runs without retiring a batter, and he now has a 37.12 ERA on the season.

As a Rule 5 pick a year ago, Patterson allowed a total of 11 runs in 34 innings, good for a 2.91 ERA. He’s already matched that total of runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings this season. In his last two appearances, he’s allowed 10 consecutive batters to reach, nine via a hit. Overall, he’s allowed 15 hits in 23 official at-bats, good for a .652 average against.

If Paterson doesn’t pitch again this season — and it’s a good bet that he will be optioned to Triple-A prior to Tuesday’s game — that .652 would be a historic mark. No one in major league history has ever finished a season with that many hits allowed in so few innings pitched. The worst average against of anyone to pitch at least 2 2/3 innings belongs to David Moraga, who had a .625 average against in 2 2/3 innings in 2000. The highest average against for anyone to allow 15 hits in a season is the .579 mark against the Cardinals’ Brady Raggio in 1998 (22 H in 7 IP).

It’d also be the highest going by appearances. Paterson has appeared in six games with a .652 average against. The next highest for anyone to appear in six games was .583 against the Mets’ Tim Hamulack in 2005. It wouldn’t quite set the five-appearance record: the Tigers’ Dave Gumpert had a .700 average against in five appearances in 1982 and the Yankees’ Tony Fossas had a .667 average against in five appearances in 1999.

It probably won’t come to that, though; Paterson has the stuff to be a useful specialist and should be able to turn it around with a few weeks in Triple-A. This just hasn’t been his month.

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.