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.
Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.
While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.
Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.
Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”
Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.
If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.