A’s closer Sean Doolittle has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in baseball history and it’s not even close

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A’s left-hander Sean Doolittle has posted excellent numbers since moving from first base to the mound in the minors, including a 3.09 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 116 innings through his first two seasons as a big leaguer.

This season he moved into the closer role when Jim Johnson struggled, converting eight saves so far, and Doolittle’s numbers now include an absolutely ridiculous 46-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33 innings.

Seriously. He’s thrown 33 innings this season and has 46 strikeouts compared to one walk.

To get a sense of how absurd that is, here are the best K/BB ratios in the history of baseball among all pitchers with at least 30 innings in a season:

SEAN DOOLITTLE      2014     46.00
Dennis Eckersley    1989     18.33
Dennis Eckersley    1990     18.25
Koji Uehara         2013     14.33
Sergio Romo         2011     14.00
Mariano Rivera      2008     12.83

I mean, really.

In the entire history of baseball there are only 17 instances of a pitcher throwing at least 30 innings in a season with more than 10 strikeouts per walk. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley has the two best strikeout-to-walk ratios in baseball history at 18.33-to-1 in 1989 and 18.25-to-1 in 1990. That’s amazing, as were the seasons listed above from Koji Uehara last year, Sergio Romo in 2011, and Mariano Rivera in 2008. Yet what Doolittle is doing right now for the A’s makes those look like nothing special.

Oh, and Doolittle now has the second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio of all time among pitchers with 100 or more career innings at 6.64, behind only Uehara at 8.90. Five years ago he was a Triple-A first baseman hitting .267 with an .811 OPS for the A’s affiliate in Sacramento. Baseball is crazy, man.

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Blue Jays clinch 1st playoff spot since 2016, beat Yanks 4-1

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Hyun Jin Ryu pitched seven shutout innings and the Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first postseason spot since 2016, beating the Yankees 4-1 Thursday night and further damaging New York’s chances of hosting a first-round playoff series.

New York lost for the fourth time in five games and remained two games behind the slumping White Sox for the fourth seed. Chicago lost 5-4 at Cleveland, its fifth straight defeat.

Toronto secured at least an AL wild-card spot and ensured its eighth trip overall to the postseason.

Blue Jays players embraced on the diamond at their temporary home of Sahlen Field in Buffalo after Rafael Dolis struck out Aaron Hicks to end it.

The Blue Jays trail the Yankees by two games for second place in the AL East. Both teams have three games remaining. Toronto hosts Baltimore in Buffalo while the Yankees host the Marlins.

New York failed to hit a homer for the fourth straight game, matching its longest streak since June 2016. It’s the first time the Yankees have failed to homer in a four-game series since doing so at Texas in July 2013.

New York loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez flied out to deep center, where Randal Grichuk made a leaping catch at the wall.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered for Toronto.

Ryu (5-2) scattered five hits, walked two and struck out four. Luke Voit and Hicks hit back-to-back singles to begin the sixth but Ryu struck out Giancarlo Stanton, got Gleyber Torres to fly out and retired Gio Urshela on a groundball.

Dolis got four outs for his fifth save in six chances.

Ryu became the first Blue Jays starting pitcher since Aug. 22, 2019, to pitch into the seventh, pitching around Clint Frazier‘s leadoff single by setting down the next three, including pinch-hitter Aaron Judge. The left-hander lowered his ERA from 3.00 to 2.69.

Guerrero opened the scoring with a solo homer off left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-3) in the second, his eighth.

The Blue Jays extended their lead when Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette hit back-to-back, two-out doubles in the third.

Toronto made it 4-0 in the sixth. Grichuk chased Montgomery with a single and Guerrero singled off Adam Ottavino before rookie Alejandro Kirk hit a two-out, two-run double.

Montgomery lost for the first time in four starts. He allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The Blue Jays finished 5-5 in their 10-game regular season series against the Yankees.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (elbow) was activated off the injured list and RHP Wilmer Font was designated for assignment. . RHP Jordan Romano (strained right middle finger) will throw a second bullpen session Friday.

Yankees: Judge is expected to start all three remaining regular season games, manager Aaron Boone said.

BIG HIT

New York infielder D.J. LeMaheiu went 1 for 5, dropping his MLB-best average to .355. A former NL batting champ seeing his first AL title, LeMahieu is well ahead of White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. The Chicago star went 0 for 4 in Thursday’s loss to Cleveland, dropping his average to .338.

SHARED DUTY

Boone said he expects to use both Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka at catcher in the postseason. Higashioka has hit well while working with ace Gerrit Cole, while Sanchez has struggled with both offense and his defense down the stretch.

UP NEXT

Yankees: LHP J.A. Happ (2-2, 3.25) starts Friday as New York returns home to begin a three-game series against Miami. RHP Sandy Alcantara (3-2, 3.12) starts for the Marlins.

Blue Jays: RHP Taijuan Walker (4-3, 2.86) starts Friday in the opener of a three-game series against Baltimore. The Orioles have not named a starter.