Friday, May 9, 2008

Stat Nugget of the Day: 5/9/2008.

(As always, dissemination of the SNotD with attribution is welcome.)

Despite a terrific start to his season, including a 1.25 ERA in his first five starts, Zack Greinke was not dominating opposing hitters in the strikeout category; he struck out no more than six batters in any of his starts, and more than four hitters just once.

That all has changed in his last two starts. Last Thursday, The Baseball Jonah whiffed 9 Texas Rangers in seven innings, but was sunk by two solo homers and the Royals' typically impotent lineup. This Wednesday, Greinke struck out eight more hitters in seven innings of work, and walked away with the win.

Striking out eight batters or more in consecutive starts is not a big deal. Or at least it shouldn't be. But if you're a Royals fan, you know how rare this can be for the boys in blue.

In point of fact: Greinke has become the first Royals pitcher to strike out at least 8 batters in consecutive starts this century. The last Royal to turn the trick was Jay Witasick, on September 17th and 22nd, 1999.

If Greinke strikes out 8 batters his next time out, he will become just the third Royals pitcher in history to do so in three straight starts. The first was Dennis Leonard, who did so in his last three starts of the 1977 season. (He would strike out just four in game 3 of the ALCS, but beat the Yankees anyway, bless his heart. Let's not speak about game 5.)

The second was Kevin Appier, who did so three times, once in 1995, once in 1996, and once in 1997. In 1996 Appier struck out 8+ hitters in five straight starts, and started that streak with three straight starts of double-digit strikeouts, the only such streak in team history. (In fact, only two other Royals - Bret Saberhagen in 1989, and Bill "Don't Call me Billy" Butler in 1969 - have struck out 10 batters in consecutive starts.)


Unknown said...

I was wondering where his Ks were in those first few games. Not that I thought he would have the totals he has had in the last two games but he was actually posting a lower K/9 number than Bannister.

He seems to be throwing a lot harder than he was to start the season. I saw him hit 97 in his last start and I don't remember seeing that this year.

Unknown said...

BTW Rany, I have a favor to ask of you. Could you write something extra uplifting and backed with facts? I feel myself going into my annual early season mental breakdown. You are just the guy to help me through this time.

Anonymous said...

You should start doing a Baseball Jonah Log, like Poz's Banny Log.

Darrel said...

Not having been a Royal fan while William Franklin (Bill) Butler was around, I looked him up. He was quite a strikeout pitcher in 69 (his rookie year). 156 K's in 193 2/3 innings. That's over 7 a game. Control was as most strikeout pitchers, about 4 walks per 9 innings. He must've hurt his arm or something, because in his remaining 6 years, he only struck out 5 per game and his walks were up slightly. His rookie year and he had the best year of his career at 22 years old.

Anonymous said...

On Saturday night I went to see the Wilmington Blue Rocks play. The are the KC Carolina League team. They scored some runs, unusual when I see them, and won.

They have a reliever, Henry Barrera, who has a motion that I have never seen before. Just before he releases the ball he hops. I tried to see how he was doing it but couldn't figure it out. It was clear to me that when he released the ball his foot was n ot on the rubber but the other tean and the umpires didn't seem to mind. He always seems to pitch from the stretch.

Except for some walks he was effective for 2 innings.