Thursday, August 28, 2014

2014: COMPLETE GAMES #85, #86, #87, #88, #89, #90, #91...

Not surprisingly, when one's schedule gets frenetic, the gods go to work and paint you into a it was with the CG watch last week. In the midst of much furor elsewhere, we were delivered our first 4-CG day of the 2014 season (8/21). Interestingly enough, three of these were complete game losses. (We'll have to do some research to determine what day in baseball history had the most of these.)

Of the four who threw CGs that day, only Brandon McCarthy (#88, NYY vs HOU) emerged with a win--a 3-0, four-hit shutout. Dallas Keuchel (#85, HOU vs. NYY) was his unlucky counterpart in that game, making it into only the second game in which both pitchers went the distance (the other occurrence, as you may recall, was on 7/31, when the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw beat Julio Teheran and the Braves, 2-1).

Elsewhere, the Padres' Tyson Ross (#86, 2-1 loss to the Dodgers) and recent Tiger import David Price (#87, 1-0 loss to Tampa, his old team, despite allowing just one hit) completed the rare hat trick of same-day CG losers.

So our calendar display of 2014 complete games now adds a new color to signify four CGs in a single day. (Someday we will create a CG calendar display for a pre-expansion year, and see if we can run out of colors...but that's someday.)

We should pause for a moment to note that 2014's CGs are more prevalent in the middle of the week (53 on Tuesdays-Thursdays) than on the weekend (34 on Fridays-Sundays, with just 4 on Mondays). Not meaningful, probably, but worth a passing mention.

Meanwhile, CGs continue to agglomerate: Drew Smyly, the man traded for David Price, gifted his new team (Tampa) with a two-hit shutout (CG #89, 8/22)  over Toronto (Rays won, 3-0). Madison Bumgarner (#90, 8/26) and the unsinkable Colby Lewis (#91, 8/27) both posted their second CG during the month of August.

Lewis's game is notable for being the first time in 2014 that a pitcher allowed four or more runs in a CG and was the winning pitcher. There have been only four such instances where CG pitchers have allowed 4+ R in '14: their record is now 1-3 this season. The WPCT in such games, from 1914 to now as captured in the Forman et fils Play Index, is .435 (7173-9292); since 2000, however, that WPCT value is much lower (30-147, .169), which demonstrates how complete games have increasingly become elite games.