Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014: COMPLETE GAMES #62, #63, #64, #65

We are catching up during the ASB on the cluster of CGs that occurred right before the break...with four full-length performances and one five-inning game (the Orioles Kevin Gausman vs. the floundering Yankees, a game to bookend with the short CG turned by Clayton Kershaw back on June 8th) to note here.

First, the oft-rejected Edinson Volquez, now with the Pirates, tossed the second CG of his career on 7/10 when his teammates put on a hitting show against the Cardinals in a 9-1 win. Still not quite resembling the pitcher who was so effective for the Reds back in 2008 (17-6, 3.21 ERA, 9.5 K/9), Volquez has nonetheless won his last four starts, fashioning an ERA of 0.90 over those games.

That same day, the aforementioned Kershaw went the distance against the Padres in a 2-1 win, striking out eleven. Clayton is 9-1 in his last ten starts with an ERA of 0.97.

On 7/11, one of the A's new rotation anchors, Jeff Samardzija, lost an eight-inning CG to the Mariners in Seattle, running up against M's ace Felix Hernandez. It was the thirteenth CG loss in 2014.

Two days later, Clay Buchholz, making his fourth start for the Red Sox since coming off the disabled list on June 25, tossed a three-hit shutout against the Houston Astros in Minute Maid Park, striking out 12. Clay, whose ERA was 7.02 when he went on the DL in late May, has a 2.73 ERA since returning to action.

An interesting side question remains and is worth answering: how many more CGs could there have already been in 2014 if the pitch count police weren't so well-entrenched? It turns out that there are thirty more games thus far in '14 that feature eight innings pitched and less than a hundred pitches. That's roughly half again as many CGs that have actually been thrown this season.

There have been four eight-inning games with less than ninety pitches thrown, one of which was a CG (Jordan Zimmermann's three-hit loss to the Cardinals on 7/9).

One pitcher has thrown three of these "almost complete games": Hisashi Iwakuma of the M's, who did it three times within a twelve-game span back in May.

The current CG pace for 2014 is now 111.