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Matt Garza Pulls a Pedro

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Writers often talk about earmarks; accomplishments that alone signify worth - greatness in some cases - all on their own. Nothing further is needed than that box score. No scouting reports, advanced statistics, whatever. Just that line. An American League pitcher tossing ine innings with nine (or more) strikeouts and zero walks comes awfully close to that status.

Since 1954, the feat has occurred 253 times. I don't have the time and you don't have the patience for me to track down each of the occasions and determine whether the pitcher was good or not. Instead let's focus on a relatively smaller task and simply look at the last 50 pitchers to do it. Let's go through the list, year-by-year:

2009

Garza

Zack Greinke (twice)

2008

Ervin Santana

Cliff Lee

2007

Dustin McGowan

Erik Bedard

Kelvim Escobar

2006

John Lackey

Felix Hernandez

2005

CC Sabathia

Randy Johnson

Johan Santana

Roy Halladay

2004

Pedro Martinez

2003

Mike Mussina

Pedro Martinez

2002

Mark Mulder

Eric Milton

Ramon Ortiz

2001

Mike Mussina (thrice)

Chris Carpenter

Mark Mulder

Tim Hudson

Hideo Nomo

David Wells

2000

Pedro Martinez (thrice)

Roger Clemens

1999

Pedro Martinez

Chris Carpenter

Aaron Sele

David Cone

Wilson Alvarez

Mike Mussina

1998

Orlando Hernandez

Brad Radke (twice)

David Wells (twice)

Roger Clemens (twice)

David Cone

Randy Johnson

Aaron Sele

Doug Drabek

Mike Mussina

Kenny Rogers

Pedro Martinez

There are actually 52 occasions thanks to Martinez and Radke pulling the stunt twice in late 1998.

I'm going to name this type of outing "Pulling a Pedro".  Mike Mussina isn't too bad either.

This seems to happen a lot less now than it did a decade ago. Since 2006 we've had 10 "Pedro" outings; in 1999 there were 6; in 1998, 14. I went back and checked a few more years too; 1997 had 7; 1996 and 1995 had four. Maybe 1998 was just one of those years.

29 pitchers are listed. Of those, only two (two!) have career FIP over 4.5. 16 have FIP sub-4. In other words: it takes a good pitcher to pull this in the American League, at least nearly 95% of the time.

Yes, Wilson Alvarez was a Devil Ray at the time, and coincidentally he also had a Pedronian performance versus the Blue Jays. He faced off with David Wells (who only lasted five, allowing three homeruns), threw 138 pitches, and needlessly completed a game that was 11-3 after seven innings.

The Jays lineup from that game is amusing:

Shannon Stewart LF

Tony Batista SS

Shawn Green RF

Carlos Delgado 1B

Geronimo Berroa DH

Jacob Brumfield CF

Willis Otanez 3B

Mike Matheny C

Homer Bush 2B

Does anyone remember who Willis Otanez is? I bet if you polled the other eight players in the lineup that day, at least three would have no recollection of him.

The amount of games against the Rays is a bit jarring. I know this dates back to the expansion days, but my goodness:

1998 Brad Radke

1998 Mike Mussina

1998 Brad Radke

2000 Pedro Martinez

2004 Pedro Martinez

5/52 against, 2/52 for, that means All told the Rays contributed to 13.5% of these games.