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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Death Of The Shutout - BtBS

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of a once relevant statistic: the shutout. It’s been in hospice for many seasons, with hardly any pitchers coming to visit. Now, it has finally succumbed to death by singularity. For the first time in history, we may finish the season without a single pitcher accumulating more than one complete game shutout.

The kind reader is reminded that a SO (Shut Out) is only awarded to a pitcher when he pitches a complete game, therefore a CGSO is redundant.

Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: September 11, 2018 at 08:06 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitching, rotation

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   1. Tim M Posted: September 11, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5742307)
17 guys tied for the league lead with ONE! That is gonna be some seriously easy black ink.

I also wonder if they're gonna have to lower the threshold for ERA title qualifying. I don't have any database query tools but wonder what the trend line is for number of guys reaching 162 IP.
   2. Rally Posted: September 11, 2018 at 02:50 PM (#5742318)
71 pitchers have 143+ innings right now. Last year 58 had 162+, 2016 - 74, 2015 - 78, 2014 -88, 2013 - 81

   3. Batman Posted: September 11, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5742387)
Ten years ago, 88 pitchers had 162+ innings. Ten years before that, it was 96. Ten years before that, there were 91 qualifiers, but there were four fewer teams. It was 91 in 1978 too.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 11, 2018 at 06:14 PM (#5742471)
So teams don't even have an average of 2.5 qualifiers, and it's a five-man rotation! But no, there aren't too many teams.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 11, 2018 at 07:41 PM (#5742508)
So teams don't even have an average of 2.5 qualifiers, and it's a five-man rotation! But no, there aren't too many teams.

I don't think this has anything to do with the number of teams, it's about usage. And the usage is based on the perceived quality of relievers vs. starters.

I you got rid of 4 teams, you'd redistribute 8 or so qualifying SPs, but also 30+ RPs. So, starters get better, but so do relievers.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 11, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5742525)
Dare I say that Walter Johnson's record of 110 career shutouts seems safe?
   7. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: September 12, 2018 at 12:53 AM (#5742732)
Andrew Baggarly @extrabaggs
Mike Foltyniewicz was one out away from becoming the first major league pitcher to throw two shutouts this season. He'll stay in to try for the CG. (The Giants don't have a shutout nor a CG this year, BTW.)

So close.
   8. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 12, 2018 at 01:02 AM (#5742733)
Some of it's usage, but some is not being able to stay healthy enough to start the games in the first place--if a guy starts 30 games and pitches 5 innings each time, that's 150 innings. Say he pitches 6 innings 10 times, and that would be another 10. That's just 2 away from qualifying. He probably acually goes 4 three times, but 7 twice, 6 more like 12-15 times, etc., and winds up a little over 162. That's with modern usage and actually taking the mound. . There are only so many freaks of nature who can consistently stay off the DL without steroids and amps. There were only a few who could do it with steroids and amps. Moral of story? Bring back steroids and amps, or at least amps.
   9. BDC Posted: September 12, 2018 at 07:24 AM (#5742760)
Angels at least tied a record last night by using eight pitchers in a shutout (1-0 over Texas).
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 12, 2018 at 07:54 AM (#5742764)
To follow up on Vaux's point, if you stay in the rotation all year, you're almost guaranteed to reach the 162 IP threshold. Last year, 46 pitchers made 30 starts, and only three of them failed to qualify for the ERA title: Wade Miley (32 starts, 157.1 IP), Chad Kuhl (31 starts, 157.1 IP), and Ian Kennedy (30 starts, 154 IP).
   11. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 12, 2018 at 08:38 AM (#5742777)
I wanted to see how much of the decline in number of pitchers making 30 starts might be attributable in part to the decline in PED usage, and also how fast it's happened. So, 46 last year did it, as Tom Nawrocki says above. Five years before that, in 2012, 65 did. That's a lot more (and another 9 made 29 starts, though the cutoff has to be somewhere), even though PEDs had supposedly been eliminated by them. In 2007, 70 pitchers made 30 starts (and since we brought it up, an additional 6 made 29). I think there were still supposedly PEDs then, but I'm not sure. Then, five years before that, in 2002, the height of the PED era, 67 pitchers made 30 starts, and another 10 made 29 starts.

So the numbers hadn't changed much, and hadn't even declined, until very recently: in fact, as recently as 2016, 62 pitchers made 30 starts, and another 7 made 29. Was 2017 an outlier? Actually, it looks like it was. Pitchers who are still healthy probably have an average of 3 starts left. A handful will be shut down, and I can't go through the list right now to see how many on it are already out for the year, but so far in 2018, 64 pitchers have made at least 27 starts. A few of the 8 additional 26-start pitchers might make 4 more, too. So it looks quite likely that this year a number of pitchers at least in the low 60s will wind up having made 30 starts, very comparable to the numbers when PEDs were still around.

It looks like my knee-jerk hypothesis was wrong. The decline in ERA qualifiers isn't because pitchers are starting fewer games, because they're not starting fewer games. 2017 looks like an aberration in that regard.
   12. BDC Posted: September 12, 2018 at 09:37 AM (#5742803)
I was wrong; the record for pitchers used in a shutout is nine, by the Indians in a 1-0, ten-inning win over Detroit, 17 Sept. 2016.

Eight in a nine-inning shutout would seem to be the record, though. It was also done by the Red Sox in 1999, the Rays in a game in 2010, the Braves in 2012, and by the Angels in 2014 (naturally, eight completely different Angels than pitched last night).
   13. Tim M Posted: September 12, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5742923)
Speaking of ERA qualifying, I was a big Clemens fan back in his Sox days, and was horrified when the 1994 season ended to find a scrub named Steve Ontiveros had snuck up and vultured his ERA title on the last day, pitching exactly 1 more inning than games at the time (114), while Roger toiled a full workload (171 IP). VULTURED I say!
   14. SandyRiver Posted: September 12, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5742934)
Dare I say that Walter Johnson's record of 110 career shutouts seems safe?

Maybe. Currently there are 6 with at least 10, and I'm not sure any of the 6 will notch another. Kershaw leads with 15 but his most recent came in 2016, and his arm issues make it less likely he'll be allowed to go the full 9. The others are Colon, Sabathia, King Felix, Ervin Santana, Adam Wainwright. Beyond those 6 guys, Verlander has 8, Kluber 7, Bumgarner 6, but short of some lights-out phenom in our future, I don't see anyone else likely to hit double figures.

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