20 Innings of Excellence

With one out in the top of the 7th of a game between the Mets and the Yankees on June 13th, Gary Sheffield hit a home run to deep left off of Alfredo Aceves. With two outs in the top of the 5th of today’s game between the Marlins and the Yankees, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run home run off of Brett Tomko that tied the game at three. What is the significance? Well, between those two events, Yankee relievers allowed exactly zero runs, a period that spanned 20 innings. Lets have a roll call of the eight pitchers involved.

Alfredo Aceves pitched the most of those 20 innings, clocking in with five. Over his stints, he allowed zero walks and struck out three.

Phil Hughes, coming out of the pen while Chein-Ming Wang remains in the rotation, was next in line, tossing four innings, striking out six and not issuing a walk.

Phil Coke handled three innings and punched out six batters during them, though he did allow a walk.

Jose Veras had a quiet pair of innings, walking none and getting two strikeouts.

David Robertson faced eight hitters over his two innings pitched. His two walks made him the only pitcher to walk that many. He also struck out three and induced two ground outs and an infield fly out.

Brett Tomko had a ho-hum 1.2 innings with no walks and two strikeouts.

Brian Bruney chipped in for 1.1 innings with a strikeout and a pair of ground outs.

Mariano Rivera matched Bruney but in one less out, going one inning with a strikeout and a pair of ground outs.

All told, 20 innings, three walks, 24 strikeouts and, quite obviously, no home runs. Of the 46 balls put in play, 18 of them were on the ground, a solid 39%. It was quite a stretch of dominance.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

13 Responses to “20 Innings of Excellence”

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  1. Greg F. says:

    And the Yankees were still just 3-5 in those games. I bet you if Mike Francesca read this, he would still be calling for Joba to go to the bullpen.

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  2. Tim says:

    Wow that really just kinda shows how pathetic modern bullpen usage is.


    A player not good enough to play for the Nationals pitched more innings than a guarenteed first ballot hall of famer.

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    • Doug Lampert says:

      It’s not just Tomko. During the streach in question every one of the 12 other pitchers the Yankees used saw more innings.

      Burnett 13.1, Sebathia 9, Pettite 7, Chamberlain 6, Wang 5, Aceves 5, Hughes 4, Coke 3, Veras 2, Robertson 2, Tomko 1.2, Bruney 1.1

      Rivera 1

      That’s right, the Yanks have 12 pitchers not named Rivera, and all 12 of them get more innings than Rivera over the time in question. Guess they must not think he’s worth putting in.

      Granted, this streach was a bit of an oddity, over the season only two pure relievers for the Yanks have more innings than Rivera, Aceves and Coke, but even so.

      Arguably their best pitcher, and as far as I know he’s been healthy all year, and he’s averaging 1.2 outs per game, that’s 1.2 OUTS, not innings folks.

      Just insane.

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      • Chris says:

        Might have something to do with the fact that the Yankee starts can’t get out of the 3rd inning half the time. You don’t have to be a statistician to put it together.

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      • Randall says:

        He’s on pace for 65 innings. Two weeks ago he was on pace for 72. They’ve had very few situations that called for him in that stretch. There’s nothing insane about that.

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      • Doug Lampert says:

        Nothing insane about your best pitcher being on a pace for 65 innings when he’s been healthy all year?

        There’s no law that says your best pitcher is only allowed to pitch in a ninth inning save situation, and given that up by 3 can be handled by most relievers you can’t even justify it based on using him only for high leverage situations.

        Maybe if they USED him more they’d be ahead more often in close games in the late innings!

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    • Randall says:

      The Yankees only had one ninth inning save opportunity during the stretch.

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  3. Nate says:

    Out of curiousity I wonder how common it is for a bullpen to pull off a stretch like this during the course of a season. The Red Sox bullpen has been dominant much of the season, have they had a comparable run like this? What about other ‘mediocre’ bullpens like the NYY? Looking for some context here.

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    • twinsfan says:

      The Rays just had a 25 inning streak end a few days ago.

      The Marlins had a 20-some inning streak early in the season.

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  4. Brett Tomko says:

    Why am I a Yankee?

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    • Joe D. says:

      Dear Brett,

      Well, it’s obviously because you deserve to be! Great to have you on board! Really!

      B. Cashman

      PS: Remember to keep those photos between you and me, eh?

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  5. Nick says:

    The streak would have been longer if Tomko weren’t sent in there.

    It’s amazing. Took them forever to dump Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras, and despite Mark Melancon chilling in AAA and probably a whole slew of cheap relief available, the vaunted New York Yankees are content with Brett Tomko.

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  6. Sam Malone says:

    Let me say, as a Red Sox fan, I highly approve of Brett Tomko being in their pen! LOL

    Didn’t Cashman watch any Dodger footage of Tomko? The guy is awful.

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