45 up, 45 down

Over three games Mark Buehrle was perfect through 15 innings. Starting on July 18, when Nick Markakis flied out to center in the 8th, through Thursday’s perfect game and ending in the sixth inning of last night’s game not one batter reached base. As a result Buehrle set the major league record with 45 straight batters retired. Coincidentally the previous record holder Bobby Jenks, tied with Jim Barr for 41 batters, was sitting in the bullpen watching as it happened.

Over those 45 batters Buehrle got nine strikeouts, 22 ground outs, eight fly outs, two line outs and four pop outs. A truly amazing performance. I wanted to partially analyze partially commemorate the streak by looking at the location of Buehrle’s pitches. The image is a little messy, but there are some striking trends.


To begin with look how much he is in the zone. If you are going to go 15 innings without walking anyone, this is what it looks like. Beyond that though, against RHBs, he stayed out of the heart of the plate. One lonely curve down the middle, and everything else in this donut shaped area along the edges of the strike zone. Tons of pitches in the zone, but nothing in the heart, that is a recipe for success. Against righties you can see Buehrle’s plan, cutters and fastballs up and in and changeups low-and-away. That is just a beautiful pattern of pitch types and locations.

As I talked about in my Washburn one-hitter post you can’t get a no-hitter or one-hitter without lots of help from the defense. So here are all the outs at US Cellular during the streak, the one Markakis fly out from the 18th and all his balls in play during the perfect game.


You can see that amazing DeWayne Wise catch. Here are all his outs at the Metrodome during the streak.


Only one ball in play out of the infield and no line drives.

As a whole, notwithstanding the Wise catch, these were some very fieldable balls in play. Only 2 LDs over 36 balls in play, probalby a result of Buehrle staying out of the heart of the plate. In addition, out of 12 fly balls four were infield fly balls, the easiest balls in play to field. Three of these came on those up-and-in fastballs and cutters to RHBs, so Buehrle gets credit for those very fieldable balls in play. Still the defense needs to be given credit, 22 ground balls and all outs, nice work.

An amazing 15 innings for Buehrle, and wonderful for us that we could watch this piece of baseball history.

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Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.

5 Responses to “45 up, 45 down”

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  1. Tom B says:

    he was certainly helped yesterday by quite a few strike calls off the sides of the plate. still impressive, but the ump is yesterdays game was just awful…

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    • sean says:

      Not really. He was a bit generous for Buehrle, but still missed some calls low in the zone. It helped that it wasn’t a tiny zone and the Twins started swinging at everything.

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  2. B says:

    Those graphs are awesome. Congratulations to Buehrle.

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  3. AP says:


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  4. John says:

    The hitters retired in Buehrle’s streak are as follows:

    In the game on 18-July against Baltimore, he retired Nick Markakis to begin the streak.

    On 23-July against Tampa (the perfecto), the list goes as follows, in the batting order:

    B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, Pat Burrell, Gabe Kapler, Michel Hernandez, and Jason Bartlett (all three times)

    On 28-July @ Minnesota, he began the game with seventeen outs, who were:
    Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Crede, Brendan Harris, Carlos Gomez, and Nick Punto (all twice) and Alexi Casilla (once)

    In all, he retired nineteen different batters in his forty-five consecutive out streak:

    Nine batters three times (the TB lineup from 23-July)
    Eight batters twice (the first eight batters in the MIN lineup from 28-July)
    Two batters once (Nick Markakis (18-July) and Alexi Casilla (28-July))

    Brian Roberts was the last person to get on base off of Buehrle before the streak, singling in the top of the 8th inning on 18-July

    Alexi Casilla broke up the streak, walking in the bottom of the sixth inning on 28-July.

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