Last week Bill James gave to the internets this gift: a list of the 100 best pitchers’ duels of 2011. Today I give to the internets my own small trinket of affection – the 5 worst pitchers’ duels of 2011. Grantland touted James’ piece as ‘A totally, utterly, insanely completist list from the godfather of baseball stats’; none of those words have any business here.
James offers four criteria of a pitchers’ duel: low-scoring game, quality pitchers on the mound, pitchers pitch well, and something is at stake. I offer only one criteria of a bad pitchers’ duel – a lot of runs are scored. The more the better.
1. May 16th, Cleveland at Kansas City.
Royals’ starter Kyle Davies stuck around long enough to get just one out, giving up two runs. Nate Adcock took the game to the third inning, giving up only one run. Vin Mazzaro pitched two and 1/3, giving up 14 runs, which is, literally, the worst pitching performance in baseball history. Mazzaro after the game: “It’s tough. It was a tough game.” Yes. Indians win 19-1.
2. August 25th, Oakland at New York.
Rich Harden did not pitch well. Phil Hughes did not pitch well. The A’s ‘pen pitched worse than the Yankees ‘pen. The Yankees hit five home runs. Russell Martin hit two. Yanks win, 22-9.
3. October 22nd, St. Louis at Texas.
Or the game Albert Pujols went HAM.
4. July 25th, Minnesota at Texas.
The Rangers scored 18 runs in the first five innings. “The first five innings looked like a ZIP code,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire quipped after the game. “That will tell you how it went… 33354. I think that’s Florida …” He paused and twisted his mustache before musing, “Fort Lauderdale.” 20-6, Rangers.
5. June 26th, Tampa Bay at Houston.
Carlos Lee hit a triple. Evan Longoria hit two home runs. I needed another game to finish this list. Rays win, 14-10.