The Strange Goings-On in 10+ Strikeout Games

There have been 20 occasions so far this season when a starting pitcher has struck out at least 10 batters. There have 18 different pitchers who have accomplished this feat with Boston’s Chris Sale and the Cardinals; Carlos Martinez doing it twice each.

Now it seems to me that there was a time that striking out 10 members of the opposition was a mark of dominance. Take Pedro Martinez for example, he struck out 10+ batters 108 times in his career. In those games he was 67-19-22. His teams were 73-35, that’s a .676 winning pct. which seems pretty good to me. Going to another era, Bob Gibson struck out 10+ 74 times in his career. In those games he was 55-15-4. His Cardinals were 56-18, that’s a .757 winning pct. which seems really good to me.

In these 20 games of 2017, the pitcher with the 10+ Ks has won 6, lost 8, and had 6 ND. The team record has been 10-10, that’s a winning pct. of .500, which is a lot like who really cares?

What is going on?

Well for one thing, the pitchers this year are really getting their 10-plus whiffs in a hurry. They are really not around long enough to dominate from beginning to end. Only two: Chris Sale and Michael Pineda have lasted as long as 7.2 IP; sale took a loss and Pineda picked up win in those games.

Only Ian Kennedy (8.0), Carlos Martinez (7.1) and Yu Darvish (7.0 IP) have blanked the opposition.

Sean Manaea allowed six runs, five earned in 5.1 IP. Drew Pomeranz allowed five runs, all earned in 4.1 IP. Vince Velasquez allowed four runs, all earned in 4.0 IP. By the way, Pomeranz and Velasquez each faced only 20 batters and struck out half of them. The problem was with the other half who got five hits (or half of the batters they didn’t whiff) and each allowed two homers (20% of the batters that didn’t whiff homered).

How about control? This past Saturday, Carlos Martinez went 5.1 innings against the Yankees, striking out 11 and walking 8. That’s a Nolan Ryan game; he struck out 11+ and walked 8+ 13 times and Bob Feller did it three times, but Carlos Martinez is the only pitcher to do it in 5.1 innings pitched or less.

In the 10+K performances this season of Drew Pomeranz, Vince Velasquez, Jacob deGrom, and Lance McCullers, each surrendered two homers. Clayton Kershaw has 51 10+ strikeout games in his career and only three in which he has given up as many as two homers. BTW: he once walked five and three times he walked three.

Of the 20 10+K games so far this season, 16 were Quality Starts; the teams went 9-7 in those games.

So much for quality.

The 10+ Strikeout Games of 2017 (as of 4/17)

The Meh of 10+ Strikeout Games 
Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str BF
1 Ian Kennedy 2017-04-16 KCR LAA W 1-0 GS-8 8.0 2 0 0 2 10 0 111 67 27
2 Drew Pomeranz 2017-04-16 BOS TBR W 7-5 GS-5 4.1 5 5 5 2 10 2 103 65 20
3 Jacob deGrom 2017-04-15 NYM MIA L 4-5 GS-7 7.0 4 2 2 1 13 2 97 64 26
4 Chris Sale 2017-04-15 BOS TBR W 2-1 GS-7, W 7.0 3 1 1 3 12 0 111 69 26
5 Carlos Martinez 2017-04-15 STL NYY L 2-3 GS-6, L 5.1 4 3 2 8 11 0 118 71 30
6 Luis Severino 2017-04-13 NYY TBR W 3-2 GS-7, W 7.0 5 2 2 1 11 1 104 70 26
7 Yu Darvish 2017-04-13 TEX LAA W 8-3 GS-7, W 7.0 5 0 0 2 10 0 103 68 27
8 Francisco Liriano 2017-04-13 TOR BAL L 1-2 GS-7, L 6.2 5 2 2 2 10 0 91 59 26
9 Danny Salazar 2017-04-12 CLE CHW L 1-2 GS-6, L 6.0 4 2 2 2 11 0 106 73 25
10 Max Scherzer 2017-04-12 WSN STL L 1-6 GS-6, L 6.0 4 3 1 2 10 0 104 69 26
11 John Lackey 2017-04-12 CHC LAD L 0-2 GS-6, L 6.0 4 1 1 3 10 1 106 70 25
12 Chris Sale 2017-04-10 BOS DET L 1-2 GS-8, L 7.2 5 2 2 1 10 1 108 70 29
13 Michael Pineda 2017-04-10 NYY TBR W 8-1 GS-8, W 7.2 2 1 1 0 11 1 93 67 25
14 Jake Arrieta 2017-04-09 CHC MIL W 7-4 GS-7, W 7.0 3 3 3 2 10 1 98 63 26
15 Lance McCullers 2017-04-09 HOU KCR W 5-4 GS-7 7.0 6 3 3 0 10 2 99 65 27
16 Sean Manaea 2017-04-09 OAK TEX L 1-8 GS-6, L 5.1 3 6 5 2 10 1 86 53 24
17 Vince Velasquez 2017-04-07 PHI WSN L 6-7 GS-4, L 4.0 5 4 4 3 10 2 94 57 20
18 Justin Verlander 2017-04-04 DET CHW W 6-3 GS-7, W 6.1 6 2 2 2 10 0 103 68 26
19 Carlos Martinez 2017-04-02 STL CHC W 4-3 GS-8 7.1 6 0 0 0 10 0 105 68 27
20 Madison Bumgarner 2017-04-02 SFG ARI L 5-6 GS-7 7.0 6 3 3 0 11 1 88 66 27
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/17/2017.