The Week of the Reliever

By Blaidd Drwg

Jim Caple runs a section of his Off Base column on espn.com titled “Box Score Line of the Week”. Each week, he picks and interesting performance and writes about it. It is usually some pitcher absolutely getting his head beat in. This week, he had tons to choose from:

Arizona starter Ian Kennedy allowed 10 runs last Thursday (4 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 2 BB, 4 K), while Pittsburgh’s Jeff Locke allowed just one hit but also walked seven batters on Sunday (5 1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 6 K). But it’s the relievers who put in the real effort this week, thanks in large part to all of those extra-inning marathons.

Mariners reliever Blake Beavan faced the minimum number of batters in 6 2/3 innings Thursday (6 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K), which might have been the winning line had it not been for the Rangers’ Ross Wolf, who also pitched 6 2/3 innings of relief (6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) on Saturday. Which also might have won had Miami’s Kevin Slowey not pitched seven scoreless innings in relief on Saturday (7 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K).

But even he lost because of the Mets’ Shaun Marcum, who pitched eight innings in relief the same game. He lost the game, but he wins this week’s award:
8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

That was the longest relief outing since Scott Sanderson in 1989.

In case you were wondering, Sanderson came into the game in the 10th inning against the Pirates after Calvin Schiraldi, Steve Wilson and Mitch Williams failed to hold the lead in the 9th. Sanderson’s line was 8 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1ER, 2 BB, 5 K. He lost the game on a HR by Jeff King in the bottom of the 18th.

Interesting to note in that game – the Pirates managed to tie the game in the 9th without a hit, thanks to 4 walks, a wild pitch and a sac fly.

Either way, it was a freaky week for relief pitching.

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