Stats Speak: Doc's playoff debut unmatched
Phillies ace's first postseason appearance one for the ages
For the most part, regular season baseball stats and postseason baseball stats are kept separate: in the ledgers, conversations, and minds. But there are two exceptions to this rule: unassisted triple plays and perfect games. When reeling off the number of unassisted triple plays ever recorded, Bill Wambsganss' feat in the 1920 World Series is included in the 15 that have ever taken place. And, of course, Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series is almost always mentioned in the same breath as the 19 that have taken place during the regular season. Imagine if this mixing was accorded to other feats?
All of a sudden, Hank Aaron wouldn't have passed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list on April 8, 1974 when he hit his 715th; instead, Aaron would have become the home run king on June 14, 1974, when he hit his 724th off of Bob Gibson. (Ruth had 15 World Series home runs for a total of 729; Aaron also had six postseason home runs to his credit, so his 724th regular season homer would have made him the top man).
It's interesting to ponder how Roy Halladay's no-hitter in the first game of the NLDS will be regarded by history. Will fans a generation from now think of him as the fifth pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a season (joining Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds, Virgil Trucks and Nolan Ryan), for example?
NLDS Game 1: Reds vs. Phillies
The Phillies defeated the Reds, 4-0, as Halladay threw a no-hitter. He struck out eight, threw 104 pitches (79 for strikes), and was only a Jay Bruce walk in the fifth inning away from a perfect game.
It is the second no-hitter in postseason history, following Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
It is the second postseason shutout in Phillies history. Curt Schilling (five-hitter in Game 5 of the 1993 World Series) owns the other.
Halladay totals a 94 game score -- a metric created by Bill James to determine a pitcher's dominance in a particular game -- for his performance. That is tied for the fourth-highest score in postseason history.
Highest Game Scores in Playoffs
|Roger Clemens||98||2000 ALCS, G4||1-hit s/o, 15 K's|
|Babe Ruth||97||1916 WS, G2||14-inning CG|
|Dave McNally||97||1969 ALCS, G2||11-inning s/o, 11 K's|
|Ed Walsh||94||1906 WS, G3||2-hit s/o, 12 K's|
|Don Larsen||94||1956 WS, G5||perfect game|
|Roy Halladay||94||2010 NLDS, G1||no-hitter|
Halladay's 94 game score is the highest ever for the first game of a playoff series, topping Bob Gibson's 17-strikeout, five-hit performance in the 1968 World Series and Kevin Brown's 16-strikeout outing in the 1998 NLDS. Halladay's score is also the highest ever for a Division Series game.
Halladay's performance marks only the ninth time in postseason history a pitcher has thrown a complete game and allowed one hit or no hits.
Halladay's no-hitter came in his first-ever postseason game. It is the 35th time a pitcher has tossed a shutout in his first career postseason game.
Halladay threw first-pitch strikes to 25 of the 28 batters.
NLDS Game 2: Reds vs. Phillies -- Look Ahead
On Sept. 25, 2008, Roy Oswalt allowed one run on two hits in six innings and beat the Reds to improve to 23-1 lifetime against Cincinnati. Although he hasn't fared as well recently, Oswalt still owns a 23-3 career record with a 2.81 ERA against the Reds. Essentially, in his career, Roy Oswalt has been 1997 John Smoltz or 2008 Cliff Lee in his career against the Reds.
ALDS Game 1: Rangers vs. Rays
Cliff Lee earned the win with seven innings of one-run ball, as the Rangers defeated the Rays, 6-1. Lee allowed the one run on five hits and struck out 10 while not walking a batter.
The performance marks the third time in the postseason Lee has struck out at least 10 while issuing no walks. No other pitcher in postseason history has had more than one such game. Lee is the first AL pitcher to ever accomplish the feat.
Postseason Starts: 10-plus Strikeouts and No Walks
|Deacon Phillippe||1903 WS, G1||10|
|Don Newcombe||1949 WS, G1||11|
|Tom Seaver||1973 NLCS, G1||13|
|Sterling Hitchcock||1998 NLDS, G4||11|
|Cliff Lee||2009 NLCS, G3||10|
|Cliff Lee||2009 WS, G1||10|
|Cliff Lee||2010, ALDS, G1||10|
Lee is the sixth pitcher to strike out at least 10 batters in the first game of a Division Series, and the first since Brown in 1998.
Lee improved his postseason career numbers to 5-0 (in six starts) with a 1.52 ERA, and has now allowed 32 hits in 47 1/3 innings, with 43 strikeouts and six walks.
The Rangers won a playoff game for the first time since Game 1 of the 1996 ALDS (the franchise's first postseason game). Since that victory, Texas had lost nine straight (the final three games of the 1996 ALDS, all three games in the '98 and '99 ALDS).
After 1,508 career regular season games without a postseason appearance, Michael Young made his playoff debut and went 0-for-4). Among active players, Young had amassed the second-most regular season games without a postseason appearance; the only player with more is Randy Winn, with 1,717 games.
Rangers catcher Bengie Molina hit his fourth career Division Series home run -- tied for the second-most all-time for catchers, behind only Jorge Posada.
ALDS Game 2: Rangers vs. Rays -- Look Ahead
With the wins by the Yankees' CC Sabathia and the Rangers' Lee (over Rays lefty David Price) on Wednesday, left-handed starters all-time in postseason play are 421-408. Texas will be sending out another southpaw -- C.J. Wilson -- in Game 2.
In 2010, Wilson faced a left-handed hitter 171 times. In those 171 plate appearances, he allowed a total of 22 hits, including five doubles. He didn't allow a home run.
In 2010, the Rays hit 15 home runs as left-handed batters against left-handed pitchers. Carlos Pena led the way for Tampa Bay in this split, with eight home runs against southpaws.
This season, Pena did something accomplished by only three other players in history: he hit at least 25 home runs and finished the year with a batting average below .200, joining Rob Deer (25 HR, .179 AVE in 1991), Mark McGwire (29 HR, .187 AVE in 2001) and Mark Reynolds (32 HR, .198 AVE in 2010).
ALDS Game 1: Yankees vs. Twins
Curtis Granderson went 1-for-4 with a two-run triple in the Yankees' 6-4 victory over the Twins. In five career Division Series games, Granderson has four career extra-base hits (two triples and two home runs). The most extra-base hits for a player through his first five career LDS games is six -- by Nomar Garciaparra, Jim Edmonds and Carlos Beltran.
With 1 1/3 scoreless innings, Mariano Rivera earned his 40 career postseason save, and 17th in Division Series play (both totals are the most ever). Of those 40 saves, Rivera has gotten at least four outs in 31 of them. Rivera's career postseason ERA now stands at 0.74 (11 earned runs in 134.2 innings).
The Yankees improved to 10-2 against the Twins in postseason play.
Dating back to the second game of the 2004 ALDS, the Twins have lost 10 straight playoff games. After defeating the Yankees in the first game of the '04 ALDS, Minnesota lost three straight. In '06, they were swept out of the ALDS by the Athletics. Last year, the Twins were swept by the Yankees in the first round.
The Twins' Michael Cuddyer went 2-for-4 with a double and a two-run home run. Cuddyer has 25 career postseason hits -- third-most in franchise history behind on Kirby Puckett (30) and Dan Gladden (29).
ALDS Game 2: Yankees vs. Twins - Look Ahead
Andy Pettitte will be making his 41st postseason start tonight. In six different seasons, Pettitte has made five postseason starts - in 1996, 2000, '01, '03 and '09.
Pettitte will be the 12th left-hander in postseason history to start a game after his 38th birthday. Among the other 11 pitchers, Randy Johnson has the most such starts, with eight.
NLDS 1: Braves vs. Giants -- Look Ahead
The Braves' history in the Division Series has been a tale of two distinct sections:
From 1995-2001, Atlanta played in seven Division Series and won six of them. In those seven years, the Braves played 23 Division Series games and won 18 of them, outscoring their opponents, 113-79.
From 2002-05, the Braves played in four Division Series, lost all four -- with three of the four going the limit -- and were outscored, 104- 83.
Nineteen Braves played in the Atlanta's most recent postseason game: Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS, which they lost in 18 innings to the Astros. Of those 19, three are with the Braves in this year's postseason: Brian McCann, Tim Hudson and Kyle Farnsworth. In Game 4 of the '05 NLDS, Hudson started for Atlanta and, after allowing the first two batters to reach in the bottom of the eighth, left with a 6-1 lead. McCann had provided that sixth run, with a solo home run in the top half of the eighth. Hudson was relieved by Farnsworth, who got a groundout, walked a batter, and then served up a grand slam to Lance Berkman. The Astros would score one more in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings, and the game would finally end in the bottom of the 18th, when Chris Burke homered for Houston.
2010 will mark Bobby Cox's 16th postseason appearance -- the most in history. He has led the Braves to 15, but his first playoff appearance came in 1985, when he guided the Blue Jays to their first division title. That year, Toronto lost to the Royals in seven games in the ALCS.
The Giants got 49 of their 92 wins this season from starters under the age of 28. In postseason history, nine different teams have featured at least five wins by starters under the age of 28. The 2007 Red Sox and '08 Rays had the most with seven each.
The Giants were one of 10 teams this season to play in at least three 1-0 games. Only one of the other nine made the playoffs -- the Phillies, who were tied for the most 1-0 games, with six.
There have been 40 1-0 games in postseason history. The last came during the 2005 World Series, when the White Sox beat the Astros in the fourth game to clinch the title.
The last 1-0 game in Division Series play came on Oct. 13, 2001, when the Yankees beat the Athletics in Game 3. That 1-0 game was third in the Division series that year -- the D-backs beat the Cardinals in Game 1 of their series and the Braves beat the Astros in Game 2 of theirs. Other than those three, there has been only one other 1-0 game in the Division Series: on Oct. 7, 1981, the Astros beat the Dodgers 1-0. In that game, Denny Walling singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th.
Roger Schlueter is a senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.