What Is A Complete Game In Baseball

Complete game – Wikipedia

Cy Young, the all-time complete-game leader in Major League Baseball, has passed away. CG is for full game, and it is the act of a pitcher pitching a whole game without the help of a relieving pitcher in the sport of baseball. It does not matter how many innings are thrown by a pitcher who meets this criterion; pitchers who throw the entirety of an official game that is shortened by rain will still be given the credit for throwing a complete game; however, starting pitchers who are relieved in the ninth or tenth inning after throwing nine or more innings will not receive the credit for throwing a complete game.

Since the beginning of baseball, the frequency with which entire games are played has increased.

In contemporary baseball, the achievement is significantly more unusual, with no pitcher having thrown more than 30 complete games in a season since 1975, and only two pitchers having thrown 10 or more complete games in a season in the twenty-first century, respectively.

Historical trend

Historical MLB complete game trend

Year Games started Complete games Complete game % Ref
1904 2,496 2,186 87.6
1914 3,758 2,067 55.0
1924 2,462 1,198 48.7
1934 2,446 1,061 43.4
1944 2,484 1,123 45.2
1954 2,472 840 34.0
1964 3,252 797 24.5
1974 3,890 1,089 28.0
1984 4,210 632 15.0
1994 3,200 255 8.0
2004 4,854 150 3.1
2014 4,860 118 2.4

In the early twentieth century, it was common for most good Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers to go the distance almost every time they took the mound, barring injury or ejection from the game. Pitchers were expected to finish the games in which they were assigned. Completion games became less common throughout the twentieth century, to the point where a good modern pitcher is only capable of throwing 1 or 2 complete games per season. (During the 2012 Major League Baseball season, 2.6 percent of starts resulted in a complete game.) As a point of comparison, in the 1980s, a star pitcher could throw 10–15 complete games in a season, and in 1980, Oakland Athletics pitcher Rick Langford threw a streak of 22 straight complete games.

  • An article published in 1962 described Bo Belinsky’s dissatisfaction after failing to complete six consecutive starts.
  • After a pitcher has thrown 100 to 120 pitches in a single game, many believe that the risk of arm injuries increases significantly.
  • However, despite the fact that Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan once threw more than 200 pitches in a single game (a 1974 contest in which he pitched 13 innings), it is now uncommon for managers to permit their pitcher to throw more than 120 pitches in an outing these days.
  • Sabermetricians generally agree that Cy Young’s total of 749 complete games is the single-season baseball record that will never be surpassed.
  • James Shields pitched 11 complete games for the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2011 season, becoming the team’s first pitcher to reach double digits in complete games in a single season since 1995.
  • Curt Schilling, who pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1998, was the last pitcher to throw as many as 15 complete games in a single season.
  • Until Fernando Valenzuela, who did so for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1986, there had only been one pitcher who had thrown 20 complete games in a single season.

He had 28 complete games that season. Catfish Hunter was the last pitcher to throw 30 complete games in a season, accomplishing this feat in 1975 while pitching for the New York Yankees.

Career leaders

  1. Cy Young had 749 points, Pud Galvin had 646, Tim Keefe had 554 points, Walter Johnson had 531 points, Kid Nichols had 531 points, Bobby Mathews had 525 points, Mickey Welch had 525 points, Charley Radbourn had 489 points, John Clarkson had 485 points, Tony Mullane had 468 points, Jim McCormick had 466 points, Gus Weyhing had 448 points, Grover Cleveland Alexander had

Except for Eddie Plank, all of the pitchers listed above are right-handed. Every one of these players also played the most or all of their careers prior to the beginning of the current live-ball era of baseball, which began during the 1920 season and was completely established by 1921. Warren Spahn is the all-time leader in complete games among pitchers who spent their whole careers in the live-ball era. His total of 382 complete games ranks him 21st all-time among all pitchers.

Active career leaders

Through August 30, 2020, the following were the top ten active players in Major League Baseball in terms of career complete games:

Rank Name Complete games
1 Justin Verlander 26
2 Félix Hernández 25
3 Clayton Kershaw 25
4 Adam Wainwright 23
5 Johnny Cueto 17
5 Cole Hamels 17
5 Corey Kluber 17
5 David Price 17
9 Zack Greinke 16
9 Chris Sale 16

Single-season leaders

  1. Toad Ramsey was the first to reach 65 years old in 1879. Will White was the second to reach 75 years old in 1879
  2. Charley Radbourn was the third to reach 73 years old in 1884
  3. (tie) Pud Galvin was the third to reach 72 years old in 1883
  4. (tie) Guy Hecker was the third to reach 72 years old in 1884
  5. (tie) Jim McCormick was the third to reach 72 years old in 1880
  6. Pu

Except for Matt Kilroy and Toad Ramsey, all of the pitchers are right-handed. Complete games in a live-ball season are currently held byGrover Cleveland Alexander (1920) and Burleigh Grimes (1923), as well as byDizzy Trout (1944), at a period in when baseball’s player pool was severely diminished as a result of World War II.

Other records

  • 187 consecutive games were completed by Jack Taylor between 1901 and 1906
  • Leon Cadore and Joe Oeschger share the record for the longest complete game, which they achieved on May 1, 1920, when they pitched against each other in a 26-inning marathon that finished in a 1–1 tie. In a 1912 full game, Allan Travers allowed 26 hits and 24 runs, both of which are still records


  1. Paul Dickson’s name is Dickson (1999). Dickson has released a new baseball dictionary. p. 130, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. ISBN978-0-15-600580-7. It was retrieved on August 27, 2011, and it is abcdefghijk. Baseball Prospectus 2007, p.75
  2. “2013 Major League Baseball Pitching Splits,” Sports Reference LLC, accessed May 27, 2014
  3. “2012 Major League Baseball Season Summary,” Sports Reference LLC, accessed May 27, 2014
  4. “2012 Major League Baseball Season Summary,” Sports Reference LLC, accessed May 27, 2014. 1980 Rick Langford Game Logs
  5. 1980 Rick Langford Game Logs Milton Richman is the author of this work (June 22, 1962). “Belinsky Finally Takes 7th Place.” The Gadsden Times, Sunday, April 8, page 8. On May 31, 2020, a copy of Baseball Prospectus 2007 (p.79) was obtained
  6. A copy of the June 14, 1974 Boxscore (Red Sox vs. Angels) was obtained
  7. Fran Zimniuch is a writer who lives in the United States (2010). Baseball’s Closer: The Evolution of the Closer’s Position Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, pp.73–4, ISBN 978-1-60078-312-8
  8. “Career LeadersRecords for Games Started.” Baseball-Reference. On July 22, 2017, Baseball Reference published an article titled “Active Career Leaders in Complete Games.” Sports Reference LLC published an article titled “Single Season Leaders in Complete Games.” On August 27, 2018, Baseball Reference published an article titled “SABR’s Baseball Biography Project: Jack Taylor.” On April 24, 2009, the original version of this article was archived. Retrieved on 2009-03-09
  9. Baseball Almanac’s Complete Games Records may be found here.


  • Baseball Prospectus’s Team of Professionals (2007). Everything You Think You Know About Baseball Is Wrong, According to Baseball Between the Numbers ISBN: 978-0-465-00547-5 from Basic Books in New York, New York. 5th of March, 2011
  • Retrieved

See also

  • Major League Baseball records that are believed unbreakable are listed below.

Official game (baseball) – Wikipedia

If a team is scheduled to play fewer innings than nine innings, or if extra innings are required to determine a winner, or if the game must be stopped before nine innings are played, for example, because of inclement weather, an official game (also known as a regulation game in the Major League Baseball rulebook) is one in which nine innings are played. It is most commonly associated with a baseball game that is called off before nine innings have been completed, though it has also used in other contexts for promotional purposes.

An official game that is halted in this manner is considered to be completed at the point of stoppage, with statistics being added to each team’s totals, whereas a suspended game is considered to be completed at the moment of stoppage with statistics being added to each team’s totals.

Inclement weather

As a result, any game that has progressed to this stage may be halted or cut short as necessary to avoid further damage to the field, with the result being final, and all records and statistics being tallied. A game that has not reached this stage when it is interrupted is either deemed a suspended game (which can be resumed at a later date from the moment of stoppage), or it is simply canceled and restarted from the beginning of the previous round. Depending on the laws of each specific league, this might be true.

Because most professional baseball games go nine innings, the fifth inning is regarded as the cutoff point for declaring a game officially over.

Alternatively, if the home team (which bats last) is already ahead in the score and theoretically would not require its half of the fifth inning, then 412 innings (i.e., the middle of the fifth inning) is considered to be an official game, and the game is considered to be over when the home team (which bats last) is ahead in the score.

Games that are halted due to power outages are considered to be paused and cannot be deemed officially completed until the power is restored.

Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, which was the first playoff game in history to be halted and then restarted from the moment of suspension, prompted the implementation of this rule.

Prior to the 2009 playoffs, a playoff game had to be finished for at least five innings in order to be suspendable; a playoff game that was interrupted before that point had to be restarted from the beginning of the game.

Rain check

Rain checks for fans who have purchased tickets are almost always fulfilled if the event is considered a “official game” according to the status of the game. The supporters are entitled to a replacement ticket for a make-up game or (in most modern circumstances) for any other available game of their choosing if a game is started but does not progress to the stage where it is declared official. The length of the game is merely reduced if a game is paused after it has been declared official, and no rain check is granted.

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Effects on statistical streaks

A lot of attention was paid to the “official game” statistic during the 1995 season, when Cal Ripken, Jr. was on his way to breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played, which had stood since 1939. Several large numerals were posted on the wall of theB O WarehouseatOriole Park at Camden Yards to indicate the amount of games Ripken had played during his streak. Each day, a new number was unfurled during the fifth inning of each game, after the results had been confirmed (since the statistic would not have counted if the game had been stopped before that point).

Louis in 2005, the original Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York City in 2008, and the conversion of Turner Field into a college football stadium in Atlanta in 2016) has been marked by the unveiling of a new (lower) number indicating how many games are left to be played in the stadium.

Other sports

Other professional sports follow a similar set of standards when it comes to “official” games and events. A race is considered “official” and results in an official result if at least three laps are completed in most motorsport codes. However, if less than 75 percent of the race distance (rounded up to the nearest whole lap) is completed, only half of the normal championship points are awarded, and the race is not considered “official.” It is possible to earn full points if more than 75% of the race is finished successfully.

An “official” race is one in which the participants have completed half of the allotted distance plus one additional lap.

If both teams have faced a particular number of legal deliveries (pitches) during a game of limited overs cricket, the game is deemed complete; otherwise, there is no result.


  • The term “regulation game” is defined in Rule 7.01 of the Major League Baseball Official Rules, 2019 Edition.

Complete game – BR Bullpen

When a starting pitcher finishes a game without being relieved by a relief pitcher, the game is considered complete.

Even though a complete game is typically nine innings in length, its length might vary depending on the following factors:

  1. It is possible for a pitcher to be credited with an eight-inning complete game defeat if he is pitching for a visiting club that is trailing after taking its turn at bat in the ninth inning. If a pitcher is pulled from the game in the beginning of the ninth inning to make room for a pinch hitter, the complete game award is still given to the pitcher
  2. If the pitcher allows the home club to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, he is given credit for a complete game of either 8 innings, 8.1 innings, or 8.2 innings, based on the number of outs recorded at the time the game was declared over. The pitcher is credited with a complete game if a game is called early due to weather or darkness, or for any other reason
  3. If a game is called early due to weather or darkness, or for any other reason
  4. The pitcher’s full game might go as long as the game itself if the contest extends into extra innings. There have been a handful of full games in Major League Baseball that have lasted 15 innings or longer.

In1984,Milt Wilcoxbecame the first pitcher to finish an entire season in a starting rotation without recording a complete game. As a result of the increased use of specialized relief pitchers, as well as the increased reliance on pitch counts to determine when to remove a pitcher from the game, seasons with 20 or more complete games were once common. Now, however, seasons with more than a handful of complete games are extremely rare.

All Time Leaders
Span Player Total Notes
Career Cy Young 750
Season Will White 75 1879
Season (since 1901) Jack Chesbro 48 1904
NPB Career Masaichi Kaneda 365
AAGPBL Season Helen Fox 40

Further Reading

  • “Complete games and shutouts are practically rare in today’s baseball,” according to Howard Fendrich (Associated Press) in USA Today on March 27, 2019.

Complete game

In baseball, the act of a pitcher pitching a full game without the assistance of a relieving pitcher is referred to as a complete game (denoted by CG). A complete game might result in either a victory or a defeat. For example, as seen in the graphs below, it was normal for most good pitchers in the late 1800s to pitch a complete game practically every time they took the mound. Pitchers were expected to complete games that they started, and being relieved was viewed as a sign of failure by many people.

  • To put this in context, 10-15 complete games a year by a top pitcher was not unheard of only 15-20 years ago, and in 1980, Oakland Athletics pitcher Rick Langford tossed a string of 22 straight complete games for the A’s.
  • The majority of pitchers are now primarily concerned with getting strikeouts, which results in more pitches being thrown and greater stress being placed on the throwing arm.
  • This belief has gained widespread acceptance.
  • Sabermetricians largely agree that Cy Young’s total of 749 complete games is the career baseball record that is most unlikely to be surpassed in the foreseeable future.
  • It was Curt Schilling, who pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1998, who became the last pitcher to throw as many as 15 complete games in a single season.
  • Rick Langford, who pitched for the Oakland Athletics in 1980, was the last pitcher to throw 25 complete games in a season.
  • Catfish Hunter was the last pitcher to throw 30 complete games in a season, accomplishing this feat in 1975 while pitching for the New York Yankees.

C. Sabathia of theCleveland Indians led the American League with six as well. This season, Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays is the most dominant pitcher in the Major League Baseball, having pitched seven complete games.

Career Leaders

  • 1.Cy Young (749 points)
  • 2.Pud Galvin (646 points)
  • 3.Tim Keefe (554 points)
  • 4.Walter Johnson (531 points)
  • 5.Kid Nichols (531 points)
  • 6.Bobby Mathews (525 points)
  • 7.Mickey Welch (525 points)
  • 8.Charley Radbourn (489 points)
  • 9.John Clarkson (485 points)
  • 10.Tony Mullane (468 points)
  • 11.Jim McCormick (466 points). 12.Gus Weyhing received 448 points
  • 13.Pete Alexander received 437 points
  • 14.Christy Mathewson received 434 points
  • 15.Jack Powell received 422 points
  • 16.Eddie Plank received 410 points
  • 17.Will White received 394 points
  • 18.Amos Rusie received 392 points
  • 19.Vic Willis received 388 points
  • And 20.Tommy Bond received 386 points.

Except for Eddie Plank, all of the pitchers listed above are right-handed.

Active Career Leaders

There are no active players among the top 100 all-time players:

  • 1.Roger Clemens has 118 points
  • 2.Greg Maddux has 108 points
  • 3.Randy Johnson has 98 points
  • 4.Curt Schilling has 83 points
  • 5.Mike Mussina has 57 points
  • 6.Tom Glavine has 55 points. David Wells, age 54, is the seventh player on the list. 8th place: John Smoltz (53 points)
  • 9.Pedro Martinez has 46 points
  • 10.Livan Hernandez has 42 points.

Johnson, Glavine, and Wells are lefties. Numbers through 2006. CourtesyRetrosheet

Single-season Leaders

  • 1.Will White- 75 years old in 1879
  • 2.Charley Radbourn- 73 years old in 1884
  • 3.Pud Galvin- 72 years old in 1883
  • 4.Guy Hecker- 72 years old in 1884
  • 5.Jim McCormick- 72 years old in 1880
  • 6.Pud Galvin- 71 years old in 1884
  • 7.John Clarkson- 68 years old in 1885
  • 8.John Clarkson- 68 years old in 1889
  • 9.T Bill Hutchison was born in 1892, and he was the tenth member of the team. Jim Devlin was born in 1876, and he was the twelfth member of the team. 12. Matt Kilroy was born in 1886, and he was the thirteenth member of the team. 14. Charley Radbourn was born in 1883, and he was the fifteenth member of the team. 16. Pud Galvin was born in 1879, and he was the

Except for Matt Kilroy and Toad Ramsey, all of the pitchers are right-handed.

Other Records

  • Joe Oeschger and Leon Cadore both hold the record for the longest complete game, which they achieved on May 1, 1920, when they pitched against each other in a 26-inning marathon that ended in a 1-1 draw. Jack Taylor began 185 straight games between 1901 and 1906, and he finished 185 of them.


  • In a shutout (a complete game in which the other side does not score any runs),

Shutout vs No Hitter: What’s the Difference?

It might be confusing to figure out what each statistic signifies in baseball because there are so many different types of numbers available. When looking at pitching statistics, one of the most often asked topics is what the difference is between a shutout and a no-hitter. Here’s what you should know. A shutout refers to the amount of runs allowed by the pitcher, whereas a no-hitter refers to the number of hits allowed by the pitcher in one game. A shutout is achieved when a pitcher throws a complete game while allowing zero runs, and a no-hitter is achieved when a pitcher tosses a whole game while allowing only one hit.

Shutout vs No Hitter

“A shutout” is defined as “a statistic awarded to a pitcher who allows no runs in a single game,” according to the official Major League Baseball Rules. Pitchers will not be given credit for a shutout in baseball unless they throw a complete game, or unless they enter the game with none out before the opposing team has scored in the first inning and put out the side without any runs scoring, then pitch the remaining innings without allowing any runs to score. It is necessary for the league statistician to make a notation in the league’s official pitching records whenever two or more pitchers combine to produce a shutout.” Consider what each component of this definition includes in further detail.

A Pitcher Cannot Give Up Any Runs to Be Eligible for a Shutout

The first point addressed in the definition above is that a pitcher must not allow any runs to score during a game of baseball. So this portion of the criteria is very obvious – if the other team’s scoreboard shows a zero, then the pitcher has ticked one of the boxes necessary to achieve a shutout in the game.

A Pitcher Must Throw a Complete Game to Earn a Shutout

A pitcher must either pitch a complete game or enter the game in the first inning if no one from the opposing club has recorded an out in the previous inning. In order to be considered a full game, the pitcher must also throw a minimum of nine innings in his or her performance. If the game continues into extra innings, the pitcher will be required to pitch all of the extra innings if he or she wants to achieve a shutout in the game. Double header games lasting seven innings were introduced in the Major League Baseball season of 2020.

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A shutout would be awarded to the pitcher if they threw all nine innings of a 7-inning game that was extended to a 9-inning game due to additional innings.

Pitchers Are Able to Give Up Walks, Hits, and Errors and Still Earn a Shutout

The fact that a shutout is based only on runs means that a pitcher is still permitted to give up walks, hits, and errors over the course of the game.

To earn a shutout, a pitcher only needs to ensure that no runs cross the plate throughout his or her appearance.

What is a No Hitter in Baseball?

According to the Major League Baseball, a no-hitter happens when a pitcher (or a group of pitchers) allows no hits over the duration of a game that lasts at least nine innings.” When playing in a no-hitter, a batter can reach base by a walk, an error, a hit by pitch, a passed ball or wild pitch on strike three, or catcher’s interference.

To Be Eligible For a No Hitter a Pitcher Cannot Give Up Any Hits

During the course of the game, no hits can be registered, as indicated in the definition above. As a result, if the opposing team’s total number of hits is zero, the pitcher has one of the checkboxes indicating the possibility of getting a no-hitter ticked on his or her card.

A Pitcher Must Throw a Complete Game to Earn a No Hitter

Pitchers must throw a minimum of nine innings and must remain on the mound for the full game in order to earn a no-hitter. If a game continues into extra innings, pitchers will be required to pitch in those extra innings as well in order to be eligible for a no-hitter to be declared. As a result, if a pitcher throws for the whole duration of a 7-inning game (which will be implemented for the 2020 MLB season to accommodate doubleheader games), that pitcher will not be eligible for a no-hitter.

Pitchers Can Give Up Runs, Walks, and Errors and Still Earn a No Hitter

Given that no-hitters are judged entirely on their ability to limit the amount of hits they allow throughout a game, the opposition side will still be able to score runs through walks and mistakes. Despite the fact that the opposition side does not receive a base hit, they are still able to produce some offense and even score a couple of runs.

Can You Lose No Hitter Games?

Because of the way the statistic of no-hitters is computed, some may ask whether this means that pitchers may really lose while still getting the no-hitter. However, this is not the case. It is possible for pitchers to both take the loss and throw a no-hitter at the same time, however this is extremely unusual. There have been a total of 5 games that have been acknowledged by the MLB in which the pitcher has lost the game but has still managed to record a no-hitter, with the most recent occurrence being during the 2008 campaign.

In other words, around 1.64 percent of all no-hitter games have ended in the pitcher achieving a no-hitter while simultaneously losing the game.

What is a Complete Game Shutout?

It is possible that after knowing the concept of a full game in baseball, one will arrive to the conclusion that a complete-game shutout and a shutout are the same thing as one another. After all, in order to earn a shutout, you must go the distance in your pitching. Despite the fact that these two numbers are nearly identical, there is a minor difference between the two of them. A complete game shutout occurs when a pitcher throws a complete game, regardless of the number of innings pitched, and no runs are allowed to score over the course of the contest.

The most significant distinction between a complete game shutout and a shutout is simply the amount of innings thrown by the pitcher.

For example, if a pitcher throws six innings and does not allow a run, but the game is called early due to weather, the pitcher would win a Complete Game Shutout, but not a Shutout because the game did not last the full nine innings.


When you initially start learning about baseball statistics, you may find it difficult to comprehend how they are calculated. However, after you understand how they are generated, you may begin to have a greater idea of how that number translates into previous performance. In this case, no-hitters and shutouts equate into a pitcher having a fantastic outing on the mound. And even though a pitcher can lose while also pitching a no-hitter at the same time, both of these statistics are something that every pitcher would like to be able to say they have achieved at least once in their lifetime.

MLB: As a term for complete games, the ‘Maddux’ is mis-labeled

Following Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks’ ultra-efficient 81-pitch complete game shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, some wit with the capacity to do so came up with the idea of coining a phrase to describe Hendricks’ performance. A “Maddux” game is a Major League Baseball game that is named in honor of former Braves and Cubs Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, who was noted for his pitching efficiency, among other things, throughout his career. When it comes to baseball, throwing a “Maddux” is now widely accepted as the term for pitching a full game in less than 90 pitches.

  • Simply simply, how many “Madduxes” did Greg Maddux himself throw in a given season?
  • During his 23-year professional career, Maddux is credited with 109 full games, including a career high of ten complete games in each of the years 1994 and 1995.
  • The majority of those 105 innings were played in games that were cut to less than nine innings due to weather or his team’s defeat, and in a couple of the early full games, pitch count data was not available since it was not collected.
  • This is the conclusion: Greg Maddux seldom threw a “Maddux” pitch throughout his career.
  • However, here’s the clincher: It was really a career high for Maddux, who had an overall lifetime average of around 3.2 pitches per opponent faced throughout the course of his career.
  • His real average pitch in those CGs is over two pitches lower than this figure suggests.
  • In addition, just six of Maddux’s 95 complete-game nine-inning appearances resulted in the completion of the game in less than 90 pitches.

It’s worth noting that Maddux has only thrown one full game in less than the 81 pitches Hendricks needed to get the job done last Friday once in his entire professional career.

It was an amazing performance.

That was the fewest number of pitches thrown in a nine-inning complete game in Major League Baseball since 1987, when Pittsburgh Pirates pitcherRick Reuschel despatched the Houston Astros in just 76 pitches on September 17, 1987.

Hendricks’ performance last Friday against the Cardinals was identical to Maddux’s in that regard as well.

Maddux’s only other “Maddux” games were the following: On October 2, 1991, the Philadelphia Phillies were defeated 1-0 in 89 pitches.

On June 15, 1995, the team defeated Montreal 2-0 in 88 pitches.

On September 13, 2000, a 4-0 victory over Florida was achieved with 89 pitches.

On April 6, 1988, Maddux and the Cubs shut out the Atlanta Braves 3-0 with 143 pitches in a 3-0 victory.

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Maddux only allowed three hits on the day in question, but he also walked six and struck out three.

Also, in case you’re wondering, no, Maddux’s season was not ruined by the MLB game on Saturday.

He went on to have an 18-8 record with a 3.18 earned run average. A 3-0 loss against the Cardinals in 11 innings on May 17 was one of the eight losses, with Maddux throwing 167 pitches before being lifted in the 11th inning.

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Pitching A Complete Game Is A Vanishing Act In Baseball

After seeing Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks get a chance to go nine innings against the San Francisco Giants on July 9, it brought back memories of a time when starters routinely took the mound in the ninth inning of a well-pitched game. When Hendricks was given the opportunity to start the ninth inning, the Cubs and Giants were deadlocked at one. The right-handed ace, who was the best pitcher in the majors in 2016 with a 2.13 earned run average, retired the first hitter before giving his first walk of the game and was relieved by a relief pitcher after 109 pitches.

  1. His material was that amazing in terms of physical quality.
  2. The placement of his fastball was excellent, and the changeup was another swing-and-miss pitch for the hurler.
  3. Hendricks has only completed eight innings twice in his first 117 career starts.
  4. “I finally had a much better feeling out there,” Hendricks said of his outing against them.
  5. The game went well for me, and it was a relief to get a win like that under my belt.
  6. When it comes to monitoring starters, a deep and powerful bullpen has become the most sought-after weapon in the majors, as pitch counts and inning limits have been the standard in recent years.
  7. Starting pitchers seldom throw a whole game these days, unless they are dealing a shutout or a no-hitter, which is extremely unusual.
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Take it from Kyle Gibson, Trevor Williams, Jarlin Garcia, Domingo German, or Walker Buehler, who have all said it themselves.

In many cases, pitch counts are the fundamental reason why starting pitchers who are doing well are pulled from a game while maintaining their velocity and location.

” Mattingly’s decision was a gut decision.a guessing play, considering Garcia was making his first start in the Major Leagues after serving as a reliever in 2017.

Taking away a pitcher’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to throw a no hitter and engraving his name into baseball history are two things that may happen when a manager accomplishes this.

Garcia was not on a pitch count at the time of the transfer, therefore it was not an injury preventative maneuver.

Garcia’s stamina, he believed, would allow him to be productive beyond the sixth inning or the third trip through the batting order.

However, we can’t hold managers responsible for game plans that are based on the most effective movements to gain a victory or for watching out for the health of their pitchers, given that season-ending injuries have become much too prevalent in the previous 20 years.

Only 14 complete-game shutouts have been recorded in 2018, nine in the American League and five in the National League, by 14 different pitchers.

In 1988, major league clubs averaged 24 complete games per team; in 1968, the Year of the Pitcher, teams averaged 45 full games per team.

In his career, the great Yankee left-hander went 236-106 and was a key cog in the team’s 11 pennants and six World Series championships.

“Completing games provided me the greatest sense of accomplishment,” Ford explained.

” Pitching has traditionally been considered an art form.

I used a fastball, a slider, and a curve ball.

The fastball would be my first pitch if they started going for the curveball.

It was a chess battle between the two players.

Pitchers were expected to go seven, eight, or nine innings in each start, depending on the situation.

Because of the scarcity of full games these days, it is exciting when a performance like Kyle Hendricks’ on July 9, in which he came within two outs of completing a nine-inning start, gets headlines.

As long as baseball is played this way, it is possible that the game will go extinct—with the exception of a dominant no-hit or shutout performance. but even those might become extinct in the near future.

Missing and Musing About Complete Games

The Rays’ starter Ryan Yarbrough (who was previously recognized for his position as a long-inning reliever following the Rays’ short-stint “opener”) pitched his first Major League Baseball full game yesterday (July 3, 2021). For the first time since May 14, 2016, the Rays were able to play a whole game — a stretch of 731 games. Yarbrough pitched a nine-inning complete game, allowing only two runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts. He threw a total of 113 pitches. Because of this, Baseball Roundtable decided it would be a good time to update a previous piece on the MLB unicorn known as the full game, which was published in 2012.

  • Those 26 completed games account for only 1.6 percent of the total number of starts.
  • When you take those factors into consideration, just 1.0 percent of 2021 starters resulted in standard complete game performance.
  • ( More information on those statistics will be provided later in this piece.
  • During the 1877 season, Jim Devlin of the Louisville Grays of the National League started and finished all 61 of the team’s games, becoming the first and only pitcher in history to complete all of a team’s innings in a season.
  • Devin threw a total of 1,181 innings in his career.
  • In order to find out more, I looked a bit more and discovered that the Blue Jays, Braves, Twins, and Red Sox will not have a complete game in 2020-21 (even with the seven-inning doubleheader games).
  • In addition, seven clubs had no full games in 2019, while teams in the Major League Baseball utilized an average of 4.41 pitchers (per team) per game on average in 2019.

So, let’s have a look at what I uncovered when I dug more into the subject matter.

Several aspects of the game have altered — there have been fewer full games and fewer bunt attempts; there have been more strikeouts and home runs; more defensive shifts; and I have adjusted my expectations.

And it isn’t all the fault of the pitchers.

In 1900, more than 80 percent of all starters culminated in a complete game, according to statistics.

As you can see in the first graphic, even with the seven-inning doubleheader games, Major League Baseball has maintained a complete game percentage of roughly 1 percent in 2020-21.

In 1955, the league’s leader in complete games had fewer than 20 completed starts, which was the first time this happened (Whitey Ford, Yankees, 18 CGs).

When was the last time we witnessed a season with 20 full games?

With an 11-game winning streak in 2011, James Shields became the first pitcher in more than a decade to reach double-digit complete-game wins — earning him the nickname “Iron Man.” Shane Bieber and Lucas Giolito each threw three full games in the Major League Baseball season of 2019.

Between 1901 and 1906 (when playing for the Cubs and the Cardinals), Jack Taylor set a record by throwing 187 consecutive complete games (with 15 relief appearances interspersed).

White had a record of 43-31 that season, with a 1.99 earned run average and 680 innings pitched.

What is the difference between today’s game and yesterday’s?

Don Drysdale made a record in 1968 by hurling six straight complete-game shutouts to create a new mark.

Cy Young holds the record for the most full games played in a career with 749.

Justin Verlander is the active leader in lifetime games played, having made 454 starts over 16 seasons and accrued 26 victories.

Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright are tied for the most career complete games among pitchers who have pitched this season, with 25 each.

Babe Ruth, by the way, threw 107 complete games in 147 starts throughout the course of his career.

Back in the 1950s, when I first started watching big league baseball, you could expect to see four pitchers every game (the average at the time was 2.01 pitchers per team/per game back then).

With the implementation of a new regulation in 2020, MLB sought to address this tendency (and its impact on game duration) by mandating that each pitcher must either face at least three hitters or complete a half-inning of work.

So far in 2021, teams are employing 4.27 pitchers per team/per game, an increase over the previous year’s figure of 4.41.

Five-man rotations.

In the early days of baseball, a club could get by with with two or three major starters.

As the decade of the 1970s progressed, clubs began to use five-man pitching rotations more frequently.

(It is worth noting that faster transportation — trains rather than planes – has had a role in this.) As a result of longer travel times between series, fewer pitchers were required in the days before air travel became available.

Team managers are increasingly turning to relief pitchers as “openers,” with a primary pitcher and late-inning relievers occasionally following – or even complete “bullpen” games, with a series of relievers each taking on one or two innings.

The “Quality” Process Begins In today’s game, a solid start is defined as six innings with three or less runs allowed.

The excellent start has contributed to a shift in the way we (as well as managers and pitchers) evaluate the performances of starting pitchers.

Starting pitchers have thrown an average of 5.1 innings per start so far in 2021 (through June 3).

Relief workers are now more highly appreciated and respected than they have ever been, which brings us to the following point: the growth of relief experts.

Apart from having specialists for the seventh and eighth innings, we also see “arms” in the bullpen who are prepared to provide long- and middle-relief innings when needed.

It’s no surprise that supervisors are so willing to yank employees from their jobs.

Pitch Count, the most dreaded of all.

Pitchers are just throwing fewer pitches these days.

What is the purpose of including it in this pitch count section?

Strikeouts The increasing focus placed on strikeouts has also contributed to the drop in the number of complete games being played (particularly when combined with pitch counts).

(In most situations, it also necessitates a greater emphasis on velocity, which is more taxing on the arm.) As an example, consider the career of Warren Spahn, who set an MLB record nine times as the National League’s complete-game leader, won 20 or more games in 13 seasons, and was the league’s strikeout leader four times – despite averaging only 4.4 strikeouts per nine innings and never striking out more than 200 batters or six batters per nine innings in a season.

  1. During the season, MLB pitchers struck out 8.9 hitters per nine innings on average — yet the MLB leader in wins (Justin Verlander) struck out 300 batters in 223 innings (12.1 per nine innings), but only managed to throw in two complete games.
  2. In 2020, the average was 9.1 in the United States.
  3. Furthermore, if you look at any decade between 1900 and 1979, the average number of innings pitched by the league leaders was over or very close to 300.
  4. Since 2000, the average number of points scored by league leaders has been just shy of 250.

Delete this from your memory and file it under “We won’t see it again.” On August 29, 1926, the Cleveland Indians’ right-handerEmil “Dutch” Levsenbecame the last pitcher to achieve two complete-game triumphs in a doubleheader — winning by scores of 6-1 and 5-1, respectively, while allowing just four hits in each game and without striking out a single batter in the process.

Here are BBRT’s observations on entire games, in no particular order.

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