St. Louis Cardinals right-handed starting pitcher Chris Carpenter has yet to allow a run this season and is so consistently dominating that it was not all that surprising when he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
After it was broken up by a lead-off single from Craig Counsell, Carp went on to complete his eighth shutout inning, during which time he struck out ten and did not walk a batter. Unfortunately, he took a no-decision in the Cardinals’ ten-inning 1-0 loss to the Brewers.
Over the last five seasons, only one other major league pitcher failed to earn a win despite throwing at least eight scoreless innings, recording ten-or-more strikeouts and not issuing a walk. That was the Giants’ Tim Lincecum, last month against Arizona. Prior to Carpenter, the last Cardinals pitcher who did not win a game under those conditions was Lee Meadows in 1917, according to Elias and Cardinals Media Relations.
Perhaps even more notable was that it was Carpenter’s fourth consecutive start without allowing an earned run, one short of the club record over at least the last 55 years. On Saturday night against San Francisco, Carp can tie the mark of five set by Bob Gibson during his signature 1968 season, known as the “Year of the Pitcher” across MLB.
Following are all 13 of the three-or-more Cardinals shutout start streaks in the last 55 years. Of course, all starts are not equal.
Among the oddities:
- John Tudor’s three shutout starts were interrupted by two seasons with the Dodgers.
- Jose DeLeon obviously pitched well, but had four no-decisions to show for it as he was injured twice.
- Ray Washburn‘s only relief appearance of the season occurred in the middle of his three starts without an earned run.
- Bob Forsch was spiked and left the game in the second of his four.
As one might suspect, Gibson’s run of five require no asterisks of any kind as they were all complete-game shutout wins earned during June of 1968. That has to be the one of the most dominant single months put together by any pitcher in the history of the game. Simply amazing.
Cardinals streaks of three or more consecutive shutout starts by a single pitcher (1954-2009)
(First game left with stiffness in right shoulder; fourth game hit on the wrist with a line drive and taken out.)
(Was removed from second game after being spiked by Jose Cruz on a play at first base.)
(Traded to Dodgers on 8/16/1988 for Pedro Guerrero; signed by Cardinals as a free agent in 1990 – two years between Cardinal starts.)
(First game coming back from a shoulder injury was limited to four innings.)
(Pitched in his only game of the year in relief in between the three starts – 26 starts on the year.)
As always, a tip of the cap to Tom Orf, who pulled the data shown above.