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Cardinals Pitching Sets MLB Single-Game Stinginess Record

Everyone who follows the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals knows by now that the club’s success is rooted in its pitching. One measure is the team ERA of 2.89, a third of a run per game better than the next-closest of the 29 other staffs. Another is 105 quality starts, again tops in the game this season.

Researcher Tom Orf came up with what I believe is an even better measure of just how good St. Louis’ pitching – starting plus relieving – has been in 2015. With five contests still remaining in the regular season, the Cardinals have already registered the most games in MLB history in which a team allowed one or no runs, 70.

The prior record holder at 67 was the 2011 Phillies of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, which then fell to the Cardinals in a hard-fought NLDS. Next was the 2002 Braves at 66. Everyone knows about that Hall of Fame rotation that included Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine plus temporary closer John Smoltz. That club also lost in the first-round of the post-season.

Two teams from the “Year of the Pitcher,” 1968, each had 65 contests in which they allowed one or no runs. One was the Cleveland Indians, led by Sam McDowell and Luis Tiant. The other was none other than the St. Louis Cardinals. The 2013 Cardinals are also tied for sixth all-time.

Most games with one or no runs allowed, team, season, MLB history

Tm Year G
STL 2015 70
PHI 2011 67
ATL 2002 66
STL 1968 65
CLE 1968 65
STL 2013 64
CHW 1966 64
TBR 2014 63
CHW 1963 63
TBR 2015 62
NYM 2010 62
NYG 1917 62
CHW 1964 62

As the team totals are broken down into individual pitcher complete games with no or one run allowed, Bob Gibson set a record in 1968 that given today’s relief specialization is very likely to remain forever – 24 such outings.

Most complete games with one or no runs allowed, individual, season, MLB history

Bob Gibson 1968 24
Sandy Koufax 1963 23
Dean Chance 1964 22
Pete Alexander 1916 22
Babe Ruth 1916 21

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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32 Responses to “Cardinals Pitching Sets MLB Single-Game Stinginess Record”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    An interesting reminder of the greatness of Babe Ruth. In 1916, Ruth was a rookie. His subsequent fame as a hitter, plus the First World War, combine to deflect attention from his formidable accomplishments on the mound.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Comments on yesterday’s doubleheader.
    1. Amazing Matt Carpenter is up to 28 homeruns. More wallop than wade Boggs.
    2. Why was Siegrist asked to pitch when we are up by 9 runs? As a handler of pitchers, mad mike reminds me of dusty baker. This is not praise. Bernie has termed mike undisciplined and I agree.
    3. With regular play, tony Cruz is perking up with the bat. This is helpful.
    4. Why Is Pham on the bench?
    5. Lyons has made a lot of AAA starts. He knows how to pitch. He made the Pirates look bad at home.

    • Brian Walton says:

      1. Surprising. My front runner for team MVP.
      2. A very odd choice.
      3. Agree
      4. My guess is that it is because six of last seven ABs were strikeouts. Still, why not play him late in game 2 last night?
      5. To that end, check out my article on the home page, “Appreciating Tyler Lyons”.

      • Bw52 says:

        1.Very surprising and in the running for team MVP
        2.MM conitues his headscratching choices
        3.yes and his bat might be needed.
        4.Another MM head scratcher and why is Grichuck playing only sometimes?I realize there are too many OF guys but Since MOSS seems to heading off the playoff roster why not give Piscotty time at 1B when healthy?5.Lyons did a hell of a job .Clutch start in a tough sitation.Nice job.

      • blingboy says:

        I share your views on Lyons. Hopefully, Cooney and Gonzales will step into the role. Others will follow.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Now Jon jay won the division, mike is letting Pham onto the field.

    Glad to see Adams, Grichuk and Moss in the lineup too.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Big night for Bradon Moss!

      • Bw52 says:

        I would rather see a healthy Brandon Moss on the playoff roster instead of semi-Matt Adams.Of Course MM will pick Adams and JJay instead of Pham.

        • blingboy says:

          I think Moss has a chance of making the LDS roster instead of Adams.

          Pham has looked good at times and not good at times. Jay has not shown much. I can’t say I greatly prefer one or the other on the LDS roster. I think the Cards will go with Jay’s experience.

          I am thinking we will see Kozma rather than G. Garcia, even though Garcia can hit some. He seems to be in the field what Bourjos is on the basepaths – something unfortunate waiting to happen.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Garcia has soft hands. He is like Peralta, workmanlike. Super Pete got us to a terrible start in 2013 Series with an error. They better choose Garcia.

            • blingboy says:

              GG is not a stationary object like JP. I would like to see him make the post season roster. It would suggest he will be on the team next year. Perhaps JP would be motivated to push away from the buffet table this winter and maybe even hit the gym. JP will play everyday no matter what though, even if they have to roll him out there. We know the reasons why.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Jay has had a terrible year, whereas Pham saved us in September.

            • blingboy says:

              Jay makes $4.125M and $6.850M next year. Those are compelling reasons why he will not be left behind.

              For next season, he will play as much as he is physically able unless and until he is traded away. He is too pricey for a bench guy. We all know that is the Cardinal way. I am not necessarily against that. If healthy, there is a reasonable chance he will hit around .300, and have a near-Holliday like OBP. (Yes, the D is not the greatest, but the alternatives are not Willie Mays either) If it turns out we have enough better outfielders who are not hurt or flash in the pans, then Mo will find Jon a wonderful opportunity elsewhere, perhaps trading him for Stanton or Tulo.

            • Brian Walton says:

              Pham is ice cold. Two hits in last 14 at-bats (.143) including seven strikeouts. Also had two walks so his OBP is a whopping .250 in that time.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    It is possible to be factual in a small n sense, while still unconvincing in a larger n sense.

    Fresh off 27 innings of being shutout in Atlanta, the Cards are ready for the post season. As ready as they are going to get. The Cards, Bucs, and Cubs nearly tied. Among this trio, the Cards have the weakest momentum.

    • Brian Walton says:

      The good news is that I don’t have to convince anyone of anything, nor do the Cardinals. Jay has been awful for some time, but is a long-time member of the team. Newcomer Pham was hot for multiple weeks but has now cooled off. The Cardinals will decide who they want for their playoff bench.

      P.S. About 10 days ago, I predicted that Pham would make the roster over Jay. My only point now is that it is no longer a clear choice, in my assessment.

      Weeks ago, I told blingboy that the Cards will be criticized once they clinched no matter what. If they played the starters and tried to win every game 100 percent, Matheny would be slammed for overworking the players. If they rested key players, then people would freak out about the losses, because of their supposed predictive value for the playoffs.

      Speaking of which, if you look around the internet, you will see that multiple studies have been done that indicate there is no correlation between having momentum coming into the playoffs and post-season success.

      People seem to look for magic explanations. If the Cards struggle next weekend, the storyline will be that the five days off hurt them, despite the apparent lack of momentum coming in. If they come out of the chutes well, it will be all about how the rest was beneficial.

      • crdswmn says:

        Eh, it is a clear choice for me, but what I think doesn’t matter. Jay brings nothing to the table but “postseason experience” for whatever that is worth. I don’t think it is worth a whole lot, at least I haven’t seen any convincing data that suggests it is. If there is something to the postseason experience thing, I think it matters more for pitchers than position players. Jay is not suddenly going to start playing well because it is the postseason; if he does it is nothing but random chance.

        Pham is a better defender than Jay, imo, but small sample size keeps me from suggesting he is a better hitter, though he does have more power than Jay. I would pick Pham over Jay for potential alone. He is just a better bet.

        • Brian Walton says:

          I wish I knew how to interpret Jay getting more playing time recently. Was it to give him a full chance as a veteran to earn his way on? Or was it in hopes of him heating up to support a decision they already made internally?

          No matter what, some veterans are going to be left off the DS roster. It will be very interesting to see which ones. Those discussions will be more difficult than with the rookies.

          • crdswmn says:

            Who knows. Jay is definitely a Mike guy while it is questionable that Pham is. Matheny would take Pham over Bourjos, but Matheny would take a ham sandwich over Bourjos. What I don’t know is how much influence Matheny has over the roster and how much Mozeliak has and whether there is a difference of opinion about Jay. Jay has had plenty of opportunities in between trips to the DL to “heat up” and I haven’t seen any evidence that he is close.

            The other issue is the Walking Wounded and how much their current health impacts who gets on the roster. Three of the OFers are health questions, and to be honest, though Pham has been healthy since coming back from the ST quad injury, he is always a worry health wise. Heyward, Piscotty, and Bourjos are the only OFers (if you don’t count Moss and Reynolds) who haven’t had any DL time this season, and it is highly unlikely that Bourjos is being considered as a playoff roster candidate. Tough decisions to make re the OF.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Momentum continued. On one hand, you don’t like “small n” for a player, but in terms of teams you do. Which is it?

      Last 20 games:
      Cubs 15-5
      Cards 12-8 (including three meaningless losses)
      Pirates 12-8

      Last 10 games:
      Cubs 8-2
      Pirates 6-4
      Cards 4-6 (including three meaningless losses)

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