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
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
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