Looking back at Monday’s no-K rarity
As many of you have likely heard by now, the rarity of Monday night’s game extended beyond the fact that Dan Uggla had his second multi-hit game in exactly two months and the Braves won a seventh consecutive game against the Phillies for the first time since 1997.
For those of you who have not heard, the Braves recorded Monday night’s 6-1 win over the Phillies without any of their pitchers recording a strikeout. The last time they had done so, they had notched just three of their 14 consecutive division titles and Tom Glavine had notched just 119 of his 305 career wins.
Before Ben Sheets, Eric O’Flaherty and Cristhian Martinez combined to turn the trick on Monday, the last time the Braves went through a game without recording a strikeout was against the Marlins on Aug. 15, 1995. Glavine allowed four hits over eight innings and Mark Wohlers secured a 4-1 win with a scoreless ninth inning.
The Marlins’ lone run that day came courtesy of a second-inning home run hit by long-time Braves coach and former National League MVP Terry Pendleton. The Braves’ third baseman that day was an impressive rookie named Chipper Jones, who had hit just 17 of his 464 career home runs.
Now let’s take a closer look at just how rare last night’s no-strikeout game was:
This marked the fifth time this year that a Major League team has gone through a game without any of their pitchers recording a strikeout. The only other team to win while doing so was the Indians with the benefit of Derek Lowe’s six-hit shutout against the Twins on May 15.
The recently-released Lowe has not recorded a strikeout in 14 of his 377 career starts. Last night marked just the third time Sheets has gone K-free in 246 starts. The other two instances were a injury-shortened one-inning stint against the Astros on Sept. 18, 2007 and a five-inning effort against the Mets on Sept. 1, 2008.
This marked the 20th time since the start of the 2010 season that a Major League team has gone through a game without their pitching staff registering a strikeout. Just five of those teams have won, with the Braves being the only National League club to do so.
Dating back to the start of the 1990 season, the Braves are 3-2 in games in which their pitchers have not recorded a strikeout. Glavine started three of those five games and won two. Sheets and Charlie Leibrandt started the other two games.
Glavine did not record a strikeout in 37 of his 682 career starts. He went 10-10 with a 4.90 ERA in the 26 starts he made for the Braves while doing so.
While there is a lot of focus on the no-strikeouts theme, Sheets’ effort last night strengthened the belief that he could continue to find success while learning to pitch without the dominant fastball and knee-buckling change he had in the past. He has adapted to his new fastball, which now sits around 90-91 mph, and learned how to pitch with a curveball that does not have the drastic 12-to-6 movement he had created in the past.
Sheets has completed at least six innings in each of his first five starts and steadily increased his workload in his past two starts. When asked about pitching into the seventh inning last week against the Marlins and then into the eighth inning last night he said, “Maybe I’ll get in the 11th or 12th soon.”
A little less than a month into his stint with the Braves, Sheets has proven to be both good on the mound and witty in the clubhouse. It is easy to see why the folks in Milwaukee always spoke so highly of him.
NOTES: With a pair of singles on Monday night, Uggla notched his second multi-hit game since his four-hit performance against the Marlins on June 5. Instead of focusing on his .212 batting average, the Braves will look at the fact he has a hit in seven of his last nine games with the hope that it is the start of one of his hot streaks.
As you might have seen in last night’s game story, the Braves have now won seven straight games against the Phillies for the first time since taking nine straight against them from Aug. 15, 1996-July 14, 1997. The winning pitchers during that nine-game run were Terrell Wade, Brad Clontz, Glavine, Greg Maddux (2 wins), Denny Neagle, John Smoltz, Mike Bielecki and Kevin Millwood