Matt Garza made his debut with the Chicago Cubs Sunday and of course with him and the Pirates involved, something pretty rare occurred.

Garza threw 7.0 innings with three runs allowed for a no-decision. Nothing too earth shattering there, but he also struck out 12 batters while giving up 12 hits (all singles) and walking zero. I thought the 12 and 12 line was pretty rare,  so I decided to dabble in the ol’ Baseball-Reference Play Index to search for any pitcher who struck out 12 or more batters in the same game where he gave up 12 or more hits. And just like I had assumed, it was pretty rare indeed as you can see from the chart below…

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR 2B 3B
1 Matt Garza 2011-04-03 CHC PIT L 4-5 GS-7 7.0 12 3 3 0 12 0 0 0
2 Curt Schilling 2001-04-25 ARI FLA W 10-7 GS-7 ,W 7.0 13 7 7 0 12 3 3 0
3 Todd Stottlemyre 1995-09-20 OAK CAL W 9-6 GS-9 ,W 8.1 12 3 3 0 12 1 3 0
4 Steve Carlton 1983-04-16 PHI ATL W 8-4 GS-8 ,W 8.0 12 4 4 4 12 0 3 0
5 Gaylord Perry 1982-04-20 SEA CAL W 6-4 GS-8 ,W 7.1 12 4 4 1 13 0 2 1
6 Bert Blyleven 1975-09-15 MIN CAL W 7-6 GS-10 10.0 12 6 5 3 12 0 2 2
7 Nolan Ryan 1973-09-23 CAL MIN W 15-7 CG 9 ,W 9.0 13 7 7 5 12 0 1 0
8 Bob Gibson 1970-08-12 STL SDP W 5-4 CG 14 ,W 14.0 13 4 4 2 13 1 3 0
9 Fergie Jenkins 1968-08-13 CHC STL W 10-3 CG 9 ,W 9.0 12 3 3 3 12 1 2 0
10 Blue Moon Odom 1968-07-29 OAK CHW L 2-7 GS-13 ,L 12.1 13 4 4 1 13 0 0 2
11 Juan Marichal 1965-08-04 SFG CIN W 4-3 CG 10 ,W 10.0 12 3 3 3 14 0 3 0
12 Camilo Pascual 1964-10-01 MIN KCA L 4-5 CG 12 ,L 12.0 12 5 1 3 14 1 2 1
13 Juan Marichal 1964-04-24 SFG CIN W 15-5 CG 9 ,W 9.0 13 5 5 3 13 1 1 0
14 Billy Pierce 1953-07-24 CHW PHA L 2-4 CG 12 ,L 12.0 12 4 4 1 12 1 1 0
15 Saul Rogovin 1952-09-14 CHW BOS W 4-3 GS-15 15.0 12 3 3 4 14 2 1 1
16 Marv Grissom 1952-09-13 CHW NYY L 5-6 GS-8 ,L 8.0 12 6 4 1 13 0 2 1
17 Bill Werle 1950-08-27 (1) PIT BSN L 3-7 12.0 12 7 6 4 13 4
18 Bobo Newsom 1944-05-21 (1) PHA CLE L 4-5 11.0 12 5 5 4 12 2 2 0
19 Bob Feller 1941-08-07 CLE DET L 3-4 13.0 13 4 2 11 13 0 0 0
20 Bobo Newsom 1939-07-22 (1) DET PHA L 2-4 9.0 16 4 4 3 12 1 1 0
21 Bill Hallahan 1932-05-11 STL BRO L 3-6 12.0 12 6 6 7 12 0 4 0
22 Red Ruffing 1927-09-05 (1) BOS NYY W 12-11 15.0 16 8 8 11 12 1
23 Dazzy Vance 1923-05-02 BRO NYG L 6-7 10.0 15 6 6 4 15 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/4/2011.

Not only is it an impressive list of pitchers, but Garza’s performance is only the 23rd game since 1919 with that kind of pitching line. It hasn’t happened since Curt Schilling did it in 2001. Viewing this list quickly, it’s easy to see that most of these games occurred back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s which makes sense because starting pitchers went deeper into games no matter how many hits they surrendered. And wow, it sure is an impressive list with Schilling, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Bert Blyleven, Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal (twice), Fergie Jenkins and Bob Feller just to name a few. Whoa.

Like nine of the pitchers on this list, Garza left in line for the win, but a collapse by Carlos Marmol in the ninth inning gave the Pirates a victory. Also, the only three on the list to record no walks in these games were the last three: Garza, Schilling and Todd Stottlemyre.

The Baseball Reference blog also did a post off my comment about this today that you can find here that talks about all the hits off Garza were singles. Before Garza, Feller was the last one on the list above to have given up no extra-base hits.

Even more interesting is that after Garza exited the game, the Bucs added four more hits, all singles, to finish with 16 hits and 16 singles on the afternoon. I ran a search of teams that recorded 16 or more hits in a game where all the hits were singles. This has only occurred 58 times since 1919 and just three times since 1993. The last time was Aug. 31, 2004 when the Royals pounded out 17 singles in a 9-8 victory over the Tigers.

Three games into the 2011 season and you never know what you will see next!

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Don’t look now, but pitchers and catchers report next week! With the start of spring training right around the corner, I thought we’d take a look at some of the prominent free agents who will be changing uniforms this year…

Yankees
The Yankees are having a bit of a rough offseason. They lost out on ace Cliff Lee at the last minute to the Phillies, their longtime steady All-Star pitcher Andy Pettitte decided to retire and then they were raked over the coals by Derek Jeter to sign him to an extension. Meanwhile, the Red Sox went out and brought in a ton of talent mainly Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Bobby Jenks to name a few.

So what did the Yanks do to compensate? Well besides locking up Rivera and Rafael Soriano for their bullpen, they went out and signed Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon, Mark Prior and now Eric Chavez. These pickups would have been great if the year was 2004 and not 2011. Three of these deals are minor league deals, but wow could they be anymore desperate for starting pitching. If one of the following, Colon-Prior-Chavez, stick I would be shocked.

Rays sign some idiots
The Rays reunited outfielders Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez from their days in Boston, signing them both two one-year deals. Both players are winding down their careers and are not the same players they once were, but it will be interesting to see how their veteran presence will be on a young team that lost Crawford, Garza and Soriano in the offseason. They don’t have the power they used to process as Manny hit nine total compared to Damon’s eight last year. If one of the two can rebound from a mediocre 2010, it’ll pay dividends for Tampa.

Rangers give six years to Beltre
Texas used the money saved for Cliff Lee to pickup Adrian Beltre in a six-year, $96M deal. Didn’t the Rangers learn their lesson on the A-Rod deal that strapped them for years down the road. Beltre had a sterling season last year (.321/.365/.553), there’s no doubt about that. But it was a big improvement from 2009 when he struggled with the Mariners. Plus, Beltre will be 32 in early April, and I’m not so sure giving a 32-year-old with Beltre’s track record a six-year deal is a great idea. Besides the Rangers need pitching, not hitting at this point.

Dunn to White Sox
Adam Dunn signed with the Chi Sox for a four-year, $56MM deal. Dunn’s a player that has hit an average of 40.3 home runs each year since 2004. Now, he moves to an extreme home run hitter’s park in Chicago at the age of 31, Dunn may absolutely rake in the lineup that features Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.

Quick hits:

Vlad and Lee sign with the Orioles: Minus the postseason, Vladimir Guerrero had a terrific 2010 season with the Rangers, hitting .300/.345/.496 with 29 home runs. His decline in the postseason is a worry for the O’s, but I think Vlad will at least be productive this year though not to 2010’s standards. As for Derrek Lee, he will be looking for a bounce back year in new scenery in Baltimore after seeing his home run total drop from 35 in 2009 to 19 in 2010, including just three dingers after being dealt to Atlanta in August.

Matsui lands in Oakland: Hideki Matsui ended up being one of the most consistent producers for the Angels last year and should provide some much-needed power and experience for the A’s in 2011. If he stays healthy, 20-25 home runs shouldn’t be a problem.

Cubs land Pena: Along with upgrading their rotation with a trade for Garza, the Cubs signed Pena to a one-year, $10MM deal. Pena will provide some power the Cubs need, but I don’t care how many home runs he hits, he better cut down some strikeouts and improve that .198 average.

Javier Vazquez returns to the NL: Vazquez is coming off probably his worst season in the majors since his rookie year. He posted a 5.32 ERA while his strikeouts decreased and his walks went up with the Yanks. Signing a one-year, $7MM deal with Florida, he hopes to turn some magic back in the NL where he’s been extremely more effective throughout his 13-year career.


Everyone can always use a little Calvin and Hobbes, especially on a Sunday. This is just one of my favorite baseball comics in the series. Anyway, let’s get into some links on this lazy Sunday.

In what was looking like a must-win game for the Angels, Ervin Santana mowed down the Rangers for a huge Halos win. I’m not sure the Angels will have enough in them to catch the Rangers at this point, currently down six games in the AL West, but they certainly couldn’t afford another loss to drop eight back. You can consider tonight’s game just as big.

The Braves rallied to defeat the Marlins 10-5 Saturday and hold a 6.0 game lead on the Phillies in the division. I guess it’s only fitting that in Bobby Cox’s last hurrah and what is probably Chipper Jones last year of his career, the Braves would find themselves making one more run at the NL East pennant and postseason. Six games or more leads just don’t get blown very often once you reach August, so we’ll see if the Braves continue to roll on ahead of the Phils and Mets.

Speaking of pennant races, this could be the straw that broke the Tigers back. Magglio Ordonez broke his ankle sliding into home plate tonight and is out 6-8 weeks. Magglio has been a Godsend to the Tigers offense this year as he was enjoying a great bounce back year. First, it was Joel Zumaya, then Brandon Inge and now Ordonez. This loss will  hurt immensely, leaving only the rookie Brennan Boesch to protect Miguel Cabrera in the lineup. I’m not sure that’ll work too well. The Tigers are in the thick of a three-team race in the AL Central, and I just don’t see how they continue to keep up with the Twins and White Sox. Also, it will be interesting to see what Dave Dombrowski does at the deadline and see if he panics and trades away too much to acquire a hired gun in the outfielder. This is obviously bad news for the Tigers, but even worse for Mags, who is on the hook to lose his $15 million option.

Rolling right along in the terrible time for an injury department, it’s time to go ahead and mark down the A’s pick up of Ben Sheets in the offseason for $10 million a horrendous idea. Sheets, whose name was swirling around in trades this past week, will miss the rest of the season for elbow surgery. The only fallback investment for Billy Beane in the Sheets signing was that they weren’t in contention, they could deal him at the deadline for a couple of prospects. Well, scratch that idea. The A’s will just have to eat this move. Sheets didn’t provide much help all year, going 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts for the A’s.

Before you Cubs fans out there jump on the “We’ll have to win when Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg is managing the team” train, consider what could go wrong and already has for that particular scenario via Big League Stew.

And last, but not least—ladies and gentlemen, your 2010 Hall of Fame inductees. John Kekis writes about the Class of 2010 on Yahoo Sports as well.

Can’t we all just get along?
Two dugout blowups between teammates in one week? Maybe it’s the summer heat picking up, but it sure seems some personalities are clashing in some clubhouses. I guarantee this stuff happens more often behind close doors, but the worse for a team is when it erupts right out in the public’s eye during a game. The most recent one with the Rays on Sunday was reasonable, at least I could see where Evan Longoria was coming from when he confronted BJ Upton about jogging to a gap shot that ended up being a triple. Upton probably didn’t like to be told he wasn’t hustling by another teammate in front of everyone and he lost it.

The other incident with the Cubs happened because Carlos Zambrano is an idiot. He’s no stranger to dugout temper tantrums and he went off for no apparent reason last Friday on Derek Lee while rearranging a couple of things in the dugout as usual. The Longoria-Upton thing will blow over as both have talked to the media and stated they are cool with each other. Zambrano’s situation is more complicated as the Cubs finally decided to not put up with his childish tactics and have placed him on the restricted list until at least the All-Star break. He will also undergo a treatment program to basically find out what in the hell is wrong with him.

The Five-Run System
I stumbled upon a very intriguing post this weekend regarding the Braves ridiculous 31-0 stat when scoring five runs or more this year (actually now 32-0 after their defeat of Strasburg on Monday). The article compares what the Braves are doing this year to similar surprise teams over the years that many people didn’t think were that good, but they somehow managed to win about 90 percent of their five-run games and win the World Series. Are the Braves the next in line for that? Jason Heyward heading to the DL isn’t a very good sign for Atlanta though. Anyway, it’s worth the read.

Enjoying retirement
Former longtime reliever Scott Eyre retired this past offseason, and he seems to be enjoying every minute of his post career. I came across this during the Giants-Dodgers broadcast last night. Scott and his wife decided to buy a massive RV and pack the kids and the dogs up for a summer trip across the country, Canada and back. They’ve obviously never done a summer vacation considering Scott’s 13-year career. They also have a blog running to update everyone on their adventures. A lot of players struggle to find meaning once their playing days are over, but it seems Scott and his family are taking the time to enjoy what’s important in life. I love cross-country travel stories, so I find this story fascinating. Enjoy the open road, Eyre family.

D-Backs throw game away
There are times when teams throw games away late, and then there are times when teams literally throw games away. The Diamondbacks handed one to the Cardinals last night in which two errors in the ninth did them in. One of them included a horrendous throw from Aaron Heilman to third base, and then Adam LaRoche decided to bounce one over the catcher’s head on a throw home to end the game when two runs scored. Check out the highlights, it’s brutal.

Poor Joel Zumaya
Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya is no stranger to bizarre injuries (Guitar Hero, boxes), but Monday night’s horrific injury after throwing a 99MPH heater did not look good at all. Zumaya’s arm went pop in Target Field last night against the Twins in one of the most painful pitcher arm injuries I can remember seeing live. Catcher Gerald Laird said he heard a “pop” and even though no word has been given on what exactly happened, I think it’s safe to say Zumaya is done for the year. And just like that the Tigers are in need of a setup man once again.

Batted Ball Play
Leave it to the Pirates to find every way to lose a game. With Pedro Alvarez on first with two outs in a 3-2 deficit against Oakland Sunday, Jose Tabata ripped a pitch into right field…well he would have had the ball not hit Alvarez on the foot as he took off to second. In case you aren’t familiar with the batted ball play, the runner is out and the play is recorded as a hit. So game over on a hit. It’s one of the only ways a team can lose in which their final at-bat goes down as a hit.

As the A’s announcer said directly after the game: “If that doesn’t say it all for the Pittsburgh Pirates, I don’t know what does.”