Extra innings haven't been kind to the Nationals this year. Last night's 3-2 loss in 10 was just the latest misfortune.
That Sean Burnett's record is now 0-6 - with a sub-3.00 ERA - must surely remind some fans of Darold Knowles. Knowles, like Burnett a lefty, went 2-14 with the 1970 Senators. Sounds pretty awful, until you notice that his ERA was 2.04, and he had 27 saves, third best in the AL that year.
Knowles made 71 appearances in 1970, and pitched more than 119 innings, so clearly he wasn't in for just the ninth. He came into a lot of tie games with little margin for error, inherited a lot of runners, and inside the game his W-L record was considered somewhat of a mirage. He was heavily in demand in off-season trade talks, and the following May was sent to Oakland, along with Mike Epstein, for 3 players and cash. He went on to pitch another 10 years in the major leagues, and has been a minor league pitching coach ever since.
My lasting memory of Knowles is of a radio commercial he did for Herbie's Ford in Northern Virginia. A Missouri native, Darold's accent came shining through when he said "Hi, this is Darold Knowles of the Warshington Senators..." When Chad Cordero had the big year in 2005 wearing Knolwes' number's, 32, it seemed somehow appropriate.
I'm sure Jim Riggleman has no less respect for Burnett, based on his wins and losses. It's the way the ball bounces.