The complete game has almost disappeared in Major League Baseball.
Where Jim Palmer once had 25 complete games all by himself, in 1975, last night’s two-hitter for Brad Bergesen was just the O’s second route-going effort all year and the first to go nine innings.
Kevin Millwood was credited with an eight-inning complete game on April 21 in a losing effort at Seattle.
Bergesen needed just 102 pitches to get his CG and he got there by getting quick outs throughout the night. He needed just 30 pitches through three frames and just 74 through seven. Five times in the game he needed nine or fewer pitches to get through an inning.
He must have been channeling Scott McGregor.
While the O’s are tied for last in the league with those two complete games, if they had just four more, they would be tied for third in the AL in that category.
AL team leaders in complete games:
10 - Seattle
9 - LAA
6 - Cleveland, Minnesota, Oakland, Tampa and Texas
The Yankees and O’s are tied for last with just two and Boston has only three complete games on the season.
Many managers just don’t seem inclined to let their starter go much past 100 or 110 pitches anymore. They seem to figure a fresh bullpen arm is better than a potentially tiring starter in the late innings. Sometimes the safe move is to go to the pen. That doesn’t always make it the right move.
There once was a time in the game where pitchers cranking out complete games and 300-inning seasons was done every year. Those days are long gone it seems.
By the way, here is another stat from Bergesen’s gem last night. The two Indians hits were singles and that snapped a run of 62 straight games by the Tribe with at least one extra-base hit. The streak, the longest in the Majors this year, dated back to June 3rd.
If the O’s win tonight, they will have their first three-game sweep of the Tribe in Cleveland since April of 1987. Plus, Buck Showalter will match Davey Johnson from 1996 at 9-1 for best-ever ten-game start by an O’s skipper.
O’s starters have now pitched to an ERA of 2.30 in nine games since Showalter took over. That reduced the season ERA for the starters to 5.29. This is still last in the AL with KC next worst at 5.25.