Retrosheet


Fun With Retrosheet Data, Episode 5

By Tom Ruane

A while back, I started collecting my Retrosheet posts in a place on the web-site. This series eventually grew to encompass several articles. Here are the others:

Fun With Retrosheet Data
Fun With Retrosheet Data, the Sequel
Fun With Retrosheet Data, Episode 3
Fun With Retrosheet Data, Episode 4

I hope at least some of this is of general interest and, as always:

Thanks for your patience.

List of Articles (starting with most recent)

Fun with a Team's OPS (June 20, 2016)
A Look at Run Differentials (June 18, 2016)
Starting Pitching Lines (May 24, 2015)
The Greatest Incomplete Starts (May 20, 2015)
Most Surprising Pitching Performances (July 5, 2014)
Both Starting Pitchers Making MLB Exits (May 26, 2014)
Both Starting Pitchers Making MLB Debuts (May 19, 2014)
The Age of Starting Lineups (May 5, 2014)
Hot Starts to Careers, the Pitching Edition (April 29, 2014)
Hot Starts to Careers, the Batting Edition (April 28, 2014)
Hard to Hit Pitchers (April 5, 2014)
Unique Batting Lines (August 26, 2012)
Come-From-Behind Wins and Losses (July 8, 2012)
A Tour of Team Pitching Logs (July 7, 2012)
A Tour of Team Batting Logs (July 5, 2012)
Consecutive Winless Starts (June 23, 2012)
Low-Hit Clusters (June 19, 2012)
When Winning Streaks Collide (June 14, 2012)
Defensive Juggling (May 8, 2012)
Incomplete Games By Position (April 8, 2012)
A Look at Triple-Crown Leaders (December 19, 2011)
Do Only Slow Runners Ground into a Lot of DPs? (December 15, 2011)
The Homering-est Teammates (and Multiple Debuts) (December 12, 2011)
Multiple Hitting Streaks (November 29, 2011)
The Most Exciting Games (October 28, 2011)
League Leaders With the Fewest Games Played (October 14, 2011)
Nelson Cruz Made Me Do It (October 15, 2011)
Players With The Highest Percentage of Post-Season Homers (October 7, 2011)
Doubling Their Home Runs (September 27, 2011)
Top Hitting Streaks By Batting Order and Defensive Position (September 27, 2011)
Come-From-Behind Batting Champions, An Update (September 26, 2011)
Best Career Marks By Park (September 24, 2011)
Come-From-Behind Batting Champions (September 23, 2011)
Best Career Hitters By Lineup Position (September 18, 2011)
Best Hitters By Lineup Position (September 16, 2011)
More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About 1-0 Games (September 15, 2011)
Best/Worst Month for a Team's Pitchers (September 14, 2011)
Batters Supporting Starting Pitchers (September 10, 2011)
Most Strikeouts Between Hits Allowed... And Then Some (September 5, 2011)
Double-Digits In Strikeouts and Hits Allowed (September 3, 2011)
Bases-Loaded Plate Appearances (August 31, 2011)
Palindromic At-Bat Line (August 27, 2011)
Most At-Bats With the Bases Loaded (August 25, 2011)
Starting Infields, Then And Now (August 24, 2011)
Easy schedule runs (July 15, 2011)
Parity Comes to MLB (May 29, 2011)
Two .400 Hitters on a Team (May 3, 2011)
Pitcher versus Team (July 22, 2010)
Expected Pitcher Match-Ups (July 21, 2010)
Consecutive Starts With IPs greater than or equal to Hits (July 19, 2010)
Consecutive Starts With Ks greater than or equal to IPs (July 17,2010)
Pitcher Match-Ups (July 16, 2010)
Most Blown Saves Combo (June 3, 2009)

Starting Pitching Lines

A while back I wrote an article about batting lines. And not the new-age ones containing things like walks, strikeouts, pitches seen and left-on-base. I was talking old school:1

Mantle cf    4 1 2 4

Sure, the box score had a header line identifying what each column meant, but if you didn't know that the numbers represented at-bats, runs, hits and RBIs, why were you even looking at a box score in the first place?

This time around, I'd like to look at pitching lines. In particular, those of starting pitchers. And I would like to use the classic version from the same era as the batting lines above. Ones like:

Gibson     9    3  1  1  1 12

I probably don't have to tell you, but this includes innings pitched, hits, run and earned runs allowed, walks and strikeouts.

So what is most common pitching line? First, I should probably describe the scope of the study. I will be looking at starting pitchers of every game played from 1914 to 2014, a total of 171,891 games or 343,782 lines.

Before I get to the most popular line, think of the total number we're dealing with (343,782) and try to come up with a guess of how often the most common line occurred. Do you have a number in your mind?











Was it 132?

It turns out that there are no common pitching lines. The most frequent one appears on average once every 2,604 times (or a little more than once a season). Here are the top ten:

1914-2014 (343,782 total)
 Cnt  IP    H  R ER BB SO   First   Last   Frequency
 132   9    4  0  0  1  4    1915   2011   1 in 2604
 127   9    6  1  1  1  3    1914   2012
 126   9    5  0  0  1  4    1914   2010
 120   9    5  1  1  1  4    1914   2009
 116   9    5  1  1  1  3    1914   2009
 116   9    5  1  1  2  3    1914   2012
 114   9    6  1  1  2  4    1914   2004
 114   9    4  0  0  1  5    1914   2014
 114   9    6  1  1  1  4    1914   2011
 112   9    4  0  0  2  5    1914   2011

Well, the first thing that jumps out at me is that while these might have been common in the olden days of baseball, they are not likely to occur during the days of pitch counts and lots of strikeouts. As a matter of fact, while they occurred 25 times in 1914, only one of these showed up in 2014 (thanks to James Shields). And despite there being three major leagues in 1914 instead of the two we have today, there were nearly 30% more opportunities last year.

So next I looked at them by eras. I decided to break the games into three relatively equal chunks, giving me these groupings: 1914 to 1959, 1960 to 1989, and 1990 to 2014.

Here are the five most popular pitching lines for each of those periods along with their ranking in the other eras:

1914-1959 (115,506 total)
                           --- Rank --
 Cnt  IP    H  R ER BB SO  60-89 90-14   Frequency
  77   9    6  1  1  1  3     26  1504   1 in 1500
  71   9    4  0  0  1  2    249  5247
  67   9    5  1  1  2  3     17  3164
  66   9    7  1  1  2  3     56  5247
  66   9    7  2  2  2  2    707 18608

Note: rare lines are often tied with hundreds or thousands of others. For example, the two lines ranked as the 5247th most common from 1990 to 2014 both occurred four times, as did 2003 others. And the last line above happened only once in the most recent period, by Kent Bottenfield in 1993.

1960-1989 (112,206 total)
                           --- Rank --
 Cnt  IP    H  R ER BB SO  14-59 90-14   Frequency
  55   9    4  0  0  2  5     65  1137   1 in 2040
  55   9    5  0  0  1  4     25   666
  52   9    6  1  1  1  5    121   764
  50   9    5  1  1  1  4     30   587
  49   9    5  0  0  2  5    207  1759
  49   9    6  0  0  1  5    193   764
1990-2014 (116,070 total)
                           --- Rank --
 Cnt  IP    H  R ER BB SO  14-59 60-89   Frequency
  61   7    6  2  2  1  4   1245   113   1 in 1903
  58   7    6  1  1  1  5   4368   327
  57   7    5  2  2  1  5   2133   609
  57   7    5  1  1  1  4   2133   113
  55   7    5  1  1  1  3   2622   609

All of which is a rather roundabout way of demonstrating something we already knew: pitching lines look very different today than they used to. But when was the tipping point, the few years when a good outing went from being nine to seven innings? Well, to answer this, I created a breakdown of how many innings starting pitchers went each year from 1914 to 2014. The first few lines of the chart looks like this:

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
1914   0.2  0.9  0.4  1.7  0.6  0.5  2.2  0.7  0.5  3.5  0.6  0.3  3.0  0.8  0.5  4.0  1.0  0.4  5.8  1.0  0.5  9.8  0.9  0.5 13.3  1.3  0.7 38.8  5.8   9
1915   0.2  1.0  0.5  1.0  0.9  0.6  2.2  1.3  0.4  2.6  1.0  0.9  3.0  1.1  0.5  3.6  1.2  0.5  4.4  0.8  0.5  8.2  1.3  0.5 14.0  1.3  1.0 40.6  5.0   9
1916   0.4  1.0  0.6  1.1  1.2  0.6  2.0  1.0  0.5  2.5  1.2  0.3  2.6  1.0  0.6  4.6  1.0  0.5  5.2  1.4  0.7  9.0  1.3  0.7 13.0  1.4  0.8 37.4  6.3   9
1917   0.4  1.0  0.5  1.8  0.9  0.4  2.2  1.2  0.4  2.5  0.7  0.4  2.6  1.0  0.6  3.4  1.2  0.6  4.3  1.3  0.5  7.7  0.7  0.4 14.2  1.5  0.9 40.7  5.9   9
1918   0.5  0.9  0.4  1.0  0.5  0.5  1.4  0.7  0.4  1.7  0.5  0.6  2.3  1.0  0.4  3.1  0.8  0.4  3.9  0.6  0.3  7.2  0.8  0.7 16.5  1.3  1.3 42.1  7.8   9
1919   0.4  1.1  0.5  1.3  0.7  0.4  2.2  1.3  0.3  2.0  0.8  0.5  2.3  0.8  0.4  3.6  1.0  0.1  4.2  0.9  0.5  8.1  1.0  0.3 14.8  1.3  0.7 42.4  6.3   9

And the last few like this:

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
2009   0.0  0.0  0.2  0.5  0.4  0.5  0.8  0.8  0.7  2.3  1.4  1.7  3.8  2.6  2.2 14.1  4.3  4.5 22.3  3.8  3.7 17.8  1.9  1.2  5.4  0.3  0.2  2.6  0.0   6
2010   0.1  0.1  0.1  0.3  0.3  0.4  0.6  0.7  0.6  1.8  1.1  1.1  3.8  2.2  2.1 11.6  4.4  4.4 22.0  4.5  4.2 19.5  2.0  1.7  7.3  0.3  0.1  2.6  0.0   6
2011   0.0  0.1  0.1  0.1  0.2  0.4  0.7  0.4  0.7  1.7  1.0  1.0  3.4  2.0  2.3 11.4  4.4  4.2 22.7  4.7  4.5 19.2  1.9  2.4  6.8  0.2  0.4  2.9  0.0   6
2012   0.1  0.0  0.1  0.3  0.3  0.5  0.6  0.7  0.8  1.8  1.3  1.6  4.1  2.6  2.4 12.6  4.4  4.5 21.4  4.5  4.9 18.0  2.3  1.6  5.7  0.3  0.2  2.3  0.0   6
2013   0.1  0.1  0.2  0.4  0.2  0.7  0.7  0.7  0.5  1.3  1.0  1.4  3.7  2.6  2.4 13.0  4.4  4.8 21.8  4.3  4.6 19.4  2.2  1.4  5.4  0.5  0.2  2.0  0.0   6
2014   0.0  0.1  0.1  0.2  0.2  0.3  0.7  0.4  0.6  1.5  1.0  1.2  3.6  2.6  2.1 12.4  4.5  5.0 22.2  5.0  4.9 19.6  1.9  1.6  5.6  0.4  0.3  2.0  0.0   6

Hopefully the contents of these charts are easy to understand. For each third of an inning from zero to nine, I have the percentage of starts of that length during the year. The "9+" column has the percentage of starts greater than nine innings while the "TOP" column is just what you'd expect: the inning length with the highest percentage.

The complete chart is in the notes.2

As expected, the nine-inning column dominates most of the century, reaching its high-water mark with the 42.4% in 1919. From there, the percentage steadily declines, dropping below a third for the first time in 1943, and staying below that level for good four years after that. 1978 was the last year that a fifth of all starts went the regulation distance and by 1984, they had dropped out of the top spot for good.

What might be somewhat surprising is that it was replaced at the top by the seven rather than the eight-inning start, the latter having peaked as early as 1918, never exceeding the 16.5% it hit that year. The trend toward shorter stints has continued, and since 2001 the order has been six, seven and then five inning starts. Absent a change in the scoring rule requiring a starter to finish the fifth, or an increase in the roster size permitting a team to carry fifteen or more pitchers, it's hard to imagine this trend continuing much further, and in fact things seem to have stabilized this century.

Here are the most popular lines over that period:

2001-2014 (68,024 total)
 Cnt  IP    H  R ER BB SO
  42   6    5  2  2  2  5
  41   7    5  1  1  2  5
  40   6    5  2  2  2  6
  39   7    5  1  1  1  4
  38   7    4  1  1  1  6

One thing you've probably noticed is that the most common pitching lines tend to be good ones. All of the ones we shown so far would be considered quality starts today. And that makes sense: the more hits, runs and walks a pitcher allows, the harder it is to match another one exactly. But there have been some truly awful outings that have been duplicated. Here are the non-unique pitching lines with the lowest game scores over the last 101 years:

 Cnt  IP    H  R ER BB SO  GS  Player               Date           Player               Date
   2   2.2  9 11 11  2  1  -5  Doug Bird          5-24-1983        Jose Lima          8-24-2002
   2   3.1 11 10 10  3  1  -4  Mark Mulder        8-10-2000        Kevin Tapani       4-24-2001
   2   2.1 11  9  9  2  1  -2  George Murray      9-12-1926        Edinson Volquez    6- 7-2013
   2   1.1  8  9  9  3  0  -1  Jason Jacome       4-15-1996        R.A. Dickey        6-13-2004
   2   2.2  9 10 10  2  2   0  Andy Benes         4- 4-2001        Steve Sparks       5-22-2004
   2   3   11  9  9  2  1   0  Cy Moore           8- 2-1933(2)     David Williams     9-11-2006

How many pitching lines are unique?

Well, lots of them. I mentioned earlier that this study looked at 343,782 starting pitching performances. These generated 108,423 different lines. Of those 62,077 (57.3%) occurred only once. As a result, a fan attending a baseball game over the past century has had slightly worse than a one in three chance of witnessing something singular.3

But has this also changed from one era to the next? Now that pitchers are throwing fewer innings, is there a greater chance they will duplicate a previous performance? Here is the breakdown by the three time periods we used before:

  Years     Total  Unique    Pct
1914-1959  115506   25391   22.0
1960-1989  112206   18789   16.7
1990-2014  116070   17897   15.4

1914-2014  343782   62077   18.1

So there are fewer unique lines in the last few decades, but fans still have a pretty good chance of seeing something each day that has never happened before.

Are some pitchers more distinctive than others?

There are two ways I wanted to look at this one. The first: what percentage of a pitcher's starts were unique? And: what is the average number of times his pitching lines have occurred?

I looked at all pitchers with at least 200 starts between 1914 and 2014 and here were the pitchers with the highest percentage of unique pitching lines:

 Tot   %Uni    Avg   Player          First  Last
 773  38.68   6.83   Nolan Ryan       1966  1993
 346  34.97   8.24   Sam McDowell     1961  1975
 221  34.84  10.13   J.R. Richard     1971  1980
 268  32.84  12.18   Milt Gaston      1924  1934
 603  32.67   7.57   Randy Johnson    1988  2009
 294  31.29  13.30   Jimmy Ring       1917  1928
 323  30.65  13.34   Wes Ferrell      1927  1941
 263  30.04  10.42   Vern Kennedy     1934  1945
 483  29.40  12.07   Bobo Newsom      1929  1953
 484  29.34  13.31   Bob Feller       1936  1956

Where:
Tot - total number of starts
%Uni - percentage of those that were unique
Avg - the average number of time a start of his was produced
First/Last - the years of their first and last start.

And the ones with the lowest average occurrences:

 Tot   %Uni    Avg   Player          First  Last
 773  38.68   6.83   Nolan Ryan       1966  1993
 603  32.67   7.57   Randy Johnson    1988  2009
 346  34.97   8.24   Sam McDowell     1961  1975
 208  26.44   9.45   Joe Shaute       1922  1934
 397  25.69   9.58   Bobby Witt       1986  2001
 222  29.28   9.68   Sam Jones        1951  1964
 221  34.84  10.13   J.R. Richard     1971  1980
 203  24.14  10.29   Jason Bere       1993  2003
 237  28.27  10.41   Bob Turley       1951  1963
 263  30.04  10.42   Vern Kennedy     1934  1945

Both of these lists purport to show the most distinctive pitchers of the last 101 years and while there are a few surprises (Joe Shaute?), many of the names are ones you probably expected to see. Before doing the study, I was pretty confident that Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Sam McDowell and Bob Feller would be near the top.

Nolan Ryan's percentage of unique starts should probably be even higher. There are 27 instances since 1914 of a pitching line being produced by a pitcher twice and by no one else. Here are the first and last times this was done:

Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO   First         Last
Ray Caldwell      7   13  5  5  2  2   6- 4-1918     4-22-1921
Mat Latos         7    1  1  1  1  4   7-29-2009     6-30-2014

With one exception, no player has managed to do this more than once. You probably guessed who that exception is:

Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO   First         Last
Nolan Ryan        9    5  2  2  6 13   8-17-1973     7-14-1978
                  9    3  2  2  3 12   4- 7-1975     5-30-1979
                  4.1  4  6  5  6  5   6- 2-1978     9-15-1983
                  9    5  2  1  2 13   7-27-1982     8-22-1989

On to the least distinctive pitchers. These lists are a little harder to predict. First, the lowest percentage of unique pitching lines:

 Tot   %Uni    Avg   Player          First  Last
 290   7.24  19.99   Joe Horlen       1961  1972
 217   7.83  15.32   Jeff Francis     2004  2014
 265   7.92  18.68   Jered Weaver     2006  2014
 224   8.48  16.77   Aaron Cook       2002  2012
 200   8.50  20.01   John Buzhardt    1958  1968
 300   9.00  15.89   Jarrod Washburn  1998  2009
 250   9.20  17.47   Paul Maholm      2005  2014
 203   9.36  15.57   Mark Redman      1999  2008
 245   9.39  18.60   Rick Reed        1988  2003
 263   9.51  17.57   Joel Pineiro     2000  2011

There is a huge difference between this list and the previous one. In any given start, Nolan Ryan was more than five times more likely to produce a unique line than Joe Horlen.

This list is dominated by modern pitchers with relatively low strike out rates. Well, with the exception of Jered Weaver, who once led the AL in strikeouts.

And the ones with the highest average of occurrence:

 Tot   %Uni    Avg   Player          First  Last
 240  10.83  23.39   Harry Breechen   1943  1953
 343  18.37  22.89   Lon Warneke      1931  1945
 261  13.03  22.72   Preacher Roe     1944  1954
 232  14.22  22.07   Sal Maglie       1945  1958
 245  20.41  21.72   Johnny Sain      1942  1953
 665  13.83  21.65   Warren Spahn     1942  1965
 377  13.79  21.64   Burt Hooton      1971  1985
 277  21.66  21.49   Jeff Pfeffer     1914  1924
 239  17.15  21.46   Mort Cooper      1938  1947
 237  15.19  21.40   Larry Jansen     1947  1956

The weird thing here is that no one is on both lists. John Buzhardt comes the closest to making the second, and he's in 27th place. And Harry Breechen comes closest to make the first with a 33rd place showing. I'm not sure why, but eight of the ten on the second list were active during the 1940s.

I thought (or at least was hoping) it might be worth our while to do the same analysis on individual seasons. Here are the pitchers (25 starts minimum) with the highest percentage of unique lines in a season, along with their stats as a starter that year:

 Tot   %Uni    Avg   Player           Year    IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO   W  L   ERA
  25  72.00   3.80   Bobby Witt       1987   143   114  82  78 140 160   8 10  4.92
  41  63.41   5.51   Nolan Ryan       1974   331   218 125 105 202 366  21 16  2.85
  30  60.00   6.97   Nolan Ryan       1990   204   137  86  78  74 232  13  9  3.44
  32  59.38   2.69   Nolan Ryan       1989   239.1 162  96  85  98 301  16 10  3.20
  34  55.88   4.82   Randy Johnson    1998   244.1 203 102  89  86 329  19 11  3.28
  34  55.88   5.29   Weldon Wyckoff   1915   243.2 211 122  95 146 134   9 21  3.51
  40  55.00   3.88   Bobo Newsom      1938   325   328 202 184 188 223  20 16  5.10
  31  54.84   3.55   Nolan Ryan       1978   234.2 183 106  97 148 260  10 13  3.72
  35  54.29  10.54   Elmer Myers      1916   291   258 151 114 150 174  13 22  3.53
  37  54.05   4.81   Nolan Ryan       1977   299   198 110  92 204 341  19 16  2.77

There's lots of Nolan Ryan on this list and lots of numbers, both good and bad. Collectively, the group was little better than average (with a combined won/loss record of 148-144), but they sure were interesting.

Here's the flip side. Since there were 59 qualifiers without a single unique game, the ten shown below were those with the highest average occurrence.

 Tot   %Uni    Avg   Player           Year    IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO   W  L   ERA
  33   0.00  29.70   Bert Blyleven    1989   241   225  76  73  44 131  17  5  2.73
  33   0.00  29.58   Rick Reuschel    1987   225   203  86  73  41 106  13  8  2.92
  27   0.00  28.74   Milt Pappas      1959   199.1 166  80  74  69 115  14  9  3.34
  32   0.00  28.53   Bryn Smith       1989   213.2 173  76  68  54 127  10 11  2.86
  26   0.00  27.42   Ross Grimsley    1971   161.1 151  67  64  43  67  10  7  3.57
  30   0.00  27.37   Kris Benson      2006   183   199 105  98  58  88  11 12  4.82
  32   0.00  24.97   Eric Show        1988   234.2 201  86  85  53 144  16 11  3.26
  33   0.00  24.79   Hank Aguirre     1963   218.1 211  89  84  65 129  14 13  3.46
  26   0.00  24.65   Curt Schilling   1992   198   147  57  50  48 118  12  9  2.27
  29   0.00  23.93   Masato Yoshii    1999   170   164  81  80  56 104  12  8  4.24

While this group has a better record (129-93) than the previous one, I don't think anyone would argue that the first has much more box office appeal (Weldon Wyckoff and Elmer Myers notwithstanding). Even Curt Schilling was not the 300+ strikeout pitcher we would eventually come to know and love/hate, but rather a promising young lad who pitched to contact.

Here are the longest streaks of starts without producing a unique pitching line:

Cnt  Player           Before        After
 94  Jeff Francis     9-13-2007     9- 2-2012
 84  Rick Reuschel    8-13-1986     5- 2-1989
 79  Masato Yoshii    x             8- 7-2000
 63  Kevin Gross      8-14-1985     7-16-1987
 62  Curt Schilling   4-18-2005     9-16-2007

Where:
Before - the unique start immediately before the streak began
After - the start that broke the streak

Masato Yoshii's string was from the start of his major league career, while Curt Schilling broke his string in his next to last outing.

At the risk of beating this subject even further to death, I would like to look at the pitchers who produced the same pitching line the most times. Hint: it's not a lot.

Cnt Tot  Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO   Dates
  4  69  Tiny Bonham       9    5  1  1  0  4   8-25-1940(2)  5-16-1942(1)  9-23-1942     9-10-1945
  4  34  Bert Blyleven     9    7  0  0  1  6   4-27-1977     5-31-1980     9-26-1984     9-28-1989
  4  16  Eppa Rixey        9    9  3  3  2  0   5-21-1928(1)  5-12-1929     7-27-1929     7-29-1930

Where:
Tot - the total number of occurrences from 1914 to 2014

Quite a few pitchers have had three identical pitching lines (98 not counting the ones above), but I wanted to look at a few special cases. First, two pitchers did all three in one season:

Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO   Dates
Jim Turner        9    5  0  0  1  3   7- 9-1937     7-24-1937     8-24-1937
Todd Ritchie      6    7  3  3  1  4   6-17-2000     8-23-2000     9- 2-2000

Not only did Jim Turner produce three identical lines in a month and a half, he came very close to even more. During that period, he also had the following similar ones:

 IP    H  R ER BB SO   Date
  9    5  1  1  1  2   7-14-1937
  9    6  1  1  1  4   7-18-1937(2)
  9    3  0  0  1  3   8-14-1937

And here are some relatively rare lines that a pitcher hit in triplicate:

Tot  Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO   Dates
 14  Greg Maddux       6    3  1  1  0  5   7- 7-1999     5-13-2000     8-27-2003
 14  Jim Bunning       5    7  4  4  0  4   4-26-1959     5- 9-1964     5- 7-1971
 16  Felix Hernandez   8    4  0  0  1  9   4-28-2009(2)  9- 5-2010     8-11-2013
 17  Whitey Ford       9    3  0  0  4  8   4-17-1961     5-31-1963     5-22-1965
 19  Red Lucas         9   10  3  3  1  1   6-12-1931     5-14-1933(1)  6-27-1937
 19  Sandy Koufax      9    5  1  1  1 10   5-21-1962     8-12-1964     7- 3-1965
 19  Randy Johnson     7    6  2  2  2  8   7-20-1995     6-19-2000     6-19-2001

Where:
Tot - is still the total number of occurrences from 1914 to 2014

And finally, in addition to Felix Hernandez from the previous chart, here are the active pitchers on the list:

Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO   Dates
Madison Bumgarner 6    5  1  1  1  7   4-27-2011     8- 4-2012     8-31-2014
Matt Cain         7    4  0  0  1  6   6-25-2011     6-30-2011     9-26-2012
Matt Cain         7    4  2  2  2  7   9-20-2005     8- 1-2006     5-21-2013
Danny Haren       7    4  2  2  0  4   5-26-2005     6- 5-2005     5-14-2013
Felix Hernandez   6    7  3  3  1  6   8-18-2006     6-10-2007     4-17-2009

On his first entry above, Matt Cain had the same line in back-to-back games. This has happened thirty times since 1914. The last time:

Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO  GS   Dates
Tommy Hanson      7    4  1  1  1  6  70   7- 4-2011     7- 9-2011

The rarest lines to be repeated:

Tot  Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO  GS   Dates
  6  Tommy Thomas      7   10  6  6  4  3  32   6-11-1927     6-18-1927
  8  Wes Ferrell       9   10  4  3  3  4  54   9-13-1935(1)  9-17-1935

Where:
Tot - yep, still the total number of occurrences from 1914 to 2014

The highest and lowest game scores:

Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO  GS   Dates
Tim Hudson        8    3  0  0  1  6  81   8- 7-2010     8-13-2010
Dilson Torres     3.1  7  5  5  1  2  27   7-19-1995     9- 4-1995(2)
Jim Faulkner      0    2  3  3  1  0  33   9- 8-1928(2)  4-23-1930

Those were the only two starts of Dilson Torres' career. I also added Jim Faulkner who, while his game score was higher than Torres', was even less effective. While these were not the only starts of Faulkner's career, they were his last.

Only one line has been repeated on two different occasions, and those came in back-to-back years:

Player           IP    H  R ER BB SO  GS   Dates
Paul Wilson       6    8  3  3  2  2  44   4- 4-2005     4- 9-2005
Jeff Suppan       6    8  3  3  2  2  44   5-31-2006     6- 5-2006

One more and then I promise to wrap this up. Here are the times that two opposing starters had the same line score:

Date           IP    H  R ER BB SO  GS  Players
6-11-1933(1)    4.1  6  4  4  1  0  34  Fred Frankhouse   Sloppy Thurston
6- 6-1964       7    5  2  2  2  4  61  Jack Sanford      Dennis Bennett
4-20-1968       7    6  1  1  1  4  64  Pat Jarvis        Gerry Arrigo
8-19-1995       3    4  4  4  2  3  36  John Smoltz       Donovan Osborne
6-28-2011       7    6  2  2  2  0  55  Gavin Floyd       Jason Hammel
8-31-2011       6    6  3  3  2  6  52  Rich Harden       Ubaldo Jimenez
9- 3-2012       5    7  4  4  0  6  43  Patrick Corbin    Barry Zito

The line that Frankhouse and Thurston produced that day in 1933 has not been seen since. And in case you were wondering, the same pitching line has not appeared more than twice on the same day since at least 1914.

I would like to wrap this up with a thought that occurred to me while looking at the long odds associated with any one pitching line. Actually it was more of a vision than a thought, inspired in part by New York's decision to join the rest of the civilized world by scattering casinos around the state. In short: people like to gamble. And while baseball (like many other sports) has had a rough history with the random science, I'm sure they would love to partner with a chance-based industry provided they were convinced that there would be no risk of it affecting the game on the field. In other words: they want it to be fix-proof.

Enter the pitching line lottery. Or rather, the one game pitching line fantasy sports game. Here's how it works: you go online, pick a game and enter a pitching line you want to bet for either or both of the starting pitchers. Once the line is entered, the website determines the odds of it occurring. This can be done by using the results of extensive game simulations or by referencing an existing database (which, gambling websites, I already have). Then the customer can decide if and how much he or she would like to wager. What could be simpler?

Like those one-day fantasy sport games springing up all around us, this one will be purely luck, but (and here's the good part) the players have the freedom to pretend otherwise, to think that some special insight of theirs was really responsible for the hefty payoff, not the goddess Fortuna. So in that way, I guess it's a lot like playing the stock market.

And it's virtually fix-proof. Since so much of the pitching line will be determined by when a starter is removed from the game, only a manager would really be in a position to ever so slightly improve the odds of a particular line occurring. And I think we can all agree that the odds of a manager being involved with gamblers is vanishingly small.

So bring on the one day pitching line fantasy sports game (patent pending)!

Notes:

1Of course, there are even older batting line formats. The ones my grandfather grew up with contained at-bats, runs, hits, assists and putouts. His father was used to seeing those showing runs, hits, assists, putouts and errors. And his father played cricket so he doesn't count.

2As promised, here is the complete chart showing the breakdown of how far into the game starting pitchers went from 1914 to 2014:

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
1914   0.2  0.9  0.4  1.7  0.6  0.5  2.2  0.7  0.5  3.5  0.6  0.3  3.0  0.8  0.5  4.0  1.0  0.4  5.8  1.0  0.5  9.8  0.9  0.5 13.3  1.3  0.7 38.8  5.8   9
1915   0.2  1.0  0.5  1.0  0.9  0.6  2.2  1.3  0.4  2.6  1.0  0.9  3.0  1.1  0.5  3.6  1.2  0.5  4.4  0.8  0.5  8.2  1.3  0.5 14.0  1.3  1.0 40.6  5.0   9
1916   0.4  1.0  0.6  1.1  1.2  0.6  2.0  1.0  0.5  2.5  1.2  0.3  2.6  1.0  0.6  4.6  1.0  0.5  5.2  1.4  0.7  9.0  1.3  0.7 13.0  1.4  0.8 37.4  6.3   9
1917   0.4  1.0  0.5  1.8  0.9  0.4  2.2  1.2  0.4  2.5  0.7  0.4  2.6  1.0  0.6  3.4  1.2  0.6  4.3  1.3  0.5  7.7  0.7  0.4 14.2  1.5  0.9 40.7  5.9   9
1918   0.5  0.9  0.4  1.0  0.5  0.5  1.4  0.7  0.4  1.7  0.5  0.6  2.3  1.0  0.4  3.1  0.8  0.4  3.9  0.6  0.3  7.2  0.8  0.7 16.5  1.3  1.3 42.1  7.8   9
1919   0.4  1.1  0.5  1.3  0.7  0.4  2.2  1.3  0.3  2.0  0.8  0.5  2.3  0.8  0.4  3.6  1.0  0.1  4.2  0.9  0.5  8.1  1.0  0.3 14.8  1.3  0.7 42.4  6.3   9
1920   0.2  1.1  0.5  1.3  0.7  0.6  1.9  1.1  0.5  2.6  0.7  0.4  2.3  0.8  0.5  3.2  0.8  0.8  4.9  0.9  0.9  7.8  0.9  0.6 14.0  1.2  1.0 41.7  6.0   9
1921   1.0  0.9  0.8  1.6  1.1  0.9  2.3  1.2  0.8  2.6  0.9  0.8  3.1  1.4  1.0  3.4  1.4  0.7  5.6  1.2  0.8  7.5  1.2  0.8 10.6  1.4  0.9 38.6  5.6   9
1922   0.9  1.0  0.6  1.4  1.1  0.8  2.1  1.4  0.8  2.6  1.5  1.3  2.9  0.9  0.9  3.8  1.3  0.8  5.7  1.3  0.9  7.6  1.1  0.5 12.0  1.2  1.1 37.7  4.6   9
1923   0.7  1.2  1.0  1.2  1.3  1.0  1.6  1.5  1.0  2.7  1.4  1.1  2.6  1.0  1.0  3.7  0.9  0.7  5.5  1.2  0.8  8.1  1.3  0.8 11.2  1.3  0.9 38.9  4.6   9
1924   1.0  1.4  0.9  1.2  1.5  0.9  2.3  1.3  1.3  2.8  1.0  1.2  2.6  1.6  0.8  4.2  1.4  1.1  5.0  1.4  0.5  8.0  1.1  0.6 10.8  1.7  1.5 36.7  4.4   9
1925   0.7  1.1  0.6  0.7  0.7  1.1  2.3  1.3  0.9  2.4  1.2  0.9  3.1  1.5  1.2  4.5  1.4  0.5  5.7  1.8  0.8  7.3  1.5  0.7 11.4  2.0  1.1 37.7  4.1   9
1926   0.5  1.0  0.9  1.1  0.8  1.1  2.1  1.5  0.9  3.2  1.3  1.0  2.9  1.5  0.9  4.4  2.2  1.1  5.4  1.3  0.6  8.0  1.1  0.9 12.6  1.5  1.1 36.4  2.8   9
1927   0.7  0.7  0.5  1.0  0.6  0.8  1.7  1.1  0.7  2.5  1.1  0.9  3.2  1.4  1.1  3.8  1.4  1.1  6.1  1.7  1.1  8.6  1.4  0.8 12.8  1.8  1.0 36.4  3.8   9
1928   0.6  1.3  0.7  1.0  1.1  1.0  1.6  1.1  0.9  2.2  1.2  0.8  2.9  1.5  1.0  3.9  1.5  0.9  5.4  1.7  1.2  9.0  1.3  1.3 11.5  1.7  1.1 36.4  4.0   9
1929   0.9  0.6  0.6  1.2  1.2  1.0  1.8  1.1  1.2  2.3  1.5  1.3  2.4  1.5  1.5  4.0  1.4  1.2  5.3  2.0  0.7  9.1  1.7  0.6 11.1  1.5  1.0 36.7  3.5   9

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
1930   0.7  0.9  0.7  1.1  1.0  1.3  2.3  1.0  1.1  2.4  1.3  1.0  3.5  1.7  1.1  4.6  1.2  1.1  6.3  1.7  1.5  9.4  1.8  1.1 10.0  1.9  1.3 33.8  3.3   9
1931   0.8  1.4  0.4  1.3  1.1  1.0  1.1  0.8  1.1  1.7  1.3  0.9  2.1  1.4  1.1  3.2  1.7  1.1  7.3  1.3  1.0  8.8  1.4  0.8 12.9  1.5  1.2 36.7  3.7   9
1932   0.6  1.1  0.6  0.6  0.9  0.9  1.7  1.1  0.9  2.2  1.3  1.0  3.0  1.5  1.2  4.1  1.3  1.1  5.7  1.4  1.3  9.6  1.6  1.3 11.4  1.1  1.2 36.0  4.5   9
1933   0.6  0.9  0.9  0.8  0.9  0.9  1.6  1.7  1.1  2.1  1.3  0.8  2.4  1.5  1.3  4.0  2.0  1.0  6.2  1.6  1.1  9.1  1.8  1.1 11.1  1.5  1.4 34.5  5.0   9
1934   0.9  1.0  0.9  1.0  1.4  0.9  2.1  1.6  1.2  2.2  1.3  1.0  3.3  1.6  1.4  4.0  1.4  1.3  6.4  1.9  1.6  8.6  1.8  1.4  9.6  1.7  0.9 34.0  3.7   9
1935   0.7  0.9  1.0  0.7  1.3  1.4  2.1  1.5  0.9  2.3  1.5  1.3  2.9  1.0  1.5  3.8  1.5  1.2  7.3  1.7  1.3  8.4  1.4  1.3  9.7  1.5  1.0 34.6  4.2   9
1936   0.6  1.3  1.0  1.2  1.4  1.4  2.1  1.1  1.1  2.3  1.2  1.3  3.4  1.6  1.0  4.8  1.6  1.1  6.6  1.8  1.2  8.2  1.7  1.1 10.0  1.7  1.1 33.7  3.5   9
1937   0.6  0.8  0.7  0.9  1.2  1.5  1.8  1.3  1.1  2.3  1.5  1.3  3.3  1.8  1.1  3.7  0.9  1.1  6.3  1.9  1.7  8.7  1.9  1.5 10.9  1.4  1.2 34.4  3.6   9
1938   0.9  1.1  0.7  1.2  0.8  0.9  1.4  1.4  0.9  2.8  1.6  1.1  3.5  1.7  1.5  4.3  1.2  1.2  5.8  2.0  1.3  8.7  1.6  1.3 11.2  1.5  1.1 34.6  2.7   9
1939   0.8  1.1  1.1  1.4  0.9  1.2  1.2  1.7  1.5  2.8  1.6  1.0  3.1  1.7  1.3  4.4  1.8  1.1  6.4  1.7  1.1  8.3  2.1  1.3 10.2  1.5  1.3 33.6  2.8   9
1940   0.9  1.1  0.9  1.0  0.8  1.1  2.4  1.5  0.9  3.2  1.1  1.1  3.0  1.6  1.4  3.6  1.3  1.5  5.9  1.5  0.9  8.5  1.7  1.1 10.8  1.6  1.3 34.5  3.8   9
1941   0.5  1.1  0.9  1.5  0.7  1.2  1.9  1.2  1.3  2.7  1.0  1.0  2.3  2.2  1.3  4.3  1.7  1.2  5.7  1.7  1.0  8.9  1.5  1.6 10.2  1.8  1.0 34.0  4.2   9
1942   0.5  0.9  1.2  0.9  0.9  1.2  1.9  1.3  1.2  2.1  1.1  0.7  2.4  1.6  1.7  4.1  1.7  1.1  5.8  1.7  1.4  7.4  1.3  0.7 11.7  1.5  1.8 34.6  5.5   9
1943   0.8  0.7  0.9  0.6  0.9  0.9  1.8  1.0  1.1  2.3  0.9  0.7  2.6  1.3  1.4  3.5  1.8  1.1  6.7  1.3  1.4  9.3  1.6  1.8 10.5  2.1  2.2 32.8  6.2   9
1944   0.4  0.9  0.9  1.2  1.0  1.3  1.8  1.3  0.6  1.7  1.0  1.0  2.4  1.2  1.0  4.1  1.4  1.3  6.7  1.4  1.7  9.0  1.5  1.5 10.0  1.5  1.2 35.7  5.0   9
1945   0.6  1.0  0.7  0.9  0.6  1.0  1.9  1.2  0.9  2.0  1.3  1.1  3.2  2.2  1.1  4.2  1.1  1.0  5.5  1.5  1.6  8.5  1.9  1.2 11.1  1.6  1.5 35.5  4.0   9
1946   0.8  1.3  1.2  0.9  1.2  0.7  2.1  1.1  1.4  2.3  1.3  1.4  3.3  1.7  1.2  4.5  1.8  1.2  6.4  1.9  1.6  8.0  1.9  1.1  9.5  1.7  1.5 33.8  3.4   9
1947   0.5  1.0  1.3  0.9  1.4  1.0  2.1  1.2  1.4  2.4  1.4  1.5  3.1  2.3  1.6  4.4  2.2  1.5  6.1  1.9  1.9  8.8  2.0  1.5  9.9  1.5  1.1 31.2  3.0   9
1948   1.0  1.7  1.1  1.1  1.3  1.1  2.5  2.1  1.9  2.6  1.2  1.7  2.3  1.5  1.8  4.9  1.9  1.7  5.7  2.2  2.1  9.3  1.8  1.7  7.8  1.6  1.7 30.2  2.3   9
1949   1.3  1.1  0.9  0.9  1.2  1.3  1.9  1.7  1.5  2.5  1.8  1.4  2.5  1.7  1.4  4.3  1.8  1.4  6.9  2.1  1.3  9.5  1.5  1.2  9.0  1.9  1.3 31.1  3.5   9

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
1950   1.1  1.5  1.2  0.8  1.0  1.0  2.7  2.0  0.9  1.6  1.4  1.1  3.1  2.1  1.6  3.6  1.6  1.4  5.9  2.0  2.0  8.9  2.0  1.4  9.6  1.5  1.6 32.4  3.0   9
1951   0.6  1.3  0.9  1.0  1.0  1.3  2.1  1.5  1.0  2.5  1.4  1.7  3.4  1.7  1.3  5.0  1.9  1.4  6.5  2.3  1.6  9.3  1.9  1.6  9.3  1.5  1.0 31.1  3.0   9
1952   0.7  1.4  0.9  0.9  1.2  1.1  2.3  1.3  0.9  2.1  1.1  1.0  2.8  1.7  1.7  4.9  1.4  1.3  6.9  1.7  1.5  9.9  2.3  1.8 10.6  2.1  1.3 30.2  3.2   9
1953   0.5  1.1  0.8  1.3  1.0  1.4  1.9  1.9  1.3  3.2  1.8  1.7  3.7  1.8  1.8  5.5  2.1  1.5  6.7  2.3  2.2  9.1  1.5  1.2  8.5  1.7  1.5 28.2  2.7   9
1954   0.9  1.1  1.1  0.9  1.1  1.2  2.8  1.3  1.4  2.5  1.1  1.4  3.8  1.7  1.2  5.0  2.0  1.7  6.9  2.4  2.2 10.0  1.8  2.0  8.1  1.6  1.4 28.0  3.3   9
1955   0.8  0.9  1.3  1.5  1.1  1.0  2.2  2.4  1.7  2.8  1.8  1.9  3.8  2.0  2.1  4.9  1.9  1.8  7.0  2.4  2.7  8.8  2.4  1.9  7.6  1.5  1.3 26.0  2.4   9
1956   0.8  1.3  0.7  1.3  1.4  1.4  2.2  2.0  1.1  2.7  1.2  1.4  3.9  1.9  1.3  5.7  2.1  1.8  8.3  2.5  2.5  9.4  2.5  1.5  6.9  2.0  1.6 26.6  2.4   9
1957   0.6  1.3  1.1  1.4  1.2  1.3  2.2  2.1  1.6  2.3  1.7  1.2  3.8  1.5  1.9  5.1  2.1  1.9  6.9  2.4  2.5 10.2  2.4  1.7  8.0  2.3  1.6 24.7  3.1   9
1958   0.5  1.5  1.1  1.3  1.1  1.3  2.3  1.9  1.8  2.9  1.7  1.5  3.0  2.0  2.1  5.0  2.2  2.2  7.6  2.6  1.9  9.4  2.4  1.9  7.7  2.0  1.8 25.5  1.9   9
1959   0.9  1.3  1.1  1.2  1.2  1.0  1.7  2.1  2.1  2.3  1.4  1.7  3.7  1.5  1.5  4.7  1.5  1.7  7.6  2.3  2.1 10.9  2.5  2.0  8.2  2.1  1.4 26.3  2.1   9
1960   0.8  1.1  0.9  1.3  1.0  1.4  2.0  1.7  1.4  2.5  1.5  1.4  3.9  2.1  1.5  5.5  2.6  1.6  7.8  3.0  2.5 11.4  2.1  1.9  8.3  1.7  1.7 23.2  2.1   9
1961   0.5  0.6  0.7  1.0  1.1  1.2  2.0  2.0  1.6  2.7  1.5  1.1  3.7  1.9  2.0  5.7  2.4  2.1  8.7  3.0  2.4 11.5  2.4  2.0  7.8  2.0  2.1 22.7  1.5   9
1962   0.4  0.8  0.9  1.0  1.1  1.5  1.8  1.5  1.8  3.2  1.6  1.6  3.8  1.8  1.8  5.7  2.8  1.9  8.1  2.6  2.8 10.5  3.0  2.2  7.5  2.0  1.8 22.7  2.0   9
1963   0.4  1.0  0.9  0.7  0.8  1.1  1.5  1.8  1.4  2.6  1.8  1.4  3.2  1.9  1.9  6.1  2.0  2.1  8.2  2.6  2.5 11.8  2.5  2.5  7.9  2.1  1.6 23.8  1.9   9
1964   0.8  1.4  0.8  1.1  0.8  1.4  1.5  1.6  1.8  2.9  1.3  1.4  4.0  2.1  2.3  5.2  2.7  1.8  8.3  3.3  2.9 10.7  2.6  2.2  7.5  2.2  1.3 22.1  2.0   9
1965   0.5  1.1  0.9  1.1  1.0  1.2  2.1  1.6  1.6  2.9  1.1  1.4  3.9  2.1  2.1  6.5  2.6  2.0  8.5  3.2  2.7 11.4  2.8  2.2  7.3  2.0  1.3 21.1  1.8   9
1966   0.3  0.5  0.9  1.0  1.0  1.1  2.4  1.8  1.2  2.5  1.9  1.5  3.8  2.3  2.2  7.2  2.7  1.9  9.0  3.7  2.9 10.8  3.2  1.6  7.1  1.8  1.2 21.3  1.3   9
1967   0.5  0.6  0.6  1.0  1.1  1.4  2.2  1.4  1.5  2.7  1.5  1.4  3.5  2.0  2.1  6.4  2.5  2.2  8.8  3.1  2.4 11.2  2.9  2.1  7.6  2.2  1.1 22.2  2.0   9
1968   0.4  0.6  0.5  0.7  0.9  1.0  1.3  1.5  1.1  2.0  1.3  1.5  3.1  2.1  1.6  5.6  2.5  2.0  8.6  3.2  2.1 12.8  3.2  2.2  7.7  2.2  1.6 25.0  2.0   9
1969   0.4  0.8  0.6  0.5  1.1  1.2  1.5  1.6  1.2  2.6  1.7  1.7  3.6  2.2  1.8  6.3  2.7  2.1  8.9  2.7  2.8 11.4  2.7  2.4  7.0  1.5  1.7 23.5  1.7   9

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
1970   0.4  0.7  0.6  0.6  0.9  1.0  1.9  1.4  1.2  2.3  1.5  1.4  3.3  2.5  2.0  6.2  2.8  2.0 10.2  3.3  2.9 12.4  3.4  2.2  7.2  2.4  1.4 20.4  1.3   9
1971   0.3  0.8  0.6  0.7  1.0  1.1  1.3  1.1  1.0  1.7  0.8  1.5  3.3  1.9  1.9  6.2  2.3  2.4  8.8  3.6  2.6 11.0  2.7  2.0  8.8  1.9  1.8 25.2  1.7   9
1972   0.3  0.6  0.6  0.6  1.0  0.8  1.5  1.5  1.1  1.8  1.0  1.1  3.4  1.7  1.3  6.1  2.4  1.9  9.9  3.0  2.9 11.8  2.4  2.6  8.5  2.3  1.6 24.0  2.3   9
1973   0.5  0.7  0.9  0.5  0.8  1.5  1.1  1.4  1.3  1.7  1.7  1.8  2.9  2.2  1.7  4.8  2.8  2.8  8.5  3.4  3.2  9.5  3.4  2.4  9.0  2.2  1.9 23.2  2.0   9
1974   0.5  0.7  0.9  0.7  0.9  1.2  1.6  1.6  1.7  2.0  1.4  1.6  2.8  2.0  1.6  4.9  2.6  2.3  7.6  4.3  3.3 10.1  3.1  2.2  9.0  2.6  1.4 23.5  2.1   9
1975   0.4  0.6  0.7  0.5  1.0  1.3  1.3  1.6  1.2  1.7  1.4  1.6  2.5  2.4  2.5  5.9  3.0  2.6  8.5  3.9  3.4  9.2  3.4  2.4  8.1  2.2  1.7 23.1  1.8   9
1976   0.3  0.6  0.7  0.5  1.0  1.4  1.3  1.2  1.5  2.1  1.8  1.5  3.0  2.0  1.8  6.3  2.3  2.5  9.4  3.5  2.9 10.1  3.1  2.3  8.3  2.1  1.3 22.6  2.5   9
1977   0.4  0.7  0.6  0.6  1.0  1.1  1.8  1.5  1.5  2.0  2.0  1.9  3.2  2.6  2.0  6.2  3.2  3.1 10.0  3.9  3.2 10.1  3.3  2.8  7.2  2.1  1.4 19.2  1.3   9
1978   0.3  0.7  0.5  0.8  1.0  1.4  1.4  1.4  1.3  1.9  1.6  1.4  2.9  2.2  1.8  5.8  3.0  2.3  8.8  4.1  2.9 11.6  3.0  2.5  9.3  2.4  1.5 21.1  1.2   9
1979   0.2  0.9  0.6  0.7  0.9  1.0  1.4  1.5  1.4  2.1  1.6  1.6  3.4  2.7  2.0  6.1  3.2  3.0  9.4  3.9  3.3 10.2  4.0  3.2  8.5  2.2  1.2 18.9  1.0   9
1980   0.3  0.7  0.7  0.8  1.1  1.0  1.6  1.4  1.2  1.9  1.5  1.5  3.5  2.3  2.4  6.7  3.0  2.5  9.4  4.0  4.0 11.4  3.6  2.4  8.5  2.0  1.4 17.7  1.3   9
1981   0.4  0.5  0.8  0.6  0.8  0.9  1.7  1.4  1.3  2.3  1.8  2.0  3.1  2.3  1.8  7.1  3.2  3.5 10.2  4.5  3.7 12.1  3.4  2.7  8.5  1.5  1.1 16.0  1.0   9
1982   0.3  0.6  0.6  0.7  0.8  1.1  1.2  1.8  1.3  2.1  1.6  1.7  3.7  2.7  2.1  6.7  3.4  3.4 10.2  4.4  4.0 12.1  3.6  2.4  8.2  1.9  1.0 15.1  1.2   9
1983   0.3  0.3  0.4  0.6  0.9  1.0  1.3  1.7  1.4  2.0  1.4  2.1  2.9  2.9  2.6  7.4  3.4  2.9 10.9  4.1  3.0 12.1  3.9  2.8  8.6  1.8  1.3 15.1  1.0   9
1984   0.2  0.5  0.5  0.5  0.8  0.9  1.1  1.1  1.2  2.1  1.4  1.8  3.7  2.3  1.9  8.4  3.3  3.0 11.1  4.2  4.0 13.7  3.3  2.6  9.4  2.0  1.1 13.3  0.6   7
1985   0.2  0.3  0.4  0.6  0.7  1.2  1.4  1.2  1.3  2.0  1.5  1.9  3.5  2.5  2.3  8.4  3.6  2.8 11.4  3.7  3.7 14.0  3.4  2.9  8.3  1.5  1.0 13.7  0.6   7
1986   0.4  0.4  0.4  0.6  0.7  1.1  1.1  1.2  1.2  1.9  1.5  1.8  3.4  2.4  2.5  9.4  3.0  3.2 11.7  4.4  3.1 14.1  3.4  2.6  8.1  1.7  1.4 12.4  0.7   7
1987   0.2  0.3  0.5  0.6  0.7  0.8  1.4  1.8  1.2  2.2  1.8  2.1  3.8  2.6  2.2  9.0  4.0  3.1 12.3  4.4  4.0 13.2  3.5  2.5  7.3  1.2  1.0 11.8  0.4   7
1988   0.2  0.3  0.3  0.4  0.6  1.1  1.2  1.1  1.0  1.5  1.4  2.0  3.2  2.0  1.5  7.0  3.1  2.7 13.1  4.9  3.7 14.8  3.6  2.5 10.3  1.8  1.1 12.9  0.7   7
1989   0.3  0.3  0.5  0.3  0.7  0.7  1.6  1.3  1.0  2.2  1.4  1.6  3.8  2.2  2.2  9.0  3.6  3.6 12.3  4.2  3.7 15.6  3.1  2.4  9.5  1.6  1.0 10.0  0.4   7

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
1990   0.2  0.4  0.5  0.4  0.8  1.0  1.4  1.1  1.3  2.4  1.7  1.8  3.6  2.2  2.1  9.3  3.3  3.1 13.1  5.1  4.3 15.2  3.2  2.7  8.6  1.4  0.8  8.7  0.2   7
1991   0.2  0.3  0.5  0.5  0.7  0.9  1.3  1.1  1.2  2.0  1.5  1.7  3.8  2.7  2.1  9.1  3.4  3.4 13.5  4.5  3.7 16.3  3.3  2.7  9.6  1.3  1.0  7.7  0.2   7
1992   0.2  0.3  0.2  0.2  0.5  0.8  1.2  1.2  1.0  1.7  1.1  1.9  3.4  2.3  2.2  9.1  3.6  3.4 13.7  4.3  3.7 17.1  2.7  2.4 10.6  1.4  0.8  8.6  0.3   7
1993   0.2  0.3  0.3  0.3  0.5  0.7  1.0  1.2  1.1  2.2  1.3  1.9  3.7  2.4  2.6  9.1  3.7  3.4 14.2  3.9  4.5 15.9  3.2  2.4 10.8  1.1  0.7  7.1  0.2   7
1994   0.0  0.3  0.5  0.5  0.4  1.0  0.9  1.3  1.3  2.2  1.3  1.5  3.5  2.2  2.7  8.3  4.2  3.9 14.8  4.0  4.4 16.0  3.0  2.4 10.9  0.7  0.6  7.1  0.1   7
1995   0.1  0.2  0.3  0.5  0.8  0.7  1.4  1.2  1.3  2.5  1.7  1.8  4.2  2.5  2.3 10.7  4.0  3.7 15.8  3.8  3.7 15.9  2.6  2.4  8.0  1.3  0.4  6.2  0.1   7
1996   0.1  0.2  0.4  0.5  0.8  0.8  1.2  1.1  1.0  2.3  1.6  1.8  4.2  2.6  2.3 10.9  4.1  4.0 14.1  4.2  4.5 16.7  2.7  2.2  8.5  0.9  0.7  5.8  0.0   7
1997   0.1  0.2  0.2  0.3  0.5  0.6  1.0  0.8  1.0  2.3  1.5  1.5  4.3  3.0  2.1 11.5  3.8  2.7 15.9  4.6  4.3 18.4  2.6  2.0  8.1  0.9  0.3  5.4  0.0   7
1998   0.1  0.2  0.1  0.3  0.3  0.5  0.9  0.8  0.8  2.3  1.6  1.3  4.1  2.2  2.5 10.2  3.7  4.2 16.3  4.7  4.7 18.3  2.6  2.1  8.7  0.7  0.4  5.3  0.0   7
1999   0.0  0.2  0.3  0.3  0.4  0.5  1.4  0.9  1.2  2.1  1.6  2.0  4.2  2.4  2.3 11.6  3.8  4.2 17.4  4.4  4.3 17.2  2.2  1.8  8.1  0.4  0.3  4.2  0.0   6
2000   0.1  0.2  0.2  0.3  0.8  0.6  1.2  1.0  1.0  2.3  1.7  1.7  4.0  2.5  1.9 11.1  3.6  4.1 17.2  4.0  4.6 18.8  2.7  2.0  7.4  0.5  0.4  4.1  0.0   7
2001   0.1  0.1  0.1  0.4  0.4  0.6  1.0  0.7  1.0  2.3  1.3  1.5  3.9  2.2  2.1 12.1  3.9  4.2 19.2  4.5  4.3 19.1  2.0  2.0  6.6  0.5  0.3  3.4  0.0   6
2002   0.1  0.1  0.2  0.3  0.4  0.5  1.2  0.8  0.9  2.2  1.2  1.6  4.3  2.1  2.0 12.6  3.9  3.8 19.4  4.1  3.6 19.3  2.6  1.4  7.0  0.4  0.1  3.8  0.0   6
2003   0.1  0.2  0.3  0.6  0.4  0.5  1.3  0.7  0.8  2.1  1.2  1.5  4.0  2.5  2.3 12.2  3.5  4.0 21.1  4.1  4.0 18.5  2.1  1.8  6.1  0.4  0.2  3.6  0.0   6
2004   0.1  0.1  0.2  0.4  0.5  0.5  1.1  0.8  0.8  2.3  1.0  1.6  4.8  2.3  2.1 12.7  3.8  4.6 19.4  4.5  4.7 18.8  1.9  1.6  6.2  0.4  0.3  2.6  0.0   6
2005   0.1  0.1  0.2  0.3  0.3  0.5  1.2  0.7  0.9  1.8  1.3  1.5  3.3  1.9  2.0 11.9  4.3  3.9 20.3  4.2  4.3 18.8  2.0  1.8  8.2  0.5  0.2  3.4  0.0   6
2006   0.1  0.1  0.2  0.3  0.5  0.7  0.9  0.9  1.1  2.0  1.2  1.9  4.0  2.2  2.0 13.7  4.6  4.2 20.7  3.4  4.2 18.5  1.6  1.4  6.3  0.4  0.4  2.4  0.0   6
2007   0.2  0.1  0.3  0.4  0.4  0.5  1.0  0.5  1.0  2.2  1.4  1.3  4.3  2.4  2.7 13.0  4.7  4.2 22.2  4.1  4.3 18.5  1.4  1.5  5.0  0.3  0.2  1.9  0.0   6
2008   0.0  0.1  0.2  0.3  0.4  0.6  0.8  0.9  0.8  2.2  1.2  1.5  4.5  2.3  2.4 13.6  4.6  4.3 22.8  4.2  3.5 17.9  1.6  1.5  5.2  0.3  0.2  2.3  0.0   6
2009   0.0  0.0  0.2  0.5  0.4  0.5  0.8  0.8  0.7  2.3  1.4  1.7  3.8  2.6  2.2 14.1  4.3  4.5 22.3  3.8  3.7 17.8  1.9  1.2  5.4  0.3  0.2  2.6  0.0   6

Year    0    .1   .2  1    1.1  1.2  2    2.1  2.2  3    3.1  3.2   4   4.1  4.2  5    5.1  5.2  6    6.1  6.2  7    7.1  7.2  8    8.1  8.2  9    9+   TOP
2010   0.1  0.1  0.1  0.3  0.3  0.4  0.6  0.7  0.6  1.8  1.1  1.1  3.8  2.2  2.1 11.6  4.4  4.4 22.0  4.5  4.2 19.5  2.0  1.7  7.3  0.3  0.1  2.6  0.0   6
2011   0.0  0.1  0.1  0.1  0.2  0.4  0.7  0.4  0.7  1.7  1.0  1.0  3.4  2.0  2.3 11.4  4.4  4.2 22.7  4.7  4.5 19.2  1.9  2.4  6.8  0.2  0.4  2.9  0.0   6
2012   0.1  0.0  0.1  0.3  0.3  0.5  0.6  0.7  0.8  1.8  1.3  1.6  4.1  2.6  2.4 12.6  4.4  4.5 21.4  4.5  4.9 18.0  2.3  1.6  5.7  0.3  0.2  2.3  0.0   6
2013   0.1  0.1  0.2  0.4  0.2  0.7  0.7  0.7  0.5  1.3  1.0  1.4  3.7  2.6  2.4 13.0  4.4  4.8 21.8  4.3  4.6 19.4  2.2  1.4  5.4  0.5  0.2  2.0  0.0   6
2014   0.0  0.1  0.1  0.2  0.2  0.3  0.7  0.4  0.6  1.5  1.0  1.2  3.6  2.6  2.1 12.4  4.5  5.0 22.2  5.0  4.9 19.6  1.9  1.6  5.6  0.4  0.3  2.0  0.0   6

3Actually, it's 32.9%. Each starting pitching has a 18.06% (62077/343782) chance of producing a unique line, and of course each game has two starting pitchers, so the probability of at least one of them having a unique line is (2 * 18.06%) - (18.06 * 18.06). Or the odds of either one doing it minus the odds of both of them doing it.

Full disclosure: I totally screwed this up in the original version of the article. Thanks to Kerry Whisnant for pointing out the error of my ways.

A Look at Run Differentials

At the close of play on May 14, 2016, the Chicago Cubs had outscored their opponents by more runs (110) than the Atlanta Braves had scored (109), with both teams having played 35 games. So that got me to wondering what was the latest into a season (by the total number of games the teams had played) where one team had a run differential greater than another team's runs scored.

Well, it wasn't all that uncommon during the National Association. For example, here is the list for 1875:

  G    Date    Team    G   W   L  RS  RA DIF   TEAM    G   W   L  RS  RA
 62 1875- 7- 3 HAR n  35  25  10 223 117 106   WAS n  27   4  23  95 333
 72 1875- 7- 5 ATH n  36  27   7 395 167 228   HAR n  36  25  11 223 124
 63 1875- 7- 5 ATH n  36  27   7 395 167 228   NH  n  27   3  24  98 257
 63 1875- 7- 5 HAR n  36  25  11 223 124  99   NH  n  27   3  24  98 257
 65 1875- 7- 7 ATH n  37  27   8 399 179 220   WAS n  28   5  23 107 338
 78 1875- 7-19 ATH n  40  28  10 427 194 233   PHI n  38  20  18 229 199
 61 1875- 7-20 STL n  33  26   7 223 140  83   ATL n  28   2  26  78 263
107 1875- 8-23 BOS n  58  50   6 582 218 364   STL n  49  31  18 284 237
106 1875- 8-28 ATH n  57  43  12 556 262 294   STL n  49  31  18 284 237
117 1875- 9-24 ATH n  63  46  15 595 297 298   CHI n  54  26  27 296 300
134 1875-10- 8 ATH n  68  49  17 638 323 315   MUT n  66  30  34 312 383
150 1875-10-13 BOS n  75  65   7 765 299 466   HAR n  75  47  25 465 280
149 1875-10-23 BOS n  79  69   7 806 323 483   MUT n  70  30  38 323 420
149 1875-10-25 BOS n  79  69   7 806 323 483   PHI n  70  37  31 470 376

This list, like the ones below, only include teams that played roughly the same number of games (with a difference of less than ten). And only one entry is shown for each pairing (the one with the most combined number of games).

On October 13, 1875, only one other team in the National Association (the Athletics) had scored as many runs as Boston's run differential. And Boston would have had many more entries on the list above had more teams approached the number of games played by the Red Stockings.

And the talent in 1876 wasn't spread much more evenly:

  G    Date    Team    G   W   L  RS  RA DIF   TEAM    G   W   L  RS  RA
 82 1876- 8- 1 CHI N  43  36   7 411 156 255   PHI N  39  11  27 251 326
112 1876- 9- 8 CHI N  57  45  12 538 202 336   STL N  55  38  17 335 199
127 1876- 9-30 CHI N  66  52  14 624 257 367   HAR N  61  39  21 364 248
135 1876-10- 5 CHI N  66  52  14 624 257 367   LOU N  69  30  36 280 344
131 1876-10- 9 CHI N  66  52  14 624 257 367   CIN N  65   9  56 238 579
123 1876-10-17 CHI N  66  52  14 624 257 367   NY  N  57  21  35 260 412

Of the Chicago White Stockings opponents that year, only Boston managed to escape making this list. By September 8th, the St. Louis Brown Stockings had a .691 winning percentage and still had scored fewer runs than Chicago's run differential. By the way, Chicago finished its season on September 27th, but the season continued for other teams as late as October 21st.

The list for the rest of the 19th and the start of the 20th century:

  G    Date    Team    G   W   L  RS  RA DIF   TEAM    G   W   L  RS  RA
 87 1880- 7-17 CHI N  44  38   5 301 138 163   BUF N  43  17  26 162 244
123 1880- 8-27 CHI N  63  51  11 405 202 203   CIN N  60  14  46 202 325
 60 1884- 6-14 NY  a  32  24   8 236 129 107   WAS a  28   5  23 104 201
 70 1884- 6-18 STL U  34  31   3 338 116 222   PHI U  36   9  27 218 322
 87 1884- 7- 3 STL U  44  40   4 418 157 261   WAS U  43  12  31 236 337
183 1884- 9-15 STL U  93  81  11 764 340 424   C-P U  90  39  49 423 474
 66 1885- 6-18 CHI N  34  28   6 256 132 124   BOS N  32  10  22 123 167
212 1885-10- 1 CHI N 108  86  21 800 427 373   STL N 104  35  67 370 554
 62 1902- 5-26 PIT N  33  28   5 211  87 124   STL N  29  10  19 115 183
 68 1902- 5-28 PIT N  34  29   5 215  90 125   CHI N  34  20  11 122 104
 66 1902- 5-29 PIT N  34  29   5 215  90 125   BRO N  32  13  19 124 141
 65 1902- 5-29 PIT N  34  29   5 215  90 125   PHI N  31  11  20 121 174
167 1902- 7-31 PIT N  82  61  20 448 218 230   NY  N  85  27  55 229 386
 91 1905- 6- 7 NY  N  45  35  10 254 109 145   BRO N  46  15  31 144 207
111 1905- 6-18 NY  N  56  39  17 290 154 136   BOS N  55  17  37 132 292
 66 1907- 5-25 NY  N  33  26   7 139  73  66   BRO N  33   7  25  61 107

During the Pirates 29-5 start in 1902, here was their record against each team in the league:

Team     W   L   RS  RA DIF
STL N    7   0   59  22  37
CIN N    7   0   52  15  37
CHI N    3   2   25  12  13
BRO N    3   1   25  12  13
PHI N    4   0   23  10  13
NY  N    3   1   17   6  11
BOS N    2   1   14  13   1

Despite their poor showing against the Pirates, the Reds joined the Braves as the only other team in the league that year not to make the list above, thanks in large part to 14-4, 24-2 and 15-1 victories over the Cards, Phillies and Giants.

Typically these lists include great teams on one side and awful teams on the other, but on May 25th of that year, the Pirates' run differential exceeded or tied the runs scored by each of the next four teams in the standings.

The 1905 Giants opened their season with 10-1 and 15-0 victories over the Braves, on their way to a 19-3 mark against Boston that year, outscoring the last place club 145-40. It was the highest ratio of runs scored to runs allowed in a matchup between two teams from the end of the 19th century to the start of divisional play in 1969. The top ten:

Year Team  Oppon  W  L  RS  RA  RS/RA
1905 NY  N BOS N 19  3 145  40  3.625
1965 PIT N NY  N 14  4 105  33  3.182
1933 NY  N CIN N 17  4  99  33  3.000
1955 CLE A BAL A 19  3 107  36  2.972
1918 NY  N BOS N 15  1  84  29  2.897
1904 NY  N BOS N 20  2 127  45  2.822
1904 CHI A WAS A 18  4 110  40  2.750
1903 PHI A WAS A 16  3 128  47  2.723
1909 PIT N BOS N 20  1 117  43  2.721
1904 NY  N BRO N 19  3 111  41  2.707

I eliminated the years before and after this period, not because of a bias against the other eras, but because teams often played each other only a handful of times during those years, making a comparision of ratios somewhat less meaningful.

And the matchups with the largest run differential. First during the 19th century:

Year Team  Oppon  W  L  RS  RA  DIF
1884 CHI N PHI N 14  2 191  74  117
1887 STL a CLE a 18  1 215  98  117
1891 BOS a WAS a 18  2 176  61  115
1889 BRO a LOU a 19  1 185  71  114
1885 NY  N BUF N 15  1 150  38  112
1890 PHI N PIT N 17  2 195  83  112
1886 CHI N KC  N 17  1 174  63  111
1887 PHI N IND N 17  1 182  75  107
1890 BRO N PIT N 18  2 197  91  106
1887 BAL a CLE a 17  3 163  58  105
1899 CIN N CLE N 14  0 140  35  105

Unlike many other teams on this list, the White Stockings did not post a gaudy record in 1884 and, when they weren't walloping Philadelphia, played only .500 ball (48-48). And while certainly not a good team, the Quakers were probably the best team on the debit side of this list with a 39-73 record. Of course, that's not saying much when your competition are teams like the 1889 Louisville Colonels (27-111), the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys (23-113) and the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134), the only teams in major league history other than the 1897 St. Louis Browns to lose more than hundred games while winning less than thirty.

And the largest run differential since 1900:

Year Team  Oppon  W  L  RS  RA  DIF
1939 NY  A PHI A 18  4 179  68  111
1950 BOS A PHI A 19  3 190  84  106
1905 NY  N BOS N 19  3 145  40  105
1935 DET A STL A 17  5 182  78  104
1950 BOS A STL A 19  3 216 115  101
1901 PIT N NY  N 16  4 160  60  100
1936 WAS A STL A 19  3 185  91   94
1927 NY  A BOS A 18  4 171  80   91
1936 NY  A PHI A 16  6 180  89   91
1928 PIT N PHI N 18  4 184  94   90

All but three of the teams on the plus side of the ledger took their league's pennant. The exceptions: the 1950 Red Sox (on this list twice) finished third, and both the 1936 Senators and the 1928 Pirates ended up in fourth place, Here's how those teams did against the two worst teams in the league compared to everyone else:

              -- Two Worst --    -- All Else ---
Year Team      W   L   RS  RA     W   L   RS  RA
1950 BOS A    38   6  406 199    56  54  621 605
1936 WAS A    35   9  338 179    47  62  551 620
1928 PIT N    34   9  340 189    51  58  497 515

None of the teams on the wrong side of the list above finished better than seventh.

But we digress.

Back to the issue at hand, here's the (much shorter) list of teams with larger run differentials than another team's runs scored since 1907:

 78 1929- 6- 1 PHI A  39  30   9 270 144 126   BOS A  39  11  28 124 241
 60 2003- 5- 4 NY  A  31  23   8 188 110  78   DET A  29   4  25  74 151
 60 2016- 5- 7 CHI N  29  23   6 180  79 101   PHI N  31  17  14  98 126
 70 2016- 5-14 CHI N  35  27   8 213 103 110   ATL N  35   9  26 107 169

The 1929 Athletics clobbered the Red Sox in their first ten meetings that year, going 8-2 while outscoring Boston 87-28. Included in that record were wins by scores of 24-6 (a game which featured the first five-hit games in the careers of Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons) and 16-2. The 2016 Cubs and Atlanta were the only other pair of teams to play each other during the stretches above, splitting two games.

Obviously, these lists contain a lot of very good teams on the left side and a lot of bad teams on the right. But that got me to wondering: what was the largest positive run differential for a team that was worse than the one it beat up on. Here is the list if by "worse" we mean a winning percentage at least 100 points lower:

             Season          Season    Team vs Team  
Year Team     W   L  Team     W   L   W  L  RS  RA DIF
1969 HOU N ( 81- 81) NY  N (100- 62) 10  2  78  36  42
1955 WAS A ( 53-101) CLE A ( 93- 61) 13  9 119  83  36
1933 BOS A ( 63- 86) PHI A ( 79- 72) 14  8 161 126  35
1985 SEA A ( 74- 88) KC  A ( 91- 71) 10  3  65  31  34
2001 COL N ( 73- 89) STL N ( 93- 69)  6  3  64  33  31
1894 CHI N ( 57- 75) PHI N ( 71- 57)  7  5 144 114  30
1999 BAL A ( 78- 84) ATL N (103- 59)  3  0  33   3  30
1923 CLE A ( 82- 71) NY  A ( 98- 54) 12 10 129 102  27
1927 BOS A ( 51-103) CLE A ( 66- 87) 15  7 122  95  27
1970 CHI N ( 84- 78) CIN N (102- 60)  7  5  75  48  27

Mets fans of a certain age will no doubt remember the double-header loss to the Astros on July, 30, 1969. It featured an eleven-run ninth inning in the opener (including two grand-slam home runs), and a ten-run third inning in the night-cap. That second game was also notable for the long walk out to left field taken by Gil Hodges to remove Cleon Jones from the game.

And while it's hard to make this list in just three games, the 1999 Orioles did it by sweeping the Braves in a three-game interleague series in June that culminated in a 22-1 rout highlighted by a combined ten straight hits (seven of them for extra-bases) by Will Clark and Cal Ripken.

It didn't quite make the list, but this entry caught my eye:

             Season          Season    Team vs Team  
Year Team     W   L  Team     W   L   W  L  RS  RA DIF
1924 STL N ( 65- 89) BRO N ( 92- 62)  7 15 127 107  20

The way to lose more than two-thirds of your games while outscoring your opponent by twenty runs is to win big (but not often) and that's what the Cardinals did against the Dodgers that year. Their average score was 10.3 to 2.6 in their seven wins and 5.9 to 3.7 in the fifteen losses. Most of the damage was done in three games: routs of 12-0 on July 14th, 17-0 on August 24th, and 17-3 on September 16th. The last game was made famous by Jim Bottomley's six hits and twelve RBIs.

Finally, I thought it might be interesting to look at the largest run differential (good positive and negative) over a couple of arbitrary ranges. Let's start with ten games. First, the positive run differentials:

                       Good                                                        Not Good 
Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE          Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE
CHI N 1876- 7-11     10   0   0 165  37  128 16.5- 3.7        ECK n 1872- 5- 9      0  10   0  49 228 -179  4.9-22.8
BOS n 1875- 4-26     10   0   0 145  25  120 14.5- 2.5        WAS n 1875- 4-29      0  10   0  28 179 -151  2.8-17.9
BOS n 1872- 6-12     10   0   0 163  50  113 16.3- 5.0        BAL n 1874- 5- 1      0  10   0  44 172 -128  4.4-17.2
BOS n 1874- 5- 2     10   0   0 152  45  107 15.2- 4.5        KEK n 1871- 6-21      1   9   0  52 176 -124  5.2-17.6
ATH n 1875- 6- 5      9   1   0 139  33  106 13.9- 3.3        PHI a 1890- 9-20(1)   0  10   0  32 144 -112  3.2-14.4
ATH n 1872- 5- 1      8   1   1 180  74  106 18.0- 7.4

The date is the start of the stretch. And again, overlapping stretches have been removed from the lists.

The 1871 Ft. Wayne Kekiongas have the distinction of winning the first game in National Association history (appropriately, the 1875 Red Stockings won the last), but their 2-0 win that day was not typical of their season. They started the year winning four or five and finished with two straight victories, but in between suffered a rash of one-side defeats, including ones by scores of 21-0 13-0 20-3 32-12 30-9 and 26-7.

For the 1872 Brooklyn Eckfords, the stretch above ended with their first National Association victory a 10-1 trouncing of the (tied for) second-place Baltimore Canaries (back then, a team's position in the standings was determined by games won, not winning percentage). The losing Baltimore pitcher that day, Bobby Mathews had pitched every inning the year before for the Kekiongas and would finish his career in 1887 with 297 wins.

All the teams on the lists above are from 1871 to 1876, when high scores (and blowouts) were common. Here are the average scores of games, as well as the percentage of games decided by ten or more runs (B-O% stands for blow-out percentage) in each five-year period from 1871 to 2015:

  Years     SCORE   B-O%       Years     SCORE   B-O%       Years     SCORE   B-O%
1871-1875 11.3- 4.7 23.0     1921-1925  6.6- 3.1  4.5     1971-1975  5.6- 2.4  2.6
1876-1880  7.5- 3.0  9.6     1926-1930  6.7- 3.2  4.4     1976-1980  5.8- 2.7  2.6
1881-1885  7.6- 3.2  9.1     1931-1935  6.6- 3.0  4.8     1981-1985  5.9- 2.7  2.3
1886-1890  7.9- 3.6  9.2     1936-1940  6.7- 3.1  4.9     1986-1990  6.0- 2.7  3.0
1891-1895  8.4- 4.0  9.0     1941-1945  5.8- 2.5  3.1     1991-1995  6.2- 2.9  3.3
1896-1900  7.5- 3.4  7.2     1946-1950  6.2- 2.8  3.5     1996-2000  6.7- 3.2  4.2
1901-1905  6.0- 2.5  4.4     1951-1955  6.1- 2.7  3.6     2001-2005  6.5- 2.9  3.6
1906-1910  5.1- 2.0  2.6     1956-1960  6.0- 2.7  3.0     2006-2010  6.4- 2.9  3.6
1911-1915  5.7- 2.5  2.6     1961-1965  5.8- 2.6  2.3     2011-2015  5.9- 2.6  2.9
1916-1920  5.3- 2.3  1.9     1966-1970  5.5- 2.4  2.4     

If we eliminate the National Association from these and the lists below, this is what we get for ten-game stretches:

                       Good                                                        Not Good 
Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE          Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE
CHI N 1876- 7-11     10   0   0 165  37  128 16.5- 3.7        PHI a 1890- 9-20(1)   0  10   0  32 144 -112  3.2-14.4
STL U 1884- 4-24     10   0   0 126  25  101 12.6- 2.5        KC  U 1884- 7- 4(2)   0  10   0  41 146 -105  4.1-14.6
BOS N 1879- 8-15     10   0   0 117  21   96 11.7- 2.1        CIN N 1876- 7-22      0  10   0  20 124 -104  2.0-12.4
PHI N 1894- 8-15     10   0   0 138  43   95 13.8- 4.3        PIT N 1890- 7- 8      1   9   0  41 139  -98  4.1-13.9
STL a 1886- 7-31     10   0   0 119  29   90 11.9- 2.9        PHI a 1890- 9-30      0  10   0  23 120  -97  2.3-12.0
BAL N 1894- 9- 3(1)  10   0   0 124  34   90 12.4- 3.4        NY  a 1887- 8-25      0  10   0  55 150  -95  5.5-15.0
CHI N 1883- 8-22     10   0   0 123  34   89 12.3- 3.4        PIT N 1890- 8-15      0  10   0  24 118  -94  2.4-11.8
BOS N 1883- 6- 6      9   1   0 133  46   87 13.3- 4.6        LOU N 1894- 8-15      0   9   1  46 140  -94  4.6-14.0

The 1876 Chicago White Stockings and Cincinnati Red Stockings played each other six times during their overlapping streaks above, Chicago winning all of them by a combined score of 73-11. In 1879, Boston played only Troy or Syracuse from July 26th to August 30th, going 20-4 against the leagues two worst teams.

The run by the 1883 White Stockings was part of an eleven-game winning streak that ended when they went into Boston and were swept in a crucial four-game series that helped decide the pennant race. Boston's run that year included winning two of three from Chicago, but they owed their spot on the list above primarily to 13-2, 30-8 and 20-9 wins over Detroit and 12-1 and 29-4 victories over Philadelphia.

The second entries on both lists hail from the Union Association. One of the weird things about that league's schedule was two teams tended to play each other several games in a row. For example, the first eight games of the St. Louis Maroons' stretch above were played against Altoona, a team that disbanded at the end of May. They were replaced by Kansas City, whose streak above was part of a 4-48 run.

The 1894 Phillies and Louisville Colonels started their entries above with the last three games of their series in Philadelphia. It's perhaps not too surprising that the games were not particularly close, with the home team taking them all by a combined score of 60-11. The other entry from that year was part of an eighteen-game winning streak and a month-long 24-1 hot spell for the pennant-winning Orioles.

Despite the fact that overlapping stretches have been eliminated, both the 1890 Philadelphia Athletics and Pittsburgh Alleghenys make two appearances on the "Not Good" side of the ledger. (I did extend the list past the first five places to include the second Allegheny entry.) For the Athletics, the streaks were back-to-back, coming after the owners disbanded the team and the league decided to finish the season with a thrown together band of largely amateur and semi-pro players. The result was a season-ending 22-game losing streak, one that left a team that was in first place by six games on July 4th (with a 40-20 record) ahead of only the defunct Brooklyn Gladiators by the end.

The Alleghenys, on the other hand, were horrible all season long. Both of their entries above came entirely on the road, where they went 2-58 from July onward. They had five losing streaks of at least ten games, including one of 23 games. Here are the losing streaks longer than twenty games from 1871-2015:

 #  Team     Start          End
31  BRO n  1875- 5-29     1875-10- 9
26  LOU a  1889- 5-22     1889- 6-22(2)
24  CLE N  1899- 8-26     1899- 9-16
23  PIT N  1890- 8-12     1890- 9- 2
23  PHI N  1961- 7-29     1961- 8-20(1)
22  PHI a  1890- 9-16     1890-10-12
21  BAL A  1988- 4- 4     1988- 4-28

Here are the best and worst ten-game stretches only looking at those games played since 1901:

                       Good                                                        Not Good 
Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE          Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE
NY  A 1939- 8-20(2)  10   0   0 109  25   84 10.9- 2.5        CIN N 1901- 6-16      1   9   0  20  92  -72  2.0- 9.2
PIT N 1911- 7-22     10   0   0  91  16   75  9.1- 1.6        PHI A 1936- 6-24(2)   0  10   0  29  98  -69  2.9- 9.8
NY  A 1938- 6-25      9   0   1  92  22   70  9.2- 2.2        PHI A 1954- 7-10      0  10   0  15  83  -68  1.5- 8.3
PIT N 1901- 8-31(2)  10   0   0  98  30   68  9.8- 3.0        ATL N 2015- 8-28      0  10   0  24  92  -68  2.4- 9.2
PIT N 1922- 7-30     10   0   0 103  36   67 10.3- 3.6        BOS N 1911- 5-30(2)   2   8   0  36 103  -67  3.6-10.3
NY  A 1937- 7- 3      9   0   1  95  28   67  9.5- 2.8        MIN A 1993- 4-21      1   9   0  32  99  -67  3.2- 9.9
WAS A 1933- 6-17      9   1   0  89  24   65  8.9- 2.4        PHI A 1921- 9- 9      0  10   0  37 103  -66  3.7-10.3
CAL A 1979- 4-11     10   0   0  88  23   65  8.8- 2.3        STL A 1936- 4-29      0  10   0  43 109  -66  4.3-10.9
NY  A 1998- 8- 3      9   1   0  90  25   65  9.0- 2.5        ATL N 1977- 4-24      0  10   0  31  96  -65  3.1- 9.6

Only two franchises occupy the top six "Good" slots and, for the Yankees, they appear in three consecutive years. The Detroit Tigers had three ten-game stretches with run differentials greater than sixty in 1934 (63 runs, starting on August 1st), 1935 (64 runs, starting on July 30th) and 1936 (61 runs, starting on June 25th). And the 1937 Yankees had another as well (62 runs, starting on May 21st).

The 1901 Pirates hot stretch includes a six-game sweep of the Giants in which Pittsburgh scored ten or more runs in all six games and fifteen in three straight. Here are the teams that hit double-digit runs totals in five or more consecutive games since 1900:

  #  Team       Start           End
  6  PIT N   1901- 9- 4(1)  1901- 9- 6(2)
  5  CLE A   1925- 7-23     1925- 7-29
  5  PIT N   1925- 8-28     1925- 9- 1
  6  NY  N   1929- 6-19(1)  1929- 6-22(2)
  5  CHI N   1930- 6- 1     1930- 6- 6
  5  NY  A   1930- 6-12     1930- 6-17
  5  ATL N   2006- 7-14     2006- 7-18

Both the 1925 Pirates and 1929 Giants had their offensive explosions against a single team, the Phillies, and at a single park, Philadelphia's Baker Bowl. And the day after Pittsburgh left town in 1925, the Phillies gave up 24 runs in the second game of their double-header with the Giants, highlighted by Irish Meusel's nine RBIs.

The all-time record is eleven straight games scoring ten or more runs, set from June 19th to July 30 by the 1873 Philadelphia White Stockings. And the post-National Association mark is seven, held by three teams:

Team       Start           End
CLE N   1894- 7- 7     1894- 7-14
BOS N   1894- 8- 4     1894- 8-11
WAS N   1896- 6- 4     1896- 6-12

To give you some idea of the level of offense in the National League in 1894, Boston also had two streaks of six straight double-digit games earlier that season (and another of five straight), lost two of the seven games in the entry above, and the average score of their games that year was 9.2-7.5. Their best pitcher, Kid Nichols went 32-13 while giving up 308 runs in 407 innings.

Without (much) further ado, here are the best and worst twenty and thirty game stretches. First twenty games:

                       Good                                                        Not Good 
Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE          Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE
BOS n 1875- 4-19     20   0   0 258  59  199 12.9- 3.0        PHI a 1890- 9-20(1)   0  20   0  55 264 -209  2.8-13.2
BOS n 1872- 4-30     19   1   0 254  62  192 12.7- 3.1        ECK n 1872- 5- 7      2  18   0 106 313 -207  5.3-15.6
CHI N 1876- 6-24     16   4   0 266  87  179 13.3- 4.3        WAS n 1875- 4-29      4  16   0  85 273 -188  4.2-13.6
ATH n 1875- 5-18     17   2   1 241  73  168 12.1- 3.7        RES n 1873- 5-26      2  18   0  87 262 -175  4.3-13.1
STL U 1884- 4-20     20   0   0 234  67  167 11.7- 3.3        ATL n 1875- 6- 3      0  20   0  50 220 -170  2.5-11.0
BOS N 1879- 7-30     18   2   0 194  48  146  9.7- 2.4        PIT N 1890- 7- 8      2  18   0  83 249 -166  4.2-12.4
BOS n 1873- 9-10     18   1   1 284 141  143 14.2- 7.1        ATL n 1873- 8-28      3  16   1  92 255 -163  4.6-12.8
BOS N 1897- 5-31     19   1   0 215  74  141 10.8- 3.7        BAL n 1874- 4-22      4  16   0  92 252 -160  4.6-12.6
BOS n 1874- 5- 2     18   2   0 225  91  134 11.2- 4.6        CIN N 1876- 7-22      1  19   0  47 204 -157  2.3-10.2
BAL N 1894- 8-30     19   1   0 202  69  133 10.1- 3.5        KC  U 1884- 7- 4(2)   1  18   1  76 231 -155  3.8-11.6

And now thirty:

                       Good                                                        Not Good 
Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE          Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE
BOS n 1872- 4-30     27   3   0 379 135  244 12.6- 4.5        ATL n 1875- 6- 3      0  30   0  94 342 -248  3.1-11.4
CHI N 1876- 6-29     23   7   0 353 112  241 11.8- 3.7        PHI a 1890- 9- 3      2  28   0  90 337 -247  3.0-11.2
BOS n 1875- 4-29     27   2   1 340 101  239 11.3- 3.4        PIT N 1890- 7- 4(2)   2  28   0 141 367 -226  4.7-12.2
BOS n 1873- 7-16     25   4   1 438 234  204 14.6- 7.8        WAS n 1873- 4-18      4  26   0 168 386 -218  5.6-12.9
STL U 1884- 4-20     27   3   0 304 100  204 10.1- 3.3        ATL n 1872- 5- 2      6  24   0 184 386 -202  6.1-12.9
ATH n 1875- 5-18     23   5   2 331 128  203 11.0- 4.3        CIN N 1876- 6- 3      2  28   0 111 313 -202  3.7-10.4
BOS N 1879- 7-28     26   4   0 280  77  203  9.3- 2.6        CLE N 1899- 9- 5(1)   1  29   0  83 285 -202  2.8- 9.5
BOS N 1897- 5-19     27   3   0 298 116  182  9.9- 3.9        KC  U 1884- 6-15      3  26   1 116 315 -199  3.9-10.5
ATH n 1872- 5- 1     22   7   1 402 226  176 13.4- 7.5        BAL n 1874- 4-22      6  24   0 161 350 -189  5.4-11.7
BAL N 1894- 8-11     25   5   0 290 119  171  9.7- 4.0        PIT N 1890- 8-13      1  29   0  91 276 -185  3.0- 9.2

We've seen most of these teams, both good and not so good, before. In case you had any doubts about Boston's domination over their National Association opponents, each of their teams from 1872 to 1875 show up on the "Good" lists at least once. And while usually an appearance on the "Not Good" side does not bode well for a franchise's survival (for example, the 1872 Brooklyn Eckfords, 1873 Elizabeth Resolutes, 1874 Baltimore Canaries, 1875 Washington Nationals and the 1899 Cleveland Spiders would be done following the seasons represented above), the Brooklyn Atlantics would stick around long enough to register a historically awful stretch in three different years.

And in case you were wondering, the Pittsburgh Alleghenys played two games between their thirty-game entries above, beating the Chicago Colts 6-4 on August 11th (which ended a ten-game losing streak) before losing to them 13-12 in 12 innings the next day (which started the 23-game losing streak mentioned above).

The same lists since 1900, starting with twenty games:

                       Good                                                        Not Good 
Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE          Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE
NY  A 1939- 8-11     17   3   0 197  68  129  9.9- 3.4        PHI A 1939- 8- 6(1)   4  16   0  71 172 -101  3.5- 8.6
NY  N 1904- 6-17     19   1   0 150  45  105  7.5- 2.2        ATL N 2015- 8-17      1  19   0  52 153 -101  2.6- 7.7
WAS A 1933- 6- 8(2)  17   3   0 169  64  105  8.4- 3.2        BOS N 1935- 6-30(2)   1  19   0  73 172  -99  3.7- 8.6
NY  A 1938- 6-25     17   2   1 178  75  103  8.9- 3.8        NY  A 1912- 6-15      2  18   0  61 157  -96  3.0- 7.8
PIT N 1911- 7-20(2)  18   2   0 149  50   99  7.4- 2.5        CIN N 1901- 6- 4      3  15   2  67 162  -95  3.3- 8.1
ANA A 2002- 4-23     17   3   0 151  55   96  7.6- 2.8        BOS N 1940- 7-14(1)   2  18   0  70 165  -95  3.5- 8.2
PIT N 1901- 9- 3     17   3   0 160  65   95  8.0- 3.2        DET A 1996- 5-14      1  19   0  68 162  -94  3.4- 8.1
NY  A 1930- 6-12     16   4   0 201 107   94 10.1- 5.3        BOS N 1911- 7-18      2  18   0  55 147  -92  2.8- 7.3
PIT N 1902- 4-26     18   2   0 145  54   91  7.2- 2.7        SEA A 1977- 8- 9      4  16   0  57 149  -92  2.8- 7.4
NY  A 1953- 7-29     15   5   0 140  49   91  7.0- 2.5        STL A 1935- 6-23(2)   4  16   0  76 167  -91  3.8- 8.4
OAK A 2000- 9-10     16   4   0 154  63   91  7.7- 3.2        

And the thirty:

                       Good                                                        Not Good 
Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE          Team     Date    G    W   L   T  RS  RA  DIF   SCORE
NY  A 1939- 8- 3     22   8   0 261 122  139  8.7- 4.1        DET A 1996- 5- 3      3  27   0 102 233 -131  3.4- 7.8
NY  N 1904- 6- 6     25   5   0 191  65  126  6.4- 2.2        PHI A 1936- 6-24(1)   5  25   0 120 249 -129  4.0- 8.3
NY  A 1939- 5- 2     26   4   0 238 113  125  7.9- 3.8        ATL N 2015- 8-17      4  26   0  85 205 -120  2.8- 6.8
NY  A 1938- 8- 4     24   6   0 241 120  121  8.0- 4.0        BOS N 1924- 8-21(2)   5  25   0  68 187 -119  2.3- 6.2
PIT N 1901- 8-31(2)  26   4   0 228 108  120  7.6- 3.6        NY  A 1912- 6-19      5  25   0  95 213 -118  3.2- 7.1
NY  A 1931- 8-30     22   7   1 217  97  120  7.2- 3.2        COL N 1993- 5- 6      6  24   0 110 228 -118  3.7- 7.6
NY  A 1938- 6-25     24   5   1 236 117  119  7.9- 3.9        PHI A 1939- 7-29      6  24   0 118 234 -116  3.9- 7.8
PIT N 1902- 4-19     25   5   0 202  85  117  6.7- 2.8        PHI A 1915- 9- 3      4  25   1 106 220 -114  3.5- 7.3
PIT N 1911- 7-20(1)  24   6   0 204  87  117  6.8- 2.9        PHI A 1921- 8-13(1)   6  24   0 127 241 -114  4.2- 8.0
PIT N 1928- 8- 2     22   8   0 239 122  117  8.0- 4.1        BRO N 1944- 6-28(1)   3  27   0 102 216 -114  3.4- 7.2

We mentioned earlier how the Yankees and Pirates dominated the list of best ten-game stretches, but it is even more pronounced on the thirty-game list. And four of the top seven were produced by the Yankees in one 222-game stretch between June 25, 1938 and September 1, 1939. One unusual thing about their top entry was their relatively mediocre 22-8 record, a span that even included a three-game losing streak.

Well I could go on and on, but I suspect this is more than enough for now.

Fun with a Team's OPS

Cy Morong recently posted a blog showing instances where a team lost a game despite having a much greater OPS than their victorious opponent. So you should probably read his post here before going much further into this one.

And before I start, I would like to say that the data in this article covers all the games played from 1912 to 2015 (this will save me from adding "since 1912" to all the tables and lists below).

Just so it's handy, here's an expanded table showing the largest positive disparity between a losing and winning team's OPS:

 DIFF    Date       Team  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR BB ER   OPS   Team  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR BB ER   OPS
 .659 2015- 9-30    ANA A 37  7 13  1  0  5  6  4 1.226   OAK A 35  8  6  1  1  0  7  2  .567
 .643 1998- 5-10    OAK A 37  3 12  4  0  0  7  5  .877   CHI A 33  4  3  0  0  0  2  1  .234
 .583 1999- 4-19    MON N 43 10 20  6  1  3  2  4 1.360   COL N 37 11 11  1  0  1  5  0  .777
 .573 1918- 6-18    PIT N 30  0  9  2  0  0  3  1  .730   PHI N 25  1  1  1  0  0  1  1  .157
 .526 1930- 8-11    BRO N 30  6 11  4  0  2  5  3 1.157   STL N 36  7  9  2  1  0  1  0  .631
 .523 1917- 5- 6    PIT N 34  2 11  2  0  0  7  3  .821   CHI N 25  3  2  1  0  0  3  4  .299
 .522 1979- 4-30    KC  A 37  7 13  3  3  2  5  3 1.175   TEX A 29  8  7  2  0  0  5  0  .653
 .505 2005- 8-31    MIN A 33  0 13  2  0  0  2  1  .899   KC  A 30  1  5  1  0  0  1  1  .394
 .492 1950- 8-11(2) DET A 33  1 13  0  0  1  4  1  .944   STL A 27  2  5  0  0  0  3  1  .452
 .491 1989- 8-15    TEX A 39  0 13  1  0  0  2  1  .725   SEA A 25  2  1  0  0  0  5  0  .234

Hopefully, all of the abbreviations are obvious (ER = errors). Even though hit-by-pitch and sacrifice flies are part of the OPS calculations, I didn't show them to save space.

A few random observations on the games above.

The Dodgers probably would have won their 1930 game had it not been for the baserunning of Babe Herman, who helped turn a one-out bases-loaded single in the top of the first into an inning-ending double-play. He had second thoughts about attempting to score from second on the hit, returning to third only to find it occupied by the trailing runner. Instead of conceding one out, both runners left third (in opposite directions) and were tagged out. It wasn't quite the famous "three Dodgers on third" situation he caused four years earlier, but it was close.

Charlie Hough pitched two complete-game one-hitters during his career and lost them both. The 1989 Texas game was the second. One run scored after a balk and wild pitch, while the other scored on an error. In his other loss, he had a no-hitter with one out in the bottom of the ninth and no one on when George Wright, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement, turned what should have been out number two into a three-base error. A single broke up the no-hitter and tied the score before a passed ball, strike out, intentional walk and another passed ball (this one on the third strike out of the inning) brought around the deciding run.

Apart from the fact that the losing teams above made more errors (26-10) than the victors, it would seem that a poorer performance with runners in scoring position had a lot to do with dooming the better-hitting teams in these games. To test this rather obvious theory, I looked at all the games in which the losing team outperformed the winning by 400 or more OPS points (.400 to you and me) and computed their statistics both with and without runners in scoring position:

        ---------- No RISP -----------    ------------- RISP -----------
          AB   H  2B  3B  HR  BB   OPS      AB   H  2B  3B  HR  BB   OPS
Losers  1826 685 131  20  86 157 1.038     677 139  27   7  12  99  .626
Winners 1752 249  34   6  12 146  .400     483 148  17   2   6  98  .794

I did say that this was pretty obvious and so it is.

Another thing we can see from the list above is that all these games were close. Only one of them was not a one-run loss and that was decided by two runs. So I figured I'd look at the biggest differences among teams that lost by one, two (okay, those are already in the chart above), three, four and so on. Here's what I found:

SD  DIFF    Date       Team  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR BB ER   OPS   Team  AB  R  H 2B 3B HR BB ER   OPS
 1  .659 2015- 9-30    ANA A 37  7 13  1  0  5  6  4 1.226   OAK A 35  8  6  1  1  0  7  2  .567
 2  .491 1989- 8-15    TEX A 39  0 13  1  0  0  2  1  .725   SEA A 25  2  1  0  0  0  5  0  .234
 3  .395 1980- 7- 1    LA  N 33  1 10  1  0  1  7  2  .849   SD  N 31  4  4  0  0  1  4  0  .454
 4  .391 1960- 9- 5(1) LA  N 41  8 15  4  0  4  4  4 1.178   SF  N 40 12 11  2  0  1  6  0  .788
 5  .405 1944- 7- 4(2) NY  A 38  2 12  1  1  2  1  2  .886   CLE A 34  7  5  2  1  0  3  0  .481
 6  .287 1961- 5-22    BAL A 32  2  9  5  0  0  4  2  .789   NY  A 30  8  5  0  0  1  3  2  .502
 7  .275 1913- 7-12    DET A 35  9 14  1  2  0 16  7 1.131   PHI A 45 16 15  2  1  0  7  0  .856
 8  .193 1979- 7-21    BOS A 34  5 13  5  0  1  4  2 1.065   SEA A 41 13 16  3  0  0  1  0  .873
 9  .102 1934- 5-22    PHI N 30  4  9  3  1  2  0  2  .967   PIT N 33 13 10  2  0  1  5  0  .865
10  .019 1937- 8-12    CHI N 37  6 12  3  0  1  6  6  .905   PIT N 44 16 15  2  0  1  7  0  .886
11  .146 1951- 8-18    DET A 38  9 12  4  0  5  6  5 1.225   STL A 42 20 18  1  0  1 11  1 1.079

No team in our study has ever lost by a dozen runs or more with a higher OPS than the winning team.

Detroit's OPS in their 1913 loss was aided by sixteen walks, with an AL-record fifteen issued by Boardwalk Brown. His mark was broken by Bruno Hass in 1915 (in his major league debut), and Tommy Byrne in 1951 (although Byrne had "only" eleven walks at the end of nine innings). Brown's performance was not typical for him; his second highest walk total that year was five.

The St. Louis Browns' margin of victory in their 1951 win came courtesy of an 11-run seventh inning. Hank Borowy, coming close to the end of his major league career, entered with two on and one out and proceded to allow five straight hits followed by four consecutive walks (the last three with the bases loaded). All nine of the batters he faced came around to score, making him the only pitcher since at least 1912 to allow as many as nine runs without recording an out. Pitchers over that span have been charged with eight runs without retiring a batter on seven occasions and one pitcher, the Reds Paul Wilson appears twice on that list, having done it in 2003 and 2005, both times as a starter.

Next, I thought we could move away from who won or lost the game and simply look at the teams with the highest and lowest OPS for each number of runs scored. Once I started looking into this, I realized that many of the high OPS/low run scored games ended early while many low OPS/high runs scored games went long into extra-innings. So I restricted my study to games of regulation length and here's part one of the list:

       ----------------- Highest -----------------    ----------------- Lowest ------------------
RUNS      Date       Team  AB  H 2B 3B HR BB   OPS       Date       Team  AB  H 2B 3B HR BB   OPS
   0   2005- 8-31    MIN A 33 13  2  0  0  2  .899    1976- 8- 9    LA  N 29  0  0  0  0  1  .033 *
   1   1922- 7-21    BOS N 31 14  0  0  0  6  .992    2011- 7-27    CLE A 28  0  0  0  0  1  .034
   2   1983- 5-25    TOR A 34 10  1  2  2  6 1.018    2000- 5-21    CHI A 28  1  0  0  0  2  .132
   3   1929- 5- 6    NY  N 31 11  2  0  3  4 1.154    1917- 9-11    BOS A 32  2  0  0  0  2  .180
   4   1975- 8-16    KC  A 31 12  1  4  1  3 1.203    1990- 7- 1    CHI A 26  0  0  0  0  5  .161
   5   2001- 6-19    BAL A 29 11  0  0  5  2 1.334    1949- 6- 6    PHI A 31  3  0  0  0  4  .297
   6   1972- 6-11(1) CHI A 32 12  1  0  5  5 1.334    1985- 5-17    NY  A 33  3  0  0  0  5  .301
   7   2000- 5-17    CLE A 36 16  4  1  4  3 1.432    1914- 6-20    NY  N 29  2  1  0  0  4  .285

* - obviously this is incorrect. Any team victimized by a perfect game (or a near-perfecto marred by a error, passed ball or wild pitch) would have an OPS of .000. So instead, the game that appears here is the one in our data closest (but not equal) to zero. In this case, two back-to-back Pittsburgh errors following a walk in the third inning of this 1976 game forced John Candelaria to get two additional outs, lowering the Dodgers' OPS ever so slightly below a group of other near-perfect games.

The games on the "Highest" side of these lists, especially in the lower scoring games are marked by a mixture of solo home runs (18 of the 20 homers hit in the games above came with the bases empty) and often feature some bad base-running. Since regulation games require teams to record either 24 or 27 offensive outs, the fewer hitless at-bats required to do that, the higher a team's OPS can be. In the 1922 Braves game, for example, the team recorded 27 offensive outs in only 17 hitless at-bats. They did this by sacrificing three times, hitting into one double-play, and having six runners thrown out on the bases. One of the headlines in the Boston Globe the next day was "Dumb Base Running Kills Off Braves' Chances".

And the teams on the "Lowest" side are usually given the benefit of some poor defense by their opponents. Of the 28 runs scored in the eight games listed on the right side of the table above, only four were earned. The 1914 Giants only needed two hits and four walks to score seven times in their game because of seven errors committed by the Reds, including four in the five-run/no-hit first inning alone.

In addition to Candelaria's gem, the list above includes Ervin Santana's one-run/one-walk no-hitter in 2011, Andy Hawkins' four-run eight-inning no-hitter in 1990, and Walter Johnson's 1917 game in which he outhit the Red Sox 3-2 all by himself.

And part two:

       ----------------- Highest -----------------    ----------------- Lowest ------------------
RUNS      Date       Team  AB  H 2B 3B HR BB   OPS       Date       Team  AB  H 2B 3B HR BB   OPS
   8   2009- 5-20    BOS A 36 15  4  1  5  4 1.475    1935- 9- 8(1) BRO N 38  7  2  0  0  3  .481
   9   1927- 4-14    PHI N 34 16  6  0  3  7 1.483    1914- 9-23    NY  A 37  9  0  0  0  2  .525
  10   1956- 5- 2    CIN N 33 13  2  1  5  4 1.429    1936- 9-17    CIN N 37  8  1  0  0  4  .536
  11   1997- 4-25    CLE A 37 14  4  0  8  7 1.612    1925- 5-17    STL A 28  4  2  0  0  8  .566
  12   1947- 8-16    PIT N 34 16  2  0  7  8 1.728    2012- 9- 7    CHI N 44 12  2  0  0  4  .652
  13   1996- 4-16    DET A 38 18  4  0  5  9 1.548    1915- 9-22    DET A 38 10  0  1  0 11  .744
  14   1925- 5- 5    DET A 37 17  8  1  4 10 1.629    1987- 7- 3    CHI A 39 11  2  0  0  7  .716
  15   1922- 4-29    NY  N 39 20  3  3  4  4 1.609    1945- 6- 6(1) BOS N 45 15  2  1  0  5  .822
 16+   1950- 6- 8    BOS A 53 28  9  1  7 11 1.741    1927- 5- 7    WAS A 34  9  2  0  0 10  .768 

The runs scored by the teams on the >15 line were 29 for Boston and 16 for Washington.

The 1927 Phillies game is notable because of the hitting of pitcher Jack Scott who went 4-4 with a double and homer in his first appearance for his new team following an off-season trade. In his previous outing (which closed out his 1926 season with the Giants) Scott had also gone 4-4 with a double and a homer, giving him eight consecutive hits, good for nine RBIs. And in the start before that, he had hit two singles and a triple.

Ty Cobb (1925 Tigers), Ralph Kiner (1947 Pirates) and Matt Williams (1997 Indians) hit three home runs in their games above, but what is most notable is that each of those were part of a record-tying five homers in two consecutive games. And Kiner would do it again less than a month later. By the late 1990s, such a feat was almost commonplace (it occurred eleven times from 1995 to 2004), but Cobb was only the second major league player to do it (and the first, Cap Anson, probably deserves an asterick because he did it at Lake Front Park, a notoriously easy park for home runs during 1884), while Ralph Kiner was both the fourth and fifth.

The 1950 Red Sox outburst was the highest scoring game since the Chicago Colts set a post-National Association record by scoring 36 runs on June 29, 1897, and while Boston's total was tied by the Chicago White Sox on April 23, 1955, it would not be topped until the Texas Rangers scored 30 on August 22, 2007. In Boston's game, Bobby Doerr, Walt Dropo and Ted Williams combined for seven home runs and twenty RBIs, while Johnny Pesky and Al Zarilla's combined ten hits included six doubles.

The most runs scored in a game with a team OPS lower than the .899 posted by Minnesota in that 2005 shutout was 17:

RUNS      Date       Team  AB  H 2B 3B HR BB   OPS
  17   1940- 5- 9    NY  N 45 15  2  0  0 10  .861

If we include extra-inning games, two teams scored 18 runs in a game with a lower OPS:

RUNS      Date       Team  AB  H 2B 3B HR BB   OPS
  18   1972- 6- 3    NY  A 59 18  2  0  3 10  .897
  18   1932- 7-10    PHI A 80 25  4  1  3  7  .868

I added the last mini-table mostly as an excuse to link to that 1932 Athletics' game, one that featured a record nine hits off the bat of Johnny Burnett (whose team lost), Jimmie Foxx's six hits (including three homers and a double), and taught Connie Mack to always take at least three pitchers on a road trip, even if it's only going to last a single game. Eddie Rommel, who, depending upon your point of view, was either the recipient or victim of Mack's lack of foresight, set several records for relief pitching that day while picking up the last win of his major league career.

No team in our study scored twenty or more runs in a game with a team OPS less than 1.000. The closest:

RUNS      Date       Team  AB  H 2B 3B HR BB   OPS
  20   1937- 7-24    STL N 46 18  2  1  1  7 1.015

Okay. I'll stop now.