With 12 strikeouts against the Twins last night, Tim Lincecum has 30 career games with 10 strikeouts or more. If that seems like a lot, it is: it’s the most in baseball since the beginning of 2007. Actually, it’s the most in baseball in that span by a lot; Justin Verlander’s 18 ten strikeout games over the same span are the second most.
For context, look at it this way: Verlander is the only person within 12 games of Lincecum. There are 37 pitchers within 12 games of Verlander (that is, with six 10+ strikeout games). And if you add the playoffs in, Lincecum’s got two more games of 10+ Ks; his masterful 14 strikeout performance against the Braves to open the 2010 playoffs and his dominating 10 K clincher in Game 5 of the World Series against the Rangers.
Lincecum’s making some progress on the all-time list, as well. His 30 10+ K games ties him with Jason Schmidt and Jake Peavy for the 36th most by anyone since 1919. Hideo Nomo (31) and Don Drysdale (32) are probably within reach for him before 2011 ends. He’s a long, long way from the top of the list, though. Nolan Ryan had a whopping 215 games with 10 or more strikeouts in his career and Randy Johnson was right behind him with 212. That duo way outpaces the competition; Roger Clemens is third on the career list with 110 and Pedro Martinez (107) is the only other pitcher over 100.
Lincecum’s current pace is about seven 10+ strikeout games per season. For him to match Ryan’s career total, he’d have to pitch 31 seasons. It’s probably safe to say that that record is out of reach for Lincecum or just about anyone currently in baseball. That’s because Ryan, for example, had 23 games with ten strikeouts or more in 1973 alone. And if you think that’s impressive, remember that Johnson replicated the feat it three seasons in a row, from 1999-2001. Not surprisingly, that’s the record for most 10+ strikeout games in a season since 1919, which is as far as Baseball-Reference’s Play Index goes back.
Also yesterday: Not a whole lot, actually. There were only five games on Thursday, one of them involved the Giants and Twins as discussed above, one involved Michael Pineda and Jim Riggleman, discussed in posts below. Plus, the Cardinals spanked the Phillies, the D’Backs edged out the Royals, and the Mets beat the A’s. Full results here.
Today: Everyone’s back in action after yesterday’s slow day. Zach Duke and Phil Coke face off in a first place showdown between the Tigers and D’Backs while Carlos Carrasco and Jonathan Sanchez of the Indians and Giants face off in the matchup of second place teams. Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals take on the White Sox in John McLaren’s first game as interim skipper. Full schedule here.