Friday, October 3, 2014

Three Straight Strikeouts to Open a Postseason Game

The Orioles got off to a great start in last night's ALDS opener against Detroit when Chris Tillman struck out Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera in the top of the first inning.

It was the 21st time in postseason history that a pitcher struck out the first three batters he faced.

Date Series Gm Pitcher Team Opp Batters Result
10/3/1933 WS 1 Carl Hubbell at NYG WAS Buddy Myer, Goose Goslin, Heinie Manush W 4-2
10/11/1943 WS 5 Mort Cooper at STL NYY Frankie Crosetti, Bud Metheny, Billy Johnson (Charlie Keller & Bill Dickey in 2nd) L 2-0
10/3/1957 WS 2 Bobby Shantz at NYY MLN Red Schoendienst, Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews L 4-2
10/2/1963 WS 1 Sandy Koufax LAD at NYY Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Tom Tresh (Mickey Mantle & Roger Maris in 2nd) W 5-2
10/7/1975 NLCS 3 John Candelaria at PIT CIN Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench (Tony Perez in 2nd) L 5-3
10/3/1979 ALCS 1 Nolan Ryan CAL at BAL Al Bumbry, Mark Belanger, Ken Singleton (Eddie Murray in 2nd) L 6-3 (10)
10/11/1981 NLDS 5 Steve Carlton at PHI MON Warren Cromartie, Jerry White, Andre Dawson L 3-0
10/15/1983 WS 4 Storm Davis BAL at PHI Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt W 5-4
10/16/1991 NLCS 6 Steve Avery ATL at PIT Gary Redus, Jay Bell, Andy Van Slyke W 1-0
10/6/1993 NLCS 1 Curt Schilling at PHI ATL Otis Nixon, Jeff Blauser, Ron Gant (Fred McGriff & David Justice in 2nd) W 4-3
10/24/1996 WS 5 John Smoltz at ATL NYY Derek Jeter, Charlie Hayes, Bernie Williams L 1-0
10/11/1997 ALCS 3 Mike Mussina BAL at CLE Bip Roberts, Omar Vizquel, Manny Ramirez L 2-1 (12)
10/8/1998 NLCS 2 Kevin Brown SD at ATL Walt Weiss, Keith Lockhart, Chipper Jones W 3-0
10/23/1999 WS 1 Orlando Hernandez NYY at ATL Gerald Williams, Bret Boone, Chipper Jones W 4-1
10/11/2000 ALCS 2 Orlando Hernandez at NYY SEA Mike Cameron, Stan Javier, Alex Rodriguez W 7-1
10/24/2000 WS 3 Orlando Hernandez NYY at NYM Timo Perez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza L 4-2
10/3/2007 NLDS 1 Jeff Francis COL at PHI Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley (Ryan Howard in 2nd) W 4-2
10/24/2007 WS 1 Josh Beckett at BOS COL Willy Taveras, Kazuo Matsui, Matt Holliday (Todd Helton in 2nd) W 13-1
10/3/2013 NLDS 1 Kris Medlen at ATL LAD Carl Crawford, Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez L 6-1
10/4/2013 ALDS 1 Jon Lester at BOS TB Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers (Evan Longoria in 2nd) W 12-2
10/2/2014 ALDS 1 Chris Tillman at BAL DET Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera W 12-3

El Duque is the only pitcher to do it more than once, and he did it three times. Candelaria, Ryan, Francis, Beckett and Lester also struck out the first batter of the second inning. Cooper, Koufax and Schilling are the three pitchers to whiff the first five of the game.

Tillman's trio looks like one of the better ones on the list. The best is certainly either Davis' Morgan-Rose-Schmidt or Candelaria's Rose-Morgan-Bench (with the Perez bonus).

With strikeout rates skyrocketing every year, expect a few more hurlers to add their name to the list this month.

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