Wednesday, July 26, 2006

plunkless streaks ended by Biggio

Bronson Arroyo comes into tonight's game having pitched 145 innings this season without hitting a single batter. If he breaks that streak tonight, that will be the longest such streak to be broken by a Biggio plunk. To date, the most innings any pitcher has thrown in a season before throwing his first HBP of the year at Biggio was 106.2 by Mark Clark in 1996. Clark had made 15 starts that season and didn't hit anyone before entering the June 28 matchup with the Astros. He is the only pitcher to throw over plunk free 100 innings in a season before making Biggio his first plunk victim. The next most was 93 innings by Tom Browning, broken up on July 27, 1993. In 2001, the Reds' Lance Davis had gotten through 74 innings without hitting a batter before plunking Biggio on August 28th but he didn't start pitching until June that year. Barry Jones threw 73 innings in 62 different games in 1991 before recording his first hit batter of the season on August 30th.
The latest in a season Craig Biggio has been hit by a pitcher who hadn't hit anyone else that season was September 29, 1996, when Andy Larkin hit him. But, that was Larkin's first and only appearance in the '96 season.

If Arroyo makes it through the rest of the season without hitting anyone, he will be the first pitcher since 1918 to go a season without hitting a batter after hitting 14 or more in the prior year. The guy who did it in 1918 only pitched 1 game that year after hitting 16 batters in 1917. No one with 145 or more innings pitched has had a 0 plunk year after a 14+ plunk year since 1891, and the pitching stats from those years are sketchy enough that it may never have happened. The last two pitchers to hit 14 or more batters in one season and hit less than 5 the next year, with as many innings pitched as Arroyo has this year, are Pedro Martinez - who hit 16 in 2004 with the Red Sox and 4 in '05 for the Mets, and Roger Clemens - who hit 14 in 1995 for the Red Sox and 4 in '96, which was his final year in Boston. Arroyo hit 14 for the Red Sox last year.