Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Angels' Nolan Ryan Ties MLB Record

On April 30, 1974, then California Angels starting pitcher and current Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan strikes out 19 Red Sox to tie the Major League Baseball record for most strike outs in a single game.
Ryan’s record tying feat of 19 strike outs in a single game, was equal to four others accomplishments including in 1884 when two players did it; Providence Grays Charlie Sweeney and Chicago Browns Hugh Daily. In 1969 St. Louis Cardinals Steve Carlton reached 19 in a single game and in 1970 New York Mets Tom Seaver also reached the record.
Nolan Ryan in 1974 after he was clocked throwing a 100.4 MPH pitch.
Since Ryan’s record tying performance two other pitchers have pitched 19 strikeout games including Seattle Mariners Randy Johnson twice, both during the 1997 season. The other was David Cone on the New York Mets in 1991.
But the 19 strikeout record that Ryan tied in 1974 would only last as an MLB record until 1986 when Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens would strike out 20 batters in a single game.
Clemens would again strike out 20 batters in a single game in 1996, again for the Red Sox, becoming the only person to strike out 20 batters, and doing it twice.
However, in 1998 Chicago Cubs Kerry Wood tied the record with 20 strikeouts.
Clemens and Woods hold the MLB record of strikeouts in a nine-inning game, but in September of 1962 Washington Senators starter Tom Cheney struck out 21 batters, but the game went 16 innings, in which Cheney took the mound for every one.
With the current set up of starting pitchers only going six or seven innings and having a pitch count limit them further on top of being relieved by pitchers in the bull pen it is hard to imagine a pitcher being able to get 20 strike outs in a game to tie the record.
However, just this past weekend Detroit Tigers Anibal Sanchez pitched eight innings and struck out 17 batters. He was pulled from the game due to a high pitch count of 121.
It would have been interesting to see if Tigers manager Jim Leyland would have let Sanchez go into the ninth inning if he would have been able to tie the record, or get close to it.