Ruane: The greatest incomplete starts in MLB history

From SABR member Tom Ruane at Retrosheet on May 20, 2015:

On May 13, 2015, Corey Kluber pitched a great game (or at least a great 8/9 of a game), allowing one hit and no runs or walks while striking out eighteen over eight shutout innings.

At the time it was reported that he had the highest game score1 for any eight-inning start in at least a hundred years. But until a relatively short time ago, the idea of removing a pitcher throwing as well as Kluber after only eight innings would have been considered crazy (and judging from some of the reactions in comment sections across the web, some still consider it at least partially nuts). To give you an idea of how this has changed over time, here are the number of starting pitchers removed after eight innings with a game score of 80 or more in each five-year period since 1950:

1950-1954    3
1955-1959    2
1960-1964   11
1965-1969   13
1970-1974   10
1975-1979    9
1980-1984   18
1985-1989   45
1990-1994   79
1995-1999  121
2000-2004  153
2005-2009  178
2010-2014  271

Soon, we will look at who had the highest game score over the first eight innings for any starter (well, at least since 1948), but first let’s look just at the pitchers who were removed after the inning in question. Here’s the eight-inning list covering the years 1914-2014 (which most people are already partly familiar with).

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 20, 2015. Last Updated: May 20, 2015.