Monday, July 18, 2011

Josh Beckett, Jeff Niemann, Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn

Last night, the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays played a game for the ages as the Red Sox squeaked by the Rays 1-0 in 16 innings. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit an RBI-single in the top of the 16th inning to FINALLY break a scoreless tie in what will be remembered as a masterful pitchers duel.

The game was so well pitched that according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 8 combined hits (Boston - 5, Tampa Bay - 3) is the lowest hit total in any major-league game of 14 or more innings in the live-ball era (that is, a total of 1349 such games since 1920).

Starters Josh Beckett and Jeff Niemann both pitched 8 scoreless innings and both bullpens pitched 8 rock-solid innings of their own.

The 16-inning, 1-0 score reminded me of what is considered by many, including me, the greatest game in major league history-- the iconic 16-inning, 1-0, pitching duel between Hall of Famers Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn on July 2, 1963.

The scores were the same. The number of innings were the same. The only difference is that Marichal and Spahn both pitched complete games where as Boston and Tampa Bay used a combined 15 pitchers in their game. This is an amazing comparison of how the game of baseball as evolved in the last 50 years. It took 15 pitchers last night to do what 2 pitchers did 48 years ago. Amazing! I highly doubt the Marichal-Spahn extravaganza will ever be duplicated again, at least not in my lifetime.

But in the end the results were the same. Here's a look at the pitching box scores for both games:

Getty Images
Red Sox 1 - Tampa Bay 0, 16 innings (July 17, 2011)
 
Boston

IP
H
R
ER
BB
K
HR
WHIP
Season ERA
J. Beckett
8.0
1
0
0
0
6
0
0.89
2.12

D. Bard
1.0
1
0
0
1
1
0
0.82
1.94

M. Albers
1.2
1
0
0
0
2
0
1.24
2.37

F. Morales
1.1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0.96
2.16

A. Aceves (W, 5-1)
3.0
0
0
0
0
2
0
1.17
3.13

J. Papelbon (S, 21)
1.0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1.19
3.96












Tampa Bay

IP
H
R
ER
BB
K
HR
WHIP
Season ERA
J. Niemann
8.0
2
0
0
2
10
0
1.30
3.94

K. Farnsworth
1.0
1
0
0
2
1
0
0.92
1.89

J. Peralta
0.1
0
0
0
1
0
0
1.12
4.07

J.P. Howell
0.2
0
0
0
3
0
0
1.66
7.47

J. McGee
0.1
0
0
0
1
1
0
1.88
4.50

J. Cruz
0.2
0
0
0
0
1
0
1.24
3.44

C. Ramos
1.0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1.24
3.72

B. Gomes
3.0
0
0
0
2
3
0
1.50
2.35

A. Russell (L, 1-2)
1.0
2
1
1
1
0
0
1.56
3.03



Giants 1 - Braves 0, 16 innings (July 2, 1963)

Milwaukee Braves IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA






Warren Spahn, L (11-4) 15.19111212.84









San Francisco Giants IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA






Juan Marichal, W (13-3)16 80041002.14







For the record, the Giants won the game on a Willie Mays solo-home run off of Spahn in the bottom of the 16th inning. It still mind-boggles me every time I read up on that game.

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