MLB Notebook: Verlander working on historic run
Over the course of 27 fall days in 2001, Curt Schilling made six starts for the D-backs, completed three of those starts, hurled a total of 48 1/3 innings, allowed 25 hits and six earned runs (1.12 ERA), walked six, fanned 56 and held the opposition -- the Cardinals, Braves and Yankees -- to a combined .150 batting average and .435 OPS.
In Schilling's first start of that postseason, he threw a three-hit shutout to beat the Cardinals, 1-0. In his third start, Schilling threw a four-hitter to defeat the Braves in Game 3 of the NLCS. While he didn't throw a complete game during the World Series, Schilling did produce back-to-back starts of seven innings pitched and three hits allowed.
Overall, in four of his six starts over three different postseason series, Schilling went at least seven innings and allowed no more than four hits allowed. No pitcher before or since had as many as four starts like that in a single postseason, although a few others have come close.
Four years before Schilling's amazing run, the Orioles' Mike Mussina produced three such starts -- particularly impressive considering Baltimore didn't reach the World Series. And two seasons after Schilling had his four such starts, Florida's Josh Beckett compiled three. Just two years ago, San Francisco's Tim Lincecum joined Mussina and Beckett with three.
The 2012 postseason has produced yet another challenger to Schilling's solitary spot atop the list: the Tigers' Justin Verlander, who on Tuesday came up with his third start of at least seven innings pitched and no more than four hits allowed.
American League Championship Series: Tigers vs. Yankees
Verlander took a shutout into the ninth inning and the Tigers defeated the Yankees, 2-1, to go up 3-0 in the best-of-seven series. Verlander, who finished his day with one run and three hits allowed in 8 1/3 innings, improved to 3-0 in three starts this postseason. With the one run allowed, Verlander's ERA actually went up to 0.74.
Verlander is one of four pitchers in Tigers history to win three games in a single postseason. Mickey Lolich won three in the 1968 World Series, Jack Morris won a start in the 1984 ALCS and followed it up with two victories in that year's World Series, and in 2006, Kenny Rogers won a game in the American League Division Series, another in the ALCS and a third in the World Series.
Tigers pitchers with three wins in a postseason
Overall, Tigers starters have allowed six earned runs in 56 1/3 innings for a 0.96 ERA in eight games this postseason.
Miguel Cabrera doubled in a run and also drew a walk, giving him 19 consecutive postseason games in which he had reached safely.
Cabrera's 19-game streak is the longest in Tigers history, moving him past Hank Greenberg, who reached safely in every postseason game he played from Game 1 of the 1934 World Series through Game 2 of the '45 Fall Classic. In that stretch, Greenberg batted .328 with an on-base percentage of .423 and a slugging percentage of .627.
Cabrera, whose streak is now tied for the 11th longest in postseason history, has a .303/.446/.591 line during his 19-game run. Chase Utley owns the all-time mark with a streak of reaching safely in 27 consecutive playoff games.
Most Consecutive Postseason Games Reaching Safely
|24||Carlos Beltran, Carlos Ruiz|
|23||Lou Gehrig, Lance Berkman|
|22||Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson|
|21||Barry Bonds, Derek Jeter|
|19||Phil Rizzuto, Pete Rose, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera|
The Tigers joined the 1980 Royals as the only teams to win each of their first three games against the Yankees in an ALCS. Those three victories in '80 were enough for Kansas City to complete a sweep and win the pennant. This year's ALCS marks the 15th time the Yankees have played in the series.
Detroit held New York to one run on five hits Tuesday, one game after giving up no runs and four hits. The only other team to hold the Yankees to no more than five hits and no more than one run in back-to-back postseason games was the 2001 D-backs, who did it in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series.
Eduardo Nunez -- whose home run off of Verlander in the ninth ended the right-hander's bid for consecutive shutouts -- became the first Yankees shortstop other than Derek Jeter to homer in a postseason game since Jim Mason hit a solo home run against the Reds' Pat Zachry in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the 1976 World Series. In between Mason and Nunez, Jeter hit 20.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.