Friday, September 06, 2013

Red Sox P Koji Uehara Has Retired 27 Straight Batters

On a night when San Francisco Giant pitcher Yusmeiro Petit came within one strike of a perfect game, there actually was another pitcher the same evening who retired his 27th straight batter (the conceptual equivalent of a perfect game).

That pitcher is Boston Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara, whose string of getting batters out has accumulated over nine appearances, most recently tonight against the New York Yankees. The following graphic (on which you can click to enlarge) displays the opposing teams, dates, batters, and types of out during Uehara's streak.

What's interesting is that almost exactly a year ago, Uehara, then pitching for the Texas Rangers, retired 25 straight hitters. One criterion for being considered a streaky performer, according to some analysts, is the ability to record hot stretches on repeated occasions. Uehara thus seems able to get "on a roll," "in the zone," "on fire," or any similar term one chooses.

The records for consecutive batters retired by a pitcher are 45 by Mark Buehrle (for a starter) and 41 by Bobby Jenks (for a reliever). Uehara still has a way to go to catch these marks. However, having separate streaks of 25 and (at least) 27, as Uehara has done, is extremely impressive.

UPDATE 1: Bob Timmermann informed me that, "Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers also retired 27 straight batters this year from July 23 to August 8." Here's an article on Jansen's background and accomplishments.

UPDATE 2: Uehara's streak reached 37 straight batters retired, until being snapped in a September 17 game against the Baltimore Orioles.

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