Immaculate Innings

Posted by thedugoutonline Admin on

By: Daniel Wilkins


*note: when referring to stats, it is the player’s career number, not the total of that season.

Nine up, nine down. Immaculacy is a synonym of perfect, and that’s exactly what immaculate innings are: perfect innings. Compared to a perfect game, where 27 consecutive outs are recorded in a row, an immaculate inning only involves one-ninth of the game’s length. In an immaculate inning, nine pitches are thrown; all of them strikes. All three batters due up that inning are struck out on the minimum three pitches. No balls, no extra pitches due to fouls, none. Despite immaculate and perfect being the same thing, an immaculate inning is very different. None of that at all. No wonder why this feat is so incredible and mesmerizing to watch.


All-Stars getting the job done

When you’re an accurate pitcher, who is also great at baseball, you’re chances of completing an immaculate inning rise. Still, it’s interesting to see some notable names that have accomplished the feat.

  1. Sandy Koufax (v. 1962 Mets, 1963 Colt .45s, 1964 Reds)
  2. Nolan Ryan (v. 1968 Dodgers, 1972 Red Sox)
  3. Bob Gibson (v. 1969 Dodgers)
  4. Bruce Sutter (v. 1977 Expos)
  5. Ron Guidry (v. 1984 White Sox)
  6. Roger Clemens (v. 1997 Red Sox)
  7. Mike Mussina (v. 1998 Devil Rays)
  8. Orel Hershiser (v. 1998 Rockies)
  9. Randy Johnson (v. 1998 Braves, 2001 Pirates)
  10. Pedro Martinez (v. 2002 Mariners)
  11. Felix Hernandez (v. 2008 Marlins)
  12. Max Scherzer (v. 2017 Phillies)


Stacked opposition

If you’re facing a bad lineup, it’s more likely that they’ll swing at bad pitches. Therefore, it’s rare to see All-Star caliber players, three in a row, swing and miss at nine consecutive pitches. Some decent lineups that still went down swinging include:

  1. Jeff Robinson v. 1987 Cubs
    1. Faced Leon Durham (10-year OF), Andre Dawson (HOF), Rafael Palmeiro (3000 hits)
  2. Roger Clemens v. 1997 Red Sox
    1. Faced Nomar Garciaparra (6x All-Star), John Valentin (11-year INF), Mo Vaughn (1,500 hits)
  3. Jimmy Key v. 1998 White Sox
    1. Faced Robin Ventura (56 WAR), Magglio Ordonez (6x All-Star), Ray Durham (2x All-Star)
  4. Orel Hershiser v. 1998 Rockies
    1. Faced Ellis Burks (350 HR), Vinny Castilla (1100 RBI), Todd Helton (potential HOF)
  5. B.J. Ryan v. 1999 Indians
    1. Faced Manny Ramirez (550 HR), Jim Thome (HOF), Richie Sexson (300 HR)
  6. LaTroy Hawkins v. 2004 Marlins
    1. Faced Jeff Conine (nearly 2000 hits), Juan Encarnacion (.758 OPS), Alex Gonzalez (1400 hits)
  7. Clay Buchholz v. 2012 Orioles
    1. Faced Adam Jones (1800 hits), Matt Wieters (4x All-Star), Chris Davis (.790 OPS)

Obscurity at its finest

If it ain’t broke, right?

Here are some examples of less notable names pitching an immaculate inning:

  1. Stan Belinda v. 1994 Royals (4.15 career ERA)
  2. Mike Magnante v. 1997 Rockies (1.457 WHIP)
  3. Jesus Sanchez v. 1998 Braves (5.32 ERA, 1.611 WHIP)
  4. Brandon Backe v. 2004 Brewers (5.23 ERA)
  5. Ross Ohlendorf v. 2009 Cardinals (4.82 ERA)
  6. Juan Perez v. 2011 Braves (4.25 ERA in 61 games)
  7. Zac Rosscup v. 2018 Mariners (5.31 ERA)

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