Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: A brief history of World Series Game 7 starters

Detroit left-hander Mickey Lolich, drenched in champagne, celebrates after he pitched the Tigers to a 4-1 win over Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series. Lolich was pitching on only two days rest.
Detroit left-hander Mickey Lolich, drenched in champagne, celebrates after he pitched the Tigers to a 4-1 win over Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series. Lolich was pitching on only two days rest.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Obviously, you do whatever it takes to win a Game 7 in the World Series.

To borrow a much-used cliche, there truly is no tomorrow for the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Gaints as they prepare for tonight’s Game 7 at Kauffman Stadium.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, the kind of the postseason and a guy who has counfounded the Royals in his two starts against them in the World Series, is on call. He’ll be tapping his feel from the time the first pitch is thrown by teammate Tim Hudson, itching to get out there on two days rest.

Bumgarner was masterful in the Giants’ 4-0 win in Game 5, going the distance and making 117 pitches. And he’ll probably pitch at some point tonight. Who knows when or for how long?

What we do know is that Hudson gets the start for the Giants against Jeremy Guthrie. They were the pitchers in Game 3, won by the Royals last Friday night in San Francisco. They’re pitching on full rest in their first World Series. Which is great, considering that Hudson is 39 and Guthrie is 35.

Only 19 of the past 51 World Series, going back to 1964, have been extended to seven games. And the pitching matchups for those previous Game 7s are interesting to look at. So, let’s look at them.

2011 – Chris Carpenter (St. Louis) vs. Brian Harrison (Texas)

St. Louis 6, Texas 2. Carpenter pitched on three days rest. 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

2002 – John Lackey (Anaheim) vs. Livan Hernandez (San Francisco)

Anaheim 4, San Francisco 1. Lackey pitched on three days rest. 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

2001 – Roger Clemens (New York Yankees) vs. Curt Schilling (Arizona)

Arizona 3, New York 2. Schilling pitched on three days rest. 7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

1997 – Jaret Wright (Cleveland) vs. Al Leiter (Florida)

Florida 3, Cleveland 2. Wright pitched on three days rest. 6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K

1991 – John Smoltz (Atlanta) vs. Jack Morris (Minnesota)

Minnesota 1, Atlanta 0. Smoltz and Morris pitched on three days rest. Smoltz: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K; Morris: 10 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

1987 – Joe Magrane (St. Louis) vs. Frank Viola (Minnesota)

Minnesota 4, St. Louis 2. Viola pitched on three days rest. 8 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

1986 – Bruce Hurst (Boston) vs. Ron Darling (New York Mets)

New York 8, Boston 5. Hurst pitched on three days rest. 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

1985 – John Tudor (St. Louis) vs. Bret Saberhagen (Kansas City)

Kansas City 11, St. Louis 0. Tudor pitched on three days rest. 2.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 K

1982 – Pete Vuckovich (Milwaukee) vs. Joaquin Andujar (St. Louis)

St. Louis 6, Milwaukee 3

1979 – Jim Bibby (Pittsburgh) vs. Scott McGregor (Baltimore)

Pittsburgh 4, Baltimore 1. Bibby pitched on three days rest. 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

1975 – Don Gullett (Cincinnati) vs. Bill Lee (Boston)

Cincinnati 4, Boston 3

1973 – Jon Matlack (New York Mets) vs. Ken Holtzman (Oakland)

Oakland 5, Mets 2. Matlack and Holtzman pitched on three days rest. Matlack: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, ER, 1 BB, 3 K; Holtzman: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

1972 – Blue Moon Odom (Oakland) vs. Jack Billingham (Cincinnati)

Oakland 3, Cincinnati 2. Odom and Billingham pitched on three days rest. Odom: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; Billingham: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

1971 – Steve Blass (Pittsburgh) vs. Mike Cuellar (Baltimore)

Pittsburgh 2, Baltimore 1.

1968 – Mickey Lolich (Detroit) vs. Bob Gibson (St. Louis)

Detroit 4, St. Louis 1. Gibson pitched on three days rest. 9 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K; Lolich pitched on two days rest: 9 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

1967 – Bob Gibson (St. Louis) vs. Jim Lonborg (Boston)

St. Louis 7, Boston 2. Gibson pitched on three days rest: 9 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K; Lonborg pitched on two days rest: 6 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

1965 – Sandy Koufax (Los Angeles Dodgers) vs. Jim Kaat (Minnesota)

Los Angeles 2, Minnesota 0. Koufax and Kaat pitched on two days rest. Koufax: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K; Kaat: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

1964 – Mel Stottlemyre (New York Yankees) vs. Bob Gibson (St. Louis)

St. Louis 7, New York 5. Stottlemyre and Gibson pitched on two days rest. Stottlemyre: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Gibson 9 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 9 K

So, a starting pitcher has worked on three days rest in Game 7 of a World Series 16 times since 1964. They’ve covered 97.1 innings while allowing 71 hits, walking 27 and striking out 82 with an ERA of 2.68.

Starting pitchers have worked on two days rest in Game 7 just six times since 1964. They have pitched 40.1 innings, allowed 37 hits and 13 walks and struck out 28 with an ERA of 3.79.

I found this interesting. I hope you did, too. Have fun watching the game tonight. I think the Royals win a one-run game and that both bullpens will be heavily involved.

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