Statistical Anomoly Alert!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jorge Cantu reacts after striking out against Scott Olsen on Saturday (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This week,'s Jayson Stark informed us that the Marlins did something unprecedented:
On Sunday, they struck out 13 times against Johan Santana -- and beat him. In their next game Tuesday, they whiffed 12 times against Braves starter Javier Vazquez -- and beat him, too.

We combed through's fabulous Play Index and couldn't find any other team since 1954 that won back-to-back games in which it fanned that many times against the opposing starting pitcher. In fact, we found just three other teams that did that within the same week:

1967 Red Sox (Catfish Hunter 12 K Sept. 12, Mickey Lolich 13 K Sept. 19)
1977 Blue Jays (Dennis Leonard 12 K Aug. 14, Nolan Ryan 13 K Aug. 19)
1990 Phillies (David Cone 12 K Sept. 7, Sid Fernandez 12 K Sept. 14)
Everyone knows about the team's propensity for strikeouts, and now we know how historically significant their tendency to strike out is. And in the four games since facing Santana and Vasquez, the Marlins have continued the pattern:
  • 4/15 vs. Atlanta: 11 strikeouts, won 10-4
  • 4/16 vs. Atlanta: 10 strikeouts, won 6-2
  • 4/17 vs. Washington: 11 strikeouts in 10 innings (all in the first 9 innings), won 3-2
  • 4/18 vs. Washington: 11 strikeouts in 11 innings (8 in the first 9 innings), won 9-6.
So in six consecutive games, the Marlins have won while striking out at least ten times. I believe Tim Kurkjian mentioned this streak on Baseball Tonight the other day, but I could not find any video of the segment on, unfortunately. The streak got a big boost from Emilio Bonifacio, who has gone 3 for 25 during the streak with an astonishing 11 strikeouts during the streak (that sound you hear is Ken Rosenthal saying he told us so).

This streak does deserve an asterisk, though, as it took the Fish 10 innings to get their tenth strikeout this afternoon. Nonetheless, the streak is something that may never be replicated.

UPDATE: The Marlins won again on Sunday, but only struck out three times, ending the streak.


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