Genesis Cabrera had a rough outing for the Cardinals last Thursday, but it did make him part of a particularly unusual three-day stretch of pitching performances.
The St. Louis Cardinals held a 7-3 lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Andrew Miller started his second inning of work by surrendering a leadoff double to Ke’Bryan Hayes followed by a free pass to Ben Gamel, leading to manager Mike Schildt replacing Miller with Genesis Cabrera. Then things got bad. Like, really bad.
Michael Chavis singled on a 1-0 pitch to load the bases, and Bryan Reynolds sent a first-pitch ground ball through the left side of the infield to plate two runs. An 0-1 Colin Moran single re-loaded the bases.
After a mound visit, Wilmer Difo greeted Cabrera’s first offering rudely, lacing it to center field to drive in two more runs. Gregory Polanco then doubled on a 2-2 count to bring in two more runners. Yoshi Tsutsugo finished Cabrera’s outing by depositing an 0-1 pitch into the seats.
If you’re counting, that’s eight runs scored, which is bad enough. But the efficiency of the Pirates’ onslaught was particularly amazing. Those eight tallies were achieved on only 13 pitches from Cabrera.
Whether records of such events are kept, I don’t know, but that’s an amazing 0.615 runs per pitch. Yes, it’s likely some poor hurler in the annals of major league history has come in with the bases loaded and coughed up a first-pitch grand slam (that would be four runs per pitch), but to give up that many runs that quickly can’t have happened very often – if ever – before.
But that’s not all
Well, that’s the big news from a Cardinals perspective, but a couple of other pitchers had very notable innings in close chronological proximity to Cabrera.
Chris Sale has made a dominant return from Tommy John surgery performed in May of last year, and he exhibited that dominance the same day Cabrera was so horrendous. Boston’s Sale punched out Minnesota’s Nick Gordon, Andrelton Simmons, and Rob Refsnyder on nine pitches in the third inning, a performance that has earned the moniker of an “immaculate inning.”
Two days later, the Giants’ Logan Webb was even more efficient in the fourth inning of his outing against the Braves. After plunking Travis d’Arnaud with the first pitch of the frame, his next offering induced a double play off the bat of Adam Duvall. Joc Pederson sent the next pitch into the glove of left fielder Alex Dickerson. Three pitches, three outs.
Records are sketchy, but the various sources tracking these things indicate that feat has been accomplished only a couple of hundred times in MLB history. That’s significantly more rare than Sale’s accomplishment.
Cabrera, though…Well, he just might be alone with his particular degree of ineptitude last Thursday. But hey, if anyone keeps track of such things, most likely he’s now in the record books.