By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
By my count, the last Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher to throw seven innings in a game was 86 games ago.
That was when right-hander Jacob Waguespack hurled seven scoreless innings and allowed only one hit to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 22, 2019.
One of the key reasons for this drought is the Blue Jays’ philosophy of not wanting their starters to face the opponents’ batting order a third time in the same game. But with this said, it almost seems impossible that there hasn’t been a single pitcher, in the equivalent of more than half a normal major league season, that has been so dominating that Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo simply couldn’t take them out.
The Blue Jays haven’t had that bulldog starter who when they take the ball in the first inning is determined to go the full nine.
In short, they haven’t had their own Fergie Jenkins.
I know pitchers like Jenkins, who tossed as many 30 complete games in a season, are almost extinct for a growing number of reasons (pitch counts, analytics, arm preservation, etc.), but I can’t help but think of how valuable a modern day Jenkins would be to the Blue Jays.
With this drought by Blue Jays’ starters on my mind, I was inspired to look at what percentage of games Jenkins pitched into the seventh inning in during his career peak, which I consider to be his six consecutive 20-win seasons with the Chicago Cubs from 1967 to 1972.
As the chart below illustrates, in those half-dozen campaigns, Jenkins pitched into the seventh inning or later in 191 of 235 (or 81.2%) starts.
|Year||Total No. of Starts||Total 7+ Inning Starts||% of 7+ Inning Starts|
Fergie told me tht many times throughout his career the manager would say to him, the relief corps is tired – pitch the whole game today!!!
That must have been a great luxury for his managers. Thanks for reading, Lee.
Thanks for the interesting blog. Fergie was a great pitcher..
Thanks for your support and for reading.
I once had breakfast with Fergie, Gaylord Perry and Billy Atkinson (yeah, I had to pinch myself). I asked Ferg and Gaylord the most innings they pitched in a single season. Typical Fergie, he said that he never kept track (wrong answer, it was 328.1) and Gaylord was pretty close (344). I then asked when we would see pitchers throw that many innings again (knowing full well it would never happen) and it was like spinning a top. I became witness to an incredible moment with 3 former major leaguers talking about modern pitching and reliving the old days. One of my all-time favourite moments. Thanks for sharing, Kevin!
That sounds like a great conversation, Dave. I wish I was there to record it. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you are well.
I wish these days were back. Thanks for sharing the stats and info Kevin
Me too, Scott. Thanks for the comment and your support.
Nice research. Jenkins’ complete games dipped to only 7 in 38 starts (and 14 wins) in his 1973 year with the Cubs but bounced back to 29 complete in 41 starts (and 25 wins) in 1974 with Texas. If you have time to check it, what were his number of games into the seventh inning in those two years?
Yes it would be nice if those good old days were back.