Thursday, July 12, 2007

? No. 7: The Ironman of recent relievers

Another question with roots in Tom Adelman's The Long Ball. During the 1974 season, reliever Mike Marshall did something unheard of: He threw 208 innings — all in relief. The poor guy appeared in 106 games for Walter Alston's Dodgers — at one point in the season appearing in 13 successive games — and posted a 15-12 record and a 2.42 ERA. And that was coming off a season with the Expos in which he threw 179 innings of relief. It's no surprise that Marshall spent a good deal of the '75 season on the DL after being worked so heavily. Those innings pitched marks are by far the highest of any reliever of the past 40 years. Matter of fact, there are only five other relievers to have topped 150 innings pitched in that span, and no one has done it since Mark Eichhorn threw 157 innings for the Blue Jays in 1986.

I wanted to know who the modern day equivalent of Mike Marshall was. Here's what I found out: Since 2000, there have been only eight occurrences of relievers throwing 100 or more innings. I limited my search to pitchers who relieved in 95% of their appearances, meaning they were used almost exclusively from the pen. Using those parameters but lowering the innings pitched bar from 100 to 90 broadens the list to 39 occurrences. My question for you is which pitcher appears on that latter list the most times?

A) Scott Sullivan
B) Guillermo Mota
C) Brad Lidge
D) Salomon Torres

Yesterday's Answer: Xavier Nady. Leave it to the Mets fans to nail this one.

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