FanPost

Update on Brandon Morrow's March to a Historical Season

As many fans know, Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow gave up his first ground ball double play of his season in the 5th inning of last Friday's game. 

In a story first reported in a game thread right here on Bluebird Banter, Morrow was on route to setting a number of records because of the lack of double plays behind him. You can read this article for all the details regarding the records he would have set if Desmond Jennings didn't hit that double play against him. It was also reported on the Fan590's JaysTalk back on August 18 (scroll to -23:18).

But let's focus on what he has done rather than what he could've done.

Morrow holds the all-time record for the number of consecutive starts without a ground double play, besting Charlie Leibrandt by one start.

Name

IP

Games

GS

Don Sutton

189.1

23

23

Fergie Jenkins

182.1

22

21

Charlie Leibrandt

178.2

29

28

Brandon Morrow

174.0

29

29

Catfish Hunter

156.1

19

19

John Wetteland

153.1

118

0

Russ Springer

151.1

90

7

Juan Pizarro

150.2

19

19

Troy Percival

149

152

0

Morrow is now fourth longest inning streak with 0 GIDP in MLB history with 174 IP. He is surrounded by Hall-of Famers Don Sutton, Fergie Jenkins, and Catfish Hunter, as well as All-Stars John Wetteland, Juan Pizarro, and Troy Percival. So he's in good company. (Note: the Elias Sports Bureau reports the number as 173.1 IP because they do not count the 0.1 innings bookending the inning streak. I understand why they do it that way, as jessef explained, it is because  pitcher cannot get more than one double play per inning. But I am too lazy to go back and change all the numbers for the rest of the pitchers on that list. No one's values should decease by more than 0.2 IP anyway so the relative order would not change.

Sneaking up onto that list is former Blue Jays reliever Octavio Dotel, who is currently working on a 137.1 IP streak without a GIDP. The last GIDP behind him was hit by Derek Jeter on July 31, 2009 when he was pitching with the White Sox. Since that GIDP, Dotel has had made 149 appearances for the White Sox, Pirates, Dodgers, Rockies, Blue Jays, and Cardinals. That means Dotel is 3 appearances away from tying Troy Percival's record for most consecutive games with 0 GIDP.

As mentioned in that first article, if Morrow finishes without having another GIDP this season, he would be one of only 10 pitchers to do so with more than 100 IP, and at 174 IP he would be way ahead of the would-be #2 on that list, Gene Nelson, who had 123.2 in 1987 (B-R Blog wrote about this recently). If he gets another GIDP in his last start, he'll only be one of 19 pitchers to do so. Depending how many innings he throws in his last start of the season, he'll either be first, second, or third on that list.

Brandon Morrow was actually well aware of the streak as demonstrated by a brief conversation on the Twitternets on Sept. 18:

@BBBMinorLeaguer Update: @2Morrow23 is now 9.0 innings away from tying Charlie Leibrandt for third all-time for consecutive innings pitched without GIDP.

@2Morrow23 That's it?! I figured I had blown that record away by now

@BBBMinorLeaguer @2Morrow23 You're at 169.2 IP. Don Sutton had 189.1 back in 1975, Fergie Jenkins with 182.1 btwn 1970-71, so you're in good company :-)

@aaronvhoff @2Morrow23 @BBBMinorLeaguer are there any non-GIDP DP in there?

@2Morrow23 2 strike out throw out, 1 fly ball right field throw out at 3rd

@BBBMinorLeaguer Good memory! Vernon Wells flew out to RF, @joeybats19 gunned down Russell Branyan at 3rd on Aug 12. @2Morrow23 @aaronvhoff

@BBBMinorLeaguer No pitcher in history (100+ IP) has ever finished an entire season with 0 GIDP. @2Morrow23 No need for GIDP when you don't put anyone on!

@2Morrow23 any way to get in the record books @BBBMinorLeaguer

@DrewGROF @2Morrow23 how long until they tie you down and teach you a cutter by force? #GIDPmachine

@2Morrow23 two weeks ago, threw it last 2 games

Of course, a start after this was mentioned, he broke his streak. I'd blame myself for jinxing it, but Drew (formerly of GROF) chimed in and asked about Morrow's cutter and Morrow broke the news saying that he has been throwing one to try to get more ground balls. You should go and read Drew's post on Getting Blanked on this topic.

With the new pitch, I am hoping that Morrow will get a bump in his groundball-flyball ratio so that he would get a few more double plays and give up fewer home runs than he has so far in his career. Morrow has only gotten 21 GIDP in 517.1 career inning pitched. Among pitchers with at least 500 career innings, Morrow has the 4th least overall (Percival holds a wide lead at 18 GIDP with 708.2 IP) and 2nd least among starters (John Maine had 20 in 585.2 IP).

But what a great run for Morrow at a record that is more fluke than anything to do with mechanics or pitching style.

Video of Desmond Jennings' double play that broke the streak from MLB.com.

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