Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm Forever Walking Batters...

It's always frustrating when the reliever your favorite team's manager has just brought into the game issues a base on balls. His job is to go out there and record outs, not give up free baserunners. After all, the whole game he's been sitting in the bullpen waiting to be turned loose on enemy hitters, mowing them down with a vicious display of pitching prowess. Okay, maybe that's overstating the case for some relievers but, regardless, any pitcher's job is to get outs, first and foremost. Anyone paying attention to Brewers games this season and the latter half of last season knows about the torrent of boos that rain down on Derrick Turnbow when he walks a batter. I'm sure fans of other teams know of similar relievers that inspire dread when it's apparent, once again, their control has left them.

With that in mind, I looked up the longest streaks of consecutive appearances by a relief pitcher with at least one walk issued. In order to exclude, as much as possible, long relievers who may be called upon to throw three, four or more innings, I set the maximum length of each outing to two innings pitched. Only twelve times (by eleven pitchers) since 1956 has a pitcher had ten or more such consecutive brief relief appearances in which he's issued one or more walks. Note that some pitchers on this list may have had starts in between relief appearances (I'm looking at you, Jimmy Haynes).

Consecutive Relief Appearances (≤2 IP) with 1+ BB
The longest active streak (through 4/10/2008) belongs to the aforementioned Derrick Turnbow, at 5 games (I didn't actually know that when I started this post). Jonathan Meloan, Ryan Bukvich, and Rocky Cherry also have active five-game streaks, but they have not pitched in the majors so far this season.

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