Chen's 12 strikeouts set Taiwanese record, fall three short of Orioles record
Wei-Yin Chen, a pitcher whose name invites wordplay (The Oriole Wei, Chensational)*, struck out 12 Oakland A's batters in nearly six innings of work Sunday as part of a record-setting effort in a 6-1 victory. Chen's dozen K's were the most by a Taiwanese-born pitcher, topping Chien-Ming Wang's record 10 strikeouts for the Yankees June 17, 2007.
Chen fell three strikeouts short of the Orioles' record of 15, which has happened nine times. The last O's pitchers to tally 15 strikeouts in a game were, fittingly, two of the very best in recent history: Erik Bedard on July 7, 2007, and Mike Mussina on Sept. 24, 2000. Mussina was no stranger to the mark having reached it several times.
Bedard blanked the Rangers in 2007 with a complete-game effort that saw him allow only two hits and no walks in a 3-0 road victory. The lefty struck out all but one batter in the opposing team's starting lineup with former Oriole Jerry Hairston being the lone holdout. Texas first baseman Brad Wilkerson struck out three times while five other Rangers batters struck out twice a piece. Each of the batters to reach base were eliminated by double-play balls, enabling Bedard to face the minimum 27 batters. Bedard finished the 2007 season with a career-best 221 strikeouts as well as a major-league best 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He was fifth in Cy Young voting won by the Indians' C.C. Sabathia.
Mussina blanked the Red Sox in 2000 with seven innings of five-hit baseball and, like Bedard, walked no batters. The O's won 1-0 at Fenway behind a Gene Kingsale sacrifice fly. Mussina struck out Troy O'Leary and Trot Nixon three times each while fanning three other Red Sox batters twice. Mussina, pitching his final season in Baltimore, tallied 210 strikeouts, the third-highest season total of his 18-year career. He finished sixth in Cy Young voting won by Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox.
The Moose also struck out 15 batters a month prior as part of a one-hitter Aug. 1, 2000. Twins first baseman Ron Coomer broke up the no-hitter in the top of the seventh inning. Meanwhile, Mussina struck out 15 batters three years earlier during Game 3 of the 1997 ALCS, a League Championship Series record.
*Neither of these examples are my own, original creations. Both appeared on Twitter during Sunday's game.
July 29, 2012