After a brief funk that included a three-game losing streak and losses in four of five games, the Orioles rallied this week behind solid pitching, notably Chris Tillman’s nine-strikeout game on Wednesday, and offensive fireworks in Thursday’s 10-2 win versus the Chicago White Sox.
For this week’s Flashback Friday, as part my continuing focus on the 1966 Orioles in this space throughout the season, I want to consider pitching and power from the O’s first World Series team.
Specifically, let’s talk about nine-strikeout performances by pitchers and double-digit scoring outbursts by the offense.
On Thursday, I examined the 350 times that an Orioles pitcher has recorded nine or more strikeouts in a game. The overall number seemed low given the O’s rich pitching history in the late ’60s and early ’70s. How often did it happen in 1966, specifically?
There were four games in 1966 when an O’s pitcher had nine or more strikeouts. Dave McNally accounted for all of them, on May 6, June 9, July 16, and Aug. 29. His best was an 11-strikeoutperformance, followed by a 10-strikeout outing, and two nine-strikeout efforts.
The next largest individual strikeout totals in 1966 were recorded by Jim Palmer, who had three games with eight strikeouts, and Steve Barber, who had two games of his own with eight strikeouts. Tom Phoebus, John Miller, Moe Drabowsky, and Gene Brabender each chipped in an eight strikeout effort as well.
Check out Drabowsky’s line from his eight-strikeout game on July 20, 1966. Drabowsky, a key member of the ’66 team whose relief efforts carried the team on many an occasion, had eight strikeouts in four innings of work following Wally Bunker and Brabender. Brabender also had an eight-strikeout game in a relief role as part of a suspended game with the Washington Senators on June 8.
Now, for the offense. The Orioles posted 10 or more runs in 11 games during the 1966 season. Two of the 11 games featured no Orioles home runs.
The largest overall O’s run output in 1966 was on June 18 when the O’s scored 16 runs against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park . Five O’s batters homered in that game: Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Curt Blefary, and Davey Johnson.