Let’s do more of them.
Life is a little bit in the way this morning, so the usual Pulitzer Prize caliber stuff will have to wait. I’ll just let the whole debacle that was ESPN last night slide by, along with how much Cardinal fans apparently hate Johnny Cueto and anyone who cheers for him. I’ll not make fun of the angst among some in the fanbase over Star Wars day or Husker Night (oh no! fans from an adjacent state cheering for my team and putting revenue into my local economy!).
Instead, let’s just take a quick stroll back down memory lane and look at the complete game shutouts by Royals over the past few seasons.
Prior to Johnny Cueto’s masterpiece last night, the Royals had not gotten a complete shutout from a starter for almost an year. Jason Vargas did the trick last August 13th, shutting out Oakland on three hits just four days after James Shields shutout the Giants on four hits (where was THAT in the World Series, James?).
That Shields shutout was almost year after Jeremy Guthrie’s four hit shutout of Minnesota on August 5, 2013. Guthrie also threw a four hit shutout against the White Sox in May of 2013, making him the first Royal starter since Zack Greinke to throw multiple complete game shutouts in the same season. Greinke spun three of them in his great 2009 campaign.
Now, between Guthrie’s first shutout and Greinke’s last as a Royal, there were three shutouts by pitchers that are so unlikely to throw them that I bet you already know the answer. Luke Hochevar did it twice…three years apart…and no, the 80 pitch Cincinnati complete game isn’t one of them. The always-turning-a-corner-never-getting-anywhere Hochevar shutou the Rays on June 15, 2012 scattering seven hits along the way. He also shutout the White Sox on just three hits on September 18, 2009. In between, on October 1, 2010, Bruce Chen two hit the Rays to lead the 67-93 Royals past the 94-66 Rays. Josh Fields played third that day for KC, Kila Ka’aihue batting clean-up and Gregor Blanco lead off. James Shields was the opposing pitcher and Ben Zobrist played second base for Tampa.
Let’s revisit 2009, the year of Hochevar’s first and Greinke’s three shutouts. The Royals had a memorable fifth shutout by a starter that year: Gil Meche. Meche four hit the Diamondbacks, but took 132 pitches to get it all done, thanks mostly to Stephen Drew’s 10 (?) pitch at-bat in the top of the ninth. If that did not do it, the 121 pitch medley the next time out, did Meche in. Thanks, Trey Hillman.
Now, you think a year between complete game shutouts is a long? The Royals went over two seasons without one before Greinke’s first in April of 2009. In September of 2006, and it’s okay if you did not see or remember, because it was September of 2006, Mark Redman threw a five hitter against Minnesota. That was just THREE days after Runelvys Hernandez scattered seven hits in a 2-0 shutout of the Blue Jays. Oh, those were the days, my friend.
The first Royals’ complete game shutout? Roger Nelson in 1969.
The most as a Royals? Dennis Leonard with 21.
A lot of the big names in Royals’ lore threw back to back shutouts, but I bet you did not remember that Ted Power did so in June of 1988.
Did you know that Luis Aquino (3) had more shutouts than Jose Rosado (2)? Or that Darrell May and Chris Haney each had three as Royals? How about the fact that Dan Reichert, Jay Witasick and Mac Suzuki each managed to accomplish the feat? Or that Jim Colborn’s no-hitter was his only shutout in a Kansas City uniform.
Most strikeouts in a shutout? Kevin Appier with 13 on September 15, 1995.
Most walks allowed in a shutout? Six, done by Paul Splittorff, Rich Gale and Steve Busby.
Most hits allowed in a shutout? Ten, done by both Bret Saberhagen and Mark Gubicza.
One pitcher in the history of the Royals had an extra inning shutout. If you thought Steve Busby, you were thinking along with me, but we’re wrong. It was Al Fitzmorris who threw ten shutout innings on June 29, 1976 against Minnesota in a 1-0 win. The attendance that day in Minnesota was 6,201 with Hal McRae (playing leftfield) scoring the only run on a Freddie Patek RBI.
Shutouts are fun.