clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Braves Stat Of The Day: Craig Kimbrel Is In Elite Company

Brian McCann and Craig Kimbrel congratulate each other for being awesome.
Brian McCann and Craig Kimbrel congratulate each other for being awesome.

Another week, another astonishing Craig Kimbrel Fact.

Yesterday, Craig Kimbrel gave up only the second earned run of his young career. (He gave up the other earned run on May 15th of last year.) Between the at-bats when those runs scored, Kimbrel faced 101 batters and struck out 48 of them. Those 48 strikeouts between earned runs are very nearly the all-time record.

Here is a list of the only 20 times that a pitcher has struck out 40 or more batters between earned runs (since 1919):

Rk Player Streak Start Streak End  SO  Tm
1 Zack Greinke 2008-09-13 2009-04-29 49 KCR
2 Craig Kimbrel 2010-05-15 2011-04-21 48 ATL
3 Dwight Gooden 1985-08-31 1985-10-02 47 NYM
4 Don Drysdale 1968-05-10 1968-06-08 46 LAD
5 Johan Santana 2004-08-28 2004-09-24 45 MIN
  Pedro Martinez 2002-07-19 2002-08-16 45 BOS
  Steve Carlton 1972-07-19 1972-08-13 45 PHI
8 Ray Culp 1968-09-07 1968-09-29 44 BOS
  Luis Tiant 1968-04-20 1968-05-17 44 CLE
10 Francisco Rodriguez 2006-06-26 2006-09-15 43 LAA
  Robb Nen 2000-07-13 2000-09-21 43 SFG
  Billy Wagner 1999-08-11 2000-04-19 43 HOU
13 Nolan Ryan 1984-05-06 1984-06-01 42 HOU
14 Sammy Ellis 1964-08-20 1965-04-13 41 CIN
  Chan Ho Park 2000-09-14 2001-04-07 41 LAD
  Jack Morris 1986-07-04 1986-07-28 41 DET
17 Frank Francisco 2008-08-18 2009-05-31 40 TEX
  Gaylord Perry 1967-08-24 1967-09-14 40 SFG
  J.R. Richard 1979-08-18 1979-09-11 40 HOU
  Orel Hershiser 1988-08-30 1989-04-05 40 LAD
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/22/2011.

There are some fantastic pitchers on this list, obviously, but only Zack Greinke tops Kimbrel. Not even some of the most legendary streaks in baseball history, like Doc Gooden's in 1985, Pedro's in 2002, or Hershiser's in 1988 can match Kimbrel's. Kimbrel is also the only pitcher in the top 7 who has not won a Cy Young.

Obviously, pitching as a reliever is different from pitching as  a starter, but no other reliever even comes close to Kimbrel's 48 Ks between ER. The next-best are Robb Nen, Francisco Rodriguez, and Billy Wagner at 43 each. (How great is it that Wagner keeps coming up on these Kimbrel lists?)

We obviously shouldn't expect Craig Kimbrel to strike out 48 more guys before he gives up his next earned run. This kind of streak doesn't mean anything when projecting future performance. It is still very impressive, however. Not many rookies can say that they've already done something that not even Nolan Ryan or Steve Carlton could do.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Battery Power Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Atlanta Braves news from Battery Power