Mickey Lolich

May 19, 2009
Verlander has been phenomenal, but Lolich's records are likely safe
With all of his recent strikeouts, Justin Verlander makes us examine anew left-hander Mickey Lolich's amazing 1971 season.
In his last three starts, Verlander has become the first Tigers pitcher since Lolich in '71 to strike out at least 10 batters in three straight games. Lolich had two such streaks in '71 -- but they were far from the most stunning thing he did that year.
In '71, Lolich threw 376 innings. That is the most innings thrown by a non-knuckleball pitcher since the pre-1920 dead-ball era.
In '72, White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood threw two-thirds more of an inning than Lolich in '71. But Wood didn't put the strain on his arm with the knuckleball that Lolich did with his power pitching.
While throwing those 376 innings in '71, Lolich fanned 308 -- a club record.
Verlander isn't going to approach Lolich's innings total from '71. Due in part to the advent of pitch-count monitoring, no big-league pitcher has thrown 300 innings in a season since the Phillies' Steve Carlton in 1980.
Nor will Verlander likely approach Lolich's 308 strikeouts in '71. No AL pitcher in this decade has fanned 300 in a season.
But on Wednesday night against Texas at Comerica Park, Verlander can do something that Lolich never did. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Verlander can become the first Tigers pitcher since at least 1954 to have four straight games with at least 10 strikeouts.

1 comment:

  1. Today's pitchers are spoiled compared to Lolich. In his era many of the pitchers were "iron men". With expansion, so many of today's pitchers would not have made the club in Lolich's day.