Monday, April 18, 2016
There are few pitching feats as grand as a no-hitter. Still, it is not as rare as the Immaculate Inning.
What's this, you ask?
An Immaculate Inning is when a pitcher records three straight outs, via strike outs, using nine consecutive strikes during a single inning. It has been done only 80 times, and today marks the third time Sandy Koufax had accomplished the deed.
It happened on April 18, 1964 against the Cincinnati Reds. Koufax, in his second start of the season, faced off against Leo Cardenas, Johnny Edwards, and Jim Maloney in the third inning, and quickly sent them to their seats. Unfortunately, Koufax's next inning wouldn't be as good. He would give up a three-run homer in the fourth, and eventually lose the game 3-0 (boxscore).
Regardless of that result, Sandy would set a record that has yet to be beat. He is the only pitcher to record three Immaculate Innings in his career, and he would do it over three consecutive years.
After seeing the Dodgers base cards found in packs of 2016 Topps Museum, below are the various relic cards that are available.
Four-Player Primary Pieces Quad Relic (#/99)
#PPFQ-KGGP Greinke, Gonzalez, Kershaw & Puig
I think it's fair to say that Kenta Maeda has exceeded expectations. In his third outing as a Dodger he finally gave up his first run in the Majors on a third inning homer by Joe Panik. A string of fourteen scoreless innings to start his career is now over - having been the first to do it for the Dodgers since Pedro Astacio in 1992. As for the aftermath, Maeda continued to shut down the opposition. He went seven innings, allowed only four hits, struck out seven and gave up a lone run. Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
"He was terrible tonight. He gave up a run," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt joked. "He's not human."Maeda has been so good, as noted by Jon Weisman on twitter, that he is the first Dodger to begin his career with three straight games of six innings and one run or fewer allowed. In fact, many folks are openly saying, "Greinke, who?" Per Mark Simon at ESPN:
Much like former Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, Maeda is excelling by keeping his pitches away from opposing hitters.Photo at the very top of Maeda via Jon SooHoo on twitter. Below are more links to check out:
Maeda has kept nearly 75 percent of his pitches on the outer half of the plate or off the outside corner. That’s the highest such rate by any starting pitcher this season and a near match for Greinke’s rate last season, which was second among ERA-title qualifiers.