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Joe Paterson’s horrible start tops all other horrible starts

Apr 24, 2012, 1:01 AM EST

Joe Paterson Getty Images

After entering with a 9-0 lead to start the ninth inning Monday, Diamondbacks left-hander Joe Paterson gave up five straight hits, including back-to-back homers, to the Phillies. He was charged with five runs without retiring a batter, and he now has a 37.12 ERA on the season.

As a Rule 5 pick a year ago, Patterson allowed a total of 11 runs in 34 innings, good for a 2.91 ERA. He’s already matched that total of runs allowed in 2 2/3 innings this season. In his last two appearances, he’s allowed 10 consecutive batters to reach, nine via a hit. Overall, he’s allowed 15 hits in 23 official at-bats, good for a .652 average against.

If Paterson doesn’t pitch again this season — and it’s a good bet that he will be optioned to Triple-A prior to Tuesday’s game — that .652 would be a historic mark. No one in major league history has ever finished a season with that many hits allowed in so few innings pitched. The worst average against of anyone to pitch at least 2 2/3 innings belongs to David Moraga, who had a .625 average against in 2 2/3 innings in 2000. The highest average against for anyone to allow 15 hits in a season is the .579 mark against the Cardinals’ Brady Raggio in 1998 (22 H in 7 IP).

It’d also be the highest going by appearances. Paterson has appeared in six games with a .652 average against. The next highest for anyone to appear in six games was .583 against the Mets’ Tim Hamulack in 2005. It wouldn’t quite set the five-appearance record: the Tigers’ Dave Gumpert had a .700 average against in five appearances in 1982 and the Yankees’ Tony Fossas had a .667 average against in five appearances in 1999.

It probably won’t come to that, though; Paterson has the stuff to be a useful specialist and should be able to turn it around with a few weeks in Triple-A. This just hasn’t been his month.

  1. pbannard - Apr 24, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    This is all about arbitrary cutoffs, of course – if you drop it down to 2 innings pitched instead of 2 2/3, Melancon this season has a higher Batting Average Against (.667, 10 hits in 15 at bats). So I don’t know that I’d agree that Paterson’s horrible start is really the most horrible of all – after all, at least he was able to get those two extra outs!

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 24, 2012 at 6:49 AM

      Baseball is all about the arbitrary stats. We shouldn’t rest until we at least find out who had the highest opponents’ batting average during day games and who had it pitching indoors.

  2. jlovenotjlo - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    Up until the last paragraph this one is just plain mean.After the last paragraph, its not very nice.

    • Old Gator - Apr 24, 2012 at 4:40 AM

      Now let’s see if Matthew has the necessary mental toughness to give this guy a few good kicks in the ribs while he’s down, then splash him with some gasoline and flick his cigar stub at him and finish the job once and for all. It pained me to see Matt wussing out in those last couple of sentences.

  3. stex52 - Apr 24, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    I realize we follow a game of statistics, but these are a little too arbitrary. I expect we will see both Paterson and Melancon again this year. And, just to point out, if this blow-up had occurred after ten decent appearances, it would be viewed as just a mechanics problem for a pitcher and not some sort of statistical Hiroshima. We can get too crazy with the numbers.

  4. professor59 - Apr 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    This will appear in Jayson Stark’s column, guaranteed!

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