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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.

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