Comparing Orel Hershiser’s September and October, 1988, to Madison Bumgarner’s September and October, 2014

A while ago I did a brief post on this blog comparing Orel Hershiser’s scoreless streak in 1988 to Drysdale’s streak in 1968. Orel’s streak began with 4 scoreless innings in a 4-2 victory over Montreal on August 30: this table covers the rest of the streak:


Sept. 5 Atlanta (Road) 9 4 0 0 1 8 3-0
Sept. 10 Cincinnati (Home) 9 7 0 0 3 8 5-0
Sept. 14 Atlanta (Home) 9 6 0 0 2 8 1-0
Sept. 19 Houston (Road) 9 4 0 0 0 5 1-0
Sept. 23 San Francisco (Road) 9 5 0 0 2 2 3-0
Sept. 28 San Diego (Road) 10 4 0 0 1 3 1-2

Continuing from that list, here is a graphic from Baseball-Almanac of Orel’s postseason performances in 1988:

And here, from Yahoo Sports, is the game log tracking Madison Bumgarner’s performances in September and October of 2014:

One decent way to compare these two is to note that Orel gave up 7 runs in the two months, which equals the 7 runs Bumgarner allowed in the postseason. Also, Hershiser pitched on fewer than 4 days rest 7 different times in the two months, while Bumgarner did that once. It’s not discrediting Bumgarner’s achievement at all to note that it fell quite a ways short of what Hershiser did. Even staff aces aren’t expected to do as much in the 2010s as in the 1980s.

Published in: Uncategorized on November 1, 2014 at 6:59 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The only point I’d make here, roughly in Bumgarner’s defense, is that Hershiser faced some atrocious NL lineups several times in the ’88 regular season, to begin his scoreless innings streak, while 3 of Bumgarner’s last 4 regular season opponents were playoff-bound teams, one of whom was using the DH. Bumgarner wasn’t *great* in that stretch but still had 3 of 4 quality starts. And then both pitchers became otherworldly in the playoffs. I’d call them about even.

  2. I didn’t think about the weakness of Hershiser’s September opponents. I would guess that the Mets and A’s were the two best (at least two of the best) hitting teams that year. You could also say that the Dodgers were weak enough offensively that Hershiser had a fair amount of inherent pressure to not allow more than a couple runs in any of his starts if he wanted to get a win. It’s not really fair to set the two pitchers’ performances against each other, but it is something for Dodgers and Giants fans to argue about.

  3. You couldn’t go wrong with either one of them. They’d be a helluva one-two punch.
    Interesting debate.

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