By now you know, Ryan Dempster has pitched 33 straight scoreless innings, an incredible feat for any pitcher.  What you probably don’t know is that this is actually the second time he’s pitched over 30 straight innings without allowing a run for the Cubs.  He also had a 30.1 scoreless innings streak end that spanned 31 games in 2 seasons from August 16, 2005 through April 19, 2006.  Even more interesting is where this streak will be placed historically; according to Elias Sports Bureau Inc., this is only the fifth time in the last century that a starting pitcher has won five straight games while allowing zero runs:

Pitcher

Year

Team

# of games

# of scoreless innings

Orel Hershiser

1988

Dodgers

6

55

Don Drysdale

1968

Dodgers

6

54

Bob Gibson

1968

Cardinals

5

45

Brandon Webb

2007

Diamondbacks

5

41

Ryan Dempster

2012

Cubs

5

33

 

I know it was not all that uncommon to go all 9 innings back then, but I was still amazed that all 3 guys on the top of the list pitched every inning during these streaks, and Hershiser even had to go 10 innings for one of those wins.  Webb also pitched 3 straight CGs during his streak which is just as impressive given the era he pitched in.  While Dempster’s inning count during this streak is much more modest, you have to remember it spanned a  DL stint that sidelined him for 23 days and he has been relegated to a pitch count since returning.

Another fun fact about Dempster’s streak is he is one of 3 Cubs starting pitchers since 1938 to have scoreless innings streaks of at least 30.  The most recent was Ken Holtzman who also had 33 straight scoreless inning stretch in 1969.  Holtzman’s streak spanned 4 starts, including 3 CG shutouts, and another 1-run CG.   The other Cub pitcher to accomplish such a feat was Bill Lee who did it twice in the same season in 1938, with streaks of 37 and 35.

In any case, Dempster’s streak is still impressive but all signs point to it not continuing with the Cubs.  Rumors are the Cubs are determined to trade Dempster this week, to clear the way to focus on Garza heading into the deadline.  The Dodgers are the rumored frontrunners for Dempster’s services, and word as of yesterday, is the Tigers are out on Dempster because the Cubs’ asking price is too steep.

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