June 22, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell (64) pitches in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
The first batter of the game, Shin-Soo Choo (gezhundheit!), reached third on a triple that replays showed might have been foul. The next batter plated him on a sacrifice fly. If you turned the game off at this point, you did not miss much scoring, but you did miss a great ball game.
Yes, the Astros lost for the umpteenth time in a row, but the pitcher of the game was not the winning pitcher. Indians' starter Ubaldo Jimenez recalled shades of 2010 when he led the majors in Win % by throwing 6-2/3 innings, giving up only four hits and four walks while striking out eight. But Astros starter Lucas Harrell outpitched him, giving up only two hits and three walks while striking out an astounding nine.
I'll write that again, in case you missed it. Nine strikeouts.
- Before tonight, Harrell was averaging only 4.4 strikeouts per nine innings. At 5.85 Innings per Game for the season so far, that means Harrell was averaging 2.86 strikeouts per appearance.
- Tonight, Harrell had a rate of 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings. That's a 264% better strikeout rate than his yearly average. That's four more strikeouts for Harrell than the number of pitchers used by Astros manager Brad Mills tonight. That's three more strikeouts than Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, Chris Perez, Wesley Wright, David Carpenter, Fernando Abad, and Francisco Rodriguez combined.
Here is the scorecard my wife took during the game