As it turns out that, Ricky Nolasco did something very rare.
Eight swinging strikeouts and one looking as Nolasco came within one of the standard Tom Seaver set on April 22, 1970. According to Elias, Nolasco is the fourth pitcher in major league history to strike out nine in a row along with Seaver, Jake Peavy (April 25, 2007) and Mickey Welch(Aug. 18, 1884).
No American League pitcher has every accomplished that feat.
If you want to to learn more about Mickey Welch and him doing it from 50 feet away from the hitters, Clark Spencer has done the research.
Then there is this.
But Nolasco was the story. Demoted to the minors in May when he got off to a bad start, Nolasco capped off his turnaround with Wednesday's performance.
``My back was against the wall there for awhile,'' Nolasco said of his early-season struggles. ``I just told myself that no matter what was going to happen, I was going to finish strong. And that's something I'm proud of. And it's something that will make me hungry to do better next year.''
I really can't believe that anyone would think that Ricky wouldn't have an up and down season. The general rule of thumb is that if a pitcher is extended over 30 innings more than the previous season, he is a candidate for injury and also inconsistency the next season. Fortunately Nolasco didn't get hurt but he was inconsistent.
In 2007 he threw a whopping total of 55 innings between the minors and the majors before he was shutdown with elbow problems. In 2008 he threw 212.1 innings for the Marlins. Now, I am no math wiz but even I can figure out that 157.1 is a little higher than 30.
Which led to the unsurprising result that Nolasco was inconsistent in 2009. At times he was brilliant and at other times he couldn't find the plate with both hands and a flashlight. But even in the down starts he always battled through to try and keep the team in the game.
Ricky is a number one starter. The Marlins are fortunate to have two. Next year, expect Nolasco to be lights out most of the time.
And, oh, I almost forgot: Congratulations Ricky on the accomplishment!