Back on April 18, 2017, Drew Storen threw the first immaculate inning of 2017.
An immaculate inning, in case you’ve forgotten, is when a pitcher strikes out three straight batters using just nine pitches (all strikes). It’s a particularly difficult feat, and one which, in most years, is quite rare.
We covered the immaculate inning here at Baseball is Fun, because, well, it’s pretty freakin’ awesome, difficult to pull off, and, as I mentioned, usually quite rare (there was just one in all of 2016 and two in 2015).
However, there were three more immaculate innings in the month of May (culminating in Kenley Jansen’s filthy inning of work) and then another one from Carlos Carrasco at the beginning of July.
AND THEN last night, Dellin Betances threw one of his own, becoming the sixth pitcher of the 2017 season to strike out three straight batters on nine straight pitches.
Check it out:
First of all: You better go wash up, Dellin, because ya filthy.
Second of all, what is the deal with all these immaculate innings? (Seinfeld voice). There’s not typically this many and it’s only increased (like a lot) in recent years.
Take a look for yourself:
In the first half of last century, it hardly happened at all. There was a brief ramp up period in the ’60s and 70s, but starting in the 1990s, things went bananas.
And now, we already have more immaculate innings in the first seven years of this decade, than any other full decade prior.
I suppose more gas, match-up relievers, and an increased proclivity to swing for the fences may be the culprit, but still, this seems like such a uniquely difficult thing to pull off. I wouldn’t have imagined such a ridiculous climb in occurrence, but hey, it’s there.