Last night, the Marlins and Braves teamed up to do something that has never been done in the modern era: they combined to strike out 28 times in a nine inning game while failing to draw a single walk. After checking the math real quick, I believe that is an assload of strikeouts.
Whenever something in a baseball game happens that has never happened before, you can bet that there was a certain the-stars-have-aligned quality to the game. That's what happened last night, as two notoriously free-swinging lineups—the Braves and Marlins have the fourth- and seventh-most strikeouts this year, respectively—were fed to two dynamic young pitchers who had all of their stuff working. Each at-bat was like watching a log being tossed into a wood chipper.
Jose Fernandez took the mound for the Marlins, striking out 14 Braves in eight innings, and Steve Cishek chipped in one more strikeout while closing out the game. According to Pitch f/x data, Fernandez induced 26 swings and misses, 10 by way of his fastball and 16 via his curve. By the end of the night, the Braves' box score had become an absurdity, featuring four players who each struck out three times. Evan Gattis got rung up three times while seeing only eleven pitches, and Dan Uggla needed just 15 to notch his three punch outs. That's six strikeouts between the two of them on 26 combined pitches. That's insane.
Alex Wood did most of the damage from the Braves' side, striking out 11 in eight innings before being replaced by David Carpenter, who struck out two in his one inning of work. Wood wasn't quite as untouchable as Fernandez—he only got the Marlins to swing and miss 17 times—but that's like saying ice cream isn't quite as good as authentic gelato. And anyway, Wood gets extra points for snagging a screaming line drive that was hit right back at him while somehow managing not to poop his pants.
From ESPN Stats and Info comes a final bit of evidence that this was a truly momentous occasion: Not since 1901 have two pitchers under the age of 23 each had at least 11 strikeouts in the same game. The feat was last achieved by Noodles Hahn of the Reds and Long Tom Hughes of the Cubs. You know something big has happened when you end up discovering two wonderfully old-timey baseball names while trying to find its place in history.