Carlos Martinez was pulled in the sixth inning today with his Cardinals losing to the Yankees by a score of 3-0, which probably seems like a pretty unlikely description for a historic start—but it was a record-breaker all the same.
Martinez was alternately exactly where he needed to be (11 strikeouts) and far from it (8 walks), which made him the first pitcher ever to reach both those marks in fewer than six innings. This dynamic was perhaps best on display in the first two innings, with all six outs coming by the K and not a single ball put in play—and six walks, too. In the first inning, Martinez walked the bases loaded and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch before managing to get Greg Bird out looking to end the inning on his third strikeout:
The Yankees won, 3-2; anyone who’s been looking for a reason to gawk at old Nolan Ryan numbers also won. While it’s obviously no surprise that he’s at the top of the leaderboard for high strikeout/high walk games, the actual numbers are just ridiculous. There have been 20 games with 12 or more strikeouts and 8 or more walks; Ryan had seven of those.*
*Not counting extra-inning games, though Ryan did pitch 13 innings with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks in 1974. I am sad to report there is no footage on YouTube; go make do with a replay of Martinez from today instead, I guess.