Swindell near-Maddux Marred by Baerga Error
First off, ‘What’s a Maddux?” Jason Lukehart invented the term, and is the best resource to explain it in full. In short, The starting pitcher must toss a shutout, and he must throw fewer than 100 pitches.
Greg Swindell came into 1991 as one one of the best young pitchers in the majors on a historically bad team. Swindell lead the League in walks per 9 innings and strikeout/walk ratio, but still ended the season with 16 losses. The 1991 Indians scored 98 fewer runs than any other team in the American League, averaging only 3.6 runs per game.
No single game exemplifies Swindell’s talent and the 1991 team’s ineptitude more than Game 45.
Over 22,000 fans came out to Municipal Stadium on a beautiful June Saturday see Swindell match up with Bill Gullickson and the Tigers. With one out in the top of the first, Swindell hit Lou Whitaker with a pitch. Then, Carlos Baerga booted a grounder by Alan Trammel, allowing Trammel to reach on the error put Whitaker on third. Next up, Cecil Fielder hit a weak grounder to shortstop, scoring Whitaker on the fielder’s choice.
In the bottom of the first, Mark Lewis reached on a single to right field. Chris James sent a line drive triple to to center, allowing Lewis to score easily.
In the bottom of the fourth, Tribe catcher Joel Skinner drove home Brook Jacoby with a line drive to short left field. Carlos Baerga led off the bottom of the sixth with a double. With two outs, and after an intentional walk of Skinner, shortstop Felix Fermin drove in Baerga to bring the score to 3-1.
That was all the run support that Swindell needed. He worked efficiently and ruthlessly through the Detroit lineup. Swindell worked 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 9th. He needed only 90 pitches to dispatch the Tigers, 68 of which were strikes. He issued no walks, and struck out six. This game would qualify as a Maddux, if not for the unearned run scored after Baerga’s error.