Last week, two Yankees combined to have one of the most brutal relief outings of all time. Between them, Chad Green and Adam Ottavino allowed ten runs while getting just one out. That’s one out total, not each. In doing so, they turned what seemed like it was a fairly comfortable 7-2 win into an incredibly frustrating 12-7 loss.
On the entire opposite end of the spectrum is what one Yankee reliever did on August 25, 1976.
After allowing four runs in the second inning, Yankees starter Ed Figueroa had settled in. He blanked the Twins in the next several frames, allowing his offense to even the score. In the seventh, he allowed a double while getting one out, leading to Billy Martin going to the bullpen. In stepped Dick Tidrow, who got two ground balls to end the seventh and keep the game tied. His day was only just beginning, though.
Tidrow stayed in for the eighth and ninth and retired six straight. The Yankees’ offense, however, also were kept off the board, despite putting a potential winning run in scoring position in the ninth. The game was off to extra innings and so was Tidrow.
In the 10th, he allowed a lead-off single, but quickly got a double play to avert any danger. Meanwhile, the Yankees stranded Thurman Munson on third in their half of the inning. It was a similar story in the 11th and 12th, with Tidrow cruising along and the Yankees missing chances.
From the 13th through 16th innings, Tidrow allowed just two base runners, one of which reached via a Jim Mason error. Instead of stranding runners, the Yankees’ offense decided to not put any on at all in that time frame.
After another scoreless inning from both sides in the 17th, Tidrow came back out for the 18th. He allowed a lead-off single, leading to his removal from the game. Tidrow finished with a line of no runs allowed off four hits in 10.2 innings pitched. That is the 13th longest scoreless relief outing ever, and the longest by a Yankee.
While Tidrow was probably a perfectly good teammate and would’ve been perfectly fine with that happened next, it also probably had to sting a little bit. In the bottom of the 19th, Mickey Rivers singled home Oscar Gamble to give the Yankees a 5-4 win. Yes there are some very legitimate qualms with the pitching win as a stat. However, throwing more than a complete game of scoreless baseball and not getting one, but the team still winning, has to have been annoying.
That single game represented 11% of the innings Tidrow pitched in 1976. He started two games that year, in both of which he went at least seven innings. However taking into account just relief appearances, this one was more than double his next longest.
It’s pretty rare to see anyone throw 10.2 innings in a game in recent years, never mind a reliever. It would probably take some extreme circumstances to see it happen anytime soon. To do it pretty perfectly and not get the small reward of a pitching win probably would’ve been a tad aggravating.
All stats courtesy of the Baseball Reference Stathead