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Jeff Hoffman’s historic pitching debut

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Jeff Hoffman’s claim to history can be summarized thusly: 4/7/7/6/1/2

Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images

Prospect sensation and big fish of the Troy Tulowtizki trade Jeff Hoffman made his major-league debut on Saturday night. It didn’t go all that well. Hoffman allowed seven runs in just four innings of work. He struck out just two batters in those four innings, and he walked one. The Rockies, predictably, lost. Teams literally never win when their starting pitcher allows exactly seven runs in exactly four innings pitched while striking out exactly two batters and walking exactly one.

It’s true. All eight times in baseball history that a pitcher has posted that line, the team has lost. There hasn’t been a pitching line like that since...

Eddie Butler posted the same line on August 3, 2015, against the Seattle Mariners. It was also at Coors Field. This was a tough one, as the Rockies lost 8-7. Hoffman’s start was better than Butler’s. Butler gave up three home runs, whereas Hoffman gave up one. And that one home run came off of the bat of one of the best home run hitters in the National League. Before Butler, there hadn’t been a pitching line like that since...

September 4 of the previous year, 2014, when Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds posted the same line against the Baltimore Orioles. The Reds lost 9-7. Six of the seven runs he allowed came in the first inning. Like Butler, he gave up three dingers in the game. Before Leake, there hadn’t been a pitching line like that since...

The Chicago White Sox’ Gavin Floyd posted the same line against the Mariners on August 11, 2007. The White Sox were down 7-2 heading into the ninth. They put up four runs, but they ultimately lost 7-6. Floyd gave up two home runs. Before Floyed, there hadn’t been a pitching line like that since...

Joel Piñeiro, of the Mariners, gave up seven runs in four innings while striking out two and walking one against the Kansas City Royals on September 16, 2006. Like Hoffman, he gave up just one home run in this game. It makes it a touch more similar to Hoffman’s debut than the others. The Royals won 7-4. Before Piñeiro, there hadn’t been a pitching like like that since...

June 7, 2005, when Boston’s Matt Clement had that line against the St. Louis Cardinals. He gave up two home runs in the game. The Red Sox lost 9-2, which is also the final score of Saturday’s game. Before Clement, there hadn’t been a pitching like like that since...

Another Colorado Rockies’ starter, Darryl Kile, did it against the Reds on July 15, 1999. Kile allowed one home run, like Hoffman. Piñeiro and Kile are the only other two starters to post Hoffman’s debut pitching line and allow just one home run. This one was at Cinergy Field/Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. The Rockies lost 10-7. Neifi Perez, Kirt Manwaring, and Darryl Hamilton homered for the Rockies. Before Kile, there hadn’t been a pitching like like that since...

May 26, 1965, when Boston’s Earl Wilson posted that very line against the Minnesota Twins. And now for an admission: each game up until now has accounted for runs allowed instead of earned runs. One of the runs Hoffman let score was unearned. We have only seen a pitching line of four innings, seven runs, six earned, one walk, and two strikeouts, once before. It was Earl Wilson. Still, Wilson’s night was worse. He allowed three home runs in a tough night at the stadium, Fenway Park, that was the 1960s approximation of Coors Field.

Eight times a pitcher has allowed seven runs, at least six of them earned, in four innings while walking one and striking out two. The first time it happened was in 1965, the most recent time was Jeff Hoffman’s debut on Saturday night. The other six in between took place between 1999 and 2015.

We don’t know what kind of career Jeff Hoffman will have. But, with relative confidence, we can conclude that he will never pitch a game like he did on Saturday night again.