Friday, July 20, 2012

[oofiwxnb] Innings with less than 9 pitches

What are the instances, if any, of a baseball pitcher completing a 3-out inning in less than 9 pitches?  The number 9 is inspired by the rare 9 pitch, 3-strikeout inning, but there there don't have to be strikeouts for this.

Are their circumstances where a batter may be awarded first base without a pitch being thrown (balk?). If so, I think the minimum is 1 pitch, with the third batter hitting into a triple-play on the first pitch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Saw this problem long ago, phrased: What is the minimum number of pitches needed to complete a regulation 9-inning game?
Answer was given as 17 (2 balks followed by hitting into triple play for first 8 1/2 innings, 4 balks in last half inning). But this is wrong. Real answer is 0: for first 8 1/2 innings, each batter gets 1st base on a balk but is picked off later when trying to steal or lead off too far. Last half inning has four balks and no one picked off. Or one balk and 3 successful steals.

Related question: what is the minimum number of times a pitcher can touch the ball in a regulation 9-inning game, assuming the same pitcher for the entire game?