Wolf, Billingsley Led in Innings Per Start

Randy Wolf

Randy Wolf, Chad Billingsley and Jon Garland were the only Dodger starters to top the six-inning per start mark during the 2009 season, with Wolf leading the way with a 6.30 and Billingsley second at 6.19.

As a team the 2008 Dodgers per-nine inning mark slipped slightly from 5.72 to 5.68. Billingsley increased his numbers from his second major league season, recording 6.13 innings per start compared to his 2007 mark of 5.60.

Lowe led the team in 2008 with 6.21 innings per start and Billingsley was second at 6.13. Surprisingly, Greg Maddux finished fourth in 2008, averaging 5.75 innings over his seven starts. Of the 12 starting pitchers used, eight of them finished below the team average of 5.68.

 2009 Innings per start
	      starts   inn   inps
Wolf		34   214   6.30
Billingsley	32   195   6.08
Garland		 6    36   6.05
Kuroda		20   116   5.80
Kershaw		30   169   5.63
Haeger		 3    16   5.43
Padilla		 7    37   5.33
Stults	 	10    50   5.00
Milton	  	 5    24   4.72
Schmidt		 4    18   4.40
Weaver		 7    32   4.51	
McDonald         4    13   3.33
 -------------------------------
 Totals		162  920   5.68


 2008 Innings per start
	      starts	 inn   inps
Lowe	        34       211	6.21				
Billingsley	32	 196	6.13
Kuroda	 	31	 183	5.91
Maddux	  	 7	  41	5.75
Penny	        17	  94	5.51
Stults	 	 7	  39	5.51
Johnson	  	 2	  10	5.50
Park	         5	  25	5.00
Loaiza	 	 3	  11	3.77
Kuo	         3	  11	3.53
 ----------------------------------
 Totals	    	162	 928	5.72
(Innings rounded to nearest third)
The Dodgers innings per start have cascaded downward nearly like a flight of stairs from 1998 to 2007, following the trend in baseball in general.

Innings per start
 1998  6.44
  1999  6.19
   2000  6.13
    2001  6.01
     2002  6.09
      2003  6.08
       2004  5.90
        2005  5.77
         2006  5.70
 	  2007  5.66
           2008  5.72 
            2009  5.68
In the National League, the Dodgers slipped from third in the West Division in 2008 to fourth, with San Francisco, St. Louis and Atlanta topping their respective divisions.

National League

 West 			gm	inn	inps
SFrancisco		161	985	6.08
Colorado		162	971	6.00
Arizona			162	968	5.97
Los Angeles	        162	920	5.68
San Diego		162	879	5.43

 Central 		gm     inn     inps
St. Louis		162    1004     6.19
Cincinnati		162     963     5.94
Chicago			162     961     5.93
Milwaukee		162     891     5.62
Florida			162     903     5.57
Houston			162     896     5.53

 East 			gm      inn	inps
Atlanta			162     986     6.09
Philadelphia	        162     964	5.95
Pittsburgh		162     952	5.88
New York		162     924	5.71
Washington		162     901	5.56
 NL Totals		  		5.82
Koufax's Remarkable Record
Sandy Koufax, listed on nearly every Los Angeles pitching record chart, holds the club record with a remarkable 8.39 innings per start set during the 1965 season, the best mark since 1942. Only three pitchers, two of them Hall of Famers, in the last 60 years have worked into the ninth inning and none since 1972, the short list including Don Sutton (8.27) and Don Drysdale in 1964 (8.03).

Starters today rarely work in relief, but it was not uncommon some years ago to use starters for an inning or two between their starts, and a fixed rotation was somewhat of a rare occurrence until doubleheaders became a thing of the past.

In the Dodgers pennant winning year of 1941, Whit Wyatt and Kirby Higbe won 22 games each for manager Leo Durocher. Higbe started 39 times, had 19 complete games and relieved in another 11. Wyatt started 35 and completed 23.

Los Angeles had one complete games in 2009, with Eric Stults claiming credit for 8-0 whitewashing of San Francisco on May 9. Philadelphia led the National League with five complete games. Stults' gem ties the all-time low set in 2001 when Chan Ho Park had the only shutout on the staff.

The 1902 Brooklyn staff set a franchise record by completing 131 of 141 starts, a stunning 93%. But complete games have gradually became less and less the norm. After Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, the figures stayed in the 40s and 50s, although the 1974 pennant winners had only 33 complete games.

Bill Brickyard Kennedy set the Dodgers franchise record with 40 complete games out of 44 starts in 1893 and Sandy Koufax holds the Los Angeles Dodger mark with 27, accomplished in both 1965 and 1966 before his elbow shut him down.

Over Koufax's final four seasons (1963-64-65-66) he averaged a remarkable 7.995 innings per start. But Fernando Valenzuela had a longer run. From his rookie season in 1981 through the 1987 season he averaged 7.64 innings per start.

No Dodger pitcher has earned a spot in the top 20 since Orel Hershiser in 1988.

Top 25 All-Time Innings Per Start
 (25+ starts)
 inn                 (starts)
8.39 - Sandy Koufax, 1965 (41)
8.27 - Don Sutton, 1972 (33)
8.03 - Don Drysdale, 1964 (40)
7.98 - Andy Messersmith, 1975 (40)
7.93 - Sandy Koufax, 1964 (28)

7.91 - Fernando Valenzuela, 1986 (34)
7.88 - Sandy Koufax, 1966 (41)
7.83 - Claude Osteen, 1969 (41)
7.83 - Bill Singer 1969 (40)
7.79 - Don Sutton, 1976 (34)

7.78 - Sandy Koufax, 1963 (40)
7.77 - Fernando Valenzuela, 1985 (35)
7.76 - Don Sutton, 1973 (33)
7.71 - Don Drysdale, 1968 (31)
7.68 - Fernando Valenzuela, 1981 (25)
7.68 - Fernando Valenzuela, 1984 (34)

7.64 - Claude Osteen, 1972 (33)
7.63 - Orel Hershiser, 1988 (34)
7.58 - Andy Messersmith, 1975 (33)
7.52 - Orel Hershiser, 1989 (33)
7.51 - Orel Hershiser, 1987 (35)

7.50 - Don Drysdale, 1963 (42)
7.49 - Andy Messersmith, 1974 (34)
7.42 - Don Drysdale, 1967 (38)
7.38 - Burt Hooton 1978 (32)
7.38 - Fernando Valenzuela, 1987 (34)

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