In the movie “Bull Durham,” Durham Bulls rookie pitching sensation Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh broke league records with 18 strikeouts and 18 walks. While those numbers may not be very close to reality and used more for theatric and storyline enhancement, a professional pitcher having 18 strikeouts and 18 walks in an outing does beg the question: Has there ever been a Milwaukee Brewers’ pitcher who had a Nuke LaLoosh-like game?
Well, the short answer is “No.” But let’s dig a little deeper.
In the Milwaukee Brewers franchise history, there have been two times when the Brew Crew’s pitcher had seven or more strikeouts and seven or more walks in the same game, nowhere near the 18/18 stat sheet by LaLoosh.
Two Nuke LaLoosh-type outings by Brewers’ pitchers
Back on September 29, 1974, Brewers’ starting pitcher Jim Slaton had 10 strikeouts and eight walks in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. Slaton pitched 8.1 innings and gave up four earned runs in the Brewers 4-3 loss to Baltimore. Slaton was the losing pitcher
Thirty-two years later, on September 28, 2006, Brewers starter Doug Davis pitched six innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run in a game versus the Cardinals. He also had seven strikeouts and eight walks in the contest. The Brewers won the game 9-4 with Davis getting the win.
If we move the numbers down a little and consider games where a Brewers pitcher had at least six strikeouts and six walks, there have been 33 games in team history where pitchers had those numbers in their pitching line. The last time it happened was August 23, 2015, when Matt Garza was the starting pitcher for the Crew. He had 4.1 innings pitched and had seven strikeouts and six walks in the 9-5 loss to Washington.
Seven different Brewers pitchers had multiple six strikeout/six walk games in their Milwaukee careers. Leading the way was Gene Brabender who had four such games in his Milwaukee career. Here are those seven Brewers’ pitchers with the number of six strikeout/six walk games:
Brewers’ pitchers with most 6-strikeout/6-walk games
3-Skip Lockwood, Jim Slaton
2-Al Downing, Yovani Gallardo, Jim Lonborg, Hideo Nomo.
Searching the pitching lines of all baseball, there have been 14 times in the game’s history where a pitcher had 10 or more strikeouts and 10 or more walks in the same game. It has been, however, more than 30 years since it has happened in the majors.
On September 1, 1990, Texas starter Bobby Witt had 10 strikeouts and 10 walks in the Rangers’ 3-2 win over Oakland. Witt had seven innings pitched and allowed two earned runs on four hits. He is the last pitcher to reach these numbers.
Of the 14 times when a pitcher had 10 strikeouts and 10 walks in the same game, there were two pitchers who accomplished this feat twice, both as members of the Cleveland Indians: Bob Feller and Sam McDowell. Feller had a game with 12 strikeouts and 10 walks along with a game with 13 strikeouts and 11 walks; McDowell had a 12 strikeouts/11 walk game and a 10 strikeout/10 walk contest.
Was Nolan Ryan the closest thing to Nuke LaLoosh?
One final note: If there was ever a game pitched that came close to a Nuke LaLoosh game it might have been on June 14, 1974. On that day Nolan Ryan pitched 13 innings, struck-out 19 batters and walked 10 in the California Angels’ 15-inning 4-3 win over Boston.