by Nate Silver
The Cubs‘ Michael Wuertz accomplished something unusual today, entering the Cubs’ game against the Reds in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and nobody out and promptly striking out the side. Although Wuertz’ performance will be rewarded in our Adjusted Runs Prevented statistics, it wasn’t enough to save Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs, who had already given up six runs in the inning to blow a 5-0 lead. It was Cub baseball at its very Cubbiest, a frustrating result in a game in which Zambrano had been cruising and had helped his cause with a home run, and in which the Reds’ defense had more lapses in judgment than Don Imus.
Still, Wuertz’s performance deserves a toast. Thanks to Bil Burke, our intrepid data jock, we were able to track down other instances in which this sequence was accomplished: reliever enters game with no outs and bases loaded, strikes out side. This trifecta has happened only 27 times since 1960, making it about four times rarer than a no-hitter (there have been 117 no-nos since 1960), or hitting for the cycle (124). Here are the other honorees:Code:GAMEID INNING NP SUM(SO) SFN196006190 10 Jack Sanford 3 NYA196307230 8 Steve Hamilton 3 SLN196504180 9 Billy McCool 3 HOU196708010 5 Don Shaw 3 PHI196807071 9 Dick Hall 3 BAL196807260 6 Daryl Patterson 3 BOS196809180 7 Moe Drabowsky 3 WS2196904300 8 Sparky Lyle 3 CHA197106220 4 Jim York 3 DET197309220 8 Lerrin Lagrow 3 TEX197707070 6 Doug Bair 3 DET198008130 8 Aurelio Lopez 3 PIT198307250 6 Cecilio Guante 3 LAN198406300 2 Ken Howell 3 MIL198706300 9 Dan Plesac 3 SDN199106180 7 Stan Belinda 3 SEA199506120 6 Ron Villone 3 SEA199509200 9 Jeff Nelson 3 MON199709280 5 Rick DeHart 3 TOR199908140 6 Paul Spoljaric 3 COL200006290 8 Stan Belinda 3 MIN200208170 7 Alan Embree 3 DET200506170 9 Tyler Walker 3 MIN200509170 9 Joe Nathan 3 SLN200509300 6 Al Reyes 3 CHA200704040 8 David Aardsma 3I think this could catch on if we can come up with a memorable name for the accomplishment. I would suggest calling it a Belinda, in honor of the only pitcher on our list to have accomplished the feat twice. Note that ex-Cub David Aardsma already has a Belinda to his credit this season. There are also rumors that John Rocker had a Belinda during the post-season, but we were unable to confirm that at press time.