For the second time this week and fourth time this season, an MLB pitcher joined the immaculate inning club. It's an elite group. Before Wednesday, only 70 pitchers since 1889 had accomplished the immaculate inning — three batters, three strikeouts, nine pitches.
Make it 71. Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards achieved immaculateness in the second inning of his team's win over the Houston Astros. Richards was stellar overall too. He struck out nine, gave up just four hits and didn't allow a run in the Angels' 4-0 win.
Indians pitcher Justin Masterson beat Richards to the three-strikeout, nine-pitch gang, earning his membership on Monday.Maybe 2014 isn't just the season of Tommy John surgeries, it may also be the season of the immaculate inning.
This makes the fourth immaculate inning of the season. Brad Boxberger (May 8) and Cole Hamels (May 17) threw the others. This is only the third time there have been four immaculate innings in one season. Heck, some seasons it doesn't happen at all. (You can find the entire list of immaculate innings at Baseball Almanac, if you're interested).
In 2002, it happened four times and in 1998, it happened five times. That's the record for a single season.
At this pace, it seems like the pitchers of 2014 have a good shot of at least tying that record and maybe breaking it.
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