20 Innings of Excellence by Matthew Carruth June 21, 2009 With one out in the top of the 7th of a game between the Mets and the Yankees on June 13th, Gary Sheffield hit a home run to deep left off of Alfredo Aceves. With two outs in the top of the 5th of today’s game between the Marlins and the Yankees, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run home run off of Brett Tomko that tied the game at three. What is the significance? Well, between those two events, Yankee relievers allowed exactly zero runs, a period that spanned 20 innings. Lets have a roll call of the eight pitchers involved. Alfredo Aceves pitched the most of those 20 innings, clocking in with five. Over his stints, he allowed zero walks and struck out three. Phil Hughes, coming out of the pen while Chein-Ming Wang remains in the rotation, was next in line, tossing four innings, striking out six and not issuing a walk. Phil Coke handled three innings and punched out six batters during them, though he did allow a walk. Jose Veras had a quiet pair of innings, walking none and getting two strikeouts. David Robertson faced eight hitters over his two innings pitched. His two walks made him the only pitcher to walk that many. He also struck out three and induced two ground outs and an infield fly out. Brett Tomko had a ho-hum 1.2 innings with no walks and two strikeouts. Brian Bruney chipped in for 1.1 innings with a strikeout and a pair of ground outs. Mariano Rivera matched Bruney but in one less out, going one inning with a strikeout and a pair of ground outs. All told, 20 innings, three walks, 24 strikeouts and, quite obviously, no home runs. Of the 46 balls put in play, 18 of them were on the ground, a solid 39%. It was quite a stretch of dominance.