Jered Weaver’s no-hitter last week was actually part of an occurrence even rarer (at least, recently) than the no-hitter itself. What was this occurrence? The answer is a shutout streak - a team recording consecutive complete games with no runs allowed.

After the jump, I’ll take a closer look at this vanishing phenomenon.

This past week, the LA Angels became the first team in almost 36 years to have a 4-game stretch of recording back-to-back shutouts and being shutout back-to-back. Including Weaver’s no-hitter, the Angels blanked the Twins for two, and then got a taste of their own medicine in a pair against Toronto. These are the games.

Rk   Strk Start End Games W L CG SHO IP H BB SO HBP WP BK Opp
18 TOR 2012-05-03 2012-05-04 2 2 0 2 2 18.0 9 1 11 0 0 0 LAA
19 LAA 2012-05-01 2012-05-02 2 2 0 2 2 18.0 3 2 15 0 0 0 MIN
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/6/2012.

The last team to have such a 4-game stretch was the 1976 St. Louis Cardinals who were shut out by the Mets and then blanked the Expos, in these games.

Rk   Strk Start End Games W L CG SHO IP H BB SO HBP WP BK Opp
52 STL 1976-07-02 1976-07-03 2 2 0 2 2 18.0 12 6 15 0 0 0 MON
53 NYM 1976-06-29 1976-07-01 2 2 0 2 2 18.0 8 5 14 0 2 0 STL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/6/2012.

Here are the other times since 1969 that a team has been involved in two different shutout streaks in the same week.

  Team Start End Games Opponent
Mets NYM 1969-09-17 1969-09-18 2 MON
PIT 1969-09-19 1969-09-20 2 NYM
           
Cubs PIT 1971-05-30 1971-06-01 3 CHC,STL
CHC 1971-06-03 1971-06-04 2 CIN,ATL
           
Royals CHW 1971-07-03 1971-07-04 2 KCR
KCR 1971-07-05 1971-07-06 2 CHW,MIL
           
Brewers MIL 1978-09-04 1978-09-06 2 SEA,TOR
MIL 1978-09-08 1978-09-09 2 MIN
           
Angels MIL 1992-09-23 1992-09-24 2 CAL
KCR 1992-09-29 1992-09-30 2 CAL
           
Red Sox BOS 1993-04-18 1993-04-19 2 CHW
SEA 1993-04-21 1993-04-22 2 BOS
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/6/2012.

Of course, with complete games disappearing from most pitchers’ stat lines, complete game shutouts have become pretty rare, never mind shutout streaks. Here’s a chart, showing number of shutout streaks by year. Note that streaks of more than 2 games are counted as a single streak. Also, “team shutouts” are excluded – a shutout is defined as a complete game with no runs allowed.

 

With the two streaks last week, the total number of multi-game shutout streaks since 2000 stands at eleven. In comparison, from 1969 (the year of the major rule changes) to 1976, there were at least 12 multi-game shutout streaks every year. For the twenty-one seasons from 1969 to 1989, there were at least 6 such streaks in all but three years, something that has happened only once (1992) since then. The first year since 1969 with no streaks was 1991, whereas that has happened in 5 of the past 8 seasons. There has not been a season with more than 2 streaks since 1998, a trend which could change this year.

Of the 275 shutout streaks since 1969, only these ones are longer than 2 games.

Rk   Strk Start End Games W L CG SHO IP H BB SO HBP WP BK Opp
1 BAL 1974-09-02 1974-09-06 5 5 0 5 5 45.0 16 6 24 0 0 0 BOS,CLE
2 PHI 1969-08-13 1969-08-16 4 4 0 4 4 36.0 20 10 18 2 1 0 ATL,HOU
3 MIN 2004-07-05 2004-07-07 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 13 2 24 3 0 0 KCR
4 BAL 1995-09-26 1995-09-29 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 13 2 17 0 0 0 TOR,DET
5 NYM 1988-04-12 1988-04-15 3 3 0 3 3 24.0 9 4 16 0 0 0 MON,STL
6 LAD 1983-05-22 1983-05-24 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 10 10 24 0 0 0 NYM,PHI
7 MON 1979-05-29 1979-05-31 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 18 4 17 0 0 0 PHI
8 CAL 1976-10-03 1977-04-07 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 14 13 29 0 0 0 OAK,SEA
9 PIT 1976-10-02 1976-10-03 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 17 4 13 0 0 0 STL
10 CAL 1974-09-28 1974-10-01 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 11 12 31 1 0 0 MIN,OAK
11 OAK 1972-07-31 1972-08-02 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 10 1 14 0 0 0 TEX,KCR
12 CHC 1971-08-03 1971-08-05 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 14 6 16 1 0 0 HOU,SDP
13 PIT 1971-05-30 1971-06-01 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 11 7 15 0 0 0 CHC,STL
14 NYM 1970-05-13 1970-05-16 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 6 8 32 1 0 0 CHC,PHI
15 NYM 1969-09-24 1969-09-27 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 11 6 16 0 0 0 STL,PHI
16 CHC 1969-05-11 1969-05-13 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 17 9 30 0 0 0 SFG,SDP
17 BAL 1969-04-12 1969-04-13 3 3 0 3 3 27.0 11 4 19 0 0 0 WSA
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/7/2012.

Here is a table showing multi-game shutout streak data by team, since 1969.

  Shut Out Opponent Streak   Shut Out By Same Opponent Streak
Team Most Recent Streaks Longest Most Recent Streaks Longest
Angels 2012-05-02 11 2 2012-05-04 11 2
Astros 1997-07-11 17 3 1992-04-29 5 2
Athletics 2000-09-10 12 3 1993-06-16 4 2
Blue Jays 2012-05-04 5 2 1983-08-06 4 2
Braves 1998-08-07 6 3 1989-09-16 15 2
Cardinals 1996-06-03 13 2 1992-07-01 6 3
Cubs 2001-05-25 8 3 1997-06-07 5 2
Diamondbacks Never 0 1 Never 0 1
Dodgers 1995-05-25 25 3 2002-05-15 5 2
Expos/Nationals 1997-06-07 9 3 2008-08-09 9 2
Giants 2002-08-20 9 2 1992-06-24 5 2
Indians 1981-04-18 6 2 1985-07-19 5 2
Mariners 1993-04-22 2 2 2003-09-04 4 2
Marlins 1997-04-11 2 2 Never 0 1
Mets 2010-08-13 18 3 1995-05-25 9 2
Orioles 1995-09-29 17 5 1983-05-22 4 2
Padres 1998-08-16 10 2 1988-08-30 7 2
Phillies 1986-09-15 5 4 1989-08-09 7 3
Pilots/Brewers 2008-08-09 15 2 1998-08-16 10 2
Pirates 1992-07-01 13 3 2010-05-12 8 2
Rays 2003-09-04 1 2 2000-09-10 1 2
Red Sox 1993-04-19 17 2 1993-04-22 4 3
Reds 2010-05-12 4 2 1986-04-27 7 2
Rockies Never 0 1 Never 0 1
Royals 1992-09-30 6 2 2004-07-07 8 3
Senators/Rangers 1996-08-12 10 2 1992-07-18 5 3
Tigers 1996-06-22 6 2 1976-05-25 3 2
Twins 2004-07-07 7 3 2012-05-02 8 2
White Sox 1994-07-02 13 2 1993-04-19 7 2
Yankees 1978-07-20 8 2 1984-05-20 6 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/6/2012.

So, the Yankees have gone the longest without having a shutout streak, and the Tigers the longest without being shutout by the same opponent in consecutive games. The Yankees and Indians have both done neither since the mid-1980s, and the Angels have now done both in the past week. 

Finally, for you Red Sox fans, here are the teams since 1969 to shut out their opponent in both ends of a double-header.

Team Start End Games Opponent
LAD 1971-09-19 1971-09-19 2 ATL
NYY 1972-07-21 1972-07-21 2 CAL
OAK 1974-09-09 1974-09-09 2 KCR
STL 1975-06-23 1975-06-23 2 NYM
BOS 1975-07-27 1975-07-27 2 NYY
BOS 1975-09-26 1975-09-26 2 CLE
BOS 1977-09-05 1977-09-05 2 TOR

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/6/2012.

 

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