Monday in Oakland, Jarrod Parker hurled 6.2 innings of 1-run ball in beating the Red Sox for the 2nd time in as many tries.

It’s the 9th time out of 14 career games that he’s gone 6+ IP allowing 1 run or less. No other pitcher from 1918 to the present had as many starts of 6+ IP and 1 run or less through 14 career games.

Three pitchers had 8 such starts: Jered WeaverOrlando Hernandez and Dwight Gooden.

To help keep this in proper context, let’s remember:

(1) For the first several decades of the game-searchable era, pitchers rarely began their careers as pure starters. I searched 1918-1960 and found just 10 pitchers who started each of their first 14 career games, as Parker has done. In the last 20 years — which is roughly the same number of MLB games as 1918-60, considering expansion and the longer schedule — 215 pitchers have started each of their first 14 career games.

(2) Parker has gone 7 IP or less in 8 of the 9 games. In our era, it’s normal to take out a pitcher after 7 innings, even if he’s yielded 1 run or less, even if he’s winning. But 40+ years ago, that was rare; the norm was that a pitcher stays in until he’s getting hit hard, or a pinch-hitter is needed. For example, those 10 pitchers from 1918-60 who started in each of their first 14 career games averaged over 7 complete games in their first 14 starts. The 215 “pure starters” in the recent era averaged less than 0.4 CG in their first 14 starts.  Obviously, there were many games in the CG Era in which a pitcher had allowed 1 run or less through 6 or 7 innings, but stayed in the game and wound up yielding 2+ runs.

But with those caveats, it’s still quite a feat. Through 14 starts (13 this year) and 86 career innings, Parker has a 2.30 ERA, and hasn’t allowed a single unearned run. Only 2 of the 215 pure starters mentioned above had a lower ERA through 14 games: Zach Duke (1.81), and Hideo Nomo (1.90). Only 19 had an ERA below 3. A solid majority (130/215) had ERA over 4, and more than a quarter (58/215) had ERA over 5.

So, congratulations to Jarrod, and to the A’s management for snagging him in the Trevor Cahill deal. Incidentally, Cahill lost tonight, falling to 6-7 with a 3.63 ERA.

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