2013: The Year of the Shutout

Through last night, just about every team has played 12 games so far this season, and we’ve already had 36 shutouts in 2013. With 358 total games having been played so far, that’s 10% of games ending in a shutout.

By comparison, in all of 2012, there were 310 shutouts in 4860 games, just 6.4%. And in the first 12 games of the season for each team, there were 24 shutouts out of 36o games (6.7%).

Going back as far as we’ve had 30 teams, here are the number of shutouts within the first 12 games for each team:

2013: 36
2012: 24
2011: 20
2010: 17
2009: 22
2008: 23
2007: 18
2006: 15
2005: 20
2004: 17
2003: 26
2002: 23
2001: 16
2000: 16
1999: 15
1998: 20
1997: 15

So, the most shutouts in the first 12 games of any season from 1997 to 2012 was 26, and this year we have 36. Over those previous 16 years, there were 19.2 shutouts on average, and this year we have close to double that…

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7 Comments on "2013: The Year of the Shutout"

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Those 36 shutouts are the most on an absolute and per team basis in the first 12 games of the season since the DH was introduced.

1972 had 33 shutouts among 24 teams, for 1.375 per team. The only year since then that is close to the 1.2 per team this year was 1991 with 30 shutouts among 26 teams, for 1.15 per team.

1968, BTW, had 25 shutouts among 20 teams, for 1.25 per team, just a hair above this year’s rate.

Big Daddy V

And yet runs per game are basically the same as last year, 4.32 to 4.27. And that’s with this being the coldest time of the year.

John Autin
And Miami’s 4 shutout losses matches the high for the period (2004 Expos and 2008 Tigers). Dodgers and Astros have 3 each this year. For 1998-2012, less than 1 team per year (on average) suffered 3+ shutout losses through 12 games. On the other hand: – The current 3.92 ERA is a tiny bit higher than the same point last year (3.89). – Only 5 of those 36 have been individual shutouts. There were 6 of those in 2005 (2 by Dontrelle), 7 in 2002 and in 2000. By the way … It’s early yet, but strikeouts are up again,… Read more »

Well, if you pull the Astros out of the equation strikeouts are probably down…

Bryan O'Connor
As John and brp mention, distribution of runs might have something to do with the uptick in shutouts despite the consistency in total runs scored. The Astros and Marlins are awful. I’d bet it has more to do with strikeouts- both the increased willingness of batters to accept them and the culture of teams seeking pitchers who excel at them. We seem to be moving toward a true outcome game- lots of strikeouts, lots of walks, and lots of homers, which means runs come in bunches. A team that strikes out in 22% of its PAs, walks in 10%, and… Read more »

I don’t have the resources to check that but I would bet you’re right, that the distribution of runs is in a bigger range. So rather than a team consistently scoring 2-6 runs there’s a better chance of 0 but also a better chance of 10+. Don’t have the data to verify, though.

Someone did post a TTO analysis at some point on this very blog, I think, but don’t recall for sure.


I like the article but in 1997 we still had 28 teams in MLB.