Looking back at recent complete game shutouts


After going an AL record 341 games between nine-inning complete games, the Yankees have received two such efforts in the last week. CC Sabathia did the honors against the Blue Jays last Tuesday and Bartolo Colon did the same to the Athletics yesterday, but you might remember that Sabathia’s was not a shutout. He allowed four runs in the early innings of that game before settling down. A big reason why the Yankees have had so few complete games (shutouts or otherwise) in recent years is Mariano Rivera, and that’s a pretty damn good reason. In honor of Colon’s gem, let’s look back at the last five complete game shutouts thrown by Yankees’ pitchers.

(AP Photo/Rob Carr)

CC Sabathia (May 8th, 2009 vs. Orioles)

This game is more memorable for Alex Rodriguez than Sabathia. After missing the first 28 games of the season due to his hip surgery, A-Rod returned to the lineup in Baltimore and promptly hit a three run homerun on the first pitch in his first at-bat. That swing gave the Yankees a lead Sabathia would protect for all nine innings, allowing four hits and a walk on 112 pitches. Two of those hits led off the ninth, but CC rebounded to punch out the next three for outs numbers 25, 26, and 27. This was Sabathia’s “welcome to New York” moment of sorts; he came into the game with a 4.85 ERA and the Yankees were just 2-4 in his starts. (Game Score: 86)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Chien-Ming Wang (July 28th, 2006 vs. Devil Rays)

Two years before his career effectively ended while running the bases in Houston (sob sob), CMW tossed nine shutout and fairly typical CMW innings against the team former known as the Devil Rays at home. He struck out just one of the 30 batters he faced, getting 19 ground ball outs and seven in the air. Tampa didn’t put a man on base until the fifth inning, when they got one of their two hits. It was vintage Chien-Ming Wang, he threw just 104 pitches thanks to the impatient Devil Rays’ batters. (Game Score: 82)

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Aaron Small (Sept. 3rd, 2005 vs. Athletics)

Yep, Aaron Small. Fun fact: He made just nine starts in 2005 despite that 10-0 record. The other win came in long relief. The Yankees gave Small just one run of support through the first six innings, so his margin for error was small. He allowed five hits and two walks on 112 pitches, but only once did Oakland have two runners on base at the same time. Small struck out just three, getting most of the other outs in the air and on line drives. Good thing he was pitching in spacious Whatever They Called It Back Then Coliseum. (Game Score: 78).

Mike Mussina (June 14th, 2005 vs. Pirates)

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Pirates put someone on base, and Bernie Williams saved the shutout by throwing a runner out at the plate in the sixth inning. No, seriously. Bernie really threw a runner (Matt Lawton) out at the plate. Moose struck out six and walked one, surrendering five hits in this game, throwing a tidy 109 pitches in the interleague matchup. The Yankees scored seven runs before the fifth inning was over, making life a little easier for their starter. (Game Score: 82)

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Carl Pavano (May 17th, 2005 vs. Mariners)

Pavano didn’t do much for the Yankees, so this game was easily his best in pinstripes. This was before the days of the completely punchless Mariners offense, and Pavano allowed just five singles and a hit batsman against seven strikeouts. Two of those hits came in the fourth inning and another two came in the ninth, when the Yankees were up six-zip. This was Pavano’s ninth start of the season, and he’d make just 17 more over the next three and a half seasons with New York. (Game Score: 84)

* * *

Moose owns four of the six complete game shutouts before those five games, with the other two going to Roger Clemens and David Wells. Boomer actually threw nine complete game shutouts in pinstripes, six more than Andy Pettitte did in 273 fewer starts. Wow. Here’s a list of all 806 CG SHO in Yankees’ history.

Categories : Pitching
  • Accent Shallow

    One of those CGSHOs by Moose is the almost-perfect game, I’m sure.

    Oy vey. Freakin’ Jurassic Carl.

    • JamesNeuf

      My god do I hate Carl Everett.

      • Clay Bellinger

        Agree. I used the word “hate” for very few players, but Carl Everett is pretty close to the top of that list.

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

    Bartolo = the new Wells. Bartolo used stem cells, Wells used beer. Same difference right?

  • Mike Myers

    Whitey Ford had a 11ip shutout. Amazing! That would never happen today.

    • Mike Myers

      Catfish too….crazy

      • Kosmo

        Complete games were great.Juan Marichal pitched a 16 inning shutout vs Warren Spahn in 1963.1-0

  • James

    I remember the Moose one against the Pirates because there was all this talk about whether or not Joe Torre would allow him to go for the complete game. He gave up a leadoff single or something like that to start the 9th and Torre came to the top step of the dugout. Mussina turned to him from the mound and yelled… sit back down! Torre laughed and sat down and Moose threw the complete game.

    • Mike Myers

      Yep, then the media tried to get Torre all fired up and say he was losing control of his players. Torre then brushed it off like a pro. Torre vs. the media…his best skill.

      • James

        Torre vs. his young reliever’s arms… his worst (Scott Proctor’s right arm just whimpered somewhere :p)

        • Clay Bellinger

          I think you can take “young” out of the above statement.

          To Mike’s point though, Torre really was awesome with the media.

    • Max

      I think that game was in detroit, and it was an arod error to lose the shutout on the would be last batter, so torre figured whatever.

  • Kosmo

    Looking back to the 1978 season Guidry in back to back starts tossed in September two 2-hit shutouts vs. the Red Sox .One at the stadium and one at Fenway .He also hurled another 2-hit shutout in Sept 1978.
    In Mussina´s near no-hitter against the Sox in 2001 he was opposed by none other than David Cone who if I remember correctly pitched a 5 -hit one run game.

    • 28 this year

      Cone played for the Sox?

      • Clay Bellinger

        Yes, I’d like to forget that too.

  • Max

    I think that moose torre game was against detroit in detroit, and arod made an error on the final out to lose the shutout, so torre figured whatever.

    • Max

      Reply fail. The mobile version of the site is weird today…

      • Max

        Aaaaaaaaaaand just noticed the double post. Nertz.

  • rbizzler

    I was at the Pavano game at Safeco and he was really nasty that day. He had the M’s off balance with his change up. I remember leaving the park feeling bullish about Carl’s tenure in pinstripes.

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      Yup it seemed like a pretty decent signing. Until it wasn’t.

  • first time lawng time

    Why does it say game score in parentheses followed by a number in the 80s?

    • Esteban

      Because that’s the game score for that game. What is a game score? Google it.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Elitism is annoying.

        • Esteban

          I’m being elitist? What does elitism even mean in this context? Isn’t it easier and preferable for FTLT to get the correct definition by googling it rather than getting a second hand interpretation by me?

          • The209

            smug would probably be a better word.

            • Esteban

              Haha. Yes, I have a smug cloud around me at all times.

          • first time lawng time


            And I just wasn’t sure if it was a new term or something exclusive to RAB so I didn’t google it (iwas also too lazy lol).

  • Jon

    I can’t believe Bartolo came back at this caliber of play. Why couldn’t he do this on his previous 3 teams?

  • Greg

    Over a period of just over 4 years, Mussina had 8 out of 14. Wells 2, Clemens 1, Pettitte 1, Pavano 1, Lilly 1.

  • Greg

    May 31, 2006- That was when Mussina told Torre to sit back down. A-Rod had the error that ruined what should have been a CGSO. But at least they got the CG win- which are pretty rare also. Clemens, for example, only had 3 total complete games during his entire Yankees run. Mussina only had 12 in 8 seasons himself.