COMPLETE GAME VICTORIES TO CLINCH DIVISION SERIES (Updated with Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia)


In 2010, I wrote a post about pitchers who threw a complete game victory to clinch the Division Series.

Since then, Chris Carpenter, Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia have been added to the list, so it was time to update this list.

In this day and age of specialized relievers, complete games have become more rare and pitchers finishing a clinching game is even less common.

But these pitchers pulled off the feat. And two were added this year.

Let’s update it.

Complete Game Division Series ClinchersJohn Smoltz
1997 ATLANTA BRAVES
Game 3
4-1 victory against Houston Astros


Bobby Jones
2000 NEW YORK METS
Game 4
4-0 victory against San Francisco Giants


Curt Schilling
2001 ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Game 5
2-1 victory against St. Louis Cardinals


Cole Hamels
2010 PHILADELPHIA PHLLIES
Game 3
2-0 victory against Cincinnati Reds

Cliff Lee
2010 TEXAS RANGERS
Game 5
5-1 victory against Tampa Bay Rays

 
 
Chris Carpenter
Game 5
1-0 victory against Philadelphia Phillies
Justin Verlander
Game 5
6-0 victory against Oakland Athletics

CC Sabathia
2012 NEW YORK YANKEES 
Game 5
3-1 victory against Baltimore Orioles

The 2001 Series didn’t end with Schilling on the mound getting the last out. The series ended with a walk off single by Tony Womack.

For sticklers of details, they played the Division Series in 1981 as well and two more complete games clinched series THAT year.

Steve Rogers
1981 MONTREAL EXPOS
Game 5
3-0 victory against Philadelphia Phillies

Jerry Reuss
1981 LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Game 5
4-0 victory against Houston Astros

But while relievers were being used more frequently then, the whole specialization of EVERY bullpen role (and the cheapening of the save) didn’t come around until the late 1980s.

So Verlander and Sabathia did the trick this year. If they face off in the ALCS, it should be quite a battle.

Let’s see if this gets updated in 2013.

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