As you probably saw, Randy Wolf hit three batters in last night's game against the Cardinals, tying the Brewers single game record for plunking opposing batters. There have been 9 other games in Brewers history in which Milwaukee's starter hit three batters, but Wolf was the first to allow all three of his plunked batters to score runs after reaching base. The outcome was about what you'd expect from reading that last sentence, and the Brewers are 3-7 in games when a single pitcher hits three batters, and no Brewers pitcher has ever hit 3 batters and been credited with a win. However, most of the three plunk games in Brewers history were actually pretty good pitching performances. Read on if you'd like to learn more about three plunk games in Brewers history.
Yesterday's pitching line by Wolf - 5 innings pitched, 3 plunks, 6 earned runs - was not the worst three plunk game in team history. It was only the 2nd worst. On June 21, 1998, Jeff Juden got the ball to start the game for the Brewers, facing the Pirates. Things went down hill quickly. He hit Jermaine Allensworth in the first inning, and then hit old friend Jason Kendall in the third and Jermaine Allensworth again two batters later, loading the bases for a Jose Guillen grand slam. His final line was 2 innings pitched, three hit batters, 7 earned runs.
Overall though, it hasn't been that bad when a Brewers pitcher plunks three batters. Their combined ERA in those games is just 3.63, and in home games it's 2.98. The Brewers have lost 4 of these games by just 1 run, including that Jeff Juden game, somehow. Wolf's game yesterday was the worst of the losses, but they have been shut out two other times. Both those other shut outs were 1-0 losses. There have been 4 games in which the pitcher who hit three batters only gave up 1 run, and in two of those games it was an unearned run.
On June 28, 2001, Jamey Wright hit three batters - also against the Pirates, and also including Jason Kendall. But he only gave up 1 run in 6 2/3 innings of work. The Brewers lost the game 1-0, despite the effort of James Mouton, who became the first Brewers batter to get hit by a pitch in a game in which a Brewers pitcher hit 3 batters (got all that?). That game was the 7th time a Brewers pitcher hit 3 batters, and at that point 6 of the 7 were done in the process of Quality Starts (at least 6 innings, and fewer than 3 earned runs allowed). Juden's game was the only exception at that point, but no Brewer has hit 3 batters in a quality start since then.
The only other Brewer to get hit in the process of one of these 3 plunk games was Prince Fielder, who got the Brewers only plunk while Dana Eveland was plunking 3 Phillies on May 28, 2006. That was a 6-2 loss.
Going back in time a few years to the Brewers American League days, there were two different times a Brewers pitcher hit 3 batters while pitching 10 or more innings. On April 28, 1992, Bob Wegman faced the Kansas City Royals, and hit Mike Macfarlane in the 2nd inning (for the only bases loaded plunk in one of these games), then hit Mike Macfarlane again in the 7th and Rico Rossy in the 10th. The Royals won that one in the 11th inning, but Wegman's feat of hitting a batter in the 2nd and the 10th inning hasn't happened since - for any team. Actually, since that game, there hasn't been a single instance of a pitcher hitting a batter in the first 8 innings of a game, and then another batter in extra innings. There's only one game in my database of every plunk since 1974 and every american league plunk since 1965 where a pitcher hit a batter in innings further apart than Wegman's plunkings in the 2nd and 10th innings. And that game was another 3 plunk game for a Brewers pitcher.
On August 27, 1975, back when this sort of thing happened, Bill Travers of the Brewers and Bert Blyleven of the Twins shut out both teams for 10 full innings. Travers plunked Craig Kusick in the 2nd inning, but didn't let him score. Then he hit Criag Kusick again in the 6th inning, but didn't let him score. In the top of the 11th inning, with one out, Travers hit Craig Kusick for a third time. Kusick was lifted for a pinch runner, Travers walked the next batter and was relieved. The reliever (Tom Murphy) immediately gave up a single, driving in the pinch runner who had replaced Kusick. Blyleven finished off the his 11 inning shutout in the bottom of the inning, and the Brewers lost 1-0, in the only game in Brewers history where a pitcher hit the same batter 3 times. And that had to be the greatest 3 plunk game in Brewers history.
Here's the full list:
Randy Wolf - May 6, 2011 - hit Ryan Theriot, Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso
David Bush - Apr 28, 2009 - hit Freddy Sanchez, Eric Hinske and Andy LaRoche
Dana Eveland - May 28, 2006 - hit Aaron Rowand, Sal Fasano and Bobby Abreu
Jamey Wright - Jun 28, 2001 - hit Jason Kendall, Rob Mackowiak and Aramis Ramirez
John Snyder - Aug 15, 2000 - hit Dante Bichette, Michael Tucker and Barry Larkin
Jeff Juden - Jun 21, 1998 - hit Jermaine Allensworth, Jason Kendall and Jermaine Allensworth
Steve Woodard - May 27, 1998 - hit Jason Kendall, Kevin Polcovich and Al Martin
Bill Wegman - Apr 28, 1992 - hit Mike Macfarlane, Mike Macfarlane and Rico Rossy
Bill Travers - Aug 27, 1975 - hit Craig Kusick, Craig Kusick and Craig Kusick
Pete Broberg - Aug 17, 1975 - hit Bert Campaneris, Sal Bando and Gene Tenace
If you're looking for interesting trends in there, Jason Kendall was hit in three of those games, and 4 of the 10 were against the Pirates. Four of them occurred on the 28th day of the month, and 8 of the 10 either occurred on a day of the month that either had the number 7 in it or was a multiple of 7.