Complete games are a rarity in 2021. Through Wednesday, MLB pitchers had combined for only 21 of them.
So it’s notable any time a pitcher accomplishes that feat, but doing so while throwing only 62 pitches? Now that’s really unusual.
That’s what the Rockies’ Germán Márquez managed to do on Thursday at Citi Field, but don’t expect the right-hander to be too excited about it. After all, he took a tough-luck 1-0 loss against the Mets while allowing one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts.
How is a 62-pitch complete game even possible? In this case, it came in the first game of a seven-inning doubleheader, and because the Rockies trailed as the road team, the game ended before Márquez could pitch the bottom of the seventh. Still, he gets credited with an official complete game. (Unlike with no-hitters, complete games do not have to be at least nine innings.)
MLB had not seen a pitcher throw a complete game with 62 or fewer pitches since Sept. 29, 2016, when the Pirates’ Ivan Nova did it while throwing 5 1/3 innings in a contest that was delayed by rain and then suspended with the teams knotted at 1. Because there wasn’t time to complete the game, which didn’t affect the standings, it ended up a tie.
Márquez also set a Rockies record for the fewest pitches in a complete game, passing Aaron Cook, who used a mere 74 pitches in a win over the Padres at Coors Field on July 25, 2007. Incredibly, Cook did that in a full nine-inning game. He then threw a 79-pitch, nine-inning shutout against the Padres at the same ballpark on July 1, 2008. No pitcher since then has thrown a nine-inning complete game with fewer than 80 pitches.