Up until Wednesday, August 2, 2017, there had been 5 immaculate innings in 2017 but after an extensive rain delay in a game that featured the Yankees at home facing the Tigers, in the top of the 8th, Dellin Betances added his name to that list.
Betances’ first victim was Jim Adduci who watched the first strike go by then promptly struck out swinging at the next two pitches. Up next was Justin Upton who never swung the bat as he was struck out looking. The last batter of the 8th was Miguel Cabrera who let the first pitch go by for a strike, then he swung at a pitch low and out side, and was struck out swinging on a breaking ball low and outside. This immaculate inning was particularly impressive as no batters even hit as much as a foul ball.
9 pitches, 9 strikes, three strikeouts, three pitches to each batter, that is called an immaculate inning. It was just the 87th time that an immaculate inning was thrown in Major League history and it was the first since Carlos Carrasco did so on July 7th. In 2017 MLB pitchers are on pace to break the MLB record for most immaculate innings in one season. The record for the most immaculate innings in a season is 7 and with Betances throwing the sixth this season, only two more are needed to break the record.
There have been more immaculate innings recently due to a spike in strikeouts across the MLB with pitchers throwing harder, faster, and with more movement than ever while the hitters have adopted a swing big miss big hit big mentality and strikeout rates are up to nearly 22% compared to roughly 17% a decade ago.
Despite the fact that the Yankees lost to the Tigers, and strikeout rates are up an immaculate inning while becoming more common, doesn’t necessarily become less impressive or fascinating.