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Remembering Orel Hershiser's record-setting September 1988

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Related: All-Time Single-Season Dodgers

Back in 1988, Dodgers starting pitcher Orel Hershiser went a bit nuts down the stretch, propelling him to a unanimous win in Cy Young voting. That actually may be understating it, too.

After a disaster of an outing on Aug. 14 (seven hits and eight runs allowed in just two innings), Hershiser was 16-7 with a 3.06 ERA on the year. A good year, sure, but nowhere near something that would land a Cy Young without debate.

And, then, he stepped on the gas.

Hershiser would make nine starts the rest of the way, which resulted in eight complete games, six shutouts and a final outing of 10 scoreless innings.

His September was even more absurd.

On Sept. 5, he threw a four-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and one walk. On Sept. 10, he threw a seven-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and three walks. On Sept. 14, he threw a six-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and two walks.

Whew. We done yet?

Not even close.

He would throw two more shutouts before his final outing of the season, in which he worked 10 shutout innings before being removed -- breaking Don Drysdale's scoreless inning streak in the process.

Check it out, in video form:

This is something I can't help but think we'll never see again, regardless of all the uber-talented pitchers we're seeing arrive at the big-league level these days.

In September, Hershiser started six games and allowed zero runs in 55 innings. He struck out 34 while walking nine and allowing 30 hits -- good for a 0.71 WHIP. The only game he didn't complete was a 16-inning affair in which he dealt for 10 innings.

Going back to include the final three August starts, Hershiser went 7-1 with a 0.44 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, eight complete games and six shutouts in nine starts to close the season. And, again, Hershiser gets no win, complete game or shutout for his 10 shutout innings in the last start.

When people use the phrase "in a zone," they must be referring to that place Hershiser resided in the latter stages of the 1988 season. It's lunacy what he did.

 
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