Four pitchers have thrown “immaculate innings” so far in the 2022 baseball season — and nine of the batters involved have been Texas Rangers.
On Sunday, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Reid Detmers struck out Ezequiel Duran, Kole Calhoun and Charlie Culberson on nine pitches in the second inning. Detmers, a rookie, also has a no-hitter and a demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on his resume so far in an uneven 2022 season.
The other pitchers to have immaculate innings and no-hitters in the same season are Mike Fiers (2015) and Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax, who did it three times (1962-64).
What is an immaculate inning?
An immaculate inning is defined as three strikeouts on nine pitches in a single inning.
“Three up, three down, with all three batters struck out on three pitches each,” as explained by mlb.com.
There have been 10 immaculate innings since 2020, but there were none thrown over a 23-year span starting in 1929. As pointed out by the Associated Press, “immaculate innings remain special but aren’t as rare as they once were.”
The Texas Rangers and immaculate innings
Prior to Sunday, the Rangers had been victims of two immaculate innings in 2022 — and both happened in the same game. On June 15, Astros pitcher Luis Garcia struck out Nathaniel Lowe, Duran and Brad Miller on nine pitches in the second inning. In the seventh inning, Houston’s Phil Maton struck out Lowe, Duran and Miller on nine pitches.
The other immaculate inning in 2022 was thrown by Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes on April 17 against Baltimore hitters Anthony Santander, Ryan McKenna and Robinson Chirinos.
Despite the three immaculate innings against, the Rangers are not a poor offensive team. They’re 13th in runs scored, 16th in OPS and ninth in home runs hit across Major League Baseball.
And while Duran was involved in all three sequences, he did drive home the deciding runs in Texas’ 5-2 win over the Angels on Sunday with a three-run double in the top of the ninth.