During the 2010 regular season, there were 329 team shutouts thrown. This total was by far the most in a season since the Majors expanded to 30 teams (the second-highest total in this span was 275, in 2002). So it should not really come as a shock that this development has carried over into the playoffs. Through the first two days of games, there have been three team shutouts. The Rangers blanked the Rays, 6-0, in the second game of their series. The Phillies, behind Roy Halladay's no-hitter, and the Giants, behind Tim Lincecum's two-hitter with 14 strikeouts , whitewashed their opponents in the first game of their respective series.
The mark for the most shutouts in any one postseason was eight in 1981. That year, the Division Series produced five shutouts -- there were Division Series games that year because the regular season was split in half, due to the mid-year strike, and thus the first-half and second-half winners of each of the four divisions played in a best-of-five Division Series before the winners went on to the League Championship Series. Following the five in the LDS, the LCS produced two shutouts (one in each league), and the World Series produced one -- Tommy John and Goose Gossage combined on a four-hitter as the Yankees beat the Dodgers, 3-0.
NLDS Game 1: Braves vs. Giants
Tim Lincecum threw a two-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts in the Giants' 1-0 win. Lincecum had a 96 game score -- a metric created by Bill James to determine a pitcher's dominance in a particular game -- which was the fourth-highest in postseason history, the highest ever for the first game of a playoff series, and the highest ever for a Division Series game -- beating the 94 that Roy Halladay put up the day before.
Highest Game Scores in Playoffs
2000 ALCS, G4
1-hit s/o, 15 K's
1916 WS, G2
1969 ALCS, G2
11-inning s/o, 11 K's
2010 NLDS, G1
2-hit s/o, 14 K's
1906 WS, G3
2-hit s/o, 12 K's
1956 WS, G5
2010 NLDS, G1
Lincecum's 96 game score was the second-best best ever for a pitcher in his first postseason game, trailing only Babe Ruth's 14-inning complete game for the Red Sox in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series.
Lincecum's 96 game score is the best in Giants' postseason history. The next-closest was Christy Mathewson's 86 for the New York Giants in Game 3 of the 1905 World Series (four-hit shutout, eight strikeouts) and Jason Schmidt's 86 in Game 1 of the 2003 NLDS (three-hit shutout, five strikeouts).
Lincecum is the sixth pitcher to throw a shutout in a 1-0 game in his postseason debut. He joins Bill James (1914), Johnny Sain (1948), Preacher Roe (1949), Wally Bunker (1966) and Mike Scott (1986).
It was the first 1-0 game in the postseason since the White Sox beat the Astros in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series. It is the first 1-0 game in the Division Series since the Yankees beat the Athletics in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS.
It was the first time the Giants had won a 1-0 postseason game since Game 3 of the 1923 World Series. It was the first time the Braves have lost a 1-0 postseason game since Game 5 of the 1996 World Series.
Lincecum's 14 strikeouts were tied for the seventh-most in postseason history, and second-most in Division Series history. Among the 12 pitchers to strike out at least 14 in a postseason game, Lincecum is the fifth-youngest. John Candelaria, Livan Hernandez, Joe Coleman and Mike Boddicker were younger.
Most Strikeouts in a Postseason Game
1968 WS, G1
1998 NLDS, G1
1963 WS, G1
1997 ALCS, G3
1997 NLCS, G5
2000 ALCS, G4
1953 WS, G3
1972 ALCS, G3
1975 NLCS, G3
1983 ALCS, G2
1986 NLCS, G1
2010 NLDS, G1
NLDS Game 2: Braves vs. Giants -- A Look Ahead
The Braves will be starting 24-year-old Tommy Hanson in Game 2 of their series against the Giants.
The youngest starter in Braves postseason history was Steve Avery (21 years and 179 days), in Game 2 of the 1991 NLCS. Avery pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings in that game, and the Braves beat the Pirates, 1-0.
The youngest starter in postseason history was Bret Saberhagen (20 years, 175 days) in Game 2 of the 1984 ALCS. Saberhagen allowed three runs on six hits in eight innings and got a no-decision as the Royals lost to the Tigers, 5-3.
The best pitched game in the postseason by a pitcher before his 25th birthday was probably Ruth's 14-inning, six-hit, one-run effort in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series. In that contest, Ruth and Brooklyn's Sherry Smith both went the distance, with Ruth's Red Sox winning when pinch-hitter Del Gainer drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 14th.
In the Wild Card era, the best-pitched game in the postseason by a pitcher before his 25th birthday was Josh Beckett's two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in Game 5 of the 2003 NLCS. Beckett would nearly match that effort only two weeks later, when he tossed a five-hit shutout with nine strikeouts in Game 6 of the World Series.
ALDS Game 2: Rangers vs. Rays
Behind C.J. Wilson's 6 1/3 innings of two-hit, no-run ball, the Rangers defeated the Rays, 6-0. It marked the first time in Rangers postseason history (total of 12 games) that the team had shut out its opponent. Wilson's effort marked the lowest number of hits allowed by a Rangers' starter in a playoff game.
The Rangers have won consecutive games in the postseason for the first time in franchise history.
The Rangers' starters in the first two games (Wilson and Game 1 starter Cliff Lee) have combined to throw 13 1/3 innings and have allowed one run on seven hits with 17 strikeouts against two walks.
Darren Oliver pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief for Texas. Oliver was the starter in the Rangers' third-ever postseason game in 1996. In that start against the Yankees, Oliver allowed three runs on six hits in eight innings and took the loss.
The Rangers infield (Mitch Moreland, Ian , Elvis Andrus and Michael Young) combined to go 6-for-17 (.353) with three runs scored and five RBIs.
Through the first two games, the Rays are hitting .125 (8-for-64) with three extra-base hits.
Matt Treanor was hit by a pitch twice. He baecame the fourth catcher in postseason history to be hit by pitches twice in a game (Yogi Berra: Game 3 of the 1952 WS; Todd Pratt: Game 1 of the 2000 WS; Russell Martin: Game 3 of the 2008 NLCS).
ALDS Game 2: Yankees vs. Twins
Andy Pettitte allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings and earned the win in the Yankees' 5-2 victory. In his 41st career postseason start, Pettitte improved to 19-9 with a 3.87 ERA. Pettitte is the all-time postseason leader in starts and wins. In his 15th career LDS start, Pettitte improved to 7-3. He is the all-time leader in starts in Division Series play and tied with John Smoltz for the most wins in the LDS. The game marked Pettitte's 15th start in a Game 2 (the most-ever). In those 15 starts, Pettitte was 7-3, with a 3.02 ERA.
With a scoreless ninth inning, Mariano Rivera earned his 41st career postseason save and lowered his career postseason ERA 0.73 (11 earned runs in 135 2/3 innings pitched). Both are the best marks in postseason history (ERA leaders based on minimum of 30 innings pitched). Dating back to his first appearance of the 2005 postseason, Rivera has pitched 27 innings and allowed two earned runs (0.67 ERA).
Rivera has converted nine straight postseason save opportunities. That is the third-longest streak in postseason history.
Longest Postseason Save Streaks
Of Pettitte's 19 career postseason wins, Rivera has earned the save in 11 of them.
Lance Berkman went 2-for-4, with two runs scored, two driven in, a home run and a double. In 30 career postseason games, Berkman is hitting .327 with seven home runs, 28 RBIs and 16 extra-base hits. His 16 extra-base hits through his first 30 postseason games are tied for the 10th-most in postseason history. Lou Gehrig holds the all-time mark with 21.
The Yankees improved to 11-2 against the Twins in postseason play.
The Twins have lost 11 straight playoff games, dating to the second game of the 2004 ALDS. After defeating the Yankees in the first game of the 2004 DS, Minnesota lost three straight. In 2006, they were swept out of the DS by the Athletics, and then last year, the Twins were swept by the Yankees in the first round.
Roger Schlueter is a senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.