1997: Radke’s Streak

From June 7 to August 4, Brad Radke did not lose a game.

Prior to the streak, Radke had the distinction of being a bright spot in a starting rotation that was low on success. He was the team’s best starter from his debut in 1995, and was considered the staff ace following that season. Still, being the best pitcher on a league-worst pitching staff does not necessarily get one noticed. This was particularly true for Radke, who was known more for his tendency to allow home runs than for his success on the mound. Additionally, he was a control pitcher who pitched in an era where strikeouts were more common than ever in baseball.

Radke did get some national attention, however, thanks to the winning streak.

Over the course of the streak, Radke had a lot of run support. That season the Twins averaged 4.77 runs per game. In Radke’s 12-game winning streak, the team averaged 6.75 runs per game. Radke’s best game during the streak was also an outlier, a 1-0 victory at the Oakland Coliseum. His Bill James game score for that game was 87.

Radke’s worst outing during the streak came on June 28. It was an 11-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Radke was credited with all 5 opposing runs in 6.2 innings pitched, a game score of 43.

During the entire streak (91.1 innings pitched), Radke allowed just five home runs. Interestingly, there were two games in which he allowed multiple home runs to the opposition, June 23 in Cleveland, and July 25 against the Orioles.

The streak ended on August 9 in a game against the New York Yankees. Radke allowed just two runs in 8 innings pitched, but the team lost 4-1. His gamescore of 68 in that game was higher than all but 3 out of the 12 wins during the streak.

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One Response to 1997: Radke’s Streak

  1. Radke’s streak helped make the season an entertaining one for me. To listen to broadcasters Gordon and Carneal express their evident enthusiasm whenever Radke could get, say, Matt Stairs to swing out of his shoes on the change up was a total delight. This was the also the period when Kelly was at his managing best, taking a team with sub-average talent against the Oaklands and Clevelands of the league and STILL competing night after night. It was also the time for one, finally resigned to the fact the Twins were going nowhere, to find amusement in watching Rich Robertson “invent” pitches (as TK would phrase it) on the spot, or watch the art of Paul Molitor taking his economic, DiMaggio-like cut. That last comparison is from Ted Williams, by the way.

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