Did you make it through the Mets-Giants game last night? Probably not. The Mets pulled out a 4-3 victory in 16 innings -- a win worthy of a big celebration in the Mets' clubhouse considering they had already lost three 15-inning games this season.
In looking at the box score, the line for Giants first baseman Brandon Belt -- starting in the No. 3 spot in the lineup for the first time in his career -- caught my eye: 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Not a good day at the office, especially considering Buster Posey, the guy hitting behind him, collected five hits.
Was this the worst game ever by a guy at the plate? Well, I had to look it up. As it turns out, not quite. Belt did become just the 10th player to bat at least eight times, collect no hits and strike out at least five times. Baltimore's Chris Davis did it last year -- but at least that was the memorable game where he pitched two innings against the Red Sox and picked up the victory. Before Davis, the last guy to do it was Jim Thome, who went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in 2004 for the Phillies, in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles.
Three players, however, went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts: Cecil Cooper in 1974 for the Red Sox (in one of my favorite box scores ever, a game in which Nolan Ryan pitched 13 innings and walked 10 and struck out 19 while Luis Tiant pitched 14.1 innings); Billy Cowan of the Angels against the A's in 1971 (teammate Tony Conigliaro went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in the same game, a 20-inning, 1-0 win for the A's); and the Angels' Rick Reichardt in 1966, in a 17-inning loss to the Indians.
But maybe the worst game was Ron Swoboda for the Mets in 1968: He went 0-for-10 with five strikeouts in a 24-inning, 1-0 loss to the Astros. Teammate Tommie Agee also went 0-for-10.
The other two players in our club of futility are Bobby Darwin of the 1972 Twins, who went 0-for-9 but did draw a walk and knocked in a run, and Byron Browne of the 1966 Cubs. In terms of win probability added, Darwin's game actually ranks as the worst at -.577 WPA (Rod Carew had five hits batting spots in front of him), followed by Davis at -.554. Belt's -.424 ranks fifth-worst.
So, rough game, Brandon, but not quite the worst ever.