Today in Royals History: Sabes

To the bullpen in odd-numbered years. - Topps 1986

Bret Saberhagen, doing Bret Saberhagen things on April 16, 1986.

In his second start since winning the Cy Young Award and the World Series MVP for the Royals, Bret Saberhagen gave Royals fans the vision of a repeat performance with a dominant outing over the Boston Red Sox on this date in 1986.

Saberhagen went the distance, shutting down the Sox offense in a 1-0 Royals victory.

Saberhagen allowed only three baserunners. Tony Armas hit a single with two outs in the bottom of the second. Wade Boggs drew a leadoff walk in the fourth, but was erased when Jim Rice hit into a double play. (Naturally.) Don Baylor led off the following inning with a single, but a pair of strikeouts and a ground ball left him stranded.

Saberhagen retired the last 15 Red Sox hitters he faced and finished with a Game Score of 88. It was his high water mark of the 1986 season.

Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF GSc IR IS WPA aLI RE24
Bret Saberhagen, W (1-0) 9 2 0 0 1 6 0 2.45 29 88 0.853 1.38 4.7
Team Totals 9 2 0 0 1 6 0 0.00 29 88 0.853 0.80 4.7

The 1986 season was a forgettable one for Saberhagen. Struggles landed him in the bullpen in mid July. A sore shoulder landed him on the DL in August. Upon his return to the rotation in September, with the Royals out of the race, they limited him to five innings per start. He finished the year with 4.15 ERA and the start of a reputation where he would excel in odd-numbered years and struggle in even-numbered ones.

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