As pitching gradually becomes more dominant, shutouts are becoming increasingly common. In fact, three of the top seven seasons in history for number of shutouts have occurred in the past three years. And 2013, with 186 shutouts before the All-Star break for a pace that projects to 320 on the season — will make it four.
(Yes, there are more teams, and thus more games, today than in the 1960s and ’70s, when offenses also waned. But the trend is still noteworthy.)
The most shutouts came in 1972, and baseball responded by adopting the designated hitter rule. The second most were in 1968, and baseball lowered the pitchers mound. Will more adjustments to the game be proposed if the trend continues?
Most shutouts by season:
Joe Mauer’s 30 doubles in the season’s first half put him on pace to break Justin Morneau’s franchise record of 47 in a season, set in 2008. But it’s not just Mauer who is hitting a lot of doubles in Minnesota these days; at the break, only three ballparks had racked up more doubles than Target Field:
Fenway Park, Boston 221
Wrigley Field, Chicago 199
Rogers Centre, Toronto 189
Target Field 185
Coors Field, Denver 185