Paul Blackburn sets Oakland A's record with 19.1 scoreless innings

Paul Blackburn has now thrown 19.1 scoreless innings to start the 2024 season, the most in Oakland A's history
Washington Nationals v Oakland Athletics
Washington Nationals v Oakland Athletics / Loren Elliott/GettyImages

Paul Blackburn has set the record for the longest scoreless innings streak to start a season in Oakland Athletics' history.

Blackburn entered Friday's game having pitched 13 scoreless frames. He tacked on another 6.1 on Friday evening, running the total up to 19.1 innings with zero runs allowed.

The righty was dealing against the Nationals last night, pitching into the 7th inning and allowing just 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. Blackburn induced 8 groundball outs, including two big double plays in the 4th and the 5th innings.

He was pulled in the top of the 7th with a man on first and one out. Reliever Austin Adams came in and allowed a single to Riley Adams before walking Trey Lipscomb to load the bases. TJ McFarland came in and struck out CJ Abrams to keep it a 1-0 ballgame and help keep Blackburn's scoreless innings streak intact.

The previous scoreless streak to open a season in Oakland was held by A's starter Matt Keough, who threw 16 scoreless innings to kick off 1980. Keough wound up having a strong year in '80, throwing 250 innings with a 2.92 ERA and 121 strikeouts.

In terms of franchise history, Alex Kellner started off the 1953 season with 21 scoreless innings and Harry Krouse threw 23 scoreless back in 1910, making it 70 years since an A's pitcher has gone this long without allowing a run. Both Kellner and Krouse's records were set in Philadelphia, back before the A's moved to Kansas City.

Thanks to Blackburn's effort on Friday, the A's have improved their record to 6-8 on the year. They're still sitting at a -21 run differential thanks to a dismal opening series against the Guardians but despite all of the bad injury luck, they've played well over the past two weeks.

Blackburn has been a big part of that. The A's have won all three of the games he's started, though he's been credited with just one of those victories. They're still well off the pace compared to the better teams in the league but at the very least, they look like a competent club rather than the absolutely dismal outfit we saw in 2023.

As of now, Blackburn will match up against the Cardinals in his next outing. St. Louis should provide a tougher test than the Nationals did on Friday but we'll see how long Blackburn can keep the streak going.