No, this is not a nom de plume I'm going to use for my upcoming series of Harlequin Romance Baseball Novels, though that's not a bad idea, but a thought experiment: How many strikeouts could a pitcher theoretically get in a 9-Inning game?
If you said "27" YOU ARE WRONG AND YOU SHOULD FEEL WRONG. Bask in it, own up to it.
It surprises me still to this day that people still forget the dropped strike three rule, even though as Baseball rules go, it's fairly basic. Not as basic as "You are safe if you are on a base", but waaaaay less complex than the Catcher collision rules. I see a tweet or something that says "Pitcher strikes out four this inning!" and the responses are all like "SAY WHAAAAAAAT?" without realizing that that runner making it to first still struck out, for all intents and purposes.
So theoretically, max strikeout is ∞. That would not be the world I'd want to live in. Strikeouts would become a badge of honor, and Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds would be kings. I shudder thinking about it.
Of course, if you have all of those dropped strike threes, eventually runners are going to score, because they have to advance should the bases be loaded, so anyone approaching ∞strikeouts would also be the victim of many unearned runs. So we can narrow down the question to "How many strikeouts could a pitcher theoretically get in a 9-Inning game without any runs scoring?" This is pretty easy. You would have to get all three outs via strikeout without a drop and advancement, but before the third out, you would have to have three dropped strike threes and advancements to load the bases, because any more and a run obviously scores. So you could have six strikeouts in an inning without a run scoring. And we all know that 6 multiplied by 9 is 54.
So there you have it Theoretical Max Strikeout Without Runs (TMSWR) equals 54. YAY WE LEARNED SOMETHING MAYBE?
Now, this was a hypothetical that popped in my head as an "Oh that would be interesting!" but the reason it popped into my head was because something like this had already happened, which is to say: What if a switch pitcher faced a switch hitter? To wikipedia we go!
Pat Venditte, who played college baseball for the Creighton Bluejays, regularly pitches with both arms....... When he opposed switch hitter Ralph Henriquez, Venditte switched his modified glove to his left arm. (Hitters traditionally derive advantages from batting from the opposite side of the plate to the pitcher's throwing arm.) Henriquez then switched to batting left-handed, and a series of changes continued for several minutes. This prompted the PBUC (Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation) to issue rules about switch-pitching: switch-pitchers must choose which way they will begin pitching before they start. Then, batters will select with which hand they will bat. The batter and the pitcher are each allowed one switch during the plate appearance, after the first pitch is thrown.
There's even video!
But imagine, for a second, that Henriquez didn't back down eventually, and then neither did Venditte. What if they were still, to this day, switching hitting and pitching. Their loved ones would be concerned, most, if not all, of the crowd would have left, every other player would hate them with in a way that nobody has ever been hated before. It would be glorious.
(I've noticed a trend where I envision really dark scenarios for Baseball stuff in what purports to be a "fun" column. Wonder what that's all about? Anyway.)
THE 2015 DIAMONDBACKS MAKING THE PLAYOFFS
Now this seems the most unlikely of these scenarios, but hear me out. The team will be healthier, there will be some relieved salary from Martin Prado (possibly Aaron Hill at some point?) coming off the books. Plus AFTER their arbitration agreement, Mark Trumbo and Addison Reed will find the essence of a dead elder god while on a hunting trip in the woods and drink it, giving them Baseball superpowers to put them a smidge below the level of Paul Goldschmidt. And since Elder God Essence (EGE) is not on the banned PED list, everything is hunky dory.
Also, Max Scherzer will sign a 5 year deal for $4 Million total to return to Arizona. He took the pay cut so long as he could have all the frozen yogurt he wanted. Estimations for his demands for Frozen Yogurt still make the contract a team-friendly one.
Yasiel Puig's exotic animal smuggling ring will finally be busted open by the feds, Dan O'Dowd will be given a lifetime extension as GM of the Rockies, and the Giants, desperate for power, will coax Jack Cust out of retirement and have him play Second Base everyday. The Padres?... Well, nothing really changes.
I mean, it's more likely than the current front office regime doing something sensible in the offseason to try to build for the future, no?