Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rubber Dominance

Coming from the American League East, former Toronto Blue Jay turned Philadelphia Phillie, Roy Halladay was bound to have a fantastic jump on the National League. Two months into this season and twelve starts, Halladay has done just that. Twenty-one runs allowed in 93 innings, putting a 2.03 ERA on the board. Then on May 29th, Halladay smashed his way into the record books becoming just the 20th pitcher in the history of the game to toss a perfect game. In just 115 pitches which included 11 strikeouts, the 33-year old shut down the Florida Marlins in dominating fashion. Called this one. In our National League preview, we predicted Halladay would slice through the National League with little trouble.

All things aside, in any other year, Halladay would not be overshadowed. However, in this year, a 26-year old righty is dominating the big leagues and is conversation number one 1, moving our Cy Young hopeful to the back of the room. That pitcher is Colorado Rockies ace, Ubaldo Jimenez.

Before we get to his eye popping stats, don't be as shocked of his success by just this year. Over the past two seasons, Jimenez has logged major innings, increasing them to 218 just last season, up twenty from the prior year. In '08, he recorded 172 strikeouts, in '09, he finished just two k's shy of 200. Allowing fewer earned runs last season, posting a lower era, winning three more starts, and dropping his WHIP (go ahead stat geeks), the Dominican born pitcher was in line to have a quality 2010. Then came this April, May, and early June . . .

Ten Ubaldo Factors:

10. In back-to-back months, Ubaldo Jimenez recorded 5 wins each. Just added another this afternoon. More than 30% of his teams victories have come when he takes the mound.

9. Six separate outings this season, Jimenez has shutout opponents allowing zero earned runs in those games. No surprise he's posted a 0.93 ERA through 12 starts.

8. Before being broken up in the 8th inning today, Jimenez had yielded 33 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball. That's more than three-full games!

7. In 87 innings, Ubaldo Jimenez has allowed just two homers. Fewer than Halladay. Fewer than Tampa ace David Price, fewer than Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, and fewer than Yankee stud C.C. Sabathia.

6. Among both National League and American League pitchers, Ubaldo ranks eleventh in walks allowed, just 29 surrendered.

5. For pitchers who've pitched in a minimum of 80 innings, Jimenez ranks #1 in fewest hits allowed, just 52 hits!

4. No pitcher in the major leagues comes within 10 earned runs of Ubaldo's league low of 9 allowed.

3. Only two pitchers who've started as many games Jimenez have lasted more innings. Ubaldo has gone 87.1 innings through his twelfth start on Sunday.

2. When your on a 4th place team in your division, wins matter. That being said, Ubaldo Jimenez has three more wins than any pitcher in the major leagues with 11.

1. 8 of Jimenez' 11 victories have come with run support of 5 runs or fewer. Bottom line is, you don't have to put a ton of runs on the board for Jimenez to shut it down in 2010.

Two months into the season it's hard to believe Jimenez will show any signs of slowing down. If it's so we may be witnesing one of the greatest pitching performances we've seen in any regular season. Belmont Stakes, NBA Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals be damned, Ubaldo Jimenez is taking center stage.

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