Saturday, May 29, 2010

2010 is the Year of the Pitcher, Part Two

In 1968 Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Yaztremski won the American League batting title with a whopping .301 batting average, and two Cy Young winners, the St. Louis Cardinals Bob Gibson, and the Detroit Tigers Denny McLain, abused big league batters all season long with Gibson winning  22 games, posting  a 1.12 era, and McLain winning 31 games, posting  a era of 1.96.

The next year, 1969, MLB raised the pitchers mound, and never again has a big league pitcher approached McLain's 31 wins, or the minuscule era of 1.12...however, as baseball fans clearly know, records are made to be broken, and as we approach Memorial Day, big league hurler are on their way to making this baseball season the Year of the Pitcher 2.

Tonight at Land Shark Stadium in Miami, Florida, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay faced 27 Florida Marlins batters, not allowing a single one of those 27 batters to reach first base safely, completing the 20th Perfect Game in MLB History, and the second in the major leagues in less than three weeks, as the Phillies defeated the Marlins 1-0.

If big league hitters are smart, they will start taking extra batting practice immediately, because it's pretty clear big league pitchers are taking the game over.

It all started on April 17th in Turner Field in Atlanta when Colorado Rockies right hander Ubaldo Jimenez tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history, defeating the Braves 4-0, followed by the Oakland A's Dallas Braden's perfect game on May 9th in the Oakland Coliseum against the Tampa Bay Rays. 

It was the second time in ten months that the Rays had sent 27 hitters up to bat in a game without anyone getting on base...they were on the losing end of Chicago White Sox lefty Mark Buhrle's perfect game last July 23rd.

The 2010 season isn't even two months old, and already we've seen a no-hitter and two perfect games, imagine what we're ahead for in June and July...Jimenez has 9 wins, and his era is smaller than a gnat, at 0.88.

There has been a lot of discussion about the fallout from the steroid era of baseball, and from what's happened so far this year, all the negative publicity of that "era" is being quickly left in the dust, replaced by a "e..r...a" of dropping big league era's.

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